An ‘American space western’ film with Han Solo and Chewbacca as the two main characters? Take my money!
Personally, the thought of this Solo film has me imagining a fantastic blend of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and all the things I have come to know and love about the beloved space scoundrel from Star Wars.
The hype was undeniable when Disney released the first true synopsis for the movie (seen below).
Even though it has a slight childish feel to it, this is not a bad synopsis.
What worries me is Disney calling him “the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy.” Now we know that they recognize his importance and the daunting task that is a stand alone film about Han Solo, but will they deliver?
They move right along saying there are some wild adventures into the criminal underworld, so we know it will have that scummy environment, and that is a plus! I absolutely love watching scenes with Jabba’s Palace because of how starkly different it is from the other scenes. There is no sneaking around with crime or dark dealings: it is all out in the open, and you feel that. I want more scenes with that sort of esteemed criminality and questionable circumstances that had me on the edge of my seat in Return of the Jedi.
Now the real highlight: meeting Chewie and Lando. Even if they messed up the entire film and only get these two characters’ screen time right, the film may have a chance of staying afloat against waves of critics and box office numbers. That is how much importance I would place on their roles in this film. Not just how Han meets them, because many fans understand that what they have come to know from the Star Wars: Legends is obsolete now. But how Han meets them and continually interacts with them to a point where he sets his trust issues aside to truly befriend them. That is not a task that I would ever want to tackle, so I wish the best of luck to Ron Howard in his endeavor here.
In light of the hype and worry, here are a few things that I absolutely do and do not want to see in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story film.
“Han Shot First”:
You want to know how to ruin this movie real fast? Woody Harrelson is said to be playing a sort of “mentor” to Han in this film, imagine him forcing the dialogue of “always shoot first” or expecting responses to emotional circumstances in manners such as “I know.”
There is dialogue that has become iconic from the original Star Wars movies, and I do not want those to become a major role in this one. Let those be natural in the moments of Han’s future, and just show the audience how he became the scoundrel we love in the trilogy from the 70’s and 80’s.
Using familiar references could easily become a crutch for this movie without a doubt, especially after the director changes in June of 2017. These can easily miss the mark if done poorly, and even if they are done well, they may steal the focus of a fresh creation. Let’s keep the familiarity and throwbacks in Han’s future – and our past – so we can focus on new and creative content.
“Under Twelve Parsecs”:
Do you remember how cool the Pod Race scene was when you first saw it? We all knew Anakin had to live because they were jumping back in the timeline, but what happened to him in between? Was this when he recognized what Qui-Gon Jinn saw in him? That he was indeed special, and that he could someday become just like his heroes? Especially seeing him as a kid possibly coming to these conclusions, it surly threw many of us back to a time when we too had these dreams.
This is exactly what I do not want to see in the Solo movie. Han is not a hopeful, happy-go-lucky type guy; quite the contrary. He is a skeptic with a sense of nihilism to his demeanor, and he never really speaks of higher aspirations of anything beyond riches. Well, minus some in his end days in The Force Awakens. I don’t know about you, but greedy people don’t appear to have “heroes,” but rather “enemies” in which they envy. Not join their ranks equally, but dominate and surpass in term of wealth and power.
No, Han was – and is – a scoundrel. The types he rubs shoulders with are bounty hunters, or those being hunted for a bounty. End of story. This is exactly why I do not want to see the Kessel run, which with the Disney vibes seen in the Star Wars films since their purchase of the franchise, it would more than likely be turned into a hopeful spin.
A hopeful spin in the Solo film would go completely against the vibes that we already know and love about Han. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not hoping it is a dark, depressing film, because Han is a witty individual. It is because all of this lacking hope that he began using humor as a coping mechanism, and if this film is funny with hope, it would only steal from the entire legacy that is Star Wars.
Han is relatable at his core, just with the coolness of Star Wars added to make us enjoy consuming the media he is involved in even more. We need some mystery in this film to maintain that relatability. We don’t know every little thing in our daily lives, nor even have a long drawn out story with significant characters and meaning behind everything we do or own.
The significance to a lightsaber owned by a renowned Jedi, or more relatably the Millennium Falcon by Han, deserve some history and explanations. Those explanations add to the story line, which is why there was a noticeable gut-wrench when Luke tossed Anakin’s lightsaber in The Last Jedi. What about Han’s blaster or pants? We know what they are and what they are capable of, that is enough for them. Items of significance and Han’s character throughout his early adventures should be what really takes the focus in this movie in my opinion.
Sometimes we eat pizza just because it’s good. We drive a specific make of car because we want to, or because it was cheap. We wear the same shirt until it has holes in it because it is comfortable. Not everything has a deep meaning with explanations for every step of its use leading up to and after it enters a characters life.
I want to see more of this mystery in the Solo film, and honestly I think it will resonate more positively among the fans and first time watchers of Star Wars if that relatable trait is sewn throughout.
“I Spy a Jedi”:
Speaking of relatable traits sewn throughout a film, I do not want to see a Jedi. Nay, I don’t even want to hear about them. Which is out of my own character to say this because I greatly enjoy the Jedi concepts on and off the screen, but I have a reason for saying this.
As I mentioned before, Han is a pretty regular character, and can be seen blatantly denying any belief in the Jedi or even “the Force” in A New Hope. This film is a chance for us to see a glimpse into what life around us could possibly like if we were thrust back in time to a galaxy far, far away!
This is actually a great segway into cameos as a whole in the Star Wars franchise. Familiar droids in a junkyard, faces in a Cantina, faintly recognizable voices in the background and images lasting only a few frames that people somehow find the time to look for once they own a copy of the film. That is all fun, and it does add a bit to the movies post-release, but we do not need to be force fed anything like we have come to expect in the Disney versions. How often is it that you see a celebrity of your country in your usual stroll through a shopping center or bar? Let alone a whole freaking galaxy.
Remember when Finn bumped the Holodeck in The Force Awakens? Subtle enough to call out to diehard fans to share with their friends in the car ride home from the theater, but not too in-your-face and distracting from the story. It was quick, well shot, and moved on immediately afterwards.
I am hopeful that Disney keeps this one simple too, and if any cameos or subtle references are included, that they help to guide the story, not just be used to sell toys. Imagine this coming from the Disney Execs when discussing their quarterly revenue:
“Oh, did you see we have a generic Jedi template for the plastic toy molds? Include a young Luke and let’s sell those too!”
Yeah… that is exactly what I don’t want from this film.
Characters are at the hands of the story writers, who are at the hands of the finance team, who are at the hands of the marketing team(and vice versa), who all collectively are holding the actors in their hands. In other words, Mark Hamill expressing some hesitance and skepticism towards The Last Jedi’s direction is not really a sound argument; it’s sort of just one man’s opinion. It holds weight to the fans, but not to the aforementioned army of employees putting it all together. I feel that the theories of Disney disowning the Solo film already are in the same waters, and are painting the perspective of this yet-to-be-released film in a nasty color without reason.
In the end, the hype of the upcoming Solo film is a bitter-sweet roller coaster of hope and hesitation for me. This internal battle is going to absolutely ruin the experience if left alone, and I personally do not want to waste money on a ticket for a movie I will have destroyed single-handedly in my head before ever seeing it. So, from the casual reader to the die hard Star Wars fanboy such as myself: please leave all of your expectations, theories, speculations and ‘bad feelings about this’ at the door when you’re buying that popcorn. Sit down, enjoy the movie, and appreciate what has captivated our hearts for decades.