After the critical and box office success surrounding Star Wars: Rogue One, Disney & Lucasfilm brainstorm several possibilities to focus on spin-off films. So far, they’ve confirmed that they’re working on proposed anthology films about Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Lando Calrissian & Boba Fett, which I strongly support as a lifelong fan of the series, because I want to know about their origins or what they were doing prior to The Original Trilogy. The second installment in the anthology series is the origin story of Han Solo.
Development of Star Wars: Solo commenced in 2013 around the same time as Rouge One. Disney & Lucasfilm postponed Solo in favor of working on The Force Awakens as the first entry to The Sequel Trilogy set three decades after the events of Return Of The Jedi alongside Rogue One as the first in the anthology series set before A New Hope.
In 2015, Disney & Lucasfilm officially confirmed to the public that directing duo Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs & The Lego Movie) we’re announced as directing the film with a script penned by George Lucas’ longtime collaborator Lawrence Kasdan & Jonathan Kasdan who’s also Larry’s real life son.
Numerous well known actors & thousands of unknowns auditioned for the role of Han Including Ansel Elgort, Scott Eastwood, Dave Franco, Logan Lerman, Miles Teller & Taron Egerton were considered to portray the character, until Alden Ehrenreich won the part. I bet the reason why Alden was hired in the first place is because George Lucas’ pal Steven Spielberg met him at a Bat Mitzvah after Steven watched a video by Alden. That’s right folks, if it weren’t for George & Steven’s friendship, Alden would’ve never been spotted in the very beginning!
After hiring Donald Glover/Childish Gambino as Lando, Emilia Clarke as Han’s first girlfriend, Woody Harrelson as Han’s mentor & Michael K. Williams as a crime lord, filming began in early 2017 spanning six months of filming from January to June. When The Cast & Crew finished shooting, Production problems occurred, due to Disney & Lucasfilm disliked Phil Lord & Christopher Miller’s “shooting style” based on adding too much humor, believing that the movie would end up as a rip-off of Guardians Of The Galaxy. They demanded the pair to reshoot many scenes. Sadly, the directing duo refused to cooperate causing them to get booted out of the project.
As a result of Phil Lord & Christopher Miller not following the rules, Ron Howard was hired to reshoot 70 percent of the picture. After he finished reshooting the project, Ron was credited as a full-time director. Even though Phil & Chris we’re fired, they receive credit as executive producers 30 percent of their scenes remained in The Final Cut. Paul Bettany replaces Michael K. Williams’ due to schedule conflicts.
With production finally done, Solo got distributed to theaters worldwide. The film earned mixed to positive reviews from critics, fans & movie goers alike.
This review doesn’t feature any crucial SPOILERS. Feel free to read this article just in case if you never seen the whole thing. Is it better than Rogue One or is it a critical disappointment The Last Jedi? Well, let’s find out shall we?
Pros & Cons
Pros: Alden Ehrenreich did a decent job for his portrayal as Han Solo. His interpretation of the character is very different from Harrison Ford’s iconic role. I don’t have anything against Alden, because this is a different take on Han as a young and less experienced outlaw, prior to becoming the lovable grumpy fast drawler of The Rebel Alliance.
Donald Glover/Childish Gambino also did a decent job for his portrayal as Lando Calrissian. I think it’s a perfect casting choice for Donald as Lando, due to his striking resemblance to Billy Dee Williams. He also retained Billy Dee’s charismatic personality.
Other Cast Members/Newcomers to the franchise including Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Jon Favreau & Paul Bettany all did a fantastic job for their respective performances.
Ron Howard did a great job directing the film.
Action Sequences managed to keep me invested. Especially that one scene involving a storm.
Special Effects are a combination of Practical & Digital Effects. I couldn’t spot anything fake, I’ll give The Effects Team an Extra Point for blending both old and new magic tricks realistic as possible.
Composer, John Powell (Shrek, The Bourne Identity, How To Train Your Dragon) orchestrated the musical score. John Williams’ familiar tracks are used in a few scenes.
Ron’s real life brother and good luck charm, Clint Howard makes a cameo appearance.
Warwick Davis makes a brief appearance.
If you’re knowledgeable on the mythology of Star Wars, a bunch of Easter Eggs are shown or mentioned.
Without giving anything away, a familiar character returns. I’m giving this moment Bonus Points. I refuse to spill the beans, you’re gonna have to see for yourself.
One character said, “Get off my ship!” Perhaps a nod to Air Force One. You know the famous line delivered by Harrison Ford, “Get off my Plane!”
My favorite character specifically made for the film is L-3. She reminded me of Plankton’s computer wife Karen from Spongebob Squarepants. Her beliefs on “robot rights” is played for laughs. It could be worse, if Lena Dunham voiced her. For those who don’t know who she is, she’s a showrunner/creator of HBO’s Girls, she’s also best known for being coo-coo for Coca Puffs.
Cons: The movie wasted a golden opportunity to factor in Han’s fellow smugglers in prominent roles. One of them was on the promotional poster for Big Pete’s Sake!
One important character connected to Han, didn’t flesh out a flashback on how he/she became a member of a smuggling organization.
The Main Villain lacked screen time, he didn’t have a big role like notable bad guys such as Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Kylo Ren, Snoke & Orson Krenic. If you’re gonna include a villain, make sure that The Big Bad has an interesting motive and background.
The Final Verdict: B-
Han Solo’s origin story has some good elements from The Cast who did good on their performances, Ron Howard did a good job directing, Action Sequences kept me entertained, Special Effects combined old and new magic tricks among a few listed They’re are some problems I’ve listed including The Villian’s involvement felt underused. Is Solo a perfect Star Wars movie? Not really, I would consider Solo an average movie. If you want to see this movie, go ahead and support it, if you want to see future anthology films.
As I’ve stated on my review for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I believe that Solo is earning mixed reviews due to The Last Jedi’s audience reception is effecting the later entry to Star Wars, similar to Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull’s fan reception effecting Star Wars: The Clones with negative reviews. As they say, history repeats itself. My real thoughts are, both The Clone Wars & Solo are way better than Crystal Skull & The Last Jedi. Now you see the parallel of cause & effect?
Disney if you’re reading this, I want to see a Darth Maul spin-off on the big screen. I’ll say the magic word, “Pretty please with a cherry on top?” He’s my favorite Sith Lord of all time.