It’s been a good year for movies so far, the kind I like at least. We got Black Panther, an absolutely beautiful movie, we got Infinity War-don’t even get me started (again), and now Solo. I know there was some controversy about this one in the Star Wars fandom. I mean, there’s controversy around all the newer Star Wars movies. Personally, I think people should chill and just let fans enjoy the stories instead of starting petitions to have certain movies about certain last Jedi erased from the canon, but that’s none of my business.
Of course, everyone has the right to their own opinions, and if you hated Solo, or refused to see it, that’s totally fine. Live your life, friend. I’ll admit, I was a little bit wary at first. I mean, Han is such an iconic character it was a bit hard to picture him with a different actor’s face. How very wrong I was. Now, if you haven’t guessed, spoilers are coming up. But, you’re no fool. You’re clever, you know what you’re about, you know there are spoilers up ahead and you understand what that means. Turn back now, or don’t say I didn’t warn you.
After taking an unfortunate amount of time writing and rewriting my Infinity War blog post, I have found that with movies it is best for me to focus on a list of highlights, so here we go!
Alden Ehrenreich played an excellent young Han, we saw who he was before he became the Han Solo we all know and love. A romantic, idealistic young man who isn’t really as tough as he wants to look, but is definitely a top-notch pilot. The movie gives us a backstory before launching into the main plot, showing Han growing up on the streets of Corellia as a sort of slave to this strange worm woman, Lady Proxima. He tries to escape with Qi’ra (pronounced like Kira), his best friend and the girl he loves, but only he gets out. Vowing he will return for her, he joins the Empire’s army to learn to be a pilot. He has no family or surname, and he his alone, so they give him the name Solo. Han Solo. We meet up with Han later, after a time skip, when the main plot has begun. One of my favorite Han scenes in the movie was a conversation he had with Qi’ra, who has returned as the female lead/love interest/villain (???). If you’ve seen the trailer you may have seen a little snippet of this. I obviously don’t remember the exact wording, but Han is claiming to be a cool criminal and all that, when Qi’ra tells him that she may be the only person who truly knows him. She says, “You were never the bad guy”, and his response is essentially “But, but, I wanna be the bad guy…it’s so cool”. It’s an insight into a piece of his character that never went away. Han’s desire to be the tough outlaw is a show, even though the things he’s been through have made him pretty tough. And yeah, he can talk his way out of almost anything, he’s not Qi’ra, or Beckett for that matter. He will always be the good guy, maybe he’s the reluctant hero, but he’ll be the hero every time. Whether it’s stealing valuable coaxium from a dangerous crime lord to give to a small group of rebels, or tracking down his son who has turned to the dark side, in an attempt to bring him back home, Han will always have a good heart.
WHY DO THEY ALWAYS KILL THE NEW DROID?!
Sorry, but I love robots and they deserve better, I’m looking at you Rogue One! First K2-SO and now L3-37? Is it a Star Wars standalone movie requirement that no new droids live through the movie? Come on people, why?! But seriously, L3 was the droid I didn’t know I needed, and I want to be clear that my feelings about her are completely independent of my feelings on how they used her. So, here’s the thing. I honestly found it troubling how dismissive the other characters were of her concerns and how her revolution on Kessel was really just used as a distraction and a moment of comedy. Seeing an oppressed woman’s concerns not taken seriously just bothers me, even if she is made of metal. Wild concept, I know. Fiction mirrors reality and okay, we don’t have droids, but we do have inequality. Laugh at me all you want but I think the droids rights plot is a good one and if Star Wars is going to keep it around (they should) it needs to be taken seriously. That said, L3’s treatment was unfortunately very realistic. I don’t appreciate that L3 was just randomly killed and uploaded into the ship either. I get why the characters had to do that in the situation, and I don’t think Lando wanted to, he genuinely loved her, but I think it corrupted the message a little. After her death, she lost all agency by being integrated into the ship, becoming pretty much exactly what she so desperately wanted to avoid. I think it was probably an innocent attempt by the writers to let L3 live on, and maybe pay off that C-3PO line, “Sir, I don’t know where your ship learned to communicate, but it has the most peculiar dialect”, but the more I think about it the more I don’t like it.
I would like to reiterate how much I absolutely adore L3 herself though.
