What needs to be included in a Han Solo movie in order for us to A. buy into the character and B. enjoy this new stand alone entry? Read on for my suggestion of how to get the most mileage out of Han Solo...
On a recent episode of the Talk Star Wars podcast, Rob and I were discussing what we would like to see in a stand alone Han Solo movie. We had a checklist of vital elements from two listeners, Conor and his son Leo, which suggested things like Han and Chewy meeting, Han winning the Falcon from Lando and seeing The Kessel Run. This started me thinking about the character of Han and what we need to have from the very start, to recognise this character as Han Solo.
The first official image from the Han Solo movie was a photograph of the DL-44 blaster we all know and love resting on what appears to be a console from the inside of the Millennium Falcon. This tells me that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller know what we want to see. They even made sure to reproduce the “Greedo Killer” DL-44 that I’m reliably told was only in the first movie, and after the shooting of Greedo, looked slightly different. Even though Han Solo is more than a cocky smile and cool jacket, there are elements of the character that need to be present. Here are a couple more.
Han and his ship are like one being. His intimate knowledge of his vessel allows him to barrel roll his way through asteroid fields and fly dangerously close to the black holes the comprise the Kessel Run. So with this movie taking place just ten years before Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope, there is room to see Han take possession of the famous ship and begin his modifications. However, I would rather meet Han Solo when he has already modified his ship to the point where he has been able to build a reputation for being the fastest and boldest and increase his status in the underworld as the go to guy for smuggling. So I’m hoping the Falcon will be right there when we first meet Han, and that goes double for…
The Mighty Chewbacca
The bond between Han and Chewy in the Star Wars movies is so tight that I almost don’t want to see how it came to be. I'm certain we have already been told that this film will be an origin story for their relationship, which if it follows Star Wars Legends will involve Han helping to free Chewbacca and many other Wookiees, who have been enslaved by the Empire. Now, even though I’d prefer that the relationship between Han and Chewy be present during the new film, the legends element does compliment what I want to see in the film, which is as follows.
A Virtuous Man
When we meet Han is Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope he is already on the run. He has crossed the Hutts in a big way and has a massive price on his head. We learn that Han dropped a “shipment” he was smuggling for Jabba The Hutt, and claims he was boarded by the Empire. At this point in his life, Han is starting to fulfil his destiny by becoming a hero. In fact, he is the slightly grey character surrounded by pure white heroes, Obi-Wan, Luke and Leia. How interesting would it be to see Han as the most virtuous man in the room?
About the time this movie takes place, Han Solo will be making a living in the underworld of the Star Wars Galaxy. He has been taking jobs, smuggling for the Hutts, rubbing shoulders with bounty hunters like Boba Fett and Greedo, both of whom will play huge roles in Han’s later life. So I’m guessing the Han Solo we are going to see in the film, is a decent guy, out of his element, who keeps this questionable company simply to make a living. But what if this virtuous nature works against Han? What if the movie we see focuses on the moment Han burns his bridges with the Hutts, specifically Jabba The Hutt, by dropping his shipment. And what if that shipment wasn’t spice as we (and perhaps Han) have been lead to believe…
What could make Han jettison his shipment and put himself in the Hutt’s crosshairs? What if Jabba The Hutt was dabbling in people trafficking? Or more specifically, Wookiee trafficking? Could Han have been smuggling slaves destined for the Empire, to help build its war machine (maybe the Death Star 2 construction)? This might be one step too far for Han, and might be something that stirs his inner hero. Perhaps the Wookiees are in some sort of stasis aboard the Falcon and when Han realises what he is involved with he releases them and allows them all to take a few escape pods to a nearby planet. This would explain why the Falcon is missing pods when it is captured by the Empire in Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope, and be a nice little call back/forward! Could this be the moment Han meets Chewy and the life debt comes into play?
I like the idea that a Han Solo movie will be be removed from the main Skywalker story, so any mention of the Empire will be minimal, and should not put Han Solo too close to Darth Vader or the Death Star. Han needs to be ignorant of the Death Star remember, he didn’t know what the Death Star was when they get caught in its tractor beam. I would also prefer that Han has no connection to the Rebellion until Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope, or we run the risk or making the Star Wars universe too small.
The character of Han Solo is too good to simply have one movie, I suspect Alden Ehrenreich has signed a multiple picture deal with Disney/Lucasfilm and that we may see a similar approach taken to one that has been so successful over at Marvel, with many sequels and a connected universe. That would suggest that there is room to tell stories that may reveal characters like Lando Calrissian and maybe even Dash Render in later stories. There is also room to crossover this series of films with the proposed Boba Fett movie(s).
In short the future of Star Wars is looking very exciting indeed and this project appears to be in the right hands. I hope we get a story that looks at Han’s life in the underworld, and plays with our knowledge that this guy is a hero, and he is out of his element. Whatever happens, we only have to wait until May 2018 to find out for sure...
Thank you for reading,