Solo: A Star Wars Story
Solo: A Star Wars Story is a 2018 American science fiction Western film, directed by Ron Howard, and it acts as a prequel to A New Hope. It was produced by Lucasfilm Ltd. The film had its world premiere on May 10, 2018 at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, and was released in the United States on May 25, 2018.
A young Han Solo finds adventure when he joins a gang of galactic smugglers, including a 196-year-old Wookiee named Chewbacca. Indebted to the gangster Dryden Vos, the crew devises a daring plan to travel to the mining planet Kessel to steal a batch of valuable coaxium. In need of a fast ship, Solo meets Lando Calrissian, the suave owner of the perfect vessel for the dangerous mission - the Millennium Falcon.
- Executive meddling: The movie went through development hell with the original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and the original editor Chris Dickens getting fired and the movie being pulled back in for reshoots when it was already 75% complete (with the reshoots amounting to some 70% of the film's final runtime), and re-cut from a light-hearted comedy into...well, they say it's a western, but it's unclear what it actually is. It is believed that Disney refused Lucasfilm's request to shift the release date of Solo to December to allow more time for reshoots.
- The news that Alden Ehrenreich was forced to have acting lessons after Lucasfilm saw his initial performance did not exactly fill fans with confidence. To quite a few viewers, he came across as a kid pretending to be Han rather than the man himself.
- There's little in the way of character development.
- Poor pacing; everything happens way too quickly.
- A lot of the humor falls flat.
- The movie's narrative is rather unstructured; the events don't really mesh well together, just jumping from one action setpiece to another.
- The overall outline is that Han acquired everything he had in the main films through either blind luck or someone handing it to him, which is an example of bad character writing.
- Some of the plot points either explain things that do not need explanations (for example, revealing how Han got his surname) or provide the same "explanation" we already had (Chewie's nickname is a nickname, the Millennium Falcon is that fast because it is that fast and got its distinctive name because it has always been called that).
- The movie commits the error of treating objects that are iconic outside the film as being equally iconic within its world: the Falcon is treated as important even though it is just a mass-produced freighter that Han admits he has seen many of already, and Han getting his blaster is treated as an important moment even though that blaster was actually the standard Rebel sidearm in previous films (for example, Luke pulled one on Yoda in GMW).
- There is an obvious missing scene which results in Han betting Lando a ship in a Sabacc game, even though at this point he does not have a ship to bet. He then loses the game and through plot contrivance ends up getting the Falcon anyway, with Lando not questioning where the ship Han owes him is. There's a clearly dubbed-on line from Han about how the ship he bet is "in the shop", presumably so that the audience will think that he was just bluffing about the ship, but this just opens up another plot hole as to why Lando would trust someone who so transparently lied to him.
- Ironically, this plot point actually would have worked to show how like Han and Lando are, with Han betting a non-existent ship and Lando betting the Millenium Falcon despite the ship currently being impounded, if they had actually been going for that comparison from the start instead of it being something pieced together during reshoots.
- The film is mostly supposed to show the Falcon making the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, but fumbles this because the method shown has nothing to do with the Falcon being fast. The film also forgets to explain why Han is suddenly an ace pilot in this scene.
- The ending's big reveal is... a cybernetically-enhanced Darth Maul, presumably as a setup for an Obi-Wan anthology film. The reveal is somewhat dampened by him dramatically standing up and turning on his twin-bladed lightsaber, just to turn it off again. This comes across as being done for the sake of the audience rather than because it makes any sense for him to do it in the scene itself. In addition, having Darth Maul in the movie is also very confusing for those who haven't seen the animated series BTSW, because one should not have to go outside of a work in order to understand it.
- The main villain, Dryden Vos, was supposed to be a CGI cougar-man played by Michael K. Williams, but during reshoots this was changed to him just being "some guy with a scarred face" played by Paul Bettany, as Williams was busy filming The Red Sea Diving Resort and could not return for the reshoots. As a result of this, Vos gets very little screentime.
