So, Chewbacca’s really old, guys, as in he was probably pushing 200 by the time we met him in A New Hope. Suddenly lines like “Laugh it up, fuzzball” feel a little closer to elder abuse. Have some respect, Han! That “fuzzball” is so, so much older than you and just about anyone else – other than Yoda – in the Star Wars saga.

To the hardcore fans, news of Chewbacca’s advanced age is likely nothing new. One assumes this has already been covered in various novels and comic books over the years. However, to the more casual fans this revelation, included as a toss-in joke in the new Solo: A Star Wars trailer, is likely surprising. It’s certainly my primary takeaway from the trailer.

Yeah, but how does the rest of the film look?

Fine.

“Fine”? Seriously? That’s all you’ve got?

It’s all the real enthusiasm I can muster at this point. A Han Solo prequel is one of the least imaginative choices Lucasfilm could have made with their new Star Wars films. Then they fired the directors and reshot the majority of the film with Ron Howard, and all the advertising to this point seems to be doing its best to cut around Alden Ehrenreich’s actual performance as Han. He kinda sorta looks the part but still doesn’t feel quite like young Harrison Ford. To be fair, he at least gets closer in the new trailer.

So, it’s the old “troubled production” line that has you down?

It doesn’t help, but that’s not entirely it. At this point, significant reshoots have become so common on movies of this scale that it’d almost be more newsworthy if we simply assumed all big movies go through major reshoots and simply start reporting those times when films come in on time, on budget, and enjoy a peaceful editing process. So, we’ve had ample opportunity by now to glimpse some movies where the reshoots clearly made things worse (Fantastic Four, Suicide Squad, Justice League) and others where the reshoots helped (Rogue One, World War Z). It’s the trainwrecks versus the saved-in-post crowd.

Solo, of course, is the most extreme example we’ve ever had, but Ron Howard is an old pro and we’re still talking about a movie written by Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost ArkSilverado, etc.), shot by cinematographer Bradford Young (Selma and Arrival, among others), and starring Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, and Fleabag‘s amazing Phoebe Waller-Bridge (granted, she’s just mo-capping a droid). Plus, Rogue One works for me as a diverting bit of mythology back building, and Kathleen Kennedy saw that through its own troubled production and produced something better than expected. She might be able to pull it off again with Solo.

So, what’s the issue, then?

I don’t know. Maybe I’ve just reached prequel and reboot fatigue as well as fatigue with movies that include lines like, “I’m putting together a team.” I’ve grown weary of the advertising that plays like a roll call of familiar box checking (e.g., “Look! It’s Lando, Chewie, and the Millenium Falcon! Oh, Han just said a variation on his infamous ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this’ line!”). As Forbes pointed out, Paramount took the same approach with its 2009 Star Trek ads, and now Disney is doing the same with Solo.

Plus, for as much as I like Rogue One, it’s now set me up with the suspicion that any of the new characters in Solo probably just end up meeting rather grim ends for how else do you explain their obvious absence from the rest of the Star Wars saga?

Beyond all of that, after Last Jedi, I feel like a certain bit of fun has left Star Wars, and I’m not talking about the movies themselves. No, I mean the culture that surrounds them. Discussing Star Wars online has somehow morphed into something as combative and divisive as debating politics. That’s kind of always been there, but Last Jedi got sucked even deeper into the culture wars than ever before. When fans, albeit a small subset of them, are using their time on social media to plot a sabotage campaign on a film’s RottenTomatoes score something is wrong with the fandom.

So, I’m just not looking forward to the inevitable debates over Solo. Right now, it looks like a rather simple, fun outer space western that will probably be a real boon for sales of knock-off versions of Donald Glover’s wonderful coats. It’s exactly the kind of branded escapist entertainment that theaters desperately depend on these days, and I know I’ll be there opening weekend. Maybe by then, I’ll have worked up a little more excitement.

Here’s the trailer:

Solo opens May 25.

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

3 Comments

  1. I am not feeling good about this one. Love star wars but do think this giy is miscast. Should have gone with the guy who played a younger ford in that film about the girl who doesnt age. Yeah yeah he probably cant act as well but he looked the part in those youtube auditions he did and this guy is all eyebrows and looks very short. Its a silly film so acting isnt key it just need to feel true to the first trilogy erm original trilogy i mean. The second trailer is an improvement but it really doesnt feel like the Han we know. Would be nice to see greedo or jabba or another hut. Not the camp one from the clone wars movie. Ok maybe him as he was outrageous and out of the closet. I duhnno even lando looked wobbly. I hope i am wrong but disney cant afford to get this wrong with the theme park opening and the reshoots of rogue one. Should have done the bobba fett movie first. Less risk and less formula to mess with. Ps so how old is chewie in the last jedi? He must be cashing in his pension and on a mobility scooter by the next movie surely. Ive yet to see an aged wookie so they must just age well. No baling areas or man boobs or hunched back. Damn i am gonna start a diet of porgs.

    Reply

    1. Are you thinking of Ansel Elgort (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansel_Elgort) who became the star of “Baby Driver”?

      Red Letter Media commented that Elgort really looks a lot like a young Ford (with comparison photos) and dresses kind of like Han Solo in “Baby Driver” in their review at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDbU4hSo9-M

      I think the Boba Fett movie will come after the Obi-Wan Kenobi film. I wonder if they went for the Han Solo solo film “Solo” first because it was a natural nostalgia-opportunist choice or if they thought it would be more cost effective since they already have 1) the Chewbacca costume 2) they already have a full-scale Millennium Falcon prop and the completed sets 3) no need to redesign a new Han Solo costume

      Reply

  2. Ansel Elgort would have been a good choice and did enjoy baby driver although he would play the role much different to Ford I imagine. I did spot the similar clothes so perhaps that would be too weird if he starred in both. No I was thinking of Anthony Ingruber known for the Age of Adeline playing a young ford. Look him up on IMDB and you will see the likeness. Alternatively this video shows it better https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bba_wPdLxp4 . He did some mockups in the falcon but these videos have been pulled as imagine it would hurt the Solo movie. Granted you cant pick an actor based on mimicking but then again Solo isnt exactly Moonlight calibre you can be sure of that. Take your point about reusing props but the latest is that the Fett is in Solo as shown on a recent still so logically it should make sense to follow on with this rather than the exploits of old man Ben alone in a cave with two sns and no women.

    Reply

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