Solo: A Star Wars Story has been in the news for conflicting reasons. First, it’s because the movie failed to live up to expectations at the box office on Memorial Day weekend. But second, it’s also because critics and fans that actually did see the movie agree that it’s better than many expected.
One big reason that Star Wars fans are loving on Solo has to do with Donald Glover’s performance as Lando Calrissian. No doubt, Glover nailed the tone, inflection, and charisma of the galaxy’s famous card player and scoundrel. But there are plenty of other great reasons to see Solo, too. Let’s take a look at the top 10.
10. The train heist
- Han and Chewie help Beckett with a major heist
One of the coolest scenes in Solo is the very first heist scene, in which Han, Chewie, and Tobias Beckett’s gang attempt to snatch a large amount of coaxium from a train. At least in the movie versions, this is the very first train to appear in Star Wars, and it gives both the movie and the character of Han Solo an extra boost toward the “Space Western” label.
There is plenty of drama in the scene, which doesn’t go on too long but sets the stakes high for the rest of the film. Han proves himself in the eyes of Beckett, who is left without his pilot and the love of his life.
Next: The mentor
9. Han and Beckett
- Tobias Beckett is like the original Han Solo
Speaking of Han and Beckett, these two are like peas in the same pod. When we first meet Han, he’s not the jaded smuggler with a penchant for trouble. No, he’s a wide-eyed kid with high hopes, and he just wants to get away from his home planet with his girlfriend. Beckett, on the other hand, is Han Solo as we know him in the original trilogy.
Beckett passes along several life lessons to Han throughout the movie, including that he should trust no one. It’s easy to see where much of Solo’s personality comes from, even if he only spent a small amount of time with this new Star Wars scoundrel.
Next: The sidekick
- Chewie is in most Star Wars movies, but none are quite like this
Although Han may get the title of the movie, this is really Chewie’s origin film as well. Sure, we did get to see him briefly fighting alongside Yoda on Kashyyyk in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, but that was nothing more than a gratuitous cameo. Here, we see Chewie chained up in a mud pit as a slave of the Empire. His purpose? To scare the troops. When Han first meets his Wookiee buddy, it’s because Imperial soldiers attempt to feed him to Chewie.
But beyond that, Chewie has a lot to do in Solo. Most other movies that feature the character give him little to do outside of supporting the English-speaking characters, but Solo is somewhat different. While on their second heist, Chewie wanders off from Han to help free Wookiee slaves working in the spice mines.
Next: That famous ship
7. The Millennium Falcon
- The Millennium Falcon didn’t look exactly as we remembered it, but it’s the same ship.
In the second act, we finally get to meet the Millennium Falcon. It’s in the possession of Lando, who supposedly won the ship playing cards. Although, it’s hard to know exactly what the truth is, considering that it’s chained up and locked behind bars when the Falcon first appears. The ship is in mint condition, with the kind of care that Lando would clearly take with his flying bachelor pad. The walls are clean white, and he even has a little room just for his capes.
Beyond that, we get to see Han wreck the ship up while escaping the clutches of the Empire and getting the stolen coaxium where it needs to go. By the end, the Millennium Falcon looks quite a bit more like it did in the original trilogy.
Next: Remember these characters?
6. Small cameos
- A few minor characters pop up, as well as a few others that are mentioned briefly
There are plenty of small cameos and little callbacks for the eagle-eyed Star Wars diehard to fawn over. One such character is played by Warwick Davis, a veteran of the franchise who originally played Wicket the Ewok. But he also appeared without the teddy bear costume in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace as a character named Weazel, who was friends with Watto. Davis reprised that role in Solo.
Also seen in the background was Two-Tubes, who has appeared in various Star Wars media and was a primary member of Saw Gerrera’s gang in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Mentions to other minor characters like Bossk and Aurra Sing fill out the dialogue in Solo.
Next: The big surprise
5. One big cameo
- Lucasfilm took a major risk in bringing back a character that many fans thought was dead
Of course, the big cameo at the end of the movie is what has a lot of Star Wars fans talking these days. It’s revealed that the big boss, the man behind everything with the Crimson Dawn, is none other than Darth Maul. The former Sith Lord and apprentice to Darth Sidious has had a long road back from being cut in half in The Phantom Menace, and his story takes a turn when he begins to dabble in organized crime.
Not a ton is known about what Maul is up to during the reign of the Empire, save for his short storyline in Star Wars Rebels and that fateful final duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Our hope is that this cameo leads to more of Darth Maul in the live action movies.
Next: It was in the cards
- We finally get to see the infamous game of cards between Han and Lando
Sabaac is a game that many diehard fans know from the now Legends novels, and that it was how Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando. The game has been further explained in the new canon, including in the first issue of the 2018 comic book dedicated to Grand Admiral Thrawn’s origin story. But this is the first time we’ve seen the game played in a movie on the big screen, and it was pretty cool to see.
Included in the battle between Han and Lando was Han losing his big bet because, as it turns out, Lando is a cheater. At the end of the movie, we see a rematch that features Han swindling Lando’s cards from his sleeve, beating him “fair and square,” and flying away in the Millennium Falcon.
Next: That other new character
3. Enfys Nest
- The villain from the trailers looks bad, but things aren’t exactly as they seem
Early in the movie, Enfys Nest is teased as somewhat of a “bad guy” to Tobias Beckett and his gang of thieves. While Beckett paints his group as simply stealing from the real bad guys and selling to other bad guys, which allows them to sit in a morally gray zone, Nest’s group are “marauders” that have no scruples. Nest shows up and busts up the train heist, forcing Beckett and Han to come up with a second heist to make their ends meet.
But of course, things aren’t as simple as they seem. Nest is actually just a young girl, and her group isn’t marauders. They’re freedom fighters, and they’re hoping that the coaxium will be the blood that brings life to a rebellion. It’s very clear that this is an early faction of the Rebel Alliance, much like the faction created by the team in Rebels, Gerrera’s extremist group, and the larger cell operated by Mon Mothma and Bail Organa.
Next: You did it how fast?
2. The Kessel Run
- We finally witness Han Solo doing the one thing he was so quick to brag about at Mos Eisley
One of the first things we learn about Han Solo is that his ship, the Millennium Falcon, did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. At the time, it was simply a throwaway line in Star Wars: A New Hope. But over the last 40-plus years, the Kessel Run has become a whole thing of its own. So of course, we get to witness Han doing the Kessel Run in Solo.
Although it was technically Lando’s ship at the time, Han was the one in the pilot’s seat. And as Chewie points out at the end of the movie, they actually did it in more than 12 parsecs – 12 if you round down. At any rate, it’s a cool moment for the diehard fans and one of the more exciting scenes in the movie.
Next: Good, clean fun
1. It’s just good fun
- Do you like to go to movies and have fun?
The biggest reason to see Solo is that it’s just a good, solid, fun movie. There are a ton of movies hitting the theater in the summer of 2018, with Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 preceding Solo and Ant-Man and the Wasp to follow. But not only do you get a Star Wars movie with Solo, but you get an old-fashioned, Western-style heist movie.
The visuals in Solo are outstanding, from the train scene to Dryden Vos’ floating yacht, the Kessel Run, and so many other great scenes. The acting, by and large, is good too. There is a ton of good stuff in the movie that will appease the diehard fans, while the average movie-goer can have fun without realizing they’re missing out on some inside joke. If you like to enjoy yourself at the movies, that’s why you should see Solo.
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