First, the trailer itself:
In the words of Emperor Joseph from “Amadeus”:
I have some decidedly mixed emotions about the “Han Solo” trailer.
First off, it’s got the Star Wars brand name, so they’ve got my money already. But to be honest, this trailer didn’t quite grab me with the same emotional pull of “The Force Awakens” trailer.
I mean, I damn near cried when I first heard, “Chewie, we’re home!”
Things I liked about the Han Solo trailer:
* Seeing a cherry-condition Millennium Falcon.
Factory-fresh. To quote the late Gloria Stuart in 1997’s Titanic, “I can still smell the fresh paint… the sheets had never been slept in.”
Even though the ship won’t (or shouldn’t) be Han Solo’s just yet (he still has to win it off of Lando in the Sabaac Match), it’s nice to see her in her glory days.
Her ‘new’ interior looks even more like the spaceship Discovery from “2001: A Space Odyssey” (from which some of her interiors were supposedly based).
* Woody Harrelson.
This is potentially a great move, because I absolutely loved 2009’s “Zombieland” (the ‘ugly American’ cousin to 2004’s “Shaun of the Dead”) and Harrelson’s a terrific actor. With his trace of a Texan accent, he kind of fits Han Solo’s mythology, since Solo’s earlier life felt like a ‘space western’ anyway…
* Emelia Clarke
My wife’s a “Game of Thrones” fan, and I think she’s a fine actress, so I’m very much onboard with her casting. Her character looks vaguely ‘Princess Leia-ish’ (there’s a hint of wealth about her) so I wonder if Princess Leia was Han’s ‘type’ after all?
* Comedian and “The Martian” costar Donald Glover as young Lando Calrissian
Donald Glover, who played the eccentric Caltech genius Rich Purnell in 2015’s “The Martian” is playing young Lando Calrissian (also the original owner of the Millennium Falcon). I’m very enthusiastic about his casting, since I’m also a fan of Glover’s standup comedy (on Netflix; worth checking out). I think he’ll add a nice new dimension of humor to Lando that perhaps his later, more deliberately debonair self lost touch with a bit…
* The jump to hyperspace
That awe-inspiring, star-streaking shot that changed my life back in 1977. It was so great to see again in “The Force Awakens”, and it’s nice to see it here in this trailer, too. Yes, visual FX have come a long way since then, and shots like this are pretty much routine today, but to a 10 year old kid in 1977? The jump to hyperspace was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.
Because he’s Chewbacca, that’s why. More Chewie is always a good thing. And at least there are no irritating, useless Porgs around this time (still wish Chewie ate that roasted Porg, too… right in front of its little Porg friends).
I know many fans (including myself) have noticed that Chewbacca seems to get younger and younger looking in the new trilogy (maybe they should add a few gray streaks to his pelt?) but at least he’s supposed to look a bit younger here, so it works.
* This woman.
I have no idea who she is or how she fits into Star Wars lore, nor am I going to Google her and find out, because I want to be surprised. But she looks positively bad ass.
And a few things I’m not so sure about…
* Not exactly wild about Alden Ehrenreich playing young Han Solo
He doesn’t have anything close to Harrison Ford’s voice, and lacks Ford’s height. He also looks a bit ‘generically handsome.’ No slur on the actor himself, but sometimes physical casting is important.
It’s not as if this movie takes place decades before the original Star Wars (9-10 years at most, I’m guessing), so it might’ve been a wise move to cast someone who looks a tad more like Harrison Ford, someone like say….
… Anthony Ingruber, who already did an ‘audition tape’ of sorts, playing a younger version of Harrison Ford (to perfection, I might add) in 2015’s otherwise average “Age of Adeline.” He’s taller than Ehrenreich as well, and he can do a pretty good approximation of Ford’s deep timbre. From his role in “Age…” he also had pretty good acting chops.
A shame, and a missed opportunity.
* The Falcon, zipping through asteroids and giant-space monsters…. again.
Sure, it’s always nice to see the Millennium Falcon zipping through dangerous situations, but it looks like she’s once again flying between asteroids and space-borne creatures (ala “The Empire Strikes Back”).
I was more impressed when “The Force Awakens” had the Falcon flying through the interiors of gutted Imperial star destroyers lying inert in the deserts of Jakku, or hyperspace-jumping her way out of a docking bay (with a creature being pulled off of its cockpit by g-forces).
These were new bits of action for the old ship, and I appreciated them very much.
But the space rocks & space creatures feel a bit like an “Empire” redux, which isn’t the worst sin (stealing from the best, right?) but with all the money/talent being thrown at this movie, they could at least try something different, right?
* Shades of Canto Bight from “The Last Jedi”
No, just… NO.
This part of the trailer, and some of the CGI creatures within it, feel very ‘Canto Bight-ish’ to me, and that makes me nervous. I sincerely hope that Ron Howard and Disney have the good sense not to reference anything that reminds the audience of that boring, overly-padded waste of screen time from “The Last Jedi.”
If they do have to go there, let it be short at least.
If I wanted more casino planets, I’d just as soon revisit the planet Carillon from the 1978 version of “Battlestar Galactica”…
Anyway, that’s about all of the honey and venom that I have for this trailer.
I hope my initial misgivings about “Han Solo: A Star Wars Story” are completely unfounded because I love being wrong…and I also love being pleasantly surprised.
To quote Han Solo’s would-be hitman Greedo, “I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time…”