Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
A casting call for Star Wars Episode VIII is creating quite a stir on the Internet, because it mentions Harrison Ford returning to reprise his role as Han Solo. Of course, one of the most shocking moments in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was when Han Solo was killed by his son Kylo Ren. How could Han Solo be returning for Star Wars Episode VIII?
Well, the most simple answer that most seem to be ignoring is that the casting call is wrong. More often than not these casting call notices are written by the casting agency, who simply looks online to gather information. Whoever wrote the casting call notice could simply have made a mistake or been unaware of Han Solo's demise at the time they wrote the casting notice.
Even though the casting notice is almost certainly a mistake, it does raise the question of if there could be some way for Harrison Ford to return in Star Wars Episode VIII. There's actually probably a pretty good chance that he will return. Disney is racking up major dollars at the box office with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and a good portion of the success of the film has to be attributed to Harrison Ford.
When there is money involved, pop culture franchises often find a way to bring the dead back to life. In the case of Star Wars Episode VIII, I do think it will be very much Luke Skywalker's story and that Mark Hamill will take center stage as far as the old cast is concerned. However, there is one big moment that many fans were clamoring for that was not in Star Wars Episode VII. Many long-time Star Wars fans would have loved to have seen Luke Skywalker and Han Solo on screen together again. With Han Solo dead, it would seem the possibility of that moment is lost forever.
However, it probably isn't lost on Disney how many cheers such a moment would bring from audiences, so I wouldn't be surprised if they figure out a way to make that happen in Star Wars Episode VIII. There is much about Kylo Ren's backstory that was hinted at but never shown during Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It would make sense that some of that story will be shown in flashbacks during Star Wars Episode VIII. It would also make sense that some of the flashbacks would involve Han Solo and quite possibly Han Solo and Luke Skywalker together.
While flashbacks are probably the most likely scenario, there are a couple other ways that Han Solo could return. Even though his death seemed pretty certain since he was stabbed through the heart and fell from a great distance, there was never a dead body shown. Agent Coulson was also stabbed through the chest in the Avengers, and we all know how that turned out when Marvel/Disney decided to do an Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series.
There is always the possibility that someone could have caught Han Solo before he hit the ground and used some advance technology to save him. There's also the possibility that Maz Kanata could have given Han Solo something that would protect him, knowing what his likely fate might be if he ran into Kylo Ren.
However, it's probably unlikely that Disney would want to cheapen the impact of the first film by finding a way to resurrect Han Solo. It's also probably unlikely that Harrison Ford wants to be center stage again in a Star Wars movie. Ford seems to be more interested in having a go at Indiana Jones again rather than continuing to play Han Solo. Given that the most Disney would likely be able to get out of Ford is a cameo, it would seem most likely that if he does return it will be in the form of a brief flashback appearance.