Matthew Reddin

Solo: We asked for it, but do we really want it?

Solo

Solo is naked fan service. But with it now a reality, are we ready for this to be our Star Wars experience?

 

 

There’s a lot of talk going around the Internet about what the future holds for the Star Wars universe.

Just take a step back from that sentence for a second.

Consider where we all were prior to the 2012 Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm, and realise that prior to that $4 billion purchase, there was no real future for the Star Wars universe. There was the occasional Saturday morning cartoon, and a new release of Lucas’s six films on a new format every couple of years. But that was it.

 

 

In 2018, that universe has a future on film, in cinemas. And yes, Jon Favreau is going to do a television series, which is great. JJ Abrams has Episode IX next year; the Game of Thrones fellows have a trilogy in the works, as does Episode VIII’s Rian Johnson. Stephen Daldry is in talks about an Obi-Wan film with Ewan McGregor. Guillermo Del Toro wants to make a Jabba the Hutt film. There’s a piece just published about James Mangold wanting to make a Boba Fett film. And so on…

So it is with a great amount of delight that I am living in a time when there’s going to be a new Star Wars film released every year. At least one a year. That’s something which immeasurably pleases me as a fan (FWIW, I don’t dressed up in costume). And if the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taught us anything, it’s that a canny strategy unfolded in a specific manner will reap untold rewards (financially, if nothing else).


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That original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from the Solo production with 75% or so of the film shot, and replaced by Ron Howard is, at the end of the day, neither here nor there…it’s office gossip at best. Lucasfilm has enough credo that they can re-do entire films if they’re not up to snuff. Spend half a billion on the thing if they need to, it’ll come out profitable. Bringing in an old pro like Howard to apply a steady hand garnered from 40 years’ experience, keeping the end product faithful to the canon, the script and the broader universe, simply makes sense.

Does it matter that its good, bad or in between? Nope. All that matters, especially if you were a child of the ’70s, is that it exists. Even the worst of these films bears repeat viewings (and thanks to the miracle of chapter selection, you can skip through the “romantic” scenes in Episode II). The fact that it’s actually good is moot. It’s fun, it’s a thrill ride, a heist film and a western wrapped in a space adventure. Alden Ehrenreich more than capably plays the role, you don’t really think “Could he grow into Harrison Ford?”, because it doesn’t matter (Daniel Craig doesn’t look much like Sean Connery). Donald Glover has charm to burn. They did wonderful things with the Chewbacca character. There are nods to previous entries, and with the final moments of the film, a look forward to adventures to come – including allusions to key characters, one of whom was so far out of left field (I won’t reveal it) that it made me audibly gasp.

Howard’s direction is deft; the production is superbly mounted and the cast is universally good in their roles. It’s entertaining, if inessential, but what is out there designed for entertainment which “needs” to exist?

There was a tremendous, baffling amount of consternation about how and where Rian Johnston took Episode VII, and if Solo is in fact something the world asked for.

So where to from there?

Wherever they want to, I say.

 

Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at www.lessercolumn.com.au

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