Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ an adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.
Described as a space Western, the film is centered on a young Han Solo and his adventures with his Wookiee partner Chewbacca, including their encounter with Lando Calrissian.
Solo: A Star Wars Story, or simply Solo, is an upcoming American film centered on Han Solo, a character from the Star Wars franchise. The film is being produced by Lucasfilm from a screenplay by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan, and will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film will be the second Star Wars anthology film, following the 2016 film Rogue One. A stand-alone installment, set prior to the events of the original 1977 film, it explores the adventures of a young Han Solo and Chewbacca, including meeting Lando Calrissian. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Solo, alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany.
Principal photography began in January 2017 at Pinewood Studios, under the direction of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The pair left the project in June 2017 after reportedly being fired over “creative differences” with Lucasfilm, and Ron Howard took over directing duties, making Solo Howard’s second film for Lucasfilm after Willow. The film is scheduled to be released on May 25, 2018. It will be released in RealD 3D and IMAX 3D.
5 Reasons to be excited for the new Han Solo Star Wars movie
1. It’s being co-written by Lawrence Kasdan (and his son.)
For those of you not familiar with Lawrence Kasdan, his resume should tell you everything you need to know. Kasdan co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back with George Lucas and Leigh Brackett. He teamed up once again with Lucas on Return of the Jedi, and then decades later partnered with J.J. Abrams on The Force Awakens. Kasdan’s absence from the prequel trilogy’s is one reason those films felt so different from and inferior to the original trilogy.
But Kasdan’s work stretches beyond the Star Wars universe. He wrote the screenplay to Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill and Silverado. He’s an excellent writer of interesting, believable dialogue and has a knack for writing fun, memorable characters. If nothing else, the fact that Kasdan is writing the screenplay for Solo should make us all feel a little bit better about the project.
2. It’s part Western, part film noir and part heist movie.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Kasdan describes Solo as part Western and part film noir. That’s a great blending of genres already, but when you throw in the fact that it’s also a space opera things get really interesting.
Perhaps even better than all that, Solo is going to be a heist movie. Tobias Beckett, played by Woody Harreslon, is the ring leader and a mentor of sorts to Han Solo. We don’t know what the big heist he’s trying to pull off is just yet, but we know it involves that big space train we saw in the trailer which is called the Conveyex.
A space opera train robbery definitely sounds like both a Western and a heist flick. The film noir stuff, on the other hand, revolves around Emilia Clarke’s character, Qi’ra. She’s the femme fatale in Solo, and Clarke says of her character, “If you’ve got a really glamorous lady in a really sordid environment, you kind of know the glamor is hiding a few rough roads.”
3. We finally get to see a hand of sabacc.
One thing everyone suspects about Solo is that we’ll finally get to see young Han Solo win the Millennium Falcon from young Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover.) That’s an exciting prospect partly because I’m excited to see how the gambling game sabacc works. That’s the Star Wars version of poker, basically. It’s mentioned briefly in The Empire Strikes Back, though I think the first time I really noticed it in detail was in reading Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn.
It’s little details like this that are exciting to me as a Star Wars fan. Disney wiped away any and all canon established in the Extended Universe when it purchased Lucasfilm, but it never hurts to give us a little fan service. The film also takes place at least in part on the swamp planet of Mimban. That’s important because it was a location in the very first EU novel, 1978’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Allan Dean Foster (in which Kybur crystals made their debut, though they were called Kaiburr at the time.) Importantly, the book predates even Empire Strikes Back.
4. The film’s story revolves around a ‘bromance’ between Han Solo and Chewbacca.
“To me, this is a love story between Han and Chewie,” Kasdan told EW. “Their relationship has always been my favorite part of the saga, and the fact that only Han understands what Chewie is saying, I find a very funny possibility for comedy.”
This is exactly what Solo ought to be. A funny bromance heist flick. In fact, it’s really what the prequel trilogies ought to have been. Imagine if those were written with a focus on the relationship and deep friendship between Anakin and Obi-Wan? If this movie can really pull off a great bromance between Chewie and Han Solo, I’d be thrilled. If anyone can pull that off it’s Kasdan.
5. This seems like the right kind of movie for director Ron Howard.
Let’s face it, Ron Howard has made both wonderful and terrible films in the past. He’s got a spotty track record. But when he’s on fire, he’s really on fire. Some of my favorite movies were directed by Howard, including George Lucas’s Willow, written by Bob Dolman. Dolman also wrote Far and Away, another fantastic Ron Howard movie. The list goes on, with Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and Rush all marking Howard’s directorial high marks.
Then again, Howard has also directed movies like The Da Vinci Code and its sequels, as well as the abomination that is the live-action Grinch movie. So he has his misses and his hits. What makes me confident about Howard directing Solo is that he tends to do best with these character driven films, and especially the more lighthearted ones. A bromance heist movie seems like the right fit for Howard.
The only thing that makes me a little nervous is that he came into the project late after original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, were canned. Lord and Miller made the excellent Lego Movie, but had creative differences with Disney. Apparently the pair thought they were making a comedy, while Disney wanted it to have only a comedic touch. I’m not really sure how to feel about that. Sometimes having a full-blown comedy can really help when there’s a bunch of Very Serious movies in a franchise. Let’s face it, both Rogue One and The Last Jedi were fairly dark and brooding, and even the lighter Force Awakens includes a fairly emotional death.
In any case, these are the reasons why I’m excited for Solo: A Star Wars Story even though I’m still not sure how to accept a different actor playing the titular role. As always, I’m holding out hope that we’ll all be pleasantly surprised even if this is not the movie I would have personally chosen for Disney’s second ‘Star Wars Story’ film.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany, Sarah-Stephanie, Lily Newmark, Richard Dixon
Screenplay by: Jon Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Production Design by: Neil Lamont
Cinematography by: Bradford Young
Film Editing by: Chris Dickens, Pietro Scalia
Costume Design by: David Crossman, Glyn Dillon
Art Direction by: Alex Baily, Oliver Carroll, Peter Dorme, Ashley Lamont, Andrew Palmer, Oliver Roberts, Stephen Swain, Gary Tomkins, Tom Weaving, Tom Whitehead
Music by: John Powell
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: May 25, 2018