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Never tell us the odds!
The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as the iconic space smuggler Han Solo (first made famous by Harrison Ford) and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian (first played by Billy Dee Williams).
The first peek at the stand-alone pic was greatly anticipated, especially since original helmers Christopher Miller and Phil Lord were fired last summer after clashing with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. Oscar-winning director Ron Howard took over the project and masterfully built up the hype through posting tiny set teases to his Twitter account.
So, did the first glimpse at Solo live up to expectations? Heat Vision’s Ryan Parker, Graeme McMillan and Katie Kilkenny discuss below.
McMillan: Can we talk about the self-consciousness of having the teaser start with the line, “Trust me, you’re going to love it”? Is that a smart metatextual acknowledgement of some of the behind-the-scenes drama the movie has faced, flop sweat, or both at once?
Parker: I’ve been worried about this film and I’m not sure they understand who the character is. You mean to tell me Han Solo is driven by being the best pilot in the galaxy?? No. No. No. He was a great pilot, but the ship is the hero. Luke Skywalker is the character who longed to be the best pilot. Han just cared about money.
Couch: It seems way too early to say the film doesn’t know who this character is. And reading into what Han tells an imperial recruiter doesn’t make sense as … he’s not going to tell that guy the truth. Remember, Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan is behind this movie. If anything, I would think the skepticism would be more on the side of “can we accept someone who isn’t Harrison Ford as Han?” The closest corollary to that is 2009’s Star Trek reboot, which was met with skepticism for that same reason, but characters like Zachary Quinto’s Spock went on to be well-liked, so there is hope. The way the teaser ended — without him saying his name — was spot-on. I was texting immediately afterwards with two geek friends who have been skeptical about this movie, and they both were on board with Solo after seeing this tease.
Kilkenny: The premise that the TV spot sets up — that Solo will be infiltrating the Empire by posing as a pilot — is exciting, even if it’s a bit reminiscent of Jon Boyega’s entrance in The Force Awakens. How does this serve his end game as a bounty hunter? Or does Solo really start as an Imperial fighter? I find that hard to believe, but hey, Anakin Skywalker started out as an innocent podracer.
McMillan: I find myself thinking that the whole “signing up for the Empire” thing is a fake-out, if only because I can’t see them following the path the character took in the old Extended Universe mythology that got junked when Disney bought up Lucasfilm. I know that this spot is, basically, a tease to get people excited for the trailer and little else — it’s, what, 40 seconds long? — but it feels tonally off. Shouldn’t a Han Solo movie seem more fun than this? He’s meant to be a charming rogue, and there’s little about that coming across here. Perhaps I’m just grasping at straws, hoping that there’s a surprise coming when we actually see the trailer, and the finished movie, then there’ll be a reversal, because, yeah — this feels surprisingly off.
Kilkenny: This is also the first glimpse we’ve ever gotten of a train in the galaxy far, far away, which may seem small, but could also indicate an artistic vision that expands the Star Wars universe (a la The Last Jedi) rather than fits into it neatly (more along the lines of Rogue One and The Force Awakens).
Parker: According to Ron Howard, there will be a longer trailer on Monday. That is a good thing because that teaser really didn’t do much for me.
Couch: Glover is absolutely a big draw here (people are already calling him the highlight of the movie just based on the one shot of him), as is seeing Harrelson doing something different. He got an Oscar nomination for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but I felt like that role was very familiar, something we’ve seen him do a lot of. Him getting to be a little more out there — and hopefully just plain weird — seems promising.
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens May 25.
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