Solo: A Star Wars Story
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Solo: A Star Wars Story is a science fiction Western film, directed by Ron Howard, and it acts as a prequel to A New Hope. It was produced by Lucasfilm Ltd. and it was opened in theaters 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.
Why It Sucks
- 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, and not a particularly good actor.
- There were more pre-release controversy when it was discovered that the film's early posters were knockoffs of a series of "Legacy Recording" album covers created by French artist Hachim Bahous in 2015.
- The overall outline is that Han acquired everything he had in the main films through either blind luck or someone handing it to him. This is bad character writing 101.
- Some of the plot points either explain things that don't need explanations (such as the notoriously stupid explanation of Han having a 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).
- Contradicts existing material, such as showing Chewie randomly putting on an ammo belt to explain his wearing of an ammo belt, even though he was already wearing it in the prequels.
- Endless hollow attempts to pander to the fans. In particular, it 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 gun is treated as an important moment even though that gun was actually the standard Rebel sidearm in previous films (for example, Luke pulled one on Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back).
- 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, it's not really clear what it is now. It is believed that Disney refused Lucasfilm's request to shift the release date of Solo to December to allow more time for reshoots.
- 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.
- Awful cinematography.
- One major plot point concerns robbing a train. Yes, the kind that runs on rails. No, it makes no sense at all for it to exist in this universe.
- Doubles down on the much hated "hyperfuel" and "extremely important golden dice" plot points from The Last Jedi.
- It is revealed that Han served in the Imperial military for three years. This has no impact on his character whatsoever, aside from giving him his gun.
- A rather jarring and needlessly grim plot point reveals that Chewbacca has been used by an Imperial unit to dispose of human corpses, by having him eat them. Nothing is really done with this.
- Han Solo becomes the first non-Wookiee character in the series to speak in Wookiee (a language he knows for no apparent reason). This is roughly as silly-sounding as you'd imagine.
- Features L3-37, an annoying, self-righteous robot who Lando Calrissian apparently had weird robot sex with (Donald Glover at least has the decency to look horrified whenever this is brought up). And to make things even better, she is retconned into being part of the Millennium Falcon's computer systems.
- Aside from that, her death scene tries to be all dramatic and emotional, even though she is practically treated as a joke character.
- The film is mostly supposed to show the Falcon making the Kessel Run in less than 12 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 is a needlessly messy standoff where everyone variously betrays, un-betrays and re-betrays everyone else.
- 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 to this, having Darth Maul in the movie is also very confusing for those who haven't seen the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 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.
- Qi'ra is an extremely bland, uninteresting, and pointless love interest to Han Solo.
- It retroactively messes up the 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.
- The film provides a ludicrous and somewhat cringeworthy 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.
- Creates inconsistency in the Star Wars timeline: in the prequel trilogy, the Falcon can be seen looking like how it does in the original trilogy, however, in this film, it looks different than how it does in the rest of the saga (until around the end where it loses some of its parts), despite taking place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
- Donald Glover does a good job as Lando Calrissian.
- The soundtrack is pretty good.
- Some of the action sequences are cool.
- It admits that Han did in fact shoot first.
The film received fairly indifferent reviews from critics, being given moderate praise at best and garnering the lowest critic ratings of any live-action Star Wars film since the prequels. The movie 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 dissapointment 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 Fant4stic and his behind-the-scenes antics, replacement unknown), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Solo, replaced by Ron Howard) and Colin Trevorrow (The Rise of Skywalker, replaced by J.J. Abrams), as well as hiring Tony Gilroy to rework Rogue One after being dissatisfied with Gareth Edwards' gritty war story version.