After "Rogue One" became the second Star Wars movie in a row to have a female main character*, I witnessed some male idiots complaining that even Han Solo would be a woman in his upcoming movie. And as stupid as that was for them to say, it got me thinking. What if the trailers have been deliberately throwing us off this whole time? What if the movie is not primarily about Han... but Hannah? She would, of course, eventually become the Han Solo we know and love, either in this movie or one of its four sequels.
Hannah: What can I do, Chewie? Every bounty hunter in the galaxy knows my face and genetic signature.
Chewbacca (in Shyriiwook): I have an idea, but you're not gonna like it.
The Solo part comes about when the team we saw in the trailers teaches her that group projects are literally the worst.
*Assuming for the sake of this discussion that there is only one "main character" per movie. If we count multiple main characters per movie, then obviously all of them have had female main characters. Interestingly, the idea for a movie about stealing the Death Star plans and this movie having a female main character dates back to around 2003, long before the current efforts at diversifying Star Wars. John Knoll wanted a character for his daughters to look up to. Awwww.
Reasons I'm Looking Forward to "Solo: A Star Wars Story"
*It has the words "Star Wars" in the title. Let's get that out of the way. I will watch anything with the words "Star Wars" in the title, even if the preceding word is "The" and the next two words are "Holiday Special". I have a problem and I don't care who knows it. Not all Star Wars films or TV episodes are made equal, to be sure, but any Star Wars movie or TV episode is better than no Star Wars movie or TV episode. Did we really need this movie? No, we don't technically need any movies ever. Is it a cash grab? Who cares? If someone makes something and millions of people want to give them money for that thing they made, I don't see that as even a little bit problematic. Unless it's a nuclear bomb or a supervirus. But what else do you expect Disney to do?
Executive 1: Well, we've purchased the second most successful franchise ever for $4 billion, and there's obviously still plenty of demand for it, but let's not make any unnecessary new movies.
Executive 2: Brilliant!
Bonus points if you can name the first most successful franchise ever without looking it up. No, it is not Star Trek. Not even close.
*It has some of the coolest aliens I've ever seen anywhere in my life. While it is a bit jarring that the newer films show very few of the traditional Star Wars aliens that I know and love - Rodians, Twi'leks, Grans, Biths, Jawas, etc. - it is exciting to see them making the galaxy a bigger place with hundreds of new ones. And the ones I saw sitting around Lando when Han first meets him look incredible. So bizarre, so unfamiliar, so alien, and yet so realistic. Most of the new aliens are puppets and costumes, but they look so much better than the puppets and costumes of the original trilogy or even the CG of the prequels. Seeing these ones literally took my breath away.
*It respects the original canon. As every nerd is aware, in 2014 Disney invalidated virtually all of the expansive and often contradictory Star Wars books, comics, video games, etc. in favor of creating their own, but they still liberally borrow and adapt from what came before. In the original canon, Han joined the Imperial Acadamy and got expelled for rescuing a Wookiee slave named Chewbacca. The trailers clearly show Han joining the Imperial Academy. The gang Han Solo faces off against has been officially identified as the Cloud-Riders, who first appeared in one of Marvel's earliest Star Wars comics in 1977. In that story, Han Solo faced off against them with a small band of hired vigilantes who included a green wisecracking six-foot-tall rabbit named Jaxxon and an eccentric Jedi Knight in shining armor named Don-Wan Kihotay. Yeah. That was a thing that happened.
*It looks like the Empire aren't the primary bad guys. They're in it, obviously, but from the trailers it appears that they're in the beginning and then fade away to let gangsters and crime lords be the primary bad guys. This would be a refreshing change of pace. Even with most of the old canon gone, I think the Empire has become overused when there are so many other eras and characters in the galaxy to explore. They're like Indiana Jones' Nazis.
*It covers new genre territory. Star Wars is mostly scif-fi, specifically space opera, with heavy mythological and religious overtones. "The Star Wars Holiday Special" was... uh... something or other. The no-longer-canon Ewoks movies and TV series were fantasy, with lots of magic ridiculousness and heavy inspiration from The Lord of the Rings. "Rogue One" was a gritty war film. But there has never been a Western/heist Star Wars movie until now. Disney can never please everybody as it tries to strike a balance between nostalgia and originality, but I for one applaud any experimentation with new territory even if it doesn't always work as well as they hoped. For that reason I preferred "The Last Jedi" to "The Force Awakens" even though it weirded me out.
*It has Mimban in it. In 1978, Alan Dean Foster published a book called "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" that was meant to work as a low-budget sequel to the original Star Wars if it flopped. To save money on scenery, almost the entire book was set on a foggy swamp planet. Circarpous V, aka Mimban. Han Solo is nowhere to be seen because there was no telling if Harrison Ford would be willing to return for another movie, so the story follows Luke and Leia and Artoo and Threepio as they race against Darth Vader for the Kaiburr Crystal that amplifies one's connection to the Force. And it veers into some very uncomfortable territory between Luke and Leia, like when they're alone on a raft and Leia is sleeping and Luke stares at her lips and I've said too much already. Anyway, I first picked up this almost thirteen years ago and I loved it. Though I didn't consciously copy it, I can almost certainly credit it with my own story "Space Girls" also revolving around a crystal with supernatural powers. So, nostalgia blast. Mimban's canonicity was preserved by a passing mention in an episode of "The Clone Wars", but seeing it on the big screen was too much to hope for.
*Donald Glover looks great as Lando Calrissian. Of course, we have to cut movies a little slack because real people's appearances don't change as much with age as character's appearances do with different actors. Someday soon this problem will be solved with CG. But for now, Donald Glover is more than good enough. He looks similar enough and I enjoyed him in "Community" and he oozes charm and charisma every moment that he's onscreen in the trailers. And somewhere, I just know some mouth-breather is complaining about "the ------- social justice warriors who added another black character to Star Wars".
*Having said that, the actor they got to play Chewbacca looks exactly like the one in the original trilogy. He has the same facial structure and the same fur coloration all over and everything. He could be Peter Mayhew's clone. God bless George Lucas for saving these abnormally tall and hairy people from lives as circus freaks.
*It has the words "Star Wars" in the title.
A Reason that Puts a Teensy Little Damper on My Enthusiasm for "Solo: A Star Wars Story"
*Alden Ehrenreich looks very little like Harrison Ford. The mere fact of someone besides Harrison Ford portraying this character doesn't bother me in the slightest, but seeing as they're supposed to be the same person and Harrison Ford came first, he does need to be emulated. They don't need to be identical, like I said, but Alden Ehrlenlich is light-years away. As with Hannah, this discrepancy could also be resolved in-universe with surgery.
I will wait to see the movie before judging him on his acting. But Disney looked at thousands of auditions and literally picked the first one they saw because why exactly? It's not as if there aren't others out there who look more like Harrison Ford. This guy, for instance, who made this little gem that helps tide me over while I wait for the movie. Bracelets writes: "HOLY CRAP. THAT DUDE COULD BE HARRISON'S ILLEGITIMATE!!!"
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.