- It contradicts existing material; for example, it shows Chewie randomly putting on an ammo belt to explain his wearing of an ammo belt, even though he was already shown wearing it in GMW.
- One major plot point concerns robbing the kind of train that runs on rails, which feels out-of-place in a fictional universe full of repulsorcraft so cheap even Luke Skywalker, a podunk farmboy, owns two of them.
- Qi'ra is a very bland, uninteresting, and pointless love interest of Han Solo. Considering the size of the Star Wars galaxy, her just happening to bump into Han at a random party years later feels ludicrously contrived.
- It retroactively messes up the already-hated scene in The Last Jedi where Luke hands Leia the golden dice from the Millennium Falcon, because the backstory given to the dice means Luke is handing Han Solo's widow a pair of dice Han kept lying around his ship to remind him of an ex-girlfriend, though the dice could have been just a symbol of good luck.
- The film provides a ludicrous and somewhat cringe-worthy origin of Han Solo's surname: he got it from an Imperial officer who thought of it at the top of his head and gave it to Han. Never mind why a surname would be required to enrol in the Imperial navy, seeing how we've seen many beings in the Star Wars universe who have only a single name.
- Bad cinematography; scenes are frequently too dark and washed out, and the color wash makes everything look drab and flat.
- Donald Glover does a good job as Lando Calrissian.
- Very epic and well-done soundtrack that was performed by John Powell, with a few themes composed by John Williams.
- The costume design is at least very faithful to the original trilogy.
- Despite the bad cinematography, the special effects aren't too bad at all.
- Some of the action sequences are pretty cool from here to there.
- The scene in which Han is given his iconic surname, despite being cringe-worthy, is surprising as well, given that no one would have expected that reveal.
- The movie admits that Han did in fact shoot first.
- The idea of a Star Wars movie focusing more on the criminal underworld instead of being the typical "Empire vs. Rebellion" story is interesting.
- The idea of a western set in the Star Wars universe is a great idea, but it was poorly executed, though it would be done well with BTSW.
- Arguably the best Star Wars film on this wiki along with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The film received fairly indifferent reviews from critics who praised the film's cast (particularly Ehrenreich and Glover), visuals, musical score, and action sequences, while some criticized its storyline and screenplay, with a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, being given moderate praise at best and garnering the lowest critic ratings of any live-action Star Wars film since the prequels.
It was released right after the mega-hit Avengers: Infinity War and alongside Deadpool 2, and because of that many movie-goers ignored Solo in favor of those two movies. Many also stated that the film's marketing didn't do much to build hype either. As a result of these factors and the lukewarm critical reception, the movie was a massive box office disappointment and the first Star Wars film to make a box office loss, with estimated losses of $50-80 million. A large number of mainstream audiences dismissed Solo as "filler" or a story that didn't need to be told.
The film's financial failure was reported to have caused the indefinite suspension of the entire Stories film line, though Lucasfilm later denied this. The Hollywood Reporter quoted an insider source as saying "They haven’t slowed down development but they are licking their wounds. It doesn’t mean those spinoffs don’t happen. It just means they’re trying to figure out how to make, and market, them differently." A Stories entry based around the Mos Eisley spaceport is known to have been canceled.
It is believed that Disney intends to focus on developing films one at a time and shift towards "proven" directors after a string of problems with up-and-coming directors on Star Wars projects. Disney has hired and then fired Josh Trank (rumored to be working on a film centered around Boba Fett until the failure of the 2015 version of Fantastic Four and his behind-the-scenes antics; the film was canceled and some of its ideas were used in The Mandalorian), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Solo, replaced by Ron Howard) and Colin Trevorrow (The Rise of Skywalker (originally Duel of the Fates), replaced by J.J. Abrams), as well as hiring Tony Gilroy to rework GMW after being dissatisfied with Gareth Edwards' gritty war story version.
After the teaser poster is released, it was discovered that the film's heavily resembled a series of "Legacy Recording" album covers created by French artist Hachim Bahous in 2015.