“Solo”: I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This

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The merchandise banner for “Solo: A Star Wars Story” products. Photo credit to starwars.com

Nicholas Silva, Layout Editor

Having already gone through three directors, and having had what is reported to be a complete overhaul, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is drawing concern from many fans. Most of the concern is residual disappointment from the underperforming “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” which hit theaters only four months ago.

“Solo”, slated for a release on May 25th, follows the charismatic smuggler in his early, pre-Original Trilogy days. Based on what has been released in the trailers, it would appear that the audience will be graced with the infamous sabacc (a type of gambling) game between Han and Lando Calrissian that resulted in Han’s acquisition of the iconic Millennium Falcon. Also hinted is his first encounter with the notorious criminal slug, Jabba the Hutt.

The movie is being presented as an Old West heist set against the backdrop of the rich Star Wars galaxy. It will follow Han joining the Empire, defecting from the Empire, and joining a pseudo-gang of smugglers – perhaps landing him in Jabba’s bad graces.

However, despite the decent plot and possible explanations of Han’s mysterious backstory, there is still reasonable cause for concern. First of all, there are the possible explanations. Since “A New Hope”, fans have been left to dream of what Han’s early days were like. George Lucas included only passing remarks of his past, which in Han’s special way helped to make a better character. To explain too much would erase some of the grandeur around Han, and if executed wrong, even tarnish his name.

Also, there is the traditional Disney merchandise. As Yogurt from “Spaceballs”, a parody of “Star Wars” from comic legend Mel Brooks, said “Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made…” This was true of George Lucas, but Disney took it to another level. For an example, one need only look to “The Last Jedi” and the AT-M6 and stormtrooper executioners. Both were marketing juggernauts, and both produced flagship products: neither had any real value in the movie, or at least screen time. While both were cool, they were primarily created to sell merchandise. The AT-M6 produced a large array of models, including a $150 LEGO set. Also, the stormtroopers produced everything from a ten dollar figurine to an eighty dollar replica. This seems to be the case for “Solo” too. Already, Disney has revealed a salvo of Funko Pop figurines, action figures, LEGO, mugs, stickers and more. We are getting a new Millennium Falcon, new stormtroopers (the patrol stormtroopers, range troopers, Mimban stormtroopers, and, the cherry on top, a mud trooper) there is also the potential for new walkers, planets, TIE fighters, and characters. The marketability of the film is astronomical, and while new additions, especially the small ones, certainly add to the living breathing creature that is Star Wars lore, things made specifically for toy production may not be the best way to go about it. If something is made for a Star Wars movie, it should first be proven to add to Star Wars itself before Disney’s already bloated coffers are considered.

However, the trailers which are being pumped out like crazy are helping to reassure audiences. This is probably why they are being made in such great quantity in such a short time to begin with. One can hope that “Solo” will be good, or at least that there will be the good old small details that redeem it for the diehard fans. There are definitely some good nuggets contained within the trailers, such as Woody Harrelson’s character, Tobias Beckett, telling the young Han “If you come with us, you’re in this life for good.” This ties in with the Han we know, the Han that could never quite shake his rouge side, even after becoming the ‘respectable’ one. Also, there is Han approaching the Falcon, presumably for the first time, with a confident expression. The Falcon becomes one of the most important things to him, so this is a pleasant clip, mirroring his return to the ship in “The Force Awakens”. And of course, there is the comical scene where Chewbacca, Han’s right hand Wookie, reveals that he is 190 years old, to which Han replies “You look great!” However, it must be said that while Han always has been sarcastic, too much humor could break this film.

Certainly it will be good for the casual viewer, but the key for anyone who reads into the fine print: go in with low expectations. If a decent movie is approached with low standards, it is good, if approached with high expectations it is bad. This was likely the case with “The Last Jedi” since, after watching it several times, one sees that it was not that bad, but they had gone in hoping that it would be. Hopefully “Solo” will be even better, and will add to the character and his universe, not detract from it.