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Perhaps the most obvious response to Tuesday’s reveal of the title for the next Star Wars Story — Solo — has less to do with the actual title itself and more to do with the secrecy surrounding it: Was there anyone who didn’t think that the movie would be titled with some variation on Han Solo’s name? Why such a long wait to confirm everyone’s expectations?
The secrecy surrounding the title for Solo: A Star Wars Story — which has been in development for years, and in production since January — has been perhaps unreasonably intense, given that the title turned out to be pretty much what everyone was expecting all along. If there was no spoiler, or even surprise, to the title, why go through the trouble of referring to it publicly as “Untitled Han Solo Movie” whenever it gets talked about? Why not just say, “Yes, it’s called Solo, because Han Solo felt too on the nose” upfront, and save the keystrokes when talking about directors leaving the project, or a new one being hired…?
The delay also feels particularly frustrating given the fact that Rogue One‘s title was announced more than a year before that movie’s release, and was for a brief period one of the only pieces of information actually known about the project. If that title — which was arguably more revelatory than Solo in a number of ways — was safe enough to tell the world so far in advance, why did the wait for Solo have to last so long?
Of course, it might be that the decision to call it Solo wasn’t one that was made until recently. Certainly, the obviousness of the title points to one of two possibilities: Firstly, that the pic has had this title for a very long time, with filmmakers leaning into the obviousness and embracing it eagerly. Alternatively, there’s a just-as-likely chance that Solo was a late decision, the “It’ll Do” option when nothing better could be found. That, at least, would explain away the delay in announcing the title, because there wouldn’t have been anything to announce until recently.
Whatever the reason, the apathy greeting the announcement of the title — social media responses run from outright disappointment to jokes about whether or not it’s a movie about red disposable cups — would appear to fit the idea in popular consciousness that Solo is a movie that is underperforming expectations in some way, though director Ron Howard has drummed up plenty of goodwill with his social-media-savvy teases. But the film also has to contend with firing the original helmers and losing actor Michael Kenneth Williams as a result of reshoots, as well as one of the most buzzed-about stars of the movie seeming to be upset by everything that was going on.
Could a better title have turned all that around? It’s unlikely — but having to wait quite so long for a title that people have been expecting for almost a year at this point is certainly not something that is going to convince those with doubts that things are in better shape than they fear. Maybe when the first teaser trailer drops…
Solo: A Star Wars Story is set to open May 25, 2018.
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