When Solo: A Star Wars Story was first announced I was excited. This would be an opportunity to finally open the gateway to the criminal underworld of Star Wars Something Rick McCallum had attempted with the original incarnation for a live-action tv series but never seemed to be able to get off the ground. The idea of Han Solo as a young man has permeated the mind of George Lucas as far back as the early 2000s when he wanted to include Han in episode 3, but only ended up with Chewie, as well as a shot of the millennium falcon for eagled-eyed fan
Then in 2012, the idea of a young Han Solo movie was co-generated by Lucas and frequent Star Wars Collaborator Lawrence Kasdan, Who after the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, crafted the story with his son, Jon Kasdan (Land of Women). The elder Kasdan had always loved Han from the first time he saw him during the cantina scene., something he had discussed repeatedly in various interviews. With films like Wyatt Earp and Silverado on his resume, Along with his aforementioned Star Wars experience, he was the ideal candidate to write the origin story for everyone’s favorite smuggler.
After the departure of original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, I was more intrigued then nervous. How would Ron Howard take a film that was nearly complete and craft something that would be worthy of the Star Wars legacy?
I’m pleased to say that it does, and Ron Howard imbues the film with a sense of adventure and wonder reminiscent of A New Hope. There’s a grit to it that I hadn’t expected from a movie about young Han Solo. The legacy of Lucasfilm permeates the film going all the way back to American Graffiti, something that seemed only fitting considering Ron Howard’s connection to the 1973 classic.
I had posted on Twitter that it looked from the trailers that Alden Ehrenreich was miscast. As it turns out my fears were unfounded. Ehrenreich is Han Solo. No, he’s not Harrison Ford, but that’s fine. He doesn’t need to be. He made the role his own and I can’t wait to see more of his version of the character. His dynamic with Chewie was fantastic, although there was a slight nitpick I’ll save for my spoiler review.
As for Lando, well, there’s a lot I want to say, but again, no spoilers. Suffice it to say, Donald Glover doesn’t just become Lando but I could see him channeling a bit of Billy Dee Williams as well and I loved that. His dynamic with L3-37 was a definite highlight of the film, even though I didn’t care much for the latter.
Then there’s Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra. I’ve been following her career since Game of Thrones and was excited to see what kinds of films she’d do. When she was cast in Star Wars I was excited, although I will admit to being a bit disappointed that she wouldn’t be a part of the Benioff and Weiss Star Wars movies. That being said, I absolutely loved her arc in this film. She almost had a 1940s quality to her as though she stepped out of films like Double Indemnity.
The rest of the cast was fantastic, particularly Woody Harrelson, a role that was initially being looked at by Christian Bale, however, I do wish some of the other characters, such as Paul Bettany’s Dryden Vos, Thandie Newton’s Val and Jon Favreau’s Rio would’ve gotten a little more development. Two hours and 15 minutes is definitely a generous running time but with so many characters it can be difficult to service them all in one movie.
While the film does have some minor flaws overall, it’s a great summer blockbuster that people are going to watch over and over for years to come. I can’t wait for my next visit with Han and Chewie.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
While the film does have some minor flaws overall, it’s a great summer blockbuster that people are going to watch over and over for years to come.