After a tumultuous production that involved reshoots and switching directors from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller to Ron Howard, Solo: A Star Wars Story will be in theaters everywhere on May 25, the 41st anniversary of the very first Star Wars movie.
Pre-ticket sales for the movie have already exceeded expectations — reportedly even outpacing Black Panther, which exploded past the $1 billion mark in the usually cold month of February. It has been rumored Lucasfilm and Disney plan on making Solo sequels if the movie performs well at the box office. Alden Ehrenreich, who is playing Solo, confirmed he has signed a multi-picture deal, indicating there could be a trilogy of Han Solo movies.
But producing more films could potentially spell failure for Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise, as paradoxical as that may seem. Fans should be skeptical about the expansion of beloved characters or retreading of stories that have already been told.
Harrison Ford made Han Solo — and Star Wars as a whole — famous in the four Star Wars movies he starred in. Ehrenreich playing the scruffy-looking nerf herder for another three films takes away from Ford’s original performances.
The Star Wars universe is a rich and virtually limitless expanse of stories and adventures. But episodes I through VIII, as well as Rogue One, focus on just a handful of characters and take place within a few decades. Solo is no exception.
Disney spent an exorbitant amount of money to purchase Lucasfilm and Star Wars from George Lucas. So why is it simply re-examining the ground that has already been introduced in the original and prequel trilogies? Why is it creating entire movies based on throwaway lines and plot holes?
Lucasfilm has indicated its intent to expand the universe with The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who is getting his own trilogy. Johnson’s installment was perhaps the most inventive and original Star Wars film since the first two movies, exploring new possibilities in the universe.
On the other hand, Solo will focus on the titular character’s introduction to his friends, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian (played by coolest person in the galaxy, Donald Glover). I’m still excited for the movie — it introduces a new style of story-telling, and the trailer appears to be a blend of heist and western films. But this could have been done with any number of characters, plot arcs or timelines within the Star Wars universe, rather than ones we’ve been introduced to before.
Star Wars has been knocking it out of the park lately — it’s released one movie a year for the past three years, each earning more than $1 billion at the box office thus far. With that said, the franchise needs more innovations in terms of its characters, story and world if the franchise is going to make as many movies as it appears they will be.