Trust No One
Betrayal becomes a theme in this movie. Han is still young and a bit too trusting, even when Beckett, the man who begrudgingly becomes his sort of mentor throughout the story, warns him never to trust anyone. He wants people to be who he thinks they are, specifically Qi’ra, who he is still in love with. There is lots of deceptions and untrustworthy people in the movie, but I am going to focus on Qi’ra because she betrays everyone. When Han meets Qi’ra the second time she is with a criminal organization called Crimson Dawn, working for the leader, Dryden Vos. He is a surprisingly polite, but deeply terrifying guy who is, to quote the actor who plays him, “really, really skilled at hurting people and he loves it.” So not exactly who I’d choose to spend time with. We are not told the exact nature of her job, but it is certainly implied that she’s in an undesirable situation that she cannot get out of, though it is preferable to her life on the streets, and that Dryden likes her and has taught her to fight (which she tells L3). Qi’ra’s involvement with a criminal organization is already a betrayal of sorts. Even if it’s not really her fault and it’s just something she fell into, it is off putting. But, this is Han, and he was just glad to see her again. You can tell his immediate thought is “Okay well now I found you, we can leave, everything will be fine!”. Spoilers, it wasn’t fine. Han still loves Qi’ra, wants so badly to trust her, that he can’t see that she has changed. I think she absolutely still has some affection for Han, and I quite like Qi’ra as a character, but she has been through a lot of terrible things and has decided to look out for herself. We see this later, as Qi’ra takes advantage of Dryden’s trust in her, killing him instead of Han in a fight. I was both surprised and not by this. I figured Dryden would be killed, he’s the villain in what seems to be a standalone Star Wars movie, so he kind of had to be. (Secretly kind of wishing he lived though. He was a fun villain and I like his cape. He won’t be killing anybody else with those fancy knives of his anytime soon though, so I guess it’s probably a win.) I was definitely not surprised that Qi’ra was the one to kill him, but I was a bit surprised that he didn’t anticipate her move. Qi’ra said it best I guess, she was his weakness, but I wouldn’t have expected a person in Dryden’s position to be willing to properly trust anyone. Clearly, he did. Then we have Han, still certain that Qi’ra would be going with him, but she leaves him at the end after getting a message from Dryden’s boss. It seems like a lot of fans didn’t like Qi’ra because of the thing where she abandoned Han and almost everything single she said was at least a partial lie, but I really liked her. I am curious about more of her backstory, I’m sure it’s terribly tragic, but I think she’s an interesting character. I’d watch the “Qi’ra becomes a Sith Lord” movie any day. (Or would it be Sith Lady? Is Sith Lord a gender-neutral term? Someone who knows more Star Wars facts than I do please explain.) I don’t even blame her for leaving Han, she finally had some power now that Dryden was dead so I get why she felt the need to take it. Besides, we all knew that wasn’t going to work out, Han’s got a princess to fall in love with after all.
More Notable Treachery and Deception:
-Beckett telling Vos that the coaxium was fake
-Han knowing this and having a plan the whole time
-Lando cheating at Sabacc
-Han stealing the card Lando had up his sleeve and winning the Millennium Falcon
-The game pieces betraying Chewie’s trust by being holograms
-Lando literally just leaving the planet
-Beckett taking the coaxium for himself and leaving Dryden, Qi’ra, and Han to fight amongst themselves
-Han turning against Beckett
-Betraying L3’s beliefs by uploading her into the ship (just my opinion friends)
– The writers betraying MY trust by killing L3
Han Shot First
I did not see that coming and it was great. At the end, he’s facing off with Beckett, who’s explaining why he did what he did. They’re not enemies or anything, but it’s clear that this is a hostile situation and Beckett will shoot him to get that coaxium. Instead of doing the thing where he lets Beckett talk so long that he gets himself killed, Han actually takes Beckett’s advice. He shoots him. It was really rather bittersweet. Beckett wasn’t a VILLAIN, he wasn’t The Emperor, or Darth Vader, or even Dryden Vos for that matter. He was just a person with lots of flaws, and all he really wanted to do was to learn to play the valahorn, but that isn’t the way his life worked out. He would have killed Han to get the coaxium. He praises Han for shooting him, which I’m sure Han didn’t enjoy doing. Han and Chewie bring the coaxium to the Cloud Riders, a small group of rebels. Their leader, a young woman named Enfys Nest, offers him a place in the rebellion, which he turns down. She leaves Han with one of those “Okay, but maybe you’ll join us someday” lines, which he shoots down pretty quickly. That’s just not where he sees himself ending up. Oh Han, if you only knew what was coming.
“Bet you thought you’d seen the last of me, fools!”
Darth Maul? Whaaaaat? Okay, I’ll be honest, I got spoiled on the whole Darth Maul thing. Stupid internet. I wish I hadn’t known so I could have been just as shocked as the people I went to the movie with, but still. Whaaaaaaaat? So, near the end of the movie Qi’ra takes a ring from dead Dryden Vos, and uses it to initiate some kind of communication link with a hooded figure. You know, your standard evil organization stuff. She explains that Dryden has been killed, not by her (Qi’ra doesn’t do honesty), and the hooded figure tells her to come meet with him, that they will be working together more closely now. It is then revealed that the person she was talking to was the Sith Lord and true leader of Crimson Dawn, Darth Maul. What does this mean? Will he train Qi’ra as a Sith? Is this not actually a standalone but a beginning to an exciting new series? Was he training Dryden to be a Sith? There must always be two, right? I don’t know where to place this in the timeline or enough about the extended universe to tell you what Jedi and Sith are alive at this point, so who’s to say?
Other Notable Moments:
-When Han freed Chewie and a lifelong friendship began (I didn’t talk enough about Chewie, I’m sorry, but he was amazing as always)
-When Enfys Nest took off her scary helmet and we saw that she was actually a teenage girl
– “Lando! I have found my true calling!”
-The thermal detonator that was most definitely not a rock
-“Tell us about the girl? Does she have sharp teeth?” (Honestly, he and Val deserved much bigger roles)
-The gold dice
-Lando mispronouncing Han on purpose
– Cape. Closet.
-How adorable and humanizing it was that Qi’ra just had to try on one of the capes, because honestly, same
-Dryden’s terrifying, cool looking, glowy knives
-Potential for Darth Maul and Evil Qi’ra as a villain team?
-Dryden’s half cape thing
-“I hate you”
-How CLEAN the Falcon was, wow.
-“You need anything?”
-Han making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs if you round down
-“I have a really good feeling about this”
So, if you’ve seen Solo, I hope you enjoyed it. If not you can just argue with me in the Facebook comments, it seems like that’s what the internet is for at this point. The movie was just really fun, a nice break from the darkness Marvel keeps throwing at me. At its heart Solo is a pretty simple story. Get the thing for the evil dude so he won’t kill you with his fancy knives. If anything, this movie just made me remember that I love Han Solo, and that was probably the goal.