Last month Disney released Solo: A Star Wars Story after six years of development. The original story started as a project of George Lucas, who hired Lawrence Kasdan to write the initial screenplay. Lawrence would later go on to complete the screenplay for The Force Awakens and outsource completion of the story to his son. Lucasfilm then went on to hire Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to direct the film. Lord and Miller originally produced a much more comical movie than was released, and this put them in conflict with Lucasfilm. They were later fired when the movie was nearly finished shooting. The studio brought in Ron Howard to reshoot a more serious form of the movie, and that doubled its cost to nearly 275 million dollars. The film then finally debuted on May 10th of this year.
THEMES OF THE SOLO STORY
Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) is the ideal embodiment of a tormented teenager. Like so many kids he has been neglected and abused his whole life, all that he wants is to runaway with his lover Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) in a starship.
But of course this doesn’t work out. While attempting to escape Corelia, the two are separated and the years slip by. Han joins the Imperial Flight Academy, and is later expelled. Qi’ra ages and matures. We will meet her again later in the story.
When we do reencounter her in the story, she is an assistant to Vos. Vos is the leader of the crime group Crimson Dawn and one of the saddest gangsters Star Wars has ever had. He is a cartoonish parody of a cliche Hollywood villain, impulsive and hyper violent. With no real superpowers, his only skill is killing employees that upset him.
As for Qi’ra, she has matured in the years since Solo. She now helps in managing the operation. Somehow she convinces Vos to not eliminate Han and the crew over the lost Coaxium. Vos sends them on another mission to steal the ore.
In other words, be yourself! An admittedly good lesson.
This takes us to the second theme.
In the years since the two separated, Han has not matured at all. He is still a rebellious teenager intent on doing things his way. Which is fine until you enter into a criminal deal with Solo. Han is incapable of obeying directions or staying on the plan, and this has already nearly killed him several times. He is simply incapable of learning from those mistakes. But it is this rebellion and improvisation that finally saves the operation when Solo is tasked to pilot the Millennium Falcon out of the Kessel region.
You get it. A cavalier maverick attitude will someday save you.
Han can be counted on to be unreliable. He wants a starship and Qi’ra. In order to get this he will do whatever needs to be done. He betrayed and deserted the Imperial army, nearly dying in the process. He still fails to learn when he decides to betray Vos to the Cloud Riders. It is an admittedly honorable move, but also disgraceful. Solo repeatedly shows that he can’t abide by any agreement, even if his life depends on it.
In other words, betrayal is acceptable if its for a good cause.
In the interest of clarity, these are a summary of my issues with Solo and Disney’s lack of consistency with the character.
⚫️ In the Return of The Jedi: Hans Solo was portrayed as a careful and methodical smuggler. He waited in hiding on Endor until Leia and the Ewoks were ready to strike the shield generator. Let us not forget that he mimicked stormtroopers to lure out the guards and finally explode the shield. In Solo, the most that he and his crew can scheme is too run into the Coaxium mine with guns blazing. His crew briefly distract the guards with a slave exchange.
⚫️ In the original trilogy, Solo could be counted on to be consistently greedy. Han only rescued Princess Leia for the money. He then only reluctantly rescued Luke from certain death at the hand of his father when the Death Star strike was near collapse. It could be said that Han’s conspiracy with the rebels in the Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi was dependent on his romance with Leia. In contrast to his character in the new movie, he walks away from his reward after only a brief confrontation with Enfys.
⚫️ Or how could you forget that the entire plot orbits around Han Solo’s ambition to command a ship. If he can steal Coaxium from a guarded mine, then stealing a ship should be straightforward. Instead he insists on gambling away the Coaxium with Lando.
⚫️ The inconsistent tone of the movie is distracting. Throughout the film Han is playing the prospect of repeated death close to the point of a joke. It removes the tension of the action by making it trivial.
Did I overlook something ❓
Do you disagree ❓ ❔
Please leave a comment.