Han Solo shot out of the Star Wars universe like a cannon. Or as Han would put it, more like a blaster. As much as we loved Luke, were attached to Leia, wanted to give Chewie a big hug and couldn’t get enough of the wisdom of Yoda, the Star Wars world wouldn’t be what it was today without Han Solo. Whether you consider this sacrilegious or not, the whole story rested on the shoulders of Harrison Ford as the character of Solo. Because it’s in Solo the audience has it’s one truly relatable character. Which is why I am anxious about the new movie Solo: A Star Wars Story. Because Star Wars rests on his shoulders.
“You like me because I’m a scoundrel. There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Doubt me do you? Let’s consider the other character’s involved. As much as we love Luke Skywalker, and we have delusions of grandeur about picking up a light saber and being able to wield it like a Jedi master, he goes through a transformation that we have a hard time connecting with. He starts A New Hope like a brash young kid. But the by Jedi, he enters Jabba the Hut’s domain like some Buddhist monk. Maybe we want to eliminate all of our desires (which even Luke fails at), but it’s not our experience of what it means to be human.
Then there is Leia. My daughter loves Leia. She kicks butt and takes names. And she doesn’t even give in to the torture methods of Vader. But no one can forget that Leia is a princess, first and foremost. She may be the leader of a bunch of rebels, but she comes from royalty, which separates her out from the pack. And she wears that gold bikini, which I’m guessing not too many people relate to. I would not look good in a gold bikini. *shudders*.
“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” – A New Hope
How about Obi Wan Kenobi? Nope! Another Jedi master with a bit of a Hermit inside him. And as much as his fight with Vader may have been an attempt at getting his comrades safely off the Death Star, I think he may have been off his rocker when he stated “strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” He might have spoken to Luke from the dead, but he certainly did not become more powerful. (Although if the dead Yoda in The Last Jedi could cause lightning to strike down a tree, why in the world didn’t Yoda and Kenobi get involved in taking out the Empire sooner? Hmmm???) I love Obi Wan. But relate to him I do not.
What about Anakin Skywalker? Of course, the series started in the middle with a New Hope, so by the time we meet Vader he is “more metal than machine,” as Kenobi put it. He seems to have lost his humanity along the lines. And while the story of Star Wars may have revolve around the Skywalkers (those stand alone films being the exception so far), and Anakin in particular, do we actually relate to him? He begins as the immaculate conception part 2, traverses into the perfect partner for Bella in the Twilight Series by the Clone Wars, and ends up as Frankenstein’s monster by the end of Revenge of the Sith. The fact that Luke can extract one ounce of humanity from him by Jedi is a miracle in itself. Interesting character? Yes. Badass Villain? Absolutely. Relatable? Hell no!
“No! Stop, Chewie, stop! Chewie! Chewie this won’t help me! Hey! Save your strength.” – The Empire Strikes Back
We can try to take a look at all of the aliens in the series. And as cute as they may be (Porgs), or badass as they can be (Yoda), we just do not connect to them in some meaningful way. Mostly because their experience of life and the universe differs from ours in significant ways. Or, like Yoda, they speak in riddles which can make for understanding fun, even if difficult. But it all goes to the fact we cannot relate to these beings in a meaningful way. Or at least not in the way which would carry a series.
Finally, if you are really stretching things, there are other characters to look at in the series. We have the evil emperor Palpatine. Or Mace, the Jedi Windu. Or we could take a look at Boba Fett and Count Dooku. Boba Fett became more like the bounty hunter’s version of Vader by the end, and Count Dooku is just plain nutty. You can’t even feel sorry for him when Palpatine betrays him and has him killed by Anakin at the end. This makes another dead end.
“Wonderful girl. Either I’m going to kill her or I’m beginning to like her.” – A New Hope
Which leaves us with Solo, master of the universe. Ok, maybe not quite master, but the central figure to Lucas’ space opera. First, Solo is rough around the edges. His represents the quintessential American male. Kind of like a John Wayne in space. He is going to look out for himself primarily before he worries or even thinks about worrying for anyone else. In this we relate to him as a flawed human, which we all are.
Second, he bumbles his way through relationships mostly on bluster. Before the days of inventing yourself on the internet, in order to have a relationship, you had to interact with a person. Those interactions were often funny and awkward, leading to some crazy conclusions. (I think the internet screwed up dating in many ways which you can read here.) Han shows that awkward vulnerability to the extreme.
And finally, Solo changed throughout the piece. Yes, other people change, but none of them retain their humanity in quite the way Han does. He grows to be a more loving and caring person, volunteering to fight danger. And yet vulnerable enough to be worried that Leia may be falling in love with Luke, showing moments of insecurity. (**Spoiler alert. She’s not because EWWW!!!) And in changing, Han changes for the better, which we all hope to do in our lives. For better or worse, Han is our guy.
Solo: A Star Wars Story – Trailer Review
“I used to wonder about that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. A magical power holding together good and evil, the dark side and the light. Crazy thing is… it’s true. The Force. The Jedi… All of it… It’s all true.” – The Force Awakens
Which brings me to Solo: A Star Wars Story. If the preceding paragraphs haven’t cemented Han’s legacy as the seminal person in the Star Wars universe, maybe there is a light saber training school nearby you can go to. Just don’t give into anger. Because “anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.” And we all know where that suffering ends. It ends with you in a black suit taking orders from a creepy man in a dark cape with lightning shooting from his fingers. And you know it wouldn’t be a good look for you.
