'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Trailer Teases a Paint-By-Numbers 'Star Wars' Prequel

Monday, 05 February 2018 - 6:35PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: Han Solo
Monday, 05 February 2018 - 6:35PM
'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Trailer Teases a Paint-By-Numbers 'Star Wars' Prequel
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As any Star Wars fan is already painfully aware of, prequels are hard to do.

It's really difficult to get an origin story right: the audience already knows where a character will be at the start of their famous existing character arc, so it's often challenging to find a satisfying journey for a prequel's character to take that doesn't undermine what has already been said about who they are and where they came from.

Looking at the long-awaited trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story, it's fairly clear that this is a typical Star Wars prequel, for better or worse. Except it's one that focuses entirely on Han Solo (and also Chewbacca).

See the full trailer below:

In this initial trailer for Solo, it's hard to imagine how the titular character is going to live up to people's expectations. Fans have had a long time to speculate on Han Solo's backstory, and while certain elements from the old Legends canon seems intact here (such as his history as an Imperial pilot gone rogue), it's hard not to feel like the version of Solo that we see briefly in the trailer doesn't quite measure up to the man that Star Wars fans love.

Alas, a big part of the problem is Alden Ehrenreich himself, who doesn't seem interested in playing a version of Han Solo who acts anything like the Corellian smuggler than audiences are already familiar with. In fairness, this was always going to be difficult, as Han Solo is essentially just Harrison Ford in a slightly sour mood, but from the small glimpse we get in this trailer, the main character of this upcoming movie only looks the part when he's standing still.

Then, there's the big problem with making a prequel: we already know where the plot is going. So when the Millennium Falcon shows up, looking shiny and new, with a radically different nose to the one Star Wars fans are familiar with, it becomes painfully apparent that at some point in the movie, Han is going to crash the ship so spectacularly that it's never quite as pretty ever again.

It's pretty simple to piece this story together - Han will grow up poor, get a shot at joining the Empire, flunk out for some reason, meet Chewbacca, gamble with Lando, fly the Kessel Run, and smash his ship to pieces before rebuilding it. Jabba the Hutt might turn up, and at one point, Han might get boarded by Imperials and be forced to jettison a precious illegal cargo, but Lucasfilm might be saving these elements of Han's backstory for the sequel that'll probably never actually get made.

This is the challenge with prequels: we already know too much. Surprises are difficult to come by when the only characters who are in any danger are Woody Harrelson (who will probably die) and Emilia Clarke (who will also probably die, and who will probably leave Han with a thing for rich women in white clothes).

The good news is that, as this looks like such a typical prequel, there are a few things to be excited about.

For one thing, this movie looks a lot more lighthearted than The Last Jedi, so fans who are angry about Grumpy Luke Skywalker won't have as much to complain about. The rule of the prequels is that much of the sillier material will be elevated by phenomenal actors, which is why we've got Donald Glover to expertly deliver any lines which could become this film's equivalent to the "Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise."

This movie looks like, as with the George Lucas prequels, it's going to be frivolous fun that can be enjoyed so long as you're willing to squint a little and turn off your brain. It's probably not going to be quite as egregious as anything with Jar Jar in it (Lucasfilm has spent a lot of money trying to buff out any of the major dents in the story that could annoy audiences), and as such, while this movie is hardly going to be a work of art, it'll earn fans on its own merits regardless.

After all, in the course of Star Wars history, one thing has proven constant: as with pizza, even when Star Wars is bad, it's still pretty good.

Solo: A Star Wars Story comes out May 25, 2018.
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Star Wars: Han Solo