A Few Non-spoiler Thoughts on the new Star Wars Solo Movie

First, my Star Wars Geek credentials. I was a too young (at lest by my parent’s estimation) to watch Star Wars on the big screen. And I’ll go to my grave thinking that is my life’s major failure. I watched the film on a CED Videodisc and marveled at the twin sun world of tatooine and Luke. Empire (1980), and Return (1983) blew my mind. And with that I had become a flew blown Star Wars dweeb.

And then came the full blown, valley of desolation. From 1983 out until 1999 there was nothing. I remember getting the Star Wars magazines and just scouring them for even the slightest of most microscopic hints that there might even be a HINT of a new movie in the works. And when Timothy Zahn released Heir to the Empire in 1991 the Star Wars fan base lost their collective minds. Mainly because the universe was literally dead for eight years. And these books not only were in the Star Wars universe, they were post Return of the Jedi. What was Lucas thinking allowing a writer to paint in this space of the post Return world?

Well, we know now what he was thinking. He was thinking about prequels, not about sequels. But we had no idea then.

Jump forward a few years, and the originals are released back into the theaters heading into the prequels. And that was when my lining up started. Spent days in line hanging out with some of the coolest people ever, while waiting to buy tickets. And then lining up again to get seats. Midnight showings were how first shows were released back then, because, duh. Midnight is when a new day starts. My poor wife to be followed me into that craziness, and somewhere around 1:00 am she’d invariably fall asleep on my shoulder. But I was there for all the new releases. Which, is when the uproar about Han Shooting first hit the fan. (I began explaining earlier this week to my kids that there are numerous different releases of the Star Wars movies and I think I broke their brains. Because, logically speaking, there is one version of a movie. I mean, duh. So to think that there is a version of Star Wars with Jabba the Hutt in it? WHAT? (For the record, I have only show my kids the closest original possible. Or the Despecialized editions. If you’d like to learn more about this bootleg idea, read about it here.))

Anyway, that brings us to the prequels. A dark place in the history of the Star Wars canon for many. But I have to say, they are a highlight in my mind. When the tickets were released, 2 weeks before the movie came out, I spent usually, 36 hours in line waiting to purchase them. I was generally at the front of the line. And I’d bring out my Star Wars standees and line up with fans that were dressed up in their best Cosplay brilliance. Over the course of 36 hours I’d be interviewed 5 to 10 times by radio stations and TV news channels wondering what the heck was happening. We’d have games and competitions among ourselves in the line. Heck, I remember having a new friend from the line hold my spot while I went in to watch the Mummy, which debuted while we were in line. Yes, you heard that right, I went to see a movie while I was in line to buy a ticket to see a movie. If that isn’t the most meta thing ever I literally don’t know what is.

So did I hate the prequels? No, I loved them. I loved the experience and the pageantry. I loved the new friends and the piles of old friends that mooched tickets off of me and joined me for the midnight showing. I loved getting into the movies 4 hours early and sitting in our seats while radio stations did give aways, and we bounced beach balls around the theater. Were the movies terrible? No, they were yet another glimpse into the opaque and blank slate that is the Star Wars universe. Each movie lifted the blinds on one more area, one more new world, more new characters that we hadn’t seen before. And even better? Was seeing old friends and their origin stories that we knew nothing about before.  Sure, the movies weren’t amazing. But I enjoyed every minute all the same.

Which (finally) brings me to the Solo Story that released Thursday. And all of this lead up is to explain the following – which, in short, is just an excuse for why someone with such critical standards when it come to Hollywood, could possibly allow the Mouse a pass on this movie. Anyway, so now, with the advent of assigned seating and online ticket sales, much of the pageantry and excitement of the previous days are now dead. But still people dress up for the movies if you go to the opening showing. Still people are there in Storm Trooper gear to get photos with. But, with the risk of sounding really old, much of the fun is now gone.

But! I have two kids that love the movies about as much as I do. (One decidedly does not, and has been expunged from my will, of that you can rest assured.) Which changes the game appreciably for this Star Wars fan. They partake of the pre-movie Chipotle will exuberance and revelry. Where we regal each other with stories of days gone by. Of lines waited in. Of radio interviews and heraldry. (Or we just laugh about how lame we used to be. One or the other.)

BUT WHAT OF THE MOVIE MAN!

So yeah. A thousand words in and I still haven’t made a single mention of the movie itself.

One thing that my kids kept asking me, the confused them thoroughly, was where Solo fit in the timeline of movies. To understand this timeline I’m going to spit out here (to help make you laugh at my Star Wars geekdom even more) you need to know these two acronyms: BBY & ABY. BBY stands for Before the Battle of Yavin, and ABY stands for (you guessed it) After the Battle of Yavin. What’s the Battle of Yavin you ask?

Leave. Just go. (Oh alright dangit. It’s the Death Star Battle at the end of A New Hope. What’s a New Hope? Oh my gosh. It’s episode IV (4!) or… better known as Star Wars.

  • 32 BBY – A Phantom Menace
  • 22 BBY – Attack of the Clones
  • 19 BBY – Revenge of the Sith
  • 13 BBY – SOLO
  • 0 BBY – Rogue One
  • 0 ABY – A New Hope
  • 3 ABY – Empire Strikes Back
  • 4 ABY – Return of the Jedi
  • 34 ABY – The Force Awakens
  • 34 ABY – The Last Jedi

Right? Which should explain some of the spoilers at the end of the movie. Which, don’t worry, I will not get into. I mainly just wanted to talk about the overall experience of Solo. Which was completely different from any other Star Wars movie ever made. I had assumed it would be trash, and that the movie would be destroyed by Alden Ehrenreich playing Han Solo. Which, it wasn’t. The writing captured his whit and his charm, and he did a passable job in the role. Much hay has been made of Donald Glover in the role as Lando, so I won’t go over that here, suffice it to say he was good. Really good at nailing that character. 

I think the opening was slow, because there were so many things to setup and to stage for everyone to understand. Solo, his life, Qi’ra, his love interest. The empire’s iron grip on the galaxy and  their control over the ship building planet, Corellia. But even so, it plodded a bit at the opening. Once it got going though, seeing a movie that doesn’t center on the Jedi and on the Empire exclusively was fascinating. The worlds were decidedly Star Wars worlds. The characters were definitely from Star Wars worlds.

The movie was decidedly a jumping off point for movies going in new directions for sure. This movie isn’t 100% wrapped up by any means. Characters walk off the stage and head else where. Which was decidedly NOT how the ending of Rogue One finished. Not in the least. (I mean it has already been announced that a new trilogy after IX is going to be crafted by Rian Johnson (of The Last Jedi fame) so those movies may contain characters and situational references from Solo). And it will be interesting to see if the Boba Fett movie (which was re-announced, and will now be helmed by James Mangold, of Logan fame.) And if you are keeping track, Disney has also tapped the creators of the Game of Thrones to create another Star Wars trilogy not in the Luke Skywalker arc, but somewhere else in the timeline entirely. So I’m sure that Solo will stretch its tentacles into various other stories and locations. And I’d be shocked if it wasn’t coordinated with Boba Fett specifically.

I found the back half to intriguing and fascinating to watch and play out. I was constantly wondering where everyone would go and who would align with who. (Yes, I am trying SO HARD not to spoil anything.) And yet I was still shocked with how things stood at the end and the surprises that they threw in. Personally, I am not as anal as other fan-boys are about the series. Keep giving me stories, and I will keep paying 30 bucks a ticket. (Pre-opening, Thursdays are a true rip off, that is for sure.) What did you think of the movie? I mean, in a non-spoiler way that is.

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