Skywalker Countdown | ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

Each week leading up to The Rise of Skywalker, we will be asking certain team members for their takes on every Star Wars film in chronological order. Last week, we discussed–of course–Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

(Catch up if you need. We’ll wait…) 

This week, we will unfold our thoughts on Solo. As a film that many fans were questioning its need, Solo is a much better film than what many expected it to be, especially after the hell it went through to get made. However, that wasn’t enough to keep it from flopping at the box office.

Solo establishes the origin of how the well-known smuggler got his name, blaster, ship, and, of course, how “he did the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.” All while meeting some life-long friends along the way.

1. General Thoughts?

Marsellus Durden: More bad than good. I enjoyed the cast performances collectively and the “Smuggler” heist capers were definitely fun. While I didn’t need to know how Han got his last name nor did I need to physically see the “Kessel Run,” it definitely brought a smile to my face to see him meet Chewbacca for the first time.

Logan Slavin:  I loved Solo. It’s my favorite Star Wars prequel. The casting is well done and the actors did a good job with the characters–old and new alike. For the most part, they felt like the characters form the original trilogy. 

Owen: Probably the weakest in the franchise, but it was enjoyable. I don’t like they had to explain every little detail, but upon re-watch, it doesn’t bother me as much. It’s annoying, the visuals look like mud, and the tone is a bit bland, but the Kessel Run is a lot of fun!

Michael Colan: The movie is fine. I don’t have any particularly strong feelings toward it, one way or another. It boasts some impressive visuals, and a throwback serial adventure vibe that works well within a Star Wars/Indiana Jones framework. I find much of the character work to be stilted and a little flat but it isn’t a hard movie to watch either.

WriteOnGeek: Two words: Kessel Run? No, not those, although that was a nerd staycation to enjoy. Chew Bacca? Not those either, and yes, that was a joyous occasion. There wasn’t a single franchise fan that didn’t hear that growl and say, “Ooohhhh. That’s how they met.” No, the two I was thinking is “Darth. Maul.” It took a minute to get there, but that was a solid payoff for me…every time I rewatch it. 

2. How Did it Handle Han Solo?

Marsellus Durden: Alden Ehrenreich was a pleasant surprise! It is no small task trying to fill in the shoes of one of the most iconic and charismatic actors of all time but Alden made the role his own. He was genuinely funny and a natural “Rebel.” To our benefit, he didn’t mimic or attempt to replicate Harrison Ford’s performance but instead shined with his own roguish charm.

Logan Slavin: For the most part, I liked how it handled Han Solo. I think Alden Ehrenreich did a great job in the role. He didn’t feel exactly like Harrison Ford, but I don’t think he was trying to. He was playing a younger version of Han, which gave him room to make it his own.

Owen: It handled Han Solo well enough. Alden felt like Han Solo and not just an impressionist, which was good. I feel like he would’ve grown into the roll a bit more in future sequels, but I guess only time will tell if those come to fruition.

Michael Colan: It handled Han Solo as a character okay. The origin doesn’t really add many new wrinkles that re-contextualizes the way we see him in A New Hope. His arc doesn’t go that far because it can’t go that far. Alden Ehrenreich did a good job in the role, something that isn’t easy to do so i have to commend him for that.

WriteOnGeek: Given a script that was clunky in some parts and attempted to cram so much into a small space in others, Alden Ehrenreich should be applauded for his portrayal. It would have been tempting to act “like” Harrison Ford because…it’s him. But, he didn’t. He allowed the age, immaturity, and his overt renegade soul breathe in the film. He owned the movie. He needed to do so, even when no one thought he could. Job well done. 

3. Fan Service?

star-wars-millennium-falcon-solo

Marsellus Durden: Unfortunately, Solo was nearly a full two-hour example of fan service gone wrong. The surprise “twist villain” didn’t make any sense to me. We don’t benefit from the origin of Han’s last name and physically seeing the Kessel Run was something I had no interest in, especially after seeing what it really was. I believe that 100% ruined the playful joke from the original film.

Logan Slavin: I think they handled the fan-service well. It was fun to see how Han and Chewie met and how they grew to like each other. It’s also interesting to see that L3 is built into the Falcon. The best bit of fan-service was Darth Maul showing up–unexpected and very exciting to see!

Owen: Sometimes yes, such as the reveal of the Falcon, the relationship between Han and Lando, the Kessel Run, and Darth Maul,. Just about everything else? To me, it was just the opposite.

Michael Colan: It handles it fine. Most of the fan service is interwoven into the story so it works. Some of it is so trivial that it makes me wonder what purpose it began to serve making this prequel just so we know how Solo got his blaster? Regardless, it’s fine.

WriteOnGeek: In what galaxy is not working a fan checklist not effective? We got the origins of Lando and Chewie. We saw the Kessel Run and the Falcon. We learned why he’s such a scruffy looking nerfherder. And then, there was Maul. What’s not to love about that? 

4. Least Favorite Aspect?

Han-Solo

Marsellus Durden: As stated previously, I just simply did not care for the Kessel Run section of the film. Way too much going on, a little hard to follow, and this part could be completely missing from the final cut of the film and it wouldn’t affect the main storyline at all.

Logan Slavin: My least favorite aspect of the film is the collection of some of the side characters. They were severely underused. They introduced a few characters who could have been in more of the film, but they decided to kill them off. I would have liked to see them expanded on more than they did.

Owen: The visuals. A lot of the time it’s too darkly lit or there’s too much fog and it all ends up looking like mud.

Michael Colan: I don’t have any moments that I really hate but I don’t like how Han got his last name. It’s a small aspect of the movie and doesn’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. It’s a little dumb, calls too much attention to itself, and is just so random.

WriteOnGeek: For me, it was the inconsistency of the subplots. He’s running from everyone…but why? Oh, that’s how he got his name…but what again? That’s the Kessel Run…but was all that necessary? Love those characters…but where did they go? Maul…and then no Maul. Stick with something, Ron.  

5. Sequel or Series?

Marsellus Durden: This cast was fantastic — from Woody Harrelson to Emilia Clarke and, of course, Donald Glover who seems born to play Lando. Honestly, instead of a feature film, I think this young Han Solo adventure spin would have made for an incredible series. Doesn’t seem likely at this point, unfortunately.

Logan Slavin: I would love to see some sort of continuation. I’d love to see how they were going to work Maul into the story. They left the film on something of a cliffhanger and I want it to be resolved. I really would like to see what happened between Han and Jabba.

Owen: I would love to see this continue as a Disney+ series. An adventures of Han Solo style show would fit perfectly with a character like Han. Either way, this new cast deserves the spotlight to really show the audience what they’ve got.

Michael Colan: For as indifferent as I sound toward this movie, I would like to see more. I don’t want to see a Solo 2 but rather, an Underworld movie or series. You can use the young Han Solo character as well as a lead or supporting character. The one thing this movie does well is hint and show the larger underworld world of bounty hunters and crime syndicates. I want to see more of that. Plus, who doesn’t want to see what Darth Maul was up too between this movie and Star Wars: Rebels? You could also collapse material from the canceled Boba Fett movie as well into it. It could be interesting.

WriteOnGeek: There was enough in this movie to make it safe to assume that so much more could have been said, but wasn’t. This is what lends itself to a series. Imagine this intersecting with The Mandalorian on Disney+?! Please. That would be awesome. Then, to possibly get another sniff at Darth Maul? I’d pay money for that series all day. 


Make sure to read last week’s article on  Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith  and check back to MoviesMatrix next week for a similar breakdown of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 

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