Lucasfilm

Who’s Han Solo?

Han Solo is the primary cinematic character I ever, effectively, “favored.” That is partially by circumstance, as I begged my mother and father to take me to see The Empire Strikes Again proper earlier than I turned six years previous. Across the similar time, there have been a collection of books out with titles like Han Solo at Stars’ Finish and Han Solo and the Misplaced Legacy. I devoured every thing I may about this character despite the fact that these books actually didn’t give us a lot perception on his previous. They had been set earlier than the unique Star Wars, however they weren’t an origin story – we simply form of adopted Han and Chewbacca on some adventures earlier than they ever met Luke Skywalker.

After which there have been the Marvel comics, which didn’t function Han (aside from some flashbacks) for three complete years due to what occurred to him in Empire. However I saved my allowance and purchased a bunch of again points and examine Han’s adventures combating alongside an enormous rabbit named Jaxxon. (It was a bizarre time.) However one thing was all the time lacking from these diversifications.

In 1981, I lastly noticed Star Wars when the primary film was re-released into theaters. (What a bizarre factor that, after I noticed Empire, I requested my mother and father “Can we see Star Wars now?” And the reply was, “No, as a result of that’s unimaginable except it’s put again in a theater,” which was a yr later. Anyway.) However I fell in love with Han Solo once more. He wished no a part of being the hero, however then comes round on the final minute and saves the day. He was cool. He was a wise aleck. He was humorous, however in an unintentional form of manner.

Over time I lastly figured it out. The rationale Han Solo labored so effectively (at the very least within the first two Star Wars motion pictures) was due to Harrison Ford. Ford shares quite a lot of the identical traits of Solo: he could be gruff, however his gruffness can also be form of hilarious. And Ford has a behavior of developing with among the greatest moments himself, just like the “I do know” scene in The Empire Strikes Again and the swordsman scene in Raiders of the Misplaced Ark. His “no bullshit” perspective is what makes Solo work. Harrison Ford was all the time the proper individual to play Solo: an actor who didn’t actually need the gig that unhealthy within the first place and thought the entire thing was silly. At occasions in Star Wars, I can’t inform if it’s Ford appearing or if it’s simply his respectable response to what’s happening round him. When C-3PO first introduces himself to Solo, Ford simply form of rolls his eyes and turns away. I prefer to suppose that’s simply Ford wishing he had been doing actually the rest at that second aside from sharing dialogue with a yellow robotic.

In Empire, Ford offers a legitimately terrific efficiency. It’s apparent that Ford actually favored what director Irvin Kershner was attempting to do. And it was additionally very apparent Ford didn’t care in any respect for what was being executed in Return of the Jedi. Then, after many years of shitting on Han Solo, Ford returns in The Drive Awakens and gave the impression to be having a nice time, aside from for that complete damaged leg half.

So this brings us to the fifth film to function Han Solo, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the primary with Solo performed by a unique actor. (For you nerds, sure, Perry King performed Solo within the radio dramas, however that’s not a “film.”) Look, to be trustworthy, even going to again when this film was first introduced, the thought of Han Solo being performed by anybody aside from Harrison Ford didn’t appear super-appealing. Going again to my “what makes Solo work” principle, it could be unimaginable to discover a younger actor to play Solo who didn’t actually wish to play Solo. There was no manner an actor can be discovered who had that form of swagger on set of, “that is all fairly dumb,” which is form of obligatory for this character. I’ve loved Alden Ehrenreich’s work since he stole the present in Hail, Caesar!, however he’s not going to be on set telling Ron Howard, “That is silly, let’s simply shoot this man.”

However whereas watching, your mind simply form of adjusts. It takes a bit – I imply, all of us have a lifetime of Ford as Solo in our heads to try to overlook – however after awhile, your mind decides, “Properly, that is the principle character and I’m going to just accept that now,” despite the fact that Ehrenreich’s Han Solo sounds much less like Harrison Ford and extra like circa 1997 Leonardo DiCaprio.

The primary act of Solo is every thing I didn’t want out of a film about Han Solo. I form of want this film was titled, Han Solo and the Kessel Run, or no matter, and we simply jumped into the motion. We all know who these characters are! As a result of I positive didn’t must know what Han was doing as a younger man on Corellia or see him the primary time he says, “Watch this,” solely to have issues go terribly flawed. Or to look at Han and Chewbacca meet for the primary time. Or to look at Ehrenreich attempt to converse Wookiee. Or to look at Han inform Chewbacca that Chewbacca wants a shorter nickname. Or watch Han and Chewbacca share their first bathe collectively. (This truly occurs. It’s a protracted story.) There’s additionally a scene I received’t point out right here, for concern it’s too spoilery, that made me let loose an audible groan. In a manner, it’s every thing I used to be dreading a few Solo film.

We soar three years forward and Han meets Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his crew of thieves. Han desires in and, after quite a lot of prodding, Beckett ultimately agrees – signing Han and Chewbacca up for a job that entails stealing freight off of a high-speed prepare. I can’t get into particulars, however there’s rather a lot about this scene that makes completely no sense. We haven’t mentioned a lot concerning the effectively-documented behind the scenes drama, however, up thus far within the film, every thing was going about the way you’d count on a film that had its administrators fired midway by would go.

Enter: Lando Calrissian.

Look, this isn’t a state of affairs the place Donald Glover exhibits up and is so good he saves the film. And don’t get me flawed, Glover is nice, nevertheless it’s at this level within the film that every thing will get higher. That is the half the place the film lastly is aware of what it ought to have been all alongside: a rootin’ tootin’ heist film and never an origin story.

After the bungled prepare theft – and now owing crime lord Dryden Voss (performed fantastically by Paul Bettany) some huge cash – Beckett, Han, Chewie, and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) enlist Lando and his co-pilot, a droid named L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), in what sounds just like the unimaginable job of stealing a uncommon and highly effective gasoline from the spice mines of Kessel in an effort to pay again Dryden Voss. Unexpectedly this turns into a very enjoyable Han Solo film. The notorious Kessel Run is a full-on delight.

All issues thought of, it’s most likely a minor miracle that two-thirds of this film works in any respect. Whether it is introduced that Ron Howard will direct Solo 2: A Star Wars Story, or no matter it’s going to be referred to as, I’d be excited to see that film and what Howard would provide you with with out inheriting a dire state of affairs. (And this film definitely units up a sequel, with a cameo from a Star Wars character you’d most likely by no means count on to see in 1,000,000 years.)

And the factor is, this isn’t the Han Solo everyone knows. It’s a unique Solo, and that’s high-quality as a result of changing Ford as Solo is just about unimaginable. There’s an argument to be made about whether or not this film even must exist (the field workplace projections would lead just about everybody at Lucasfilm to say, “Sure, it does”) however because it does exist, Ehrenreich does a pleasant job taking up a personality who’s unimaginable to recreate. And I do hope he will get one other shot at Han as a result of I can’t assist however suspect that quite a lot of the behind the scenes turmoil isn’t actually nice for a younger actor who’s attempting to painting “detached swagger.” However after the field workplace cash rolls in, I additionally suspect within the subsequent film, Ehrenreich will be able to say issues like, “Hey, that is silly, why don’t we simply shoot the man?”

You’ll be able to contact Mike Ryan immediately on Twitter.

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