Sunday brought a much-anticipated Patriots defeat at the hands of the Eagles. For the movie geeks like myself we were also excited to see new movie footage and trailers debut during the big game. There was more Infinity Wars footage but I was not too excited about it, maybe because I’m afflicted with a bit of Marvel fatigue.
For the moment, I don’t have any Star Wars fatigue. When I originally heard about the plans for the anthology films, and extended universe of films separate from the “Episode” series, I viewed it as a cheap cash in. However, Rogue One became my favourite Star Wars film. The film excelled on its own merit but I also found it refreshing to see a Star Wars tale that was not tied to the Skywalkers. There is an entire galaxy with interesting worlds and people, and these films allow the filmmakers to diverge from the battle against the Sith and show us other layers of the universe.
The Super Bowl gave us a tv spot for Solo: A Star Wars Story, which was pretty much an announcement trailer. The full trailer arrived today. I’ll be discussing both, but let’s start with the tv spot.
Obviously it features less dialogue than the full trailer. The few bits of dialogue we get don’t give away too much in terms of the plot (and they shouldn’t), but give us just enough to understand what the movie is about as we lead up to the title shot. The visuals look amazing, very photorealistic and devoid of the cartoonish CGI we see in some films. That is also a relief since this film doesn’t have that much post-production left to go, with a May release date. This marketing footage was released pretty late- some movies have teasers come out nearly a year before release- likely due to all the production issues Solo had. Former directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired weeks before principal production was set to finish. Ron Howard then came in and oversaw five weeks of reshoots.
Reshoots don’t have to be a bad thing, since well-loved films like Back to the Future and Rocky also had reshoots. Not to mention The Force Awakens and Rogue One. Reshoots aren’t always about removing or changing a storyline, they can simply be some behind the scenes special effects work, like the reshoots for Force Awakens. However, the fact that two directors got fired into production makes it obvious that the Solo reshoots could likely have altered the story of the film. The Lord and Miller take was a more comedic venture, described as a “screwball comedy“. While Han was used for comic relief at points in the original trilogy, that doesn’t mean the film itself has to be a comedy to work. The reshoots could work out well or the film could end up being some Frankenstein monster of subplots, characters and storylines that don’t mesh.
Moving on the actual footage, Donald Glover looks like an OG in the tv spot and the trailer. We don’t get any lines from Lando but we do see him piloting the Millennium Falcon at one point. In the original trilogy, we find out Han won the plane from Lando in a game of sabacc. We’ll likely see the ship change hands in the film. I actually came across an article that argues a Lando film is more deserved than Solo, especially since Han’s character is relatively fleshed out in the original trilogy and already has a conclusive end in The Force Awakens. The author argues that some mystery about Han’s early years fit the character, meanwhile the level of mystery Lando still has makes him a better candidate for a film. Of course, the comments have one guy complaining about a “poc obsession”. I doubt he complains about the much longer phase of the white people obsession. Anyways…
I generally avoid watching or reading anyone’s thoughts on trailers before I give my own, since my opinion could end up swayed. If someone is negative I could go in with a negative mindset, or settle for something mediocre simply because it wasn’t as bad as one critic or YouTube reviewer made it out to be. I came across a tweet yesterday that I can’t help but agree with.
Every spoken line in this trailer is "I rebel" levels of on-the-nose goofy. On the plus side, if it's anything like the Rogue One trailer, none of this thing will actually be in the movie. #SoloAStarWarsStory
— Rod Hilton (@rodhilton) February 5, 2018
Like I said, maybe I wouldn’t have noticed or been as bothered if I didn’t read this tweet first.
“I got kicked out…for having a mind of my own.”
“A pilot…the best in the galaxy.” Almost reminded me of the Pokemon theme song.
“Hey kid, I’m putting a crew together. You in?”
That being said, at least the delivery isn’t too bad. I am sure Woody Harrelson will give a great performance, like he usually does. Emilia Clarke can be hit or miss, I’ve even noticed this from her performance on Game of Thrones. Some actors and actresses also seem to flounder outside of a certain role, and I am hoping that isn’t the case here.
The biggest question mark so far is Alden Ehreneich as Han. Apparently his performance initially failed to impress Lucasfilm and necessitated an on-set acting coach. Now, the article says the acting coach isn’t necessarily a bad sign. The worrying part is how late into production the coach was brought on, which is implied to be some point late into principal production.
This film hinges on Ehreneich’s performance. Many fans are likely skeptical of seeing someone else portray Han at this point, even if it is a role that would make no sense for Harrison Ford to play. People will likely nitpick Ehreneich’s voice and looks, and if he gives a poor performance on top of that, the film’s anchor will be ruined.
I was actually more excited for this film after the tv spot, than I was after the full trailer. With that said, I am still curious to see how the film turns out and I am still looking forward to seeing Donald Glover as Lando.