Solo: A Star Wars Story

Han Solo is one of the most popular and recognisable characters in the Star Warssaga. A smuggler, pilot and rogue with a heart of gold, Han has been winning the hearts and minds of millions of fans for 40 years, ever since he first appeared in the original Star Wars film in 1977.

Given the popularity of the character it makes sense that Lucas Film would try to make a Han Solo origin-story. The film deals with the adventures of Han Solo before he met Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi and during the trials and tribulations he faces after getting involved with the Empire, smalltime smugglers and bigtime gangsters. It relates how he met Chewbacca, how he acquired the Millenium Falcon, and it introduces Lando Calrissian. It also foreshadows Han’s relationship with Jabba the Hutt.

Unfortunately, this particular production has been fraught with behind the scenes drama, with the original directors being fired, and 70% of the movie having to be re-shot.

The director that was finally chosen to do the extensive re-shoots was Ron Howard, a talented director whose work will not be particularly flamboyant, but is still solid and workman-like.

Alden Ehrenreich, an actor probably best known for his excellent turn in the Cohen Brothers movie Hail Caesar, plays Han Solo. Woody Harrelson is, as usual, entertaining  as Tobias Beckett, Han Solo’s mentor. Amelia Clarke plays Qi’ra, his love interest. She will be familiar to audiences because of her role as Daenerys Targaryen, one of the popular characters in Game of Thrones.

Donald Glover, who is best known for his roles in the television series Community and the film The Martian,as well as his prolific Rap career, plays Lando Calrissian. Paul Bettany plays Dryden Vos, the movie’s villain. He is currently playing Legion in Avengers: Infinity War. He recently played Kaczynski the real-life character whose story was used as the basis of the movie Man hunt: Unibomber (2017).

This is a decent summer blockbuster with fast-paced dialogue, great action sequences and wonderful special effects; however, I have the feeling that it will only appeal to hardcore Star Wars fans, the people who already know the details of Han Solo’s life, from his shoe size to what he eats for breakfast. Other mainstream movie-goers may be confused by the story line. Add that to the fact that Harrison Ford is no longer playing Han Solo due to the inconvenience of his advanced age, and you can virtually guarantee that Lucas Film will lose money on this one. Pandering almost exclusively to Star Wars fanboys and girls was not a good idea. There are simply not enough of us to bring Solo to the top of the box office. Unfortunately, this also means that a sequel will not be forthcoming.

Part of me would dearly love to give this film two thumbs up, but due to its exclusionary nature, it will leave a lot of non-Star Wars fans out in the cold.

One thumb up.