Did Star Wars Universe Actually Need Solo: A Star Wars Story?
Unlike the previous spin-off Rogue One, Solo is a film completely connected to a character who went on to become an irreplaceable character in the franchise. So, the stakes were high since the announcement and the pressure was on a fairly new team with no 'Yoda' guidance.
*The post contains spoilers for previous Star Wars films*
Classic movies have a certain flavor and when that flavor is appreciated by many it becomes a cult film. One of the earliest film series' to do that in the sci-fiction genre was the Star Wars franchise. Before the superhero world exploded on to the big screen, in a galaxy far far away, emerged a story that would go on to become a legend with its own shared universe- full of fan-fictions, cosplays, and spinoffs- having now carried on for over three decades.
George Lucas, the man behind this enormously successful universe, may never have thought that the characters he's penning down would go on to become heroes for future generations. A Jedi is no less than an Asgardian, and the power of the force is equivalent and in fact more balanced than the six infinity stones combined. While all characters from the franchise have their own fortes, the main trio transcended the boundaries and became universal favourites. Luke Skywalker(Mark Hamil), Han Solo(Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are few sacred idols in the Star Wars temple and thus when the producers decided to rebuild the empire, after a disastrous set of prequels telling Vadar's origin, the trio was kept untouched. So much so, that even after Fisher's death, while filming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, her scenes were completed using CGI. Harrison played Han Solo for the last time in The Force Awakens and Mark Hamil hung up his lightsaber in The Last Jedi. So was it a good move to go back in time and bring to light the origin of Solo? After watching the recently released Solo: A Star Wars Story, the answer is unfortunately no.
Unlike the previous spin-off Rogue One, Solo is a film completely connected to a character who went on to become an irreplaceable one in the franchise. So, the stakes were high since the announcement and the pressure was on a fairly new team with no 'Yoda' guidance. Thus, the story collapsed under the power of the force and Alden Ehrenreich, despite his best efforts, couldn't do justice to his already large role.
Solo tells the story of one of the Galaxy's moodiest, bravest and best pilots, without actually dwelling on his past. He is a rookie right from the start here, planning to build a future with Qi'ra. Though the film does show him as naive, impulsive, in-love and emotional - characteristics that Ford's Solo keeps buried inside of his cynical outer crust. But Ehrenreich failed to channel Ford's inherent charm that defined the character for over three decades.
Interestingly the film does have a linear narrative and treatment of every Star Wars film giving a mild blow of nostalgia time and again. It also dwells on the formation of Solo and Chewbacca's strong friendship but alas everything served feels underwhelming because of the giant stature of the original Solo.
Had it been just another story of just another heist that helped start the original rebellion, everything would've passed as light weighted, fresh action-adventure with a good amount of thrill, heartbreak, humour and nostalgia. Two steps less than Rogue One but still watchable. But, the fact that it was the story of Han Solo, made the entire film just a dry disappointment for the franchise's fans. A step that could've been avoided.
There are certain things that give cults the stature they enjoy and one of them is mystery. Solo's past was one of those things. Why is the character so grumpy? Why does he have trust issues? Is there a reason for him being a baddie with a heart? How is he such a good pilot? These are questions which didn't necessarily need answers. Fans have had their theories for years and the Universe thrived while this remained a mystery. With Solo: A Star Wars Story, the makers only served mentions and not answers, ruining those which existed in the little world of fan-fiction.
Now there are talks that the makers might just turn Solo into another trilogy and the only unanimous cry is No! Please don't touch a character of that stature again, because nothing served would be able to do justice to the image existing in the minds of the fans. The Star Wars galaxy is huge enough to accommodate more characters like Jyn and knowing stories before the start of the rebellion through new, different characters.
Just like the 2000s prequels telling the story of Vader, Solo: A Star Wars Story is another proof that whenever you try and explain the past of a classic character it ends in disappointment. The Universe is better off without it. Let these popular members be part of the existing narratives. Anyway building a new notable character is always more fun and experimental than re-building a death star.
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