Dun dun dun da dun da dun dun. The nerve inducing tones of the Imperial March could well have accompanied the making of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Awash with issues from the outset, the film suffered many behind the scenes problems.
Not only were original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller fired and replaced with Ron Howard, the film experienced backlash over its casting choices. And after many fans criticised The Last Jedi and the direction of the franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story had a lot to live up to.
Although the film is finding it hard to meet box office expectations, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a fun and thrilling ride of a film that fans should definitely make the effort to go and see. Whether viewed as a standalone, a spinoff or just another number in the franchise – the film is at its core a Star Wars film through and through.
This list looks at some of the reasons that make Solo: A Star Wars Story one of the best Star Wars films since the original trilogy. No doubt there will be many that disagree, but in true Han Solo style the only sentiment that can be said is “Don’t everyone thank me at once.”
1. It is canon
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, they decided to rebrand the expanded universe and complicated series of Star Wars books, video games and comics as ‘Legends’ and take them out of the official movie canon. Official Star Wars canon would now be refocused on the films and in particular the original trilogy.
The original Star Wars trilogy built up a rich lore which has gone on to inform and be the basis of future Star Wars works. When it comes to the character of Han Solo, both fans and filmmakers generally agree upon a number of elements of which make up his backstory and origin. These well-known elements would be come to be considered Solo’s established backstory and canon.
These elements include such things as; that Solo had made the Kessel Run in “less than twelve parsecs,” that he had had a rough upbringing on the planet Corellia, that he had won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a card game and that he had saved an enslaved Wookiee named Chewbacca, to name just a few.
Solo: A Star Wars Story’s writers completely embraced this established lore, or maybe they just respected the fans’ expectations to see this lore played out. Either way, as a result the film shows all these events and more. And frankly, it is brilliant to see these events play out on the big screen. Imagine if Solo: A Star Wars Story had instead shown Solo stealing the Millennium Falcon or meeting Chewie at a bar? They would have been perfectly within their rights to change Solo’s story in whatever way they wanted but they didn’t – no need to execute any extreme Orders in this case, phew!
Solo: A Star Wars Story also features various Easter eggs, all which are deep cut references and nods to the original trilogy and Star Wars canon. Take for example Solo’s golden dice. First featured in A New Hope and then later taking on more significance in The Last Jedi – Solo: A Star Wars Story shows that the dice have always been important to Solo. Overall, the filmmakers behind Solo: A Star Wars Story successfully made sure that the film didn’t rewrite Star Wars history and that it was a film that fans could find much nostalgia and recognition in.
2. It reminds us that Star Wars is fun
The original trilogy introduced audiences to the Star Wars universe and all the elements that came with it. There was drama, there was action, there was romance, but underneath it all there was always an element of fun. From C-3PO’s prissiness and put-downs to Leia’s deadpan sarcasm, from Yoda’s wisecracks to Solo’s zany one liners, there have been many comedic moments in the Star Wars films.
Recently there has been a bit of doom and gloom surrounding the Star Wars films and fandom. The Last Jedi was released to a mixed reception with many fans unhappy with the direction that the films were taking, and a small percentage of militant fans even causing actor Kelly Marie Tran to leave social media due to their harassment of her. To put it in Star Wars terms, we’re at the end of The Empire Strikes Back and we don’t know how things are going to be resolved.
However, with the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, fun is officially back on the (Mos Eisley Cantina) menu. Solo: A Star Wars Story takes all best elements of the original trilogy including the element of fun, and puts them into a Star Wars film that doesn’t feel like it could possibly offend anyone. After the grimness of Rogue One and The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story is entertaining and enjoyable and it reminds us that Star Wars doesn’t have to turn to the dark side to be great.
3. It explores some of Sci-Fi’s greatest characters
Frequently cited as one of Sci-Fi’s greatest characters of all time, Han Solo is also one of film’s most beloved characters – which if you told him, he’d surely reply with “I know.” Solo has been highly ranked in various polls. He was voted fourth greatest movie character of all time by Empire magazine, fourteenth greatest film hero by the American Film Institute and most popular Star Wars character from a study of Star Wars fans, to name just a few.
However, one of the great things about Solo: A Star Wars Story is that it not only allows audiences to explore more of the backstory of one iconic sci-fi character, it also shows audiences to explore more of several classic and important Star Wars characters. And for a massively popular and revered franchise such as Star Wars, this is a great thing. Audiences get an insight into where these characters came from and what events may have shaped their lives.
In sci-fi, as in all genres of film, there are a multitude of rich and interesting characters. Some of these characters end up ingrained in popular culture and become influential, but it is not often that audiences are granted more stories with these characters.
If you had told a Star Wars fan twenty years ago that one day they would be able to watch how Solo met Chewie and see Solo fly the Millennium Falcon for the first time, they wouldn’t have believed you. Solo: A Star Wars Story gives us all these amazing moments and more.