Why the Han Solo movie could be the best Star Wars film

Sam Ashurst

Okay, before we get started we’re just going to shift slightly in our seats to dodge the inevitable blaster fire that’ll be headed in our direction thanks to THAT headline.

We’re sure there are plenty of people shooting first after reading it, but bear with us – we’ve got a fairly solid argument to make here.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the very definition of troubled. It’s lost directors, endured epic reshoots, and then there’s the fairly significant problem that basically no-one outside of a Star Wars Celebration hotel room seems to want see the film.

Rumours have swirled that Alden Ehrenreich, playing the most iconic space pirate in sci-fi history, can’t actually act – with an alleged drama teacher being hyper-spaced in to help teach him how to deliver his lines. We can’t imagine that’s true, but the fact the rumour took hold is evidence of how much ill-will people have towards this project.

No wonder Disney haven’t unleashed a trailer yet – they’re probably bracing themselves for the worst fan backlash since Paul Feig regendered the Ghostbusters.

But we’ve gone out to gather some intel on the positive sides of Solo: A Star Wars Story. We hope you enjoy it, as many Bothans died to bring us this information (really unnecessarily, too).

It’s something different for Star Wars

Yes, we’ve had prequels before. Yes, we’ve even had a prequel (Rogue One) directly tied to the original trilogy, but this will be the first proper Disney-era Star Wars prequel.

Expect it to be absolutely stuffed with characters from the films we all grew up on; it’s Disney’s first attempt at recreating the magic of the original characters within the original trilogy’s timeline.

That’s probably partly why we’re all so nervous about it, we remember the last time we had to hang out with younger versions of our favourite characters. But until Disney announce Jar-Jar: A Star Wars Story, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

It’s the right character

This might be a bit sacrilegious to say, but Han Solo has had a bit of a bad-deal in the Star Wars films so far.

Impossibly charismatic in A New Hope, brilliantly written in Empire Strikes Back, turned into the comic relief / love interest in Return Of The Jedi, before being handed an ignominious death in The Force Awakens (seriously, JJ, you sent Han out like a punk!), it’s not like Solo has had such a perfect run that a solo movie could ruin the character.

And there’s plenty to explore in terms of his backstory, which has been alluded to enough times to be intriguing – while still leaving plenty of space for a brilliant writer to fill in the blanks.

It’s likely to give us more Jabba The Hutt and Boba Fett

Look, Jabba The Hutt and Boba Fett are blatantly two of the best characters in the Star Wars universe. They’re also the two supporting characters who are the most closely tied to Han Solo – one for freezing him, the other for keeping him as a decorative ornament that really pulled the palace together.

If you’re a Jabba fan, we’d bet 14 million Imperial Credits that you’ll get to see more from your favourite gross lizard slug thing in May. Boba Fett will almost certainly have a nodding cameo, too. If either of them show up in the trailer next week, we’ll lose our minds faster than a palace guard being thrown face-first into a Sarlacc pit.

It’ll have racing sequences

Skip this one if the prequel trilogy still gives you PTSD, but we really like all the podracing stuff from The Phantom Menace (sorry). And, what with Solo being really quite good at traversing the Kessel run (a smuggling route for space pirates), we’d expect some similarly fast-paced racing action in Solo. Think American Graffiti with giant slugs and rocket backpacks. Sounds great, right?

Woody Harrelson’s in it

While Woody Harrelson’s presence isn’t a guarantee of quality on its own (Now You See Me 2, anyone?) he’s been turning in some of the best work of his career recently, even in distinctly average films (was there ever a more compelling performance in such a ‘meh’ movie as Harrelson’s in Out Of The Furnace?).

Currently Oscar nominated for his work in Three Billboards (with a real chance of winning), we’d be excited about whatever he was doing next, even if that didn’t involve him mentoring one of our favourite science-fiction characters.

Fleabag’s in it

Why Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the hero we need

Yep, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, one of the UK’s most exciting new talents, is said to be playing a key CGI role in the film. And for our American readers, don’t worry – we’re not insulting her, Fleabag’s the name of her stunning BBC sitcom, which you should totally catch up on before the movie hits.

Fingers crossed one of you creates a YouTube video that mashes up Waller-Bridge’s character with dialogue from that show. Because that would be hilarious.

New John Williams theme

John Williams — shown here at the Star Wars Celebration in April 2017 in Orlando, Florida — has the most Oscar nominations of any living person with 51 (AFP Photo/Gustavo Caballero)

Call us fanboys all you want, but as far as our ears are concerned, there’s nothing finer than a John Williams Star Wars score.

The news that he’s composing an all-new Han Solo theme for the film should be inspiring every single movie music fan to start camping out in front of their local cinema this weekend.

We can’t wait to hear it – hopefully we’ll get a few notes in the incoming trailer.

We’ll see Han and Chewie meet

Chewbacca in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (Photo: Photo by: Mary Evans/Lucasfilm/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection)

COME ON, as if you’re not excited about seeing this friendship form for the first time.

If the scene includes a moment where Han gets an unexpected wookiee hug, there won’t be a dry eye in our house. Seriously, the first time Solo calls Chewie ‘pal’ we’re going to get some pretty uncontrollable goosebumps.

If you’d told us when we were six that one day we’d get to see how these two met, we’d probably have asked you if we’re having spaghetti for tea, because that was our favourite dinner. But then we would have gotten super-excited about the whole Han and Chewie thing.

Donald Glover’s in it

Solo: A Star Wars Story

The very definition of perfect casting, seeing Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian will probably be worth the ticket price alone. Effortless cool is pretty much essential to the character, and Glover has more of that than most. And, fresh off the back of winning his first Grammy (for his musical alter-ego Childish Gambino), is it too much to ask that he also sings over the end-credits?

Glover’s depiction of Lando in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s brutal underworld is sure to be one of the Solo film’s most compelling elements.

It could open up a whole sub-genre of movies

Fine, you’re still determined to not give a Sith about Solo. Whatever we say won’t make a difference. We get it, you’re so keen for a backlash against Disney for all their previous Star Wars success you won’t listen to reason. It’s cool.

But what if a Han Solo movie was the first step towards a Jabba The Hutt gangster movie directed by Martin Scorsese? Or a kick-ass Princess Leia tale helmed by Patty Jenkins? How about a Boba Fett flick from Quentin Tarantino? You’d like that, wouldn’t you? No?

We’ll all get a better sense of what to expect from the Solo movie when Ron Howard shows us a trailer (looks like we’ll be getting a tease during the Super Bowl on Sunday, before a full trailer arrives the morning after), but, as it stands, it still seems to us like this could be the best Star Wars movie yet – increasing the nostalgic excitement we got from Rogue One tenfold, by closely following our favourite character from Empire Strikes Back.

All we can say is… we’ve got a good feeling about this (sorry).

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