The laser challenges and state of the art in high-energy, solid-state petawatt lasers for fast ignition (FI) research are reviewed. A number of new laser systems are currently under construction or being planned that will facilitate proof-of-principle FI experiments. Recent technological advances in each of the major ultrafast laser subsystems are reported, including chirped-pulse generation and broadband amplification in the front end, high-energy amplification, and pulse compression with adaptive wavefront correction. Unique challenges related to operating high-energy chirped-pulse-amplification laser systems for FI, such as protection from target back reflections, are also addressed.