Oppenheimer Completes Alden Ehrenreich’s Comeback 5 Years After Solo’s $393 Million Bomb

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Alden Ehrenreich seems to have made a rare Hollywood comeback thanks to his role in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. The star-driven biographical drama has already earned over $400 million at the box office in just two weeks, surpassing Solo: A Star Wars Story — the film that should’ve shot Ehrenreich into stardom. Oppenheimer isn’t just a major financial success; in addition to earning quadruple its budget, the film has received widespread acclaim for its ensemble’s performances. In Oppenheimer, Alden Ehrenreich might play a small role, but he has some very memorable moments.


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Acting opposite Robert Downey Jr., who plays Lewis Strauss, the Solo star plays an unnamed Senate aide. Despite his limited screen time, Ehrenreich has earned praise for his performance, which managed to be a standout in a film filled with more recognizable names and faces than most. The conversation surrounding the actor is reminiscent of the buzz that stemmed from Ehrenreich’s role in Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brothers’ film that helped distinguish him as an emerging star. Given the success of Oppenheimer — and the actor’s other 2023 projects — Ehrenreich’s career seems promising once again, even after Solo‘s failure derailed him.

Related: All 29 Actors In Oppenheimer Ranked


Alden Ehrenreich’s Promising Career Was Slowed By Solo Bombing

Alden Ehrenreich and Emilia Clarke standing side by side in Solo A Star Wars Story

When a huge movie bombs, it can tank the careers of even the most talented actors. Unfortunately, Alden Ehrenreich is a prime example of this ripple effect. From the onset, Solo: A Star Wars Story had major hurdles to overcome. After all, it recast an original Star Wars character, placing Ehrenreich in the boots of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. The choice was met with backlash: Han Solo isn’t just one of the most iconic Star Wars characters of all time, but he’s one of cinema’s most beloved personalities. In the years since Solo‘s failure, Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that it was a mistake to recast Han Solo.

Alden Ehrenreich faced an insurmountable amount of pressure leading up to what could’ve been his breakout role. When Solo ended up bombing at the box office, it gained a reputation as one of the worst Star Wars films to date. Unfortunately, not every young actor can escape the shadow of their greatest film-industry failure. Talyor Kitsch, for example, saw back-to-back blockbuster bombs with his lead roles in Battleship and John Carter, which dimmed the rising star’s chances of future success. Luckily, Alden Ehrenreich has put himself back on the map by giving impressive performances in supporting roles in several major motion pictures.

2023 Is A Big Year For Alden Ehrenreich – And Oppenheimer Is His Best Release Yet

Alden Ehrenreich as Eddie crawling on the floor in Cocaine Bear

After earning his first bit of recognition as a scene-stealer in the already star-studded cast of Hail, Caesar!, Alden Ehrenreich has finally returned to what worked best for him: playing small but crucial roles in large ensemble casts. Despite his limited screen time, Ehrenreich was fantastic in Oppenheimer. He also stood out in Cocaine Bear, delivering some of the film’s funniest scenes. In early 2023, he appeared in an independent movie, Fair Play. After a successful premiere at Sundance Film Festival, the movie was picked up by Netflix for distribution.

Cocaine Bear and Fair Play were riskier choices that seemed to have paid off for Alden Ehrenreich. While those films generated buzz on social media and added to his overall acclaim, Oppenheimer has emerged as Ehrenreich’s greatest success of the year, allowing him to showcase his talents in one of 2023’s largest cinematic platforms. Five years after what should have been his big break, Ehrenreich’s Oppenheimer success might be his ticket to starring in mainstream Hollywood films once more. Regardless, it’s safe to say that the actor’s 2023 choices have put him back on the right track.

Related: Oppenheimer Breaks An 8-Movie Movie Christopher Nolan Streak After 18 Years

What Alden Ehrenreich Is Doing Next After Oppenheimer

dominique thorne as riri williams aka ironheart in black panther wakanda forever

After Oppenheimer‘s popularity wanes, viewers can catch Alden Ehrenreich in a few other projects. So far, Netflix hasn’t set a release date for Fair Play‘s streaming debut, though the film will undoubtedly offer the actor a chance to showcase his talent to an even larger audience. However, the biggest project on Ehrenreich’s docket is Marvel’s Ironheart, which is still set to release in 2024 as a miniseries on Disney Plus. While Ehrenreich’s part in the MCU is still shrouded in mystery, his supporting role in Ironheart might just undo the negative associations viewers have when it comes to the actor appearing in Disney-backed franchises.