Solo: A Trailer Story

With the new Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer hitting today (seriously does anyone remember that trailer last night?), we thought it prudent to consider the implications, ramifications, and general insights of the glorious one minute and forty-three seconds.

Brandon: As a kid, I didn’t play Luke Skywalker. I didn’t want to be a Jedi. I wanted to be Han “Friggin'” Solo. Suave, cool, the rogue with a heart was always someone I wished I was; so when the Solo movie was announced, I was apprehensive. Lucasfilm was truly treading on sacred ground.

Well, all those concerns are now buried six feet under in that sacred ground. The imagery, characters, and feel of this trailer all prove that Solo is not just going to be a good movie. It is going to be outstanding, even if it is nothing more than fun popcorn flick.

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That said, everything in this trailer makes it seem like this movie can be both a fun popcorn flick and a great addition to the mythology of the saga. Rogue One did it so well, setting the bar for these anthology films. Solo seems to have picked up that mantle, with compelling character relationships, interesting settings, and motivations that seem honest and true. It is a plus that it also looks really, really cool.

I was going to be there even if Lucasfilm never gave us a trailer. Now I can’t wait. For more of my thoughts check out the podcast (iTunes; Soundcloud) Punch it!

Drew: Well, it has arrived.  After all the hemming and hawing about no publicity, the impact of The Last Jedi on release dates and effective marketing, and the horror stories coming out of the production, Lucasfilm has unleashed a trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

To which I must say:

Come on Han old buddy, don’t let me down.

If ever there was a gamble, a risk, an uncertainty in filmmaking, this one is it.  But the trailer at least gives us confidence that there’s something to watch.  We don’t know the plot.  We don’t know the villain.  We barely know the hero.  But we’re supposed to be a bit energized by some classic Star Wars iconography.  There are few highlights we need to review:

  1.       The Falcon Flies Again

The Falcon has to be at the top of any most memorable spaceships out there, and it is used pretty darn effectively in this trailer.  The spin tactic (they tried spinning, that’s a good trick) to smash a TIE fighter gives us hope that we’ll get the space battle excitement that some (self) think was missing from Episodes VII and VIII.  For a film premised around the best pilot in the galaxy, it had better be chock full of space flight of the most amazing kinds.

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  1.       The Babyface

Alden Ehrenreich does not invoke Harrison Ford.  Not by a long shot.  The extremely brief displays of acting we get in the trailer do not sound nor look like the Solo from the cantina, nor Hoth, nor Jabba’s Palace.  Maybe that’s alright.  Maybe this film takes place enough years apart from A New Hope that we shouldn’t expect to see cantina-Han.  Maybe this is the story that gives us the cynical, disinterested Han who would do anything for a paycheck.  But if Lucasfilm wants Ehrenreich to remind us wistfully of the days of TK-422, they have a long way to go.

  1.       That Look and Sound

We know trailers are not cut by the studios themselves (in fact, there are companies that specialize in crafting and producing trailers) so we must take everything with a grain of salt.  But there’s no denying that the introduction set to the pick-slide of an overdrive-electric guitar sets expectations differently than the traditional John Williams opus would.  We get more Inception-style horn blasts (BRAHHHHHHHHHHHM) than any other Star Wars film (trailer) to date.  New is good, and I am okay with that.  However, and it’s a big “however,” the transition at the end of the trailer from the large single chord into the classic theme does not sit well.  It feels forced and not a part of the rest of the trailer.  The Rogue One trailers used classic themes pretty heavily, but that is an example of leaning into the history that the story comes from.  There’s no other example from the Solo trailer’s soundtrack like that resolution into the classic theme.  That makes it stand out a bit sore-thumbish.  The rest of the trailer sounds like Howard Shore got the rights to the new Bond film (a compliment, I assure you), but the way it resolves into that classic theme betrays such inspiration almost as bad as the comically goofy title card that spins into view.  As if someone just found out about the “Transitions” option in PowerPoint and now the title simply must make an entrance!  Lastly, while some of the classic imagery appears (Star Destroyers, TIE fighters, some Imperial officer regalia, etc.), there are no Stormtroopers in plain sight.   That stood out.  Did I blink and miss it?

