First of all, let me preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of the Star Wars films, particularly the original trilogy, and particularly the character of Han Solo. Ever since I first saw Star Wars at the age of 4 (I still cannot call it “A New Hope”), I have been hooked, and although it was essentially Luke’s story, I only ever wanted to be Han.
When the news came that Disney had bought LucasFilm and with it the rights to Star Wars, and that they were planning further films in the series, I felt a great disturbance in the Force. I feared something terrible had happened. A new trilogy of films like the prequels? Standalone stories in between? A new Star Wars film every year?!? I thought this was a horrible idea. Until reports started coming out from the set of Episode VII…
Reports that actual sets and an actual Millennium Falcon had been built… You mean they’re not going to rely on CGI for everything? I found myself starting to look forward to what had now been called The Force Awakens. With every trailer I became more and more excited, despite my best efforts not to. And it didn’t disappoint. I had feverishly avoided any spoilers, although as soon as I had heard that Harrison Ford was coming back to a character he had once wanted to kill off, I had a feeling of what was going to happen. I thought it was not without its faults, but was everything a new Star Wars movie should be, and I left the cinema grinning like the 4-year-old me watching Star Wars all those years ago.
My attention then turned to the news filtering out about the standalone films that were being planned. First to come would be Rogue One, which would tell the story of how the Rebels managed to steal the secret plans to the original Death Star. This felt like a good choice of story. It would feed into the beginning of the whole story, and complement and expand on what had gone before. I looked forward to Rogue One almost as much as I had The Force Awakens, and was not disappointed.
The young Han Solo movie, however, is a different story. This is such an obvious choice of film for Disney to make, but also the most pointless. It’s just not a story that needs to be told. We have already had a Han Solo “origin story”. Everything we need to know about him is in the original trilogy. When we meet him he is cynical, arrogant and selfish. He is a man who shoots first (yes George, FIRST…) and doesn’t bother to ask questions later. He has no interest in joining the rebel struggle and as far as he is concerned is just transporting a few passengers for some easy money to pay off some debts. Even after he and his ship have been captured aboard the Death Star his only interest is in escaping, persuaded to rescue the princess only by the promise of a large reward. His only completely selfless act is to return at the end of the film to help Luke destroy the Death Star. This is the story of Han Solo, and the only one we need to be told.
Clearly he is a popular character amongst fans and the reasons why Disney have chosen this path are obvious. But I feel like the script will be a checklist of things the writers think we need explaining:
- Han meets Chewie;
- Han wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando;
- Han does the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs;
- Han smuggles for Jabba the Hutt and dumps his cargo, earning a price on his head;
- Han has a run-in or two with Boba Fett, which we know both will survive.
Having said all that, it has a great cast and directors, and I really hope they can do something different to what I have predicted. It will have to be REALLY good to win me over, because of course I will still go and see it.