Han Solo Anthology Movie: What Can We Expect?
Exciting Times Ahead!
They’ve done it. Faith has been restored. Our childhood memories untarnished. Through their multibillion dollar acquisition of the Star Wars franchise Disney have truly brought balance back to The Force. We’re two films in now; The Force Awakens was a spectacular hit both financially and critically and heralded a spectacular return to form through JJ Abrams’ vision for everybody’s favourite galaxy, a much welcome return to the joy of pure family adventure. Gone were the boring politics, atrocious CGI backgrounds and wooden dialogue of the prequels. Back came the emotion, the drama and ultimately the love for the battle between good and evil so brilliantly portrayed in the original trilogy.
Next came Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, more of a gamble but one that paid off big time. A spin off, labelled as the first of three Anthology movies, unique for the franchise, portraying the stories of perhaps less familiar characters in the Star Wars Universe; here telling the story of the rebels who manage to steal the plans for the original Death Star seen in A New Hope. No Skywalkers here. Easter Eggs were inevitably scattered throughout and Vader was back yes, but as a background character this time in a movie which focused on new characters whilst staying loyal to the original movies.
In two years time, after the release of Episode 8: The Last Jedi, (a movie every year we’re getting, what a time to be a Star Wars fan!) we’ll be treated to the second Anthology movie dedicated to the story of the smooth talking, pistol shooting smuggler Han Solo. Taking the role of Solo is relative newcomer Alden Ehrenreich, probably an unknown to most in what is undoubtedly the biggest starring role of his young life. It’s undoubtedly exciting. Filming has started and faces such as Woody Harrelson and TV’s beloved Khaleesi, Emilia Clarke have joined the fray. It’s almost a certainty the movie will be successful financially, but what about critically? Will it be any good? Producer Kathleen Kennedy has compared the feel of the movie to the traditional Western. What does this mean? What are we going to see in this movie? And what, as fans, do we want to see from Solo’s early days? Below, in no particular order, are some plot elements we want or can expect to see in December, 2018.
Chewbacca and a Blossoming Friendship
You could probably bet your mortgage on this one. When we first meet Han in A New Hope he’s already firm friends with the big walking carpet of a space dog. Throughout the trilogy they’re side by side, best friends, loyal to a fault. What’s never explained, and there’s not a single mention throughout the original trilogy, is exactly why or how these two characters are entwined in each other’s destiny. Not that it hurts the movies in any way at all, but the chance to rewind a few years in Han’s timeline now gives the opportunity for a bit of exposition. Now I’m not saying the movies have to go down the infamous Hollywood ‘didn’t get along at first but became friends afterwards’ storyline, but to see the actual beginnings of a friendship that lasts throughout the entire franchise would arguably be very emotionally satisfying for fans of the franchise.
He’s been cast. Young actor Donald Glover is in the movie as Han’s untrustworthy friend and later ally Lando Calrissian. But why exactly is he deemed untrustworthy? When Han first mentions his name In The Empire Strikes Back, Han is sceptical the man can be trusted. He’s a friend yes, but can’t be relied on so to speak. When they meet on Cloud City he acts cold at first, staring at Han with cold, angry eyes. There’s history here we think. He’s joking around as it happens but his unpredictable nature is pretty well established and we’ve only just the met the guy. Within seconds he’s forgotten everybody else, he’s busy trying to charm Leia. He’s a rogue. He’s slippery. He’s basically another Han Solo, just less likeable. Han and Lando definitely have history between them and you can fully expect that back story to be explored in the new movie. Why doesn’t Han trust him? Why are they even ‘friends’ in the first place? We don’t know. The expectation is that we’ll find out in a few years.
Obtaining the Millennium Falcon
"What have you done to my ship?" asks Lando when Han requests help with repairs. You mean to say this wasn’t always Han Solo’s ship? When we think of Han Solo as a character we always think of the triumvirate of Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon. Together they form a whole, an iconic piece not only of the Star Wars Universe but of pop culture and escapist cinema itself. To ever part Solo from the Falcon would be comparable to separating Doctor Who from the Tardis, Captain Kirk from the Enterprise. The Falcon becomes a character in its own right; there’re moments where he’s caressing it, cursing at it and, like an ailing family member, trying to fix it when it’s ‘sick’, as seen in The Empire Strikes Back. That one question by Calrissian to Han comes with huge implications; how did Han Solo acquire the Millennium Falcon? Does he steal it? Does he win it? There’s definitely an engaging story to be told here and we can expect some huge fan service, much like in The Force Awakens, as we take the first glimpse of that beautiful, iconic ship.
The Kessel Run and those 12 Parsecs
It’s safe to say Han feels pretty passionate about the 12 parsecs it took to complete the Kessel Run. He’s a proud man when he’s bragging to Luke and Obi Wan in the Mos Eisley Cantina, and he’s quick to correct Rey when she mistakes 14 parsecs for 12 in The Force Awakens. He’s obviously proud of his achievement but what exactly does it mean? Could it be a route involved with smugglers when transporting their goods? Is it a race of some kind? A daring escape from the Empire? It’s a strong possibility, perhaps showcasing the heroic capabilities of the Millennium Falcon for the first time, that we may see this as a spectacular action set piece, much akin to the podrace in The Phantom Menace, but, you know, a hundred times better.