This leaves me with the rest of you, who know what I am talking about. You know who you are. And you know you love Han. Because who doesn’t love Han. (Even if he did shoot first.) This brings me to the latest trailer or information we have about the movie. While Disney does like to put lots of marketing out there for its pictures, they do try to keep everything tight lipped about major plot points and characters. Some of which you can only hope to glean from Star Wars Lego sets. So while I would not consider myself the greatest of trailer reviewers, I will attempt to review the latest trailer from Solo: A Star Wars Story.
“I’ve been running scams on the streets since I was ten.” (Han)- Solo Trailer
This quote opens up the new Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer. I am going to begin with duh! Of course he’s been running scams. Who would Solo be in A New Hope if he hadn’t been running scams before. What I find interesting about this shot is it begins with Solo in a Speeder, which harkens us back to the days of Luke and his landspeeder. Maybe it’s why Han takes on a father figure role in Luke’s life. He sees a bit of himself in Luke.
“I was kicked out of the flight academy for having a mind of my own.” (Han) –Solo Trailer
Ok, so it’s no surprise that Han drives recklessly on the streets where he lives. But him being a part of the flight academy harkens back to little known stuff from the Star Wars expanded universe novels which are no longer considered cannon. It is possible they loved a few of the elements of Han’s backstory and borrowed them for the new “cannon.” So he was in the Academy (shock!) and they kicked him out for not taking orders. (Can you sense the non-shock here.)
“I’m going to be a pilot. The best in the galaxy.” (Han)- Solo Trailer
Well duh! But what I love about this quote is what’s going on visually at the same time. You get the view of a very new looking Millennium Falcon. As the Falcon is just as much of a character in the Star Wars Universe as anyone else, you cannot help but get shivers up your spine here if you are a Star Wars nerd like me. The trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story already attempts to tie both Han and the Falcon inexorably together, as they were meant to be.
“Hey kid! I’m putting together a crew.” (Beckett)- Solo Trailer
Aside from the obvious notion where you can connect how Beckett’s (Woody Harrelson) character relates to Solo in a way Han will later relate to Luke, you gotta love the visuals flying by here. The location of the conversation at a place surrounded by ancient runes, followed by flashes of Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), Lando (Donald Glover), and Val (Thandie Newton) fill the screen. As much as I love Emilia Clark (any Game of Thrones lover would), with one look Donald Glover exudes that brash opulence for which Lando Calrissian is known. Made me want to stand up and cheer. You gotta love it.
“You in?” (Beckett) “*Chewbacca Howl*” (Chewbacca) “That’s yes.” (Han) – Solo Trailer
I think the strange thing here was Han explaining what Chewbacca meant by his howl. Han rarely explains what Chewie says. Occasionally by what Han says meaning is conferred. But not directly spoken. Here we have Han playing Chewbacca’s translator. It’s possible because their relationship is fairly new here, so Han feels the need to do so, which he will not feel later. It just felt strange to me.
“I might be the only person who knows . . . what you really are.” (Qi’ra) – Solo Trailer
Lots of visuals flash by at this point. So many it’s hard to express. We have the crazy casino looking dance area with a singer up front, Qi’ra looking on concerned, Han unsheathing his blaster, Moloch and Han getting ready for a duel, and the crew possibly escaping a planet base blowing up. As for the line, you would suppose it’s because Qi’ra and Solo have a past together. Whatever this past means and whatever it means for the future, it’s hard to know. But one hopes this past is explored and how it possibly sets up how he responds when he eventually meets Leia.
“What’s that?” (Han) – Solo Trailer
Of course the biggest portion of this is the look on his face. Han begins the question with the brashness of Solo from later days. He seems supremely confident of himself and his place in the world. Han challenges Qi’ra with this response. But this smile fades into a questioning of himself. My first reaction to this was negative. How could they make Han so seemingly insecure? Especially after what the next part of the trailer shows.
But I changed my mind about this for two reasons. First, Qi’ra and Han have history. This history would make him more insecure than in any other relationship. He might be scared by the question. And the second reason was remembering the Han in Return of the Jedi. His feelings about Leia have made him more vulnerable. There has to be a bit of this with Qi’ra. The change from smirk to insecurity suits him here.
“Get ready!” (Pause) “I thought we were in trouble for a second but it’s fine. We’re fine.” (Han) – Solo Trailer
The final piece of the trailer shows Han displaying his fabulous flying skills. What made me a little awkward feeling about this was it’s following directly on the look of insecurity from the part of the trailer immediately preceding this. Of course, in the movie it will come at two entirely separate times. But this just felt like he was insecure, and then insecure some more about his abilities. Obviously, we have a younger Han who is quite capable of flying the Falcon into and out of danger. And maybe with a lot less experience his felt a lot less brash. It just felt odd coming from Han’s mouth.
Overall Solo: A Star Wars Story Trailer Review
The trailer had moments which made me nervous, I have to admit. As a friend of mine stated, it looks awesome but I am still concerned about the character of Han. Alden Ehrenreich may be amazing as Han in the long run. But the trailer didn’t convince me of that. The rest of the trailer has me super pumped. I cannot wait to see Donald Glover as Lando. And I cannot wait to see how their characters come together and grow. I will be there opening day without a doubt. If I had to give a grade to a trailer (which I have never done before), I would have to give it a B+. I am sure it will get fanboys excited as well as fans like me. But I will reserve feelings about the trailer until I have seen the movie. I know it sounds weird but great trailers should be able to overcome my reservations, much like the Force Awakens trailer did. So B+ it is.
Check the full trailer out here:
Continue The Conversation
Are you looking forward to seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story? If so, what are you most looking forward to seeing? After seeing the trailer, what character excites you the most? If Star Wars isn’t your thing, what types of movies do you love to watch? And would me doing more trailer reviews be interesting? I love hearing from my audience and love knowing the things which interest you.
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Until next time, “I know.”
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life