Well, yet another Star Wars movie is upon us. Just five months after the divisive bombshell that was The Last Jedi, Disney and Lucasfilm are treating us to another Star Wars movie. But this isn’t a chapter in the overall saga. There’s nothing you need to remember from before and there’s not going to be a cliffhanger ending that sets up a big sequel. No, this is the second Anthology film in the franchise (read: a spin-off with minimal relation to the main saga – like Rogue One!) and it focuses on the younger days of Han Solo: how he got the Millennium Falcon, how he became an infamous smuggler, how he met Chewie and Lando. As if that alone hasn’t enticed you enough, here are 10 more reasons to get excited about Solo: A Star Wars Story!
10. It stands on its own
Apart from being the backstory of a character who we have met and seen grow in the wider Star Wars universe, this movie about young Han Solo does not tie into a larger story that spans a million and one movies. This will just be a simple, standalone piece that you can enjoy any time without worry about what happened in the movies that came before it or having to wait until the movies after it to get any darn answers about anything. This movie will have a beginning, middle, and end. The same goes for Rogue One, the other spin-off that was relatively unconnected from the wider saga. There will be a lot more of these spin-offs and they are referred to as the Star Wars Anthology films. As Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy explained, “George [Lucas] was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga. Right now, Episode VII falls within that canon. The [Anthology] movies…they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters [from the standalone films] in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it’s a roadmap that George made pretty clear.” The only thing that will be left ambiguous by Solo: A Star Wars Story as a movie that stands on its own is what happens to Han after he meets Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the Mos Eisley Cantina and we all know where that leads them!
9. There are plenty of recognizable faces in the cast
Sometimes for Star Wars movies, it can be great to cast unknowns. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford were unknowns when they were cast in the original 1977 movie. The same goes for Daisy Ridley in The Force Awakens. And we’d seen Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, and Adam Driver in a few things, but they were nowhere near the level of fame that they are now. So, casting unknown actors or relatively unknown actors seems to work for Star Wars. But on the other hand, just for general movies, it is nice to see some familiar faces in the cast. It helps us to instantly relate more to the characters if you can point at them and say, “Hey, it’s that guy!” Solo: A Star Wars Story will give us a mixture of these two virtues. Han Solo himself, Alden Ehrenreich, is a relative unknown, but there will be plenty of recognizable faces in the movie, too. Woody Harrelson will play Beckett, a mentor to Han, and Emilia Clarke (aka Daenerys from Game of Thrones) will play Qi’ra, a potential love interest and childhood friend of Han’s. A mysterious character will be portrayed by Westworld star Thandie Newton, and of course, Donald Glover will be taking on the role of Lando Calrissian.
8. Han Solo is a true cinema icon
This is Han Solo we’re talking about. This is the guy who made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. This is the guy who came back to save the day and help blow up the Death Star in the eleventh hour. When it comes to all the iconic characters in the history of cinema, Han Solo ranks among the greatest and most memorable of all time. He ranks alongside Michael Corleone and James Bond and Forrest Gump. And now, he’s getting his own movie! This is his whole backstory. This is the story of how he became the character that we all know and love today. When we meet him at the beginning of this movie, he’s just a young, bright-eyed, hopeful kid who wants to do some good. And then we’ll get to see how he transforms from that guy into the cynical and deceitful and selfish space pirate that we met at the beginning of A New Hope. This character arc is the opposite of the original Star Wars trilogy, where he goes from that guy back to the good guy who serves others and actually cares about things. If the first Star Wars movies were Breaking Bad, then this is Han Solo’s Better Call Saul. They should’ve called it Better Call Han…
7. It’s just pure popcorn entertainment
Come on, we all know what this is. This isn’t Schindler’s List or The Godfather. This movie is not going to feel like it’s a chore to sit through it. This is just pure escapism. It’s space battles and giant aliens and laser gun shootouts and intergalactic romance and good triumphing over evil. Solo: A Star Wars Story is the perfect summer blockbuster. You go out with your friends, you rush into the movies and buy yourselves some popcorn and some sodas and maybe a hot dog, and then you go into the theater, sit down, stare up at the silver screen, and let the magic of cinema take you away. We’ll be transported deep into outer space – out into another galaxy, in fact – and leave our boring lives with our taxes and our jobs and our political paranoia behind. Ron Howard is going to immerse us in a colorful fictional world, lightyears away from where we’re sitting, and for just a couple of hours, we’ll forget all about our humdrum, monotonous lives and get taken away by the magic of the movies. That’s why these big blockbuster movies are made – it’s basically just a much more entertaining alternative to meditation.
6. Alden Ehrenreich has got the role down
There was initially some skepticism from Star Wars fans about the prospect of someone taking over the role of Han Solo from Harrison Ford, who made the character iconic in a very specific way and had been playing it for four decades. The people involved in casting the part said that it was among “the hardest casting challenges of all time.” They auditioned a ton of actors – more than 3,000 in total, to be exact – and considered some pretty well known ones, such as Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort, just to make sure they got the perfect guy for the job. And it looks as though they’ve succeeded. It’s pretty obvious that Alden Ehrenreich has got this. You can just tell from the movie’s poster that he’s got everything from the iconic Han Solo stare to the way he holds his gun completely down. This is partly due to the fact that he consulted Harrison Ford about the character. Ford made Ehrenreich promise that he wouldn’t reveal the advice he gave him (“Tell them I told you everything you needed to know, and that you can’t tell anyone,” he said) and Ehrenreich has stuck to his word about that, but the movie’s producer Kathleen Kennedy has said that after meeting with Ehrenreich, Ford approached her and grumbled, “Good kid, good kid. Really good kid.” He’s got Harrison Ford’s approval!