A Brief Greedo Encounter
This isn’t a necessity to the plot or an expectation of what will happen in the movie but Han already knows Jabba the Hutt’s despicably ugly green henchman when he corners Solo in the Mos Eisley Cantina. It’s safe to say he’s met him before. And where would they have met before? Probably whilst Han and Jabba were making smuggling deals, but more about that later. Appeasing fan service, a scene displaying both more of Greedo’s annoyingly sarcastic personality and a foreshadowing of his fatal destiny with Han Solo’s blaster in A New Hope would go down well with the audience. Both The Force Awakens and Rogue One have willingly included Easter eggs relating to the original trilogy – the blink and you’ll miss it encounter with the cantina thugs, ‘walrus man’ and his buddy, in Rogue One, for example, and there’s no reason to suggest there won’t be more little nods to the past, or future if you like, in the Han Solo movie.
The cult fan favourite bounty hunter appeared throughout the entire original trilogy albeit in brief scenes with limited dialogue. Never seen without his helmet, the man was shrouded in mystery and the fleeting glimpses we got of him only cemented the enigma, well, until we got that uninteresting back story from Attack of the Clones. Cheers George. If he is to be seen in the Anthology movie, especially since his role is so closely intertwined with Han Solo, we can probably expect to see a fleeting glimpse of the bounty hunter in keeping with the tradition of the original trilogy. On the other hand, there’s a case to be made that if indeed Disney do go ahead with the strongly rumoured future Boba Fett Anthology movie, then they’ll probably want him included here in a promotional capacity to raise awareness of the character once again. Expect a cool, slick action scene of some sort showcasing the bounty hunters’ skills if this is the case.
More Bounty Hunters
Fans of the franchise have long wanted to see some more of the murkier underworld of the Star Wars Universe. Whilst it’s true that the gangsters, gamblers, smugglers and of course bounty hunters have all been explored, to an extent, in some of the novels, animated series and comic books that together form the extended universe, we’ve yet to see the world truly unfold on the big screen.
You can gauge a sense of this world through certain scenes perhaps; the infamous Cantina scene on Mos Eisley exposes us to some seedy, low life scumbags whilst Jabba’s features an assortment of nefarious characters. Of course, we’ve become pretty familiar with Boba Fett, but what about the others? We know they’re out there. In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader himself assembles a group of bounty hunters aboard his Star Destroyer to locate the Millennium Falcon. A motley, fear inducing crew of scum, they consisted of strange alien beings, droids and Fett himself. Sadly, that’s the last we see of them. We need more!
Jabba the Hutt and his Lost Cargo
This slimy piece of worm ridden filth has a huge impact upon Han Solo’s life and the choices he makes in the original trilogy. We come to learn in A New Hope that Han Solo is eager to take the money Luke and Obi Wan pay for passage to Alderaan so that he can in turn pay back the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt. The Empire Strikes Back sees Han reluctantly eager to break off from the rebel cause on Hoth to pay off Jabba. There’s a reference to a bounty hunter encounter on Ord Mantell before Han is ultimately captured by the Empire with assistance courtesy of Boba Fett, frozen in carbonite and then delivered on a plate to Jabba. Return of the Jedi sees the rescue mission to Jabba’s Palace and the struggle to free him from the gangster’s grasp.
One thing is for certain; Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt definitely have some serious history. Tackling this previous business could very satisfactorily compliment and flesh out future events in original trilogy. What happened before A New Hope to make Jabba place such a price on his head? There’s mention of dropped cargo and Han being boarded by the Empire, whether in the Millennium Falcon or not nobody can be certain. Since there is arguably the need to initially portray Han amongst the murkier world of smugglers and gangsters, further complementing the arc of his character from outlaw to the rebel hero he develops in to, this particular back story is surely too big to not include with its huge narrative implications later on. Whether or not the infamous slug is seen in the flesh, and there’s a lot of that indeed, remains to be seen.
Darth Vader and An Imperial Presence
He’s not coming back you’d think but it doesn’t stop us wishing. His return in Rogue One, albeit very limited, was so goose bump-inducingly satisfying it left us drooling for more. It was great to see the big guy back on the big screen and his encounter with the fleeing rebels at the climax will certainly be remembered as one of his finest moments. While they may not play a central focus in the Han Solo movie – the focus here is on the man himself and how he comes to be the man he later is – we can probably expect to feel the Empire’s presence in the background. They do control the galaxy at this point in the timeline and are probably not too thrilled at the illegal smuggling occurring across the galaxy. Maybe Director Krennic will appear in some capacity since he’s alive and well at this point? As already mentioned, there’s a strong possibility of Han himself being boarded by the Empire and subsequently losing Jabba’s cargo, whatever that is. Stormtroopers? Yes. Imperial officers? Probably. Vader? Probably not.
The New Cast; Can They Make It Work?
Of course, all of this is pure speculation. Disney has been pretty tight lipped about revealing any plot specifics at all and, in fact, all we’ve seen so far of any substance whatsoever is the cast list. Whilst it remains to be seen whether the previously mentioned characters and events will feature in the movie, one thing is for sure; we’re certainly going to be treated to some whip cracking, silver tongued dialogue from the man himself. Alden Ehrenreich has some pretty large shoes to fill but judging by the previous two Disney outings we can be full of confidence heading in to December 2018.
Which Characters Do You Think Most Likely To Appear?
© 2017 Dan Fryatt