Solo: A Star Wars Story
|Solo: A Star Wars Story|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ron Howard[a]|
by George Lucas
|Edited by||Pietro Scalia[b]|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$271.3 million|
Solo: A Star Wars Story, or simply Solo, is a 2018 American space Western film based on the Star Warscharacter Han Solo. Directed by Ron Howard, it was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the second Star Wars anthology film following 2016’s Rogue One. The plot takes place prior to the events of A New Hope, and explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca, as the pair are involved in a heist within the criminal underworld and meet a young Lando Calrissian. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Solo, alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany.
George Lucas began development on the film in 2012. He commissioned Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay, which was completed by his son Jonathan after Kasdan was hired to write Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Principal photography began in January 2017 at Pinewood Studios, under the direction of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The pair left the project in June 2017 after reportedly being fired over “creative differences” with Lucasfilm, and Howard took over directing.
The film had its world premiere in Los Angeles on May 10, 2018, and also screened on May 15 at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, before its United States release on May 25, 2018 in RealD 3D and IMAX 3D. It received generally favorable reviews from critics and audiences, with praise for the cast (particularly Ehrenreich and Glover), visuals and action sequences, although many criticized the pacing and noted that the film added “nothing new” to the Star Wars franchise. The film has grossed $271 million worldwide, and will need to gross at least $500 million in order to break even.
On the shipbuilding world of Corellia, orphaned children are made to steal in order to survive. Han and his lover Qi’ra make an escape from the clutches of a local criminal gang. They bribe an Imperial officer with a stolen sample of coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, in exchange for passage on an outgoing transport, but Qi’ra is apprehended by their pursuers before she can board. Han vows to return for her and joins the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet. When the recruiting officer asks for his family name, Han says he is alone, so the recruiter gives him the surname “Solo” in his documents.
Three years later, Han has been expelled from the Imperial Flight Academy for insubordination. While serving as an infantryman during a battle on the planet Mimban, he encounters a gang of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers led by Tobias Beckett. He tries to blackmail them into taking him with them, but Beckett has him arrested for desertion and thrown into a pit to be fed to a beast – a Wookiee named Chewbacca. Able to understand Chewbacca’s language, Han persuades him to work together to escape their confinement. In need of extra hands, Beckett rescues them and enlists them in the gang’s plot to steal a shipment of coaxium on the planet Vandor. The plan goes awry when the Cloud Riders show up with their leader Enfys Nest, resulting in the deaths of two crew members, Rio Durant and Beckett’s wife, Val, and the destruction of the coaxium.
Beckett reveals he was ordered to steal the shipment for Dryden Vos, a high-ranking crime boss in the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Han and Chewbacca volunteer to help him steal another shipment to repay the debt. They travel to Vos’s yacht where Han finds Qi’ra, who has joined Crimson Dawn and become Vos’s top lieutenant. Han suggests a risky plan to steal unrefined coaxium from the mines on the planet Kessel; Vos approves but insists that Qi’ra accompany the team. She leads them to Lando Calrissian, an accomplished smuggler and pilot who she hopes will lend them his ship. Han challenges Lando to a game of sabacc, with the wager being Lando’s ship. Lando cheats to win but agrees to join the mission in exchange for a share of the profits.
The team boards his ship, the Millennium Falcon, and heads for Kessel. After reaching the planet and infiltrating the mine, Lando’s droid co-pilot L3-37 instigates a slave revolt. They use the confusion to steal a consignment of coaxium, but L3 is severely damaged and Lando is injured during the escape. With the help of L3’s navigational computer, freshly hotwired into the ship’s systems, Han pilots the ship along a dangerous route through an uncharted maelstrom to elude an Imperial blockade.
I liked Solo. It is a solid movie, but it wasn’t great. It could have been so much more, but I’m not a hater, and I will buy this when it is available for purchase, and I will probably watch it half a dozen more times. I can only give it 4 stars, because of the short comings, and the fact that the exciting parts are not so engaging since we know who is going to live. Despite the few negatives, Solo is worth the price of a premium ticket and recommended. – MR