LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - The new, young Han Solo says he has "a good feeling about this" in a trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story, reversing one of the best-known catchphrases in the sci-fi movie franchise.
Yet fans are watching to see if little-known actor Alden Ehrenreich, 28, can fill the shoes of Harrison Ford, whose dry-witted bounty hunter is one of the franchise's most popular characters.
Disney's Solo had its world premiere in Los Angeles on May 10 ahead of an international rollout on May 23.
Solo is an origin story set some 10 years before the events of the 1977 Star Wars movie, when Ford starred as the cynical cowboy space pilot. He reprised the role almost 30 years later for The Force Awakens, which at US$2 billion (S$2.6 billion) is the third biggest-grossing film on record.
"Han Solo is my favorite character in 'Star Wars' and Harrison Ford is a big part of that," said Sarah Woloski, co-host with Tricia Barr and Teresa Delgado of Star Wars podcast Fangirls Going Rogue.
"But if Alden has the right swagger and attitude to pull that off, that's more important than being a Harrison Ford look-alike," she said.
Ehrenreich got warm reviews for quirky 2016 comedy Hail, Caesar but is otherwise little known to generations of fervent Star Wars fans.
On the other hand, Ford, now 75, became a taciturn sex symbol, a persona that grew with his Indiana Jones adventures. Yet his alpha male Han Solo of the 1970s and 80s may not be the hero audiences want in 2017.
"I think a lot of heterosexual men learned how to flirt from Han Solo and Indiana Jones. But men like me grew up and realized you can't act like Han Solo. Han Solo is kind of a jerk," said Ryan Britt, entertainment editor of pop culture and technology at website Inverse.com.
"If Alden's sexy, I don't think he can be as pushy as the Han Solo of the 80s," Britt said.
Trailers for Solo, including some deadpan lines from co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, have excited fans who were initially nervous about Ehrenreich's casting.
They are also hoping the film will explain Han Solo's back story, including his friendship with co-pilot Chewbacca, how he won the Millennium Falcon spaceship, and how he became the cynic whose catchphrase "I have a bad feeling about this" has been used in some form in almost every Star Wars movie.
"Why did he lose his idealism? Does he get his heart broken? Does he get ripped off? Does he get betrayed?" said Britt.
The biggest surprise may come in the form of Donald Glover, the singer and actor who plays a young version of smuggler Lando Calrissian.
"I might be more excited about Lando, and seeing the swagger of Donald Glover, than seeing Han Solo," said Delgado, who plans to see "Solo" three times over its opening weekend. "I can't imagine he will be anything less than awesome and swoon-worthy."