I was sceptical when Alden Ehrenreich – who doesn’t look or sound anything like Harrison Ford – was cast as young Han. Where Ford is tall, rangy, and rugged, Alden could be a member of a galactic boy band (except he’s solo).
After a troubled production and reports of an acting coach, it seemed as if the odds of Alden successfully navigating young Han were approximately 3,720 to 1.
But the wise-cracking smuggler never did set much store by the odds, ‘cos if you have enough swagger, you can pull anything off. So I can vaguely imagine Alden maturing into Original Trilogy Han. Way better than I could reconcile Hayden Christensen with the man in the mask, even after I watched it lowered onto his charred face.
Solo is a straightforward, pulpy adventure that introduces Han on his scuzzy home planet of Corellia, long before he met a Princess and fathered a Supreme Idiot. He’s serving a slimy crime boss, a bit like Rey did on Jakku, except Han and his girl Qi’Ra clearly have time for hair salon appointments.
After an escape bid sees Qi’Ra captured, Han signs up for a stint with the Empire, before meeting pro thief Tobias Beckett – which is the least imaginative SW name ever – and his gang. They chuck Han to ‘The Beast’ – no not a Rancor…it’s Chewbacca!
Beckett is stealing hyperfuel for a crime syndicate, but at the first sight of pirates, Han drops his shipment, angering boss Dryden Vos. He wants his fuel or else, so it’s all aboard the Falcon for that infamous Kessel Run. Dryden orders Qi’Ra, now his top lieutenant, to supervise them.
Han could be such a dark character: he grew up in Corellia’s murky underworld as a child slave, he fought for the Empire on a planet resembling a WWI hellscape, he lost his childhood sweetheart. But all he wants is to be a cool pilot and make a quick buck.
Qi’Ra knows that under the cocky attitude, Han’s one of the good guys. (Was it just me or did a certain bad guy look happy to get ‘closer’ to Emilia Clarke’s Bond girl femme fatale? Isn’t he a cyborg/robotic below the waist?)
Considering the weekend box office, sequels are unlikely, and there’s going to be a lot of analysis about what went ‘wrong’. Rogue One benefited from novelty, and from charged audiences wanting something to sustain them until Episode VIII, but it was also about the greater fight between good and evil.
Solo feels very “Adventures of Young Han” – perhaps suited to Disney’s new streaming channel. It lacks the ‘event’ feel and the awe that Star Wars, including Rogue One, has always inspired.
And no, I didn’t get the significance of the dice either. 🎲🎲