Let me be very clear: out of all the characters in the Star Wars franchise, Han Solo is my absolute favorite. Nobody can compare to him.
So, why am I not excited to see Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), a movie about his backstory? A number of reasons, actually: the casting, the tone of Rogue One (2016), the issues it faced in production, the clichés abundant in the trailer, etc. To me, it just doesn’t seem like Star Wars.
I really hope that this is just a case of pessimism or disappointment that someone else is taking over the role of Han Solo. I want to enjoy this movie like I enjoy the rest of the Star Wars franchise. But I just have too many doubts to let that happen.
Let me just say something right now — I have a really hard time seeing Woody Harrelson in any dramatic role after his early performance as naive bartender Woody in Cheers. Even watching him in The Hunger Games franchise was weird and out-of-place for me. Another dramatic role for him just seems even more odd, despite his recent work that garnered an Academy award nomination. Plus, the cliché line he uses in the trailer (to the effect of “if you’re in this life, you can’t leave”) is so corny that I groan every time I hear it.
Donald Glover isn’t an entirely awful choice for Lando Calrissian, but it’s still a little strange. You can tell that he was chosen only as a famous black actor who would attract audiences; there was no concern for if he actually could embody the character of Lando or look anything like a young Billy Dee Williams.
However, my biggest problem is with who was chosen for young Han Solo. Alden Ehrenreich has a certain appeal and he slightly resembles a young Harrison Ford, but I feel like there were better choices available. His voice sounds nothing like Han Solo’s does; he doesn’t have the same ruggedly handsome good looks that endeared us to young Ford. He looks like he just wandered out of a Starbucks and found himself on Corellia. I’m not sure I’ll be able to accept him as Han Solo.
Still Smarting from Rogue One
Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t really enjoy Rogue One. It was a good movie, but not a good Star Wars movie. The story seemed like it was quickly thrown together to fill the time between The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), which is exactly what happened. It was painfully obvious that it was just another money grab for Disney while they waited for their next blockbuster to finish production.
Rogue One would have done well as a standalone sci-fi war movie. However, it didn’t have the same Star Wars feel as the rest of the franchise. It lacked the screenwipes, the nostalgic music, and the heroes were much too angsty for me to truly empathize with them. Rogue One just lacked those essential Star Wars elements.
This is something I worry about happening with Solo. Will it just become another one of those heavy-on-story, light-on-actual-Star-Wars-elements films? Just another film lost to the world of lightsabers and space battles in favor of better films like Empire Strikes Back (1980)? Once again, I hope all of my doubts are completely off-base, but I just can’t shake this feeling that Solo really isn’t going to be all it’s cracked up to be.
Production Problems Signaling Something?
Though the project was taken over by esteemed director Ron Howard, I still have my qualms. The production of Solo: A Star Wars Story was rumored to have faced a number of production issues, including the firing of original co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, an “unworkable” script, and Ehrenreich’s struggle to convincingly play the roguish smuggler.
While I normally try to have an optimistic outlook, it’s hard to bounce back from production problems. Sure, it may regain some of its stature, but it’ll always have the shadow of failure looming over it. Could it be that these problems never dissipated? That’s something we’ll have to decide on Friday, but my hopes are not very high.
A Trailer Full of Clichés
One thing I absolutely hate about Hollywood is how easily clichés slip into the script. A “big shot gangster is putting together a crew.” The main character has “waited a long time for a shot like this.” The famous criminal saying “everything you’ve heard about me is true” (as if he can verify that). And, of course, the worst line from the trailer: “If you come with us, you’re in this life for good.”
Don’t get me wrong, almost every trailer today uses those clichés — those dramatic throwaway lines are how they attract their audience. But I’m just sick of it, and I guess I expected a little more from Solo. Maybe I wanted a bit more originality, something to set this film apart from every other backstory film. But no — this film looks like it will be just like Rogue One: just another filler film to satiate our Star Wars appetite until December 2019 when Episode IX comes out.
A New Hope?
I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer about all of this. In fact, I’m hoping that all of my fears are completely unfounded. I want Solo: A Star Wars Story to blow me away with how well-made it is. I want to go into the theater with cautious optimism and be rewarded graciously.
Unfortunately, the early signs don’t look good. Solo: A Star Wars Story looks just like every other awkward prequel that serves no purpose to the franchise other than to increase its profit. How I wish that weren’t the awful truth, but that’s Hollywood for you.
Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on Solo: A Star Wars Story? Comment down below!
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