The Disney juggernaut continues to bring us new Star Wars stories with the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story. And for the first time since Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, I’m asking myself ‘Why?’ Don’t get me wrong, I love Star Wars and have loved every film Lucasfilm has come out with since the Mouse took over the shop. But ever since this film was announced my main thought has been ‘why does this need to be a film?’
Now, having seen the film in question, I can say that in my opinion it’s a fun, funny film with perfectly good performances that people may grow to like more after a few viewings. All the leads put in good, although only good, performances. Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Paul Bettany were the standouts for me, but it’s no one’s greatest work. Ron Howard has certainly made better films (like Rush! If you haven’t, watch Rush!!) and this is probably the weakest film in the franchise since Attack of the Clones. A better film but not on par with Rogue One, not on par with The Force Awakens, not on par with Revenge of the Sith, you get where I’m going with this. Quite frankly, it’s a miracle the film is as good as it’s ended up being what the nightmare that the production became, what with original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller fired over ‘creative differences about three quarters of the way through principal photography and being replaced by Ron Howard. This is also one of the most expensive movies ever made with an estimated budget of around $250 million. It will claw that back, but it won’t be the massive hit Disney was hoping for.
And to be honest, there are so many other ways that they could have told this story. In comics, in a videogame, even as a TV series. Han Solo learning his trade, pulling off different jobs, becoming the cocky untrusting smuggler we find him as in A New Hope? That might have been a brilliant way to tell the story of Han Solo’s younger days. I think that Lucasfilm went through the list of characters and said ‘Hey, Han Solo is really popular, we can make a film around him’ and I don’t think that was the case for most fans. This was not a story they needed or some cases wanted to see on the big screen.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, go ahead and see it in cinemas, it’s more deserving of your money than The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones. But if you’re a casual movie goer, you don’t need to bust a gut to see it. You can wait for it to come out on Netflix or Blu-Ray.