Right off the bat I would like to take a moment to address the single greatest fear we all had going into the this Star Wars spinoff, does it fit the canon? Most diehard Star Wars fans of any generation have a tendency to immediately shut down any potential plot that might be “canon-divergent” or “sways from the novelizations”. I’d be a hypocrite if I said I wasn’t one of those people. So, naturally, going into Solo: A Star Wars Story, I absolutely had my doubts.
For starters, enlisting an entire new cast of young faces to reprise the most iconic roles in all of cinematic history was a bold choice. Going into the film, I wanted so desperately to rip apart Alden Ehrenreich’s performance as the fresh and young Han Solo, #NotMyHan. I mean, how could anyone ever rise to the occasion in light of the classic Harrison Ford? Never in my life have I been more grateful to be wrong. If you can look past his far-too-pretty boy features, Ehrenreich does a fantastic job at reprising everyone’s favorite scavenger. He is quick-witted and a major heartthrob all the same, instantly capturing the audience’s’ hearts and nostalgia.
Emilia Clarke’s character, Qi’ra, posed an interesting addition to the story’s plot. Though there is a lack of backstory to this character, events within the film lead me to believe that she will lead a bigger, more influential role in perhaps a follow-up film as the plot itself took on an interesting, unforeseeable turn of events towards the end. I didn’t dislike Qi’ra’s character; however, I wish they would have embellished on her character a bit more to make her a more dynamic character.
Lastly, and of course, certainly not least, the most anticipated character portrayal that everyone can pretty much, universally agree was the best casting Lucasfilm/Disney could have ever done and will ever do– Donald Glover as the ever presumptuous Lando Calrissian. I genuinely have nothing to say except that Glover did just as we expected him to do in this iconic role. He was nothing less than charismatic, sauve, and all around perfect. Glover brought a whole new life and dimension to Lando that just solidifies our love for the gambler.
Beyond the three main cast members, the film did a great job at creating a diverse and very eclectic crew to go along with it. Woody Harrelson as the brutish, Tobias Beckett gave a lot of insight of why Han Solo grew to be the smuggler we all know and love now. Chewbacca’s role in this film was classic, bringing out a side of the Wookie that we have all been desperate to see as he traveled his way through the galaxy to save his tribe. And, as with every new Star Wars film, we got introduced to a new and ever sassy droid.
In this film, we are introduced to the completely independent and sentient droid, co-pilot of Lando, L3-37. Personally, L3 was the one character I couldn’t decide if I absolutely loved or completely despised. She had her moments of comedic purposes, but at times came off as oddly political. Though all the politics that she brought forward were strictly put into “Star Wars terms”, I couldn’t help but feel that they were trying to direct the audience to note the parallels of our current world situations. While I am all about inciting thought-provoking messages into art and entertainment, Star Wars was one platform that I hoped would remain neutral towards real-life politics. Despite the series being based off war and politics, they have always made it a point to create extreme sci-fi scenarios that disassociate from real world events. Regardless, L3’s character was determined to stand-up for her beliefs and the greater good of her kind, to which I find admirable.
Director Ron Howard really hit the bullseye with this movie, especially in keeping true to Star Wars’ canonic history. There was a very classic feel to this film and even a bit of a homage to the Original Trilogy, by sticking true to the message of Hope. Overall, the film had a very lighthearted feel to it, making me believe it’s the calm before the storm that is inevitably going to unfold in Episode IX. Personally, I gained a whole new respect for the characters as you finally got to see into their history and their hardships they led them to where the Original Trilogy began. I would absolutely see Solo: A Star Wars Story a million times over, especially due to the direction I feel this film might be leading.
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That being said, I feel very optimistic about the potential of a Kenobi movie.