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Ellen Page to read for Han Solo in Jason Reitman’s live stage-reading of The Empire Strikes Back [via Entertainment Weekly]

Really, there’s nothing that says “Han” can’t be a woman’s name.

Ellen Page will be taking on the part of Han Solo in director Jason Reitman’s live stage-reading of The Empire Strikes Back Thursday night, and Jessica Alba has been cast as Princess Leia.

The whole point of Reitman’s live-read series is to take classic scripts and turn them into something we’ve never seen before, but he tells EW that casting his Juno star as the sardonic captain of the Millennium Falcon felt as natural as it may seem surprising.

“In casting Han, the most important thing is: Who has the most interesting, ironic approach to life? And when I think of that, I think of Ellen Page. She’s a small human being who has the energy to fill Madison Square Garden.”

And that fact that their grudging romance will play out between two actresses …?

“Chemistry is chemistry, whether it be between a man and a woman, two women, or two men,” Reitman says. “I have no doubt that Ellen Page could have chemistry with anybody.”

The live-reads are about experimenting with perceptions and expectations, and encouraging fans to consider the story and characters in different ways — even if they’re only hearing about the performance from afar. (None have been recorded or shared. They are designed as one-night-only experiences.)

The performance of The Empire Strikes Back will take place Thursday night at the Ace Hotel Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Click here for full details on the show. Although the tickets are already sold out, there will be a stand-by list for fans who want to give it a try.

On Tuesday, Reitman announced the other members of the cast: Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul as Luke Skywalker) and Whiplash star J.K. Simmons as Darth Vader (and assorted others.)

Knowing the Live-Read series, there will also be a handful of surprises revealed as the show begins.