With Disney releasing ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ on the 14th of December 2017 and then ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ only five months later, the Star Wars franchise couldn’t be more high profile. However with the Solo standalone film failing to catch the success it expected, Disney could be looking at a near 80 million dollars worth of losses, but why did the highly anticipated Solo film flop?
When Disney were teasing the idea of making a standalone film for a specific character in the Star Wars universe there were a few characters which fans really wanted to see explored in more depth. For example: Darth Maul, Boba Fett and Obi Wan Kenobi were all hinted at, however Disney chose Han Solo instead. Now, I personally was hoping for an Obi Wan Kenobi spin off film, but when the news broke it was Han Solo I was still, somewhat, hopeful. Although the problem with Han Solo is that you just can’t see anyone other than Harrison Ford playing him. Obviously I didn’t expect Disney to bring a much older and now far more wrinkly Harrison Ford to play a young Han Solo, and in all fairness to Alden Ehrenreich, he portrayed Han Solo to a satisfactory standard, but as I’ve said it’s just not the same.
The convenience of an Obi Wan Kenobi film would be that Ewan McGregor still looks young enough to play Obi Wan right after the story of ‘Revenge of The Sith’, and there could be a lot of interesting plot points, which could be explored by Disney. Perhaps even exploring Darth Maul on screen would be compelling too. His back story from his childhood in the comics contains more than stellar content, or even after the ‘Duel of the Fates’ scene in ‘The Phantom Menace’, in which Maul survives, which was shown to us in both ‘Star Wars Rebels’ and ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ (animated series, not the film), any of this would be very intriguing to see on film. Back onto the Solo film, more specifically its plot, it is a little dry, and the kessel run scene just seems like fan service to me, even if you’re a mega fan of special effects. Furthermore giving the ‘casual fan’ so many extra characters, many of which are on the verge of being redundant, is bizarre as Disney aren’t going to further their efforts with a second Solo film. Which begs the question, why weren’t the likes of Maul and Kenobi given a chance? Baffling.
Onto the actual film itself. ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ came out on the 25th of May 2018. Which pitted it head to head with films such as ‘Deadpool 2’ and ‘Marvel Avengers: Infinity War’. Obviously this doesn’t help the film, however, realistically it should still be able to stand up to the likes of these blockbuster films in order to succeed.
Now, it actually isn’t all bad, sure some scenes are a tad stale, and the start of the film, for me, is quite unoriginal. However in fairness there was an awful lot of problems, as when Disney bought the rights to Star Wars, George Lucas had already written around half the film, and finding a director was a disaster at every turn. Eventually Disney called upon the services of Ron Howard. Howard can’t be the one to blame, all he could do was safely land the plane. We also shouldn’t be too critical of the actors in this film either, most of them done a stellar job of telling the films story. For this film the experience of Woody Harrelson payed off as, for me, he probably gave the best portrayal of his character. I personally expected Donald Glover to shine through, and in many ways he did, he proved why he should be considered for more big blockbuster films. However, having said this, Woody Harrelson definitely was the shining star in this production.
I really hope Disney learn their lessons from this film, and can look to improve the next Star Wars films regardless of whether it’s a standalone film or episode 9 in the Skywalker storyline. As a fan I’d suggest doing what the fans want *cough* *cough* Kenobi film *cough* *cough*. However more seriously, create a story which the fans can look back on and think that it was worth waiting for. Furthermore a story which is fulfilling, offers answers to important questions, but doesn’t offer any unnecessary questions in the process, and finally make characters that are worth building up. Look at Rose for example in ‘The Last Jedi’, she was given too much screen time for what felt like an unnecessary reason It’s good to have diversity in your cast, but don’t ever force it if it’s unnecessary.
Solo was an interesting look into the backstory of Han Solo, and we get some clarity into: how he became good friends with Chewbacca, how he became an incredible pilot, and how he obtained the infamous Millennium Falcon. Despite not quite fully satisfying the viewers hunger for an adequate standalone film, it proved that Disney could produce a film about a single character. Upon Solos release it faced some stiff competition from the likes of ‘Deadpool 2’ and ‘Marvel Avengers: Infinity War’, and I think had these films not been brought out at the same time as Solo it probably would’ve done an awful lot better. However one thing that Disney simply shouldn’t have done was brought it out straight after ‘The Last Jedi’, as many fans probably were slightly fatigued, especially considering ‘The Last Jedi’ failed to live up to much of the ambition that fans had for it. It is a shame that this film has had a perceived flop considered it was actually a good film, it tried its best to be something different, however this something wasn’t anything that many fans were longing for.
By CALUM STARK