Movies! The Newest Star Wars Film… Solo!


Fun to watch and in the Star Wars universe, but isn’t great as a Star Wars movie, and probably shouldn’t have been made. Nominated for Best Visual Effects Oscar, Out on Netflix, Blu-Ray, and DVD.

The newest Star Wars movie, Solo, had the lowest grossing opening weekend for any Star Wars movie ever. Even with making $103 million domestic gross, the film is a flop. It didn’t help that it was the 9th most expensive film ever made, but it also just wasn’t that great. With all of the previous Star Wars movies having multi-billion dollar openings, this is incredibly hard to understand. I guess you can’t just slap a Star Wars label on a movie and call it good.

The film is an origin story for Han Solo, one of the most beloved characters from the original series. Portrayed by Harrison Ford in  the original Star Wars installments, Solo’s swagger and cockiness made him an instant hit. I remember when I first watched the original movies, I asked my dad who his favorite character was, and he responded with Han Solo. Me, being the easily amused 10 year old that I was, loved C-3PO for his mindlessness and humorous antics. But, as I got older and rewatched the movies, I slowly began to understand why people loved Solo so much. He was a lovable character that audiences got to watch transform from a selfish smuggler only in it for the money, to someone who cares about his friends and forms positive ideals that affect the whole, and not just the one. As the best friend to Luke, and later love interest of Leia, Han was the glue that held the trio of heroes together. Without him, they wouldn’t have been able to withstand the Empire, and thwart the emperor’s evil plan. He also helped them blow up the Death Star, not to mention saving Luke’s butt more than a couple times. Han is the perfect best friend and someone who you would want to be around in every situation to help you out. I would normally put a spoiler warning on this paragraph, but this movie has been out for 40 years AND is the most popular movie franchise of all time, so get out from under your rock and go watch them. You won’t be disappointed.

But, if you have watched the movies, you may be disappointed with the new kid on the block, Solo. I said it as soon as I watched the trailer, and I stand by my point, “they will have to get a lot of things right with this movie.” After seeing it, I think they plainly just didn’t. It is my opinion that Disney did the best that they could with Han’s story, but they bit off more than they could chew. I’d like to bring up a few points here on why this movie was a bad idea in the first place. The first one is performance. Harrison Ford is one of the most, if not the most, iconic actors of all time. His movies have grossed over $4.8 billion as of 2019, and he has portrayed characters such as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, Indiana Jones in, well, Indiana Jones, John Book in Witness, Richard Kimble in The Fugitive, James Marshall in Air Force One, and, of course, Han Solo in Star Wars. His performances in all of these movies are so memorable, that many thought they should never be touched, and many of them, including me, still stand by their opinion. I’m not insulting ‎Alden Ehrenreich’s performance, the actor who played the young Han Solo, all I’m saying is that Harrison Ford’s was incredible. No one should have tried to replicate it.

Side by side, Alden Ehrenreich and the original Han Solo, Harrison Ford.

Point number two: Nobody asked for this movie. Han Solo’s backstory is one that has been debated over since the movie first came out. But the fact is, he didn’t need one. Everyone who has watched Star Wars has their own vision of how Han and Chewbacca met, what making the “Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs” actually means, and how Han came into possession of the Millennium Falcon. All of these images in our mind are based around our version of Han Solo. Han is more than just a character, he is a personality. He can be found in all of us, and can bring out the best, and sometimes the worst, in everyone.  The ways that we imagine how Han becomes the friend he was in A New Hope are all uniquely our own, and that allows us to shape him into the perfect character, in our eyes. Now that his true origins are revealed, Disney has taken that creative liberty away from us. Less is more in this case, and what we see Han Solo to be is best left to our own imaginations and not fixed for us by some corporation trying to make money off of a movie that should’ve never been made.

My last point is the story. The Star Wars Expanded Universe, now Legends, is one of the most complicated and convoluted messes ever created, but in a good way. Star Wars is so huge, and with a galaxy to work with, you can imagine that many authors have jumped for the opportunity to fill it up with stories as small as some minor character on the planet Gorse, to something as big as the story of the children of Han and Leia. The daunting amount of information allows you to pick and choose what you want to be in your own Star Wars universe. Of course, Disney had to go and mess that up too, so now all of the Expanded Universe no longer happened, and is now called Star Wars Legends. This outraged many fans of the different books, TV Shows, and radio shows (not kidding on that last one, hundreds have been produced), and so called “Star Wars Purists” tried to petition the SWEU back into existence. In my fourth grade year, I read a series called the Young Jedi Knights. It followed the stories of Anakin, Jacen, and Jaina Solo, the sons and daughter of Han and Leia. I loved them, but not as much as the movies. They were great as books, but I never saw them as movies. They were just too weird. There were strange new aliens and new planets that just confused the heck out of me, and muddied the waters of my clear and pristine Star Wars pool. Good books, bad movies.

Now, back to Solo. The movie follows Han throughout his different adventures on new worlds, his meeting of new characters, and his making of some powerful enemies. The main enemy they have to thwart are some pirates who steal from them as they try to do their work for the crime syndicate, Crimson Dawn. They get sent on missions to new locations, one of which being the spice mines of Kessel. Crimson Dawn and the spice mines are all huge parts of the Expanded Universe. As I said before, good books, bad movies. The point I’m trying to make is that Solo felt too much like a book and less like a movie. It had all of the strange features in it that separate it away from all of the movies that have come before. The movies are what made Star Wars great, and the books continued its legacy. Don’t mix the two or the result will be a chemical reaction that will change Star Wars forever, and definitely for the worse.

So as you can probably tell, I didn’t really like Solo. It was a task that was too daunting even for a powerhouse like Disney to handle. Han Solo is a character that should be left alone and his backstory should be kept to the imagination. That is what makes him great. This movie was okay as a movie, bad as a Star Wars movie, and probably should never have even been made. Kudos to Disney for trying, but you should’ve left this decision up to who you make these movies for, the fans.