I haven’t talked a lot about The Last Jedi (2017) due to the polarizing reactions. My reaction was pretty 50/50. There were a lot of things I enjoyed and a lot of things that left a sour taste in my mouth. When I talked about TLJ with people who loved it, they said I was a cynic; when I talked to people who hated it, they said I wasn’t being critical enough because it’s my precious Star Wars franchise. So apparently my 50/50 opinion is completely outlandish to everyone except me, which is why I’ve decided to stay reserved on the movie. But none of that seemed to matter because people are still asking me for my comments on the recently released trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). Solo’s trailer was first teased last night during Super Bowl LII, and the first trailer premiered this morning on Good Morning America. Lo and behold, I was 50/50 on this trailer. Not that that truly matters in the grand scheme of things because I’m still going to see this movie in theaters at least once, so Disney has already made their money.
I’ll go through the negatives first so this can end on a high note: I do not like Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo – specifically his voice. I mean, what was I expecting? A carbon copy of Harrison Ford? Definitely not, but I don’t get the feeling that this is a young Han Solo. The voice still sounds a little too much like Ehrenreich’s southern accent from Hail, Caesar! (2016). The hair is pretty perfect, I’ll give the hair and makeup department that credit. Besides Solo himself, there isn’t too much else to really point fingers at (especially when this is a less-than-two-minute-peak at this movie). Han’s dice are visibly hanging in his speeder in the first ten seconds of the trailer, which doesn’t surprise me at all since they are so relevant in The Last Jedi even though they only show up once in the original trilogy and are definitely the last thing I think of when I think of Han Solo, the greatest pilot and smuggler in the Outer Rim. The animation for the title is cheesy, and has too much of a Disney Channel feel rather than a Star Wars feel. Most of the dialogue is corny as they try to make Han Solo out to be the bad boy who defects from flight school. There’s ALWAYS that one character saying they’re putting together a “special team,” and Solo’s last punchline, “Thought we were in trouble there… but it’s fine,” is really forced (pun obviously intended) and doesn’t sound like anything Solo would say to a crew… but it does work as a sort of meta-commentary on the fact that this movie’s ad campaign was completely nonexistent with less than 100 days before the film’s release and yet after a “good” trailer, it’s safe to say everything is going to be fine. I’ll wait to make that decision in May.
Aside from those relatively minuscule concerns, visually the movie looks just as stunning as any of the new-wave Star Wars films. It’s going to be great to see Corellia, Han Solo’s home planet and home of the Millennium Falcon. There is certainly an American Graffiti (1973) vibe to Han driving recklessly through the streets of Corellia. It’s a solid way to introduce the character and show off his disregard for the law. The Falcon looks far from a piece of junk as we get sweeping shots of it (in a more prototype phase) in action as well as more nuanced coverage of the interior in far more pristine condition than we see in the original or sequel trilogies. Emilia Clarke looks dazzling in these first glances and as long as she isn’t just Daenerys Targaryen in the Star Wars universe, she’ll be a total knockout. I also completely forgot about Woody Harrelson being in this movie. We even get a quick glimpse of Thandie Newton as part of the “special team.” Huge props to Newton for making it into two spots this year, with her appearance in the trailer for the second season of Westworld (2016-). And may we not forget the glory that is Donald Glover as a young Lando Calrissian. I cannot think of anyone who can resonate the coolness of Billy Dee Williams besides Glover. It is honestly no surprise to me that the writer/director/actor/rapper is breaking the internet after a mere glimpse of his character. While I’m obviously excited to see how Han and Chewbacca form their bond (and how close it is to their origins in the extended universe lore), I’d be remiss not to mention my excitement about seeing how the Millennium Falcon falls out of Lando’s hands and into Han’s.
To summarize, I was just about ready to write this movie off after the conflicting responses to The Last Jedi and the lack of advertising so close to the release date. However after the trailer, I can’t help but kick myself for even doubting my commitment to this. Like I said above, of course I’m going to see this movie so of course Disney has already won by taking my money before it even hits my direct deposit. There are some lingering doubts about Ehrenreich, and while I’m ecstatic for Clarke and Glover to enter the Star Wars universe, if they bench Chewbacca, someone who has deserved a more substantial role in this entire saga since 1977, it will all be for naught. Make Han and Chewie the focal point of this movie – Chewie at least deserves that.
Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theaters May 25th, 2018