We are only a bit over a month from the premiere of “Solo: A Star Wars Story”. An official trailer has been released this week – and we can finally get an idea what’s coming. Some parts betray pure cliché, but a few bits look quite promising. Let’s have a quick run through them.
Han Solo swaggering into places with a gun on his hip. The joke “Han shot first” is basically eternal now. For that reason, I hope the film won’t consider necessary to reference it all the time.
That being said, the youthful arrogance and swagger are necessary parts of Han. The problem I perceive is this: Han in the original trilogy starts also as somewhat arrogant, self-centered person, and only later, his conscience is manifested. The question is: what kind of character development can we see in “Solo”? Perhaps – hopefully – disillusionment, the journey from young daredevil to the skeptical and slightly bitter man we meet in Mos Eisley cantina.
A crew of tough criminals. Despite the fact that the filmmakers have clearly put a lot of effort into designing the individual characters Han is working with, they do not stand out at all – at least in the trailer. Tough criminal #1, tough criminal #2 etc. The “mentor” Beckett (Woody Harrelson) may have something to him, but he may also be a cardboard character. Comparison to “Rogue One” comes to mind – there, each character had some traits that set them apart from the start, and more background story and motivation appeared later on. Only the film itself will tell.
So far, the really notable characters are only Chewie and Lando (because we know them) and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), who got a bit more space. Her “mysterious lady” vibe may just make her another cardboard character, but it at least seems there may be more to her than meets the eye. Especially if we take into account that she has to have some impact on Han’s life, and the fact that she claims to be the one to see “what Han really is” (whether it is a compliment, a statement of fact, or buttering him up). Add to the mix Beckett’s warning to “assume everyone will betray you” and things may yet become interesting.
Chewie. We learn his age (190 at the time of the film events), underlining his experience (and explaining why his appearance doesn’t change between the films). The trailer also shows, very briefly, him hugging another Wookiee. Is it a friend? A family member? A lover? Reaching into old Han Solo stories, Chewie had had a lover back on Kashyyyk. Is that who this mysterious Wookiee is?
Lando’s droid, L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). This is again partly call-back to some of the first Star Wars books ever, in which Lando had a droid co-pilot. Secondly, this droid is female, which is a nice touch. (Put it this way: nearly all droids in the films, from C-3PO to a box on wheels such as R2, are identified as “male”. Aside from TC-14 on Nute Gunray’s ship at the beginning of The Phantom Menace, this is one of the first, and she is first major female droid character. Bonus points for still having a sexless, droid anatomy at the same time.)
Planets. It seems like the film is going to introduce many different environments, which is good. Planets with snow, planets with sand. “Industrial” planet we see in the beginning of the trailer, which might even be Han’s homeworld of Corellia – a planet with much history throughout the former and current canon. A strange “space tornado” and the place inhabited by a strange tentacled monster – the combination of these make me think of Scylla and Charybdis, the two banes of sailors from the Greek mythology. It would be a nice touch if this was actually meant to compare Han to Odysseus, and if the film had more to elaborate about that (which I somehow doubt, sadly).
“I have a good feeling about this” – this line was probably what made me, well, have a good feeling about the film the most out of all things in the trailer. It implies young Han was indeed a very optimistic, energetic person. It promises that “Solo” might really be about the transformation into the older, more experienced, disillusioned, mistrusting and selfish man who has only bad feelings about things. If that is done right, then the film will be worth it.