After months of mystery, uncertainty and speculation, the marketing push for the young Han Solo film, Solo: A Star Wars Story has finally begun. We have proof that a movie — and possibly a good one — is being made, after all.
Lucasfilm and Disney gave us a double dose of Solo with one teaser playing during the Super Bowl and another (with some shared footage) airing on ABC’s Good Morning America. (Corporate synergy! It’s nice to have a TV network under the same company umbrella.)
The nearly three minutes of footage looks great, depicting a gloomier, dingier world than we’ve seen in other Star Wars movies (besides Rogue One). How many car chase-type sequences have we seen in a galaxy far, far away? We may never know which scenes were shot by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who were fired from the production, and which were filmed by Ron Howard, who replaced the duo as the movie’s director. (Although that stuff has a way of coming out.)
But it’s reassuring to see proof of life for Solo, and a tease of what’s to come — especially with Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian. As Solo says at the end of the trailer, “I thought we were in trouble there for a second, but it’s fine. We’re fine.” Based on what we now have to watch over and over, here are some takeaways:
Was the Super Bowl teaser better?
This new Solo trailer doesn’t have the same build-up that the Super Bowl spot did, working toward the eventual reveal of Alden Ehrenreich as our favorite roguish smuggler. Here, we see (or hear) Solo right away. Should we assume that everyone — or at least everyone who wanted to see it — saw the Super Bowl trailer? It was one of Sunday night’s most anticipated reveals.
With more Solo, we also get a better idea of whether or not Ehrenreich can fill the legendary boots worn by Harrison Ford. He certainly looks like he could be a younger version of the character, somebody who’s working toward the smug confidence that we saw in the original Star Wars films. But Ehrenreich also won’t be totally convincing until we watch the final film. After approximately a minute’s worth of footage, it’s far too early to say.
This preview also included more Emilia Clarke’s Qi’Ra, who looks like she drives the story along with Solo. But there wasn’t much more Donald Glover. More Lando! Unless the good stuff is being saved for the movie. Fingers crossed.
He’s not Han Solo yet
Ehrenreich will get some benefit of the doubt by portraying a young Han Solo who isn’t yet the character we meet in Episode IV: A New Hope. (There was once talk that “Han Solo” wasn’t even the character’s real name.) Maybe the smug rogue who offends Luke Skywalker and charms Princess Leia is a persona that was developed over time.
This is a guy who aspires to something that he hasn’t been allowed to achieve, for whatever reason. Whomever he’s trying to be now, Qi’Ra sees right through him, which is an interesting dynamic. (Though Solo has always been inherently insecure. The chip on his shoulder is what makes him so appealing.)
Are any of us the same person we were 20-plus years ago? Or is who we are formed at a rather early stage by our experiences? Maybe Solo was always meant to be a hot-rodder and a thief. But will audiences buy into that if they don’t think Ehrenreich is believable as a young Harrison Ford?
That new Millennium Falcon smell
How iconographic is the original Star Wars trilogy? Memories of those movies can be evoked with glimpses of hallways. You can tell when a scene takes place on the Death Star. And this corridor is recognizably from the Millennium Falcon. Except it’s very, very clean. Almost blinding in its whiteness.
This isn’t the dingy, yellowish interior that we’re familiar with. It has no character yet. With this shot of the brand-new Falcon, it’s clear that the ship and its legendary pilot have been through a lot together. How rich is the Star Wars mythology? The walls tell stories, the background scenery creates intrigue. Maybe that story is that Han and Chewie just don’t like cleaning and scrubbing very much.
Help us, Woody Harrelson. You’re our only hope
OK, if Solo has to live or die on the merits of Woody Harrelson’s performance, the movie probably is in trouble. But if Solo turns out to be not very good, it likely won’t be because of him either. If there’s one guy to serve as a riding tide that lifts all boats, Harrelson is a good choice.
The man had an excellent 2017 as a racist madman in War for the Planet of the Apes and a conflicted small town sheriff in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (which earned him an Academy Award nomination). He also played Lyndon Johnson in a film (LBJ) that should have gotten more attention. And in Wilson, Harrelson portrayed a lonely, antisocial man who hopes his life has meaning when he discovers he has a daughter.
Yes, he was also in The Glass Castle. But that was expected to be a prestige drama, based on a best-selling book and starring Oscar winner Brie Larson. But that’s one hell of a year for an actor. Harrelson is at his best right now and Solo should benefit from it.
This isn’t Maz Kanata, is it?
How many of you thought that at first? But she probably isn’t in this movie, right? Seems like that’s something that would’ve been mentioned, especially if Lupita Nyong’o was returning to at least provide the voice for the character. Repeated closer looks at this shot shows that the facial features are a bit different, even if this could be a much younger Maz Kanata. Maybe there’s some relation and that’s how Solo came to meet her. Or we could be stretching here.
Look at these posters!
These have nothing to do with the trailer, other than being promotional materials for Solo, so we’re not counting this as a takeaway. But these posters are gorgeous and will bring awesomeness to any movie theater lobby or corridor. Or a bedroom or office wall. Especially that Lando Calrissian one-sheet.
Also, the posters include a better look at the Millennium Falcon than the trailer — particularly the front of the ship, which looks to be one solid piece, rather than the “fork” (spork?) shape that we’re familiar with. What happened to the Falcon? Is that a detachable part there in the middle? Did the ship take a significant hit at some point?
As the posters says, Solo: A Star Wars Story will be in theaters on May 25.