5. George Lucas played a hand in the production
When Ron Howard replaced Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as the director of Solo: A Star Wars Story (for some unknown and probably very ugly reasons), George Lucas came to the set to wish Howard luck. Lucas and Howard go way back, as they previously collaborated on movies when Howard was still and actor and hadn’t made the transition to directing – so Lucas is not only his good friend, but also his mentor. Lucas was only supposed to show up, give Howard his best, and be on his merry way. But instead, he ended up spending the entire day on the set, mingling with the cast and crew to see how things were going. He promised that he wouldn’t butt in and offer suggestions for the production, but later in the day, he forgot about that and started making little suggestions here and there that would make the movie more faithful to the character that he created: “Why doesn’t Han just do this?” and the like. He may have broken his promise, but overall, having some input from the man who created the entire Star Wars universe can’t hurt the movie. This will only serve to improve the overall quality and faithfulness of the film.
4. The trailer promises big battle sequences
Some new footage has been released in the marketing materials for Solo: A Star Wars Story as we draw closer and closer towards the film’s release. One such clip sees the meeting between Han and Chewbacca and the birth of the nickname Chewie: “You’re gonna need a nickname, because I ain’t saying that every time.” Another one has Han in a sewer, coming up face to face with a tall, slithering creature. The most enticing clips from these trailers and featurettes, however, are definitely the ones that tease big battle sequences. The timeline setting of Solo: A Star Wars Story has it so that the Empire is in charge of the galaxy – and they don’t want some rogue trying to take them on and get away with stepping out of line. So, we see Star Destroyers chasing the Millennium Falcon through a huge storm in space and Han trying to maneuver a gigantic tentacled beast in the dark depths of space. Plus, the movie has been described as a space western, so we may get to see some intergalactic versions of saloon shootouts and chases on horseback. Suffice it to say, there will be some darn good battle sequences in this movie!
3. Donald Glover is playing Lando
Fans of both Donald Glover and Lando Calrissian went pretty berserk when it was revealed that Donald Glover would be playing a young Lando Calrissian in the new Star Wars movie. He’s known for playing comedic roles like Troy in Community and Earn on his own FX comedy series Atlanta, but this will be a more serious role from him to play. It’s Lando, it’s not Atticus Finch or Jake LaMotta, but still, there’s a lot of expectation that comes with playing an established and iconic role with legions of diehard fans. But it seems like Glover will definitely be up to the task. He is not only an accomplished actor who fame continues to grow – he has also found success as a standup comedian, a writer, a director, a producer, a singer, a songwriter, a rapper, and a DJ. He performs music under the stage name Childish Gambino (which he got from a Wu Tang Clan name generator), and considering how many other talents he has, he’s actually surprisingly really good. They probably won’t put him in a rap battle scene in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but the point is that we are in safe hands with this awesome guy.
2. It’s a Star Wars movie!!
The Star Wars movies are so massively acclaimed and so widely beloved by mainstream audiences that even though they’re movies set in space about intergalactic wars between different factions and guys who fight each other with laser swords, you’re not even a nerd if you like them. Everybody loves Star Wars! The bullies will let you off for liking Star Wars, because they also like Star Wars. People line up around the block just to see each Star Wars movie when they first come out in theaters. The same will go for Solo: A Star Wars Story, because it’s another Star Wars movie. That in itself should be enough of a reason to get excited about this movie. This is no ordinary movie – it’s a Star Wars movie! It’s written by the same guy who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. We’re getting to see the beginnings of a bunch of characters that we have grown to love over the years – not just Han Solo, but Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca, too. We’ll get to see what they were like when they were young and how they ended up meeting Han and getting swept up into his dangerous world.
1. It’s not like any Star Wars movie we’ve seen before
Sure, Solo is a Star Wars movie. It’s set in the same universe and it has that Star Wars feel, from the music to the way that the scenes are shot. But according to the people involved in the movie, it’ll be a kind of Star Wars movie that we have never seen before. Director Ron Howard has said, “The Star Wars universe that we see in Solo was different from anything else we’ve seen in any previous Star Wars movies. The Empire controls everything. Everyone is struggling to survive, but we discover this incredible free spirit.” According to the movie’s writer Lawrence Kasdan, by focusing on the reckless and roguish Han Solo, this movie becomes a little more out there and outrageous than the movies focusing on the Skywalker family are: “He’s the most exciting character in this saga for me. You don’t know what he’s going to do. He’s reckless.” Supporting actor Emilia Clarke agrees: “He does these stupid things that should never work, and they do. And he does it with bravado.” There’s plenty of reasons to get excited about Solo: A Star Wars Story – a Star Wars movie that both is and isn’t a Star Wars movie – so you’d better check it out. It’ll be in theaters on May 25.