For whatever reason, people seem to be concerned that Solo: A Star Wars Story, the spinoff Han Solo movie slated to join the Star Wars universe in theaters on May 25th, 2018, will fall flat and be bad.
Some of the concerns make sense. Any time a movie has to stop production to change directors less than a year before the movie is scheduled to be released is a cause for concern, but this is a different scenario.
This isn’t some random film switching directors. Instead, it’s a major movie franchise funded by Disney. On top of that, the man taking over to helm the film is Ron Howard, not some a little-known director.
On top of that, the directors that Howard took over for in Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are accomplished on their own right. If anything is left over from Lord and Miller’s movies, there’s a strong chance it’s good.
A couple weeks ago, our own Sean Keeley took a stab at the issue at the core of the Star Wars spinoffs and why Solo will be good. The main point of what he wrote could be why people seem to think Solo will be bad.
Some of that might be because, aside from a couple cast photos and potential easter egg announcements on Twitter, details have been pretty scarce. Potentially, the lack of excitement over seeing one of Hollywood’s iconic, lovable rogues is that, well, we pretty much know what’s going to happen.
Here is my question to people that are upset about the lack of photos or trailers: why do you care? If Disney and Lucasfilms choose to not release a single trailer, people will still rush to the theaters to see Solo.
Back in June, before Lord and Miller were taken off the film, The Daily Beast published the following article: Nobody Wants This Han Solo Movie Anyway.
In said piece, the author of the column, Ira Madison III, said exactly why people *do* want this movie:
It’s happening because Disney and Lucasfilm are devoted to raking in profits and releasing a different Star Wars film every year until they stop making them coins.
This isn’t me calling out Madison at all, but instead pointing out the exact reason why people do want this movie. On Disney’s side, they want this movie because it’ll bring them boatloads of cash. On the movie viewer’s side, people want this movie because everyone loves Han Solo and the Star Wars universe. And no matter who plays him, people will love Han Solo…or so we think.
Here’s what Madison has to say about the new actor playing our beloved Han.
Han is popular because Harrison Ford is likable. He has the charisma to draw in audiences and make them care about the smuggler turned Rebel Alliance leader. Attempting to replicate that seems unwise, but at least Alden Ehrenreich’s breakout performance in Hail, Caesar! made him a promising candidate for the spinoff. Sadly, the irony of Ehrenreich nailing his turn as a film star who can’t act in Hail, Caesar! is not lost on any of us as news broke that he’d been assigned an acting coach while filming was already underway for Star Wars’ Han Solo stand-alone. Acting coaches aren’t uncommon on film sets, but bringing one on this late into production clearly meant something was rotten in the state of Lucasfilm. This isn’t to place the blame solely on Ehrenreich, however—it was always going to be next to impossible to find someone who could portray a young Ford.
Madison isn’t the only person pointing out things like this, and his points are totally fair. Ehrenreich has plenty on his plate, but why on earth are people criticizing him so much before we even see him on screen?
Taking over for Ford seems like an impossible task, but let’s stop acting like Ehrenreich has absolutely no shot of even being half as good as Ford. After all, Ford was great at playing an older Han Solo and Ehrenreich will be tasked with playing a much younger version.
Going after the new Han Solo actor is one way that people seem to think the new Solo movie will be bad, but it’s really the director and production issues that seem to concern people. In an effort to make people think otherwise, Thandie Newton is trying to help people realize the production issues are in the past and the film will be fine.
“Obviously, it was a surprise,” Newton told Entertainment Weekly this week. “I love Phil and Chris — everybody loves Phil and Chris — they’re so brilliant. Ron and the guys were talking to each other. As far as I’m concerned what’s on screen, in the end, is going to be an amazing collaboration. It’s a massive piece. We see so often now there are two directors working on pictures. We already had two with Phil and Chris. Now there’s three. With a project like that where it’s a vision that’s been created over so many years, that’s so expansive, I think it’s less about things going wrong than getting more help to bring it into the best position it can be in. I really like Ron though, he’s very sweet. And [the film is] dope; it’s so cool! And it’s such a great cast with Phoebe [Waller-Bridge], [Alden] Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody [Harrelson] and, of course, you know the wonderful Game of Thrones angel, Emilia [Clarke].”
She makes good points in this article: multiple accomplished directors worked on it, the story itself will be great, and the cast is fantastic. With all of those pieces in place, it’s hard to imagine the movie will be bad.
Additionally, if anybody knows about movies or shows being good after production and director issues, it’s Newton. The actress stars in HBO’s Westworld, which had plenty of issues on set and there were also concerns about whether or not the show would be negatively impacted. But last I checked, it did nothing to hurt the show at all, and if anything, it helped.
At the 2017 Emmy Awards, Westworld tied Saturday Night Live for the most Emmy nominations with an incredible amount of 22. A show that had major production and writing delays, resulting in it being released a year late, was nominated for all those awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. Newton herself was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Another thing: Solo isn’t the first Star Wars spinoff people have had concerns about. Just look at some of the articles written about Rogue One prior to its release.
In the end, the first Star Wars spinoff did just fine!
Rogue One also brought in $1.056 billion at the box office, more than any other movie in 2016.
My point here is that we should hold off judgement for now and listen to the actors (like Newton) and the studio and have faith in Disney. After all, Rogue One was terrific and so was The Force Awakens.