Solo: A Star Wars Story is kind of a fascinating failure. It’s not an awful movie, but it’s not particularly a good one, and I feel like we’ve all kind of forgotten about it already, which is surprising when you consider the amount of discussion generated by The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. It’s not like people are indifferent towards Star Wars, but they didn’t seem to have much to say about Solo.
That being said, it had a fascinating development process, and hopefully one day somebody will write a book that explains exactly the transformations the project underwent as it passed from original directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller to replacement director Ron Howard.
Jon Kasdan, who co-wrote the script with Lawrence Kasdan, has taken to Twitter to reveal 53 fun little factoids about the movie’s development. Some are pretty neat, like:
LK and I fought long and hard for Han’s stint and expulsion from the Imperial Academy. We felt it was crucial to see him train as a pilot. Ultimately though, it was always a hindrance to the flow of the story, which consistently felt like it didn’t take off until Chewie arrived in the movie.
That’s some solid screenwriting where you have to accept that the thing you want may not work if it hurts the overall movie. The training would have been good, but I agree it probably would have slowed down the pacing.
However, some of the trivia is a little cringeworthy. Take this one for example:
OF COURSE Han told Leia the story of how he and Qi’ra broke out of the Den of the White Worms and that’s what gave Leia the idea to pull a real thermaldetonator when disguised as the bounty hunter Boushh in Jabba’s Palace in ROTJ. And for anyone who feels that maybe that didn’t need to be explained…you’re crazy, it had to be explained!
Well, call me crazy, I guess. I haven’t spent the past few decades wondering, “How did Leia get the idea to use a thermal detonator in Jabba’s Palace?” Even if Kasdan is being sarcastic here, it’s still a lame way to remove Leia’s independence. Are we supposed to believe that Leia couldn’t come up with a plan to rescue Han on her own? We can have debates over what Luke’s rescue plan was in the first place, but it’s a bit demeaning to throw out that Leia wouldn’t have come up with the thermal detonator idea if Han hadn’t given it to her first.
The trivia also includes neat revelations like the mud pit where Han meets Chewie is a Lord & Miller scene as was Lando’s cape closet. And as for the inclusion of Darth Maul, here’s what Kasdan has to say about it:
If you felt like it was just a cheap stunt, I suppose that’s fair, but the truth is Maul was built into the design of Solo in many subtle ways, including the name Crimson Dawn, the artifacts in Dryden’s study, and Qi’ra’s use of Teras Kasi. Maul is my favorite character from the prequel trilogy. I love that Dave Filoni brought him back and expanded on his story in Clone Wars and Rebels. I love that there is some continuity between the shows and the movies. For me, Maul was destined to pass through Solo as the ultimate Keyser Soze.
Kasdan is entitled to his opinion, but this feels like the move of a fanboy rather than a writer. You have to assume that plenty of people will not be as familiar with the lore as you are, and that Maul’s appearance, rather than being exciting, will just come off as random and confusing. If they seriously wanted to make Maul a part of the movie, they should have just gone for it rather than have him pop up and baffle everyone who hasn’t seen every episode of Clone Wars and Rebels.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is now available on digital, and will be on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on September 25th.