When it comes to Solo: A Star Wars Story, fans have a bad feeling about this. From the beginning, the idea of a Han Solo prequel was questionable. But then all of the behind-the-scenes drama gave everyone even more reason to be pessimistic.
After three Disney Star Wars films that received positive reviews from critics, the pressure is on for Ron Howard. With Solo, he must deliver a film that is satisfying and, most importantly, does not tarnish a classic character. Indeed, what Howard doesn’t do in the movie will be just as important as what he does.
Here are some of the things we really don’t want to see in Solo, leading up to the No. 1 thing that Howard absolutely must avoid.
7. A simplistic explanation of why Han became cynical
Han Solo is a pretty cynical guy in the original Star Wars. When going on the mission to rescue Leia, he’s clearly only interested in the money. This makes it much more powerful when he ultimately comes back to save the day. With Solo, it’s necessary that Han remains fairly jaded by the end so that this leads into the start of A New Hope.
But the movie runs the risk of offering an overly simplistic explanation of why Han became the way he is. A lot of fan theories revolve around there being some dramatic event that leaves Han in a dark place. Maybe Emilia Clarke’s character dies in front of him, or maybe Woody Harrelson’s character betrays him.
Those things can happen, but hopefully, the movie doesn’t suggest that Han was a happy-go-lucky fellow until a terrible thing happened that turned him into a scoundrel. A pat, boring explanation like “Han’s out for himself because his mentor betrayed him!” would be unworthy of the three-dimension character we know and love, akin to the prequels explaining that Darth Vader turned evil because he was afraid his wife would die.
Next: Solo should avoid this really annoying thing that prequels tend to do.
6. References to events that will happen later
The most irksome thing about prequels is “wink wink, nudge nudge” jokes about events that will occur in the future. The audience is meant to laugh at these moments of dramatic irony because we’re aware of what happens next, but the characters aren’t. A perfect example of this is in Attack of the Clones, when Obi-Wan tells Anakin, “Why do I get the feeling you’re going to be the death of me?” The line is obviously just there to get a laugh from us since we know that Anakin will, in fact, kill Obi-Wan. It takes us out of the universe and reminds us that we’re watching a prequel.
Rogue One comes close to doing this when Jyn and Cassian bump into Cornelius Evazan and Ponda Baba. The only reason this happens is so the audience can cheer as they recognize something that will later become important.
With Solo, Howard should avoid all of this. The worst possible scenario would involve a scene between Han and Greedo that foreshadows their confrontation in A New Hope. There can be some references to things going on elsewhere in the galaxy, but nothing that very overtly foreshadows events that unfold in the original trilogy.
Next: This iconic character shouldn’t get too much screen time in the new movie.
5. Overuse of Boba Fett
It already seemed inevitable that we were going to see Boba Fett show up in Solo. But then Howard shared a photo on Twitter in which Mandalorian armor can be seen in the background. An appearance by everyone’s favorite bounty hunter wouldn’t inherently be a bad thing. But Howard is in danger of overusing him just for some cheap fan service.
Especially after The Last Jedi, a movie all about the hazards of putting the past up on a pedestal and not creating anything new, having the next Star Wars movie focus so heavily on things we already know would be a mistake. Solo should add new characters and worlds to the canon rather than just relying on what came before.
A lot of fans think the movie will establish some kind of relationship between Han and Boba Fett. But that wouldn’t really be in keeping with A New Hope. After all, when Han speaks with Jabba on Tatooine, he doesn’t even acknowledge Boba Fett’s presence. Sure, Han seems afraid of Boba Fett in Return of the Jedi. But that can just be because of his reputation. A few minutes of Boba Fett screen time in Solo is welcome, but any more of that would be overkill.
Next: Why filling in so much of Han Solo’s backstory could be a bad thing.
4. Too many ‘iconic’ moments from Han’s past
Part of what was so great about the original trilogy is that we’re constantly hearing references to things that we never learn more about; the characters make off-hand mention of The Clone Wars, the Kessel Run, the Battle of Taanab, and more. This allows our imaginations to run wild and results in a universe that feels lived-in. Things happen in it even when we’re not watching.
