By Lisa Kay Tate
Seeing the trailer for the Han Solo movie Solo: A Star Wars Story was a little emotional roller coaster for me.
While the space hot-rodding, Falcon flying, Lando smirking trailer looked absolutely incredible, I’m just a teensy bit apprehensive. Okay, I'm scared to pieces. Movie makers today have this need to make everything as appealing as possible for every segment of society, lest they miss out on box off sales from one demographic or other.
In reality, there is only one group of people to whom this movie needs to appeal: the die-hard, life-long, no-one-else-will-do, Han Solo fanatics. If they don’t like it, Solo: A Star Wars Story will go down like sick mynock.
I’ll admit it right now; I’m a pathetic fangirl. Han Solo is my favorite Star Wars character of all time, just beating out Chewbacca. He was also my first big movie crush and I even thought his grey-haired older version was hot. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who can make this claim.
When I first saw Star Wars in 1977, Han Solo was one cool space pirate, but I was all about emulating the badass Princess Leia. I wanted to be like her. It wasn’t until Empire Strikes Back came out when I had just turned 11, that I actually wanted to be her.
Han is the whole package. On the outside, he doesn’t care about anyone but himself, but he has a huge heart beneath that scruffy exterior.
This is why Solo needs to be not just okay, but out of this world, awesome! It has to be, dare I say, as close to perfect as it can be!
So, no pressure, Mr. Howard, but here’s some things I hope to see:
One: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there were tons of Star Wars paperback novels and stories we fans devoured, which all worked hard to tie the stories together, including letting us see what happened to Han and Leia after the Return of the Jedi. Their life wasn’t perfect, but they were much happier, and had twins! Luke married the super-cool Mara Jade, who we never, ever saw in the new franchise.
I’m saying I did enjoy the new films, but they didn’t have to completely toss years of creative work by several hard-working authors into the garbage chute.
They can fix that with Solo. Since this is in the past, I really hope we see some references to some favorite Han Solo tales including all of Brian Daley’s Han Solo Adventures, and L. Neil Smith’s Lando Calrissian Adventures. I read these repeatedly in middle and high school, you know, with Han being “my boyfriend” and all. I will recognize any Easter egg you want to slip in referencing these books. Also, please refer to A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo Trilogy, which came out in the late 90s, for inspiration, as well. She wrote some fantastic adventures.
Basically, don’t go off the rails with some type of revisionist Star Wars history that bears little semblance to what we know about Han. Give him a story worthy of his legacy. Hopefully, with Lawrence and Jon Kasdan writing the screenplay, they should keep things in check.
Two: There have been several actors playing Darth Vader (although James Earl Jones will always be Vader to me), and Ewan McGregor was a good young Obi Wan, but there’s one thing that is nearly impossible to get out of our minds: Harrison Ford IS Han Solo. You can barely separate the two.
I actually feel bad for actor Alden Ehrenreich, whose work I barely know, as he is saddled with having to get moviegoers to love him even a fraction as much as they love Ford. Of course, Ford is too old to play himself as a young man, but it just seems weird for anyone other than him portraying Han Solo. I don’t know much about Ehrenreich’s acting abilities, but I hope he doesn’t try too much to “give the character his own style,” as actors like to boast. I want the most perfect, straight up Harrison Ford tribute he could possibly do, down to the walk, the raised eyebrow, and the sarcasm.
I am so far extremely pleased the casting of Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, at least in the quick glimpses of his swagger and smile. Billy Dee Williams, who rocked that role like no one else could and is still super cool at age 80, should feel honored.
That being said….
Three: The Han and Lando we all love are classic “manly men.” They are what some might consider toxic and others downright sexy. I know some of us want the world to be all nicey-nicey, and men to embrace their sensitive feminine, but leave Han and Lando alone to be the awesome old school macho dudes they have always been. We know, Han shot first, not out of self defense.
Let’s face it, we love them because they are scoundrels.
If I have to explain to you the significance of the Kessel Run, an 18-parsec smugglers’ route, in Han Solo’s legacy, stop reading now. You don’t really care about Han.
No, I won’t tell you how fast his Falcon made that run. You should know.
Five: I am exceptionally worried about Disney’s tendency to take a popular franchise, and overwork it into the ground. We don’t need a new movie EVERY year, plus 15 other tie-in television series. Make fans wait at least three or four years in between. No one is going to quit buying the merchandise if new items don’t flow out every ten minutes.
I feel Solo is coming up a little too quickly after The Last Jedi, particularly when that movie seemed to not connect well with many fans. One of the reasons is they basically turned Luke in to a cantankerous recluse who tried to slaughter his emotionally unstable nephew in his sleep causing him to turn pouty and evil, and thus resulting in breaking up his sister’s marriage, and the undignified death of Han…who deserved to go down in a blaze of glory, not at the end of a Ren stick.
That means there’s a lot riding on Solo. If done right, this movie could reunite the fandom and introduce a new generation to the reasons we love Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. If it falls short, well, it could be ugly for the franchise.
Ron Howard seems like a nice enough guy, but he might learn what it’s like to be extremely unpopular if he messes with one of the most iconic characters in Sci-Fi history.
Right now, I just want to hope for the best, but, as Han would say:
“Never tell me the odds.”