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All in all, the trailer did a great job inspiring interest in the film, personally speaking.  Lando and his droid could steal the show.  The showdown at the O.K.-beach could be epic.  The Falcon’s escape (“We’re fine”) could be phenomenal.  But will Solo be hampered by its off-screen problems?  Can it fit in the same world as Star Wars without being too much the same as well as without being too much off the wall?

Well, I suppose I’ll have to be there opening day after all.  Karabast!

Mark: I was one of those people who didn’t think we needed a young Han Solo movie. I still don’t think it was the right move, simply because Harrison Ford is so iconic in that role that no actor is going to be able to live up to his legacy and how much the character has meant to people for generations. But these teasers have certainly shot up my expectations for this movie, and for a very good reason: because Han Solo is only going to be one part of this.

This definitely looks like an ensemble film, which is a very smart move on the part of Disney/Lucasfilm. I may not have wanted a young Han Solo, but after seeing the teasers, I absolutely want a young Han Solo movie which explores the seedy underbelly of the crime world.

Here are my random thoughts in no particular order:

It appears that Lucasfilm heard the complaints from fans who felt there weren’t enough recognizable alien species in these new movies because we got glimpses of Twi’leks getting their groove on in a club, a Gran in what appears to be some kind of criminal gang conference, and a Ubese, wearing the same kind of Boushh mask that Leia wore in ROTJ.

The Falcon is all shiny and new-like! Which just proves that Han is a complete slob because he messed that ship up good…. and is a nice callback to Lando seeing it in Cloud City after so many years “What have you done to my ship?” Overall, the cinematography of Bradford Young is jaw dropping. This movie is going to look beautiful.

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Woody Harrelson’s character Beckett calls him kid. I don’t know how I feel about that yet. It’s clear that Beckett is going to be a mentor or possibly someone who sells Han Solo out and makes him the jaded callous guy we meet in A New Hope, but I hope there aren’t too many explanations for how Han gets his catch phrases and idioms. Please please don’t let there be a joke about shooting first.

 

Lando in the fur coat rules the day, but I would have loved to have seen and heard more from Lando… which is interesting because something tells me that Donald Glover is going to be this movie’s ace in the hole, which might be the reason they are holding him back at this point.

Chewie and Han’s first meeting is likely to provide a whole lotta feels. I’m hoping that they aren’t adversarial at the start. I want to see them in full-on bromance from the very beginning.

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Still not seeing the physical resemblance of Ehrenreich to Solo… but this is promising… he has the charm and the smile and arrogance… but the jury is still out until I see more. It’s looking like this will be an original take on Han Solo with Ehrenreich making the character his own (sort of like Ewan did with Obi-Wan) with just enough reference to tie them together, but not becoming an impression of Harrison Ford. That’s surely a smart way to do it, but I’m not sure this is enough to convince the skeptics that Ehrenreich was the right choice for Solo.

As for the movie, it looks amazing…. and dangerous. I really love the grittiness of it. This is definitely a part of the Star Wars galaxy I’m looking forward to exploring. The criminal underworld existing alongside the Empire and trying to stay hidden from it.

And squid space monster… there is a giant freaking squid space monster for the Falcon to fly through…. Sign me up!

LindseyIf you had asked me two days ago if I was excited for Solo, I would have said no and followed it up with a few too many thoughts about how it’s a story that didn’t need to be told. In fact, a lot of people did ask me and that’s the exact response the got. Someone asked what would make me excited for it. I shrugged it off with a, “Ya know, I just hope it’s fun and amusing but I don’t really expect much from it.”

Now I feel like an idiot. 

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I could easily go in to a frame-by-frame breakdown of the trailer to dive into what made me excited for this movie. (Side note- I probably will right after this). There’s obviously so much to unpack. But none of that is actually important. It’s not what exceeded expectations.

What did is just how fresh this felt. I was worried that this movie would be completely about Han and tell some story that we could easily imagine about meeting Lando and making the Kessel Run and blah blah blah. What we got instead is a full program of new creatures and planets and characters. And when I say new, I don’t mean we’ve never seen them before. I mean we’ve never imagined them before. 

I was expecting a buddy-comedy. Instead, it seems like we’re getting a gritty, action-packed Western. There’s something so daring about this trailer, I forget all the worries I had 24 hours ago.

 

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