With Han specifically, there are so many “iconic” moments from his past that fans have wondered about for years, from the Kessel Run to Han meeting Chewbacca to Han winning the Falcon from Lando. There are so many, in fact, that Solo could go too far and turn into essentially a giant checklist of answers to questions about Han’s backstory. There’s also the risk of demystifying things like the Kessel Run by actually showing them, as it’ll be tough for the reality to be cooler than what we’ve been imagining since we were kids.
There are some things that it seems we will inevitably see in the movie, like Han winning the Falcon. But maybe other things, like the Kessel Run or Han getting boarded by Imperials while smuggling for Jabba, are best left to our imaginations.
Next: Phil Lord and Chris Miller love doing this, but hopefully, Ron Howard doesn’t.
3. Meta references, like to ‘Han shot first’
From 21 Jump Street to The Lego Movie, Phil Lord and Chris Miller love meta humor. So it’s easy to imagine how they might have gotten meta in Solo, throwing in references to Star Wars memes like “Han shot first.”
That phrase is, of course, a reference to the fact that in the original, theatrical cut of Star Wars, during the scene between Han and Greedo, Han shoots Greedo before Greedo has a chance to shoot him. However, in George Lucas’ special edition, the scene was edited so that Greedo shoots Han slightly before Han shoots him. The idea was that the original made Han look like a heartless killer. But hardcore fans hated this change, especially because Lucas never released a high-quality version of the original scene again.
The temptation to throw in a cheeky “Han shot first” joke into a Han Solo movie must be great. And Lord and Miller referenced the meme during production. But hopefully, if Lord and Miller threw that kind of reference in there, Howard took it out. That’s the kind of thing that belongs in a parody of Star Wars, not an official Star Wars film.
Next: Some fans had this problem with The Last Jedi, but it might be an even bigger issue in Solo.
2. Han Solo being too jokey
Speaking of being too cheeky, one of the big fears among fans — especially after the complaints about the humor in The Last Jedi — concerns the movie’s comedy. When Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired, the rumor was that their version was too funny and improvisational. There was even one report that compared the portrayal of Han as being similar to Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura.
This would be totally wrong. Han Solo was never that kind of funny in the original trilogy. Sure, he can be sarcastic and witty. But he’s hardly the type of guy who would be the lead of a screwball comedy. He’s more comparable to Star Lord than to Ace Ventura. It’s critical that in Solo, we feel like the character we’re watching is the same Han we know and love. If it feels like a completely different guy, the whole movie will fall apart.
Hopefully, the fact that Lord and Miller were replaced, and the fact that an acting coach was reportedly brought in for Alden Ehrenreich, indicates that Lucasfilm decided not to go in this direction after all.
Next: This is the most important thing that Ron Howard must avoid with Solo.
1. Han Solo seeing the Force in action
It’s absolutely crucial that at no point in Solo does Han receive direct evidence that the Force is real. Why? Well, this prequel should be consistent with what we’re told in the original Star Wars, and in that movie, Han specifically says, “I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff. But I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.”
In light of this, it’s powerful to see Han later come around and believe in the Force, telling Rey in Finn in The Force Awakens that “it’s true. All of it.” It would severely diminish this arc if Han blatantly saw something so crazy in Solo that it could have only been the Force in action, yet he still denies its existence. It’s rumored that Darth Vader is in the movie, so Han seeing Vader go on a Rogue One style rampage, for example, would be a mistake. Han can see just enough that he might dismiss what he saw as being “simple tricks and nonsense.” But he can’t see much more than that.
One interesting theory is that Emilia Clarke’s character, Qi’Ra, will be a believer in the Force but not a Jedi. Then, she’ll die at the end of the movie, which reinforces Han’s feeling that her belief system was useless. This would be a satisfying jumping off point into A New Hope, which is exactly what it’s so important for the film to achieve.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!