In June, Lucasfilm announced that they had parted ways with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, co-directors of a "Star Wars" spinoff film featuring Han Solo. The Disney subsidiary studio then called on Ron Howard to complete the movie, which had started filming in January. Since then, Howard has taken steps to iron out the narrative of the spinoff, a chronological prequel to the original “Star Wars” trilogy at the least. In addition, Howard has been frequenting his social media with little teases of the set here and there. The latest appears to be a call-back to a mentioned, but never-visited, planet in the franchise’s galaxy.

Back to the spice mines

On Wednesday, September 20, Ron Howard went posted one of his routine Twitter pics of the “Han Solo” film set. This time he teased what appears to be a narrow rocky passage with embedded machinery, and a narrow passage to an elevator shaft much like that of a mine. Howard captioned the photo with one word: “Spicey?” From that single word, a dedicated “Star Wars” franchise fan could easily make a likely guess as to the set’s planetary location: Kessel. The elevator must go down to its fabled spice mines.

Kessel was first referred in one of the earliest scenes of the first “Star Wars” film (Episode IV – A New Hope).

During the pursuit by Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer of Princess Leia’s blockade runner, droid C-3PO mentions the possibility of being sent to the spice mines of Kessel (“smashed into who knows what”) should they be caught. Later, when Han Solo espouses the speed of his ship, the Millennium Falcon, he claims to have completed a run from Kessel “in under 12 parsecs.” It would seem Lucasfilm (and Howard) are keen on finally showing this location, officially.

Kessel in truth

Of course, there is also the chance that Ron Howard’s photo tease could turn out to be a troll or a red herring. The under-12 parsec Kessel Run noted by Han Solo in the original films could also turn out to be a fib told by the notoriously dishonest character, played in this prequel film by Alden Ehrenreich. He has taken over the role from Harrison Ford.

How the planet and its spice mines feature in the backstory of the smuggler-turned-Rebel hero has yet to be determined.

Ehrenreich is joined in the “Han Solo” movie by Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke (Daenerys from “Game of Thrones”), Paul Bettany, and Donald Glover as a young Lando Calrissian. The film, of course, is directed by Howard for Disney/Lucasfilm and is slated for a May 2018 release. In the meantime, "Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi" will premiere this December.