The latest from a galaxy far, far away – SOLO: A Star Wars Story – hits theaters May 25th! After The Last Jedi just hitting theaters this past December, Star Wars fans haven’t had to wait long for more Star Wars fun on screen. But is this really a Star Wars movie?! After seeing the film at a press screening, I’m answering THAT key question and more in our spoiler-free ‘SOLO’ review!
About SOLO: A Star Wars Story
Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Paul Bettany.
I’m not going to lie…I’ve been nervous about this one. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Wasn’t sure that anyone else could be Han Solo. Wasn’t sure that the movie would “play”…that it would really work. So, I went in to ‘SOLO’ with some reservations. If you’re like me then, there might be some questions you’d like answered before seeing this. So, I’ve got you covered with answers to 7 questions you might be wondering about the film – whether you’re a die hard Star Wars fan or only just a casual movie watcher…
Star Wars SOLO Questions Answered
1. Where does SOLO take place in the Star Wars Galaxy? SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY is the second “standalone” Star Wars movie (Rogue One was the first) in the franchise. That means this does NOT follow The Last Jedi or the overall plots of the Star Wars trilogies. With that said though, this movie STILL does have to do with the original storyline (clearly since it has Han, Chewie, and Lando in it) and is really a prequel to the original trilogy (just like Rogue One). Based on our estimates and what we’ve seen published online, this movie takes place about 10 years before we see Han Solo again (or rather that first time) on Tatooine in “A New Hope”. So in takes place between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One.
2. What other Star Wars movie is ‘SOLO’ most like? None. It’s like NO other Star Wars movie you’ve ever seen. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What’s extra great about this is it plays well for every level of Star Wars fan. The “non-fan” can appreciate the movie just as a fun “space western” meets classic heist movie. The casual to mid-level Star Wars fan will appreciate all the obvious Star Wars references and some of the obvious “fan service”. Then there are some things that only the die-hard Star Wars fans will really appreciate. For these fans, there are some very interesting Easter eggs (knowledge of Clone Wars and Rebels is key here) that will go completely unnoticed to all the other movie watchers. But just know, there’s no Jedi, no mentions of the Force, no light sabers, and really very little Imperial presence (though it is definitely there). With all that in mind, there is really no movie in the Star Wars universe to compare it to. If we HAD to compare it to something, it feels most like a multi-part episode of Star Wars Rebels…but even then, that’s a bit of a stretch.
3. How does Alden Ehrenreich live up to Han Solo? This might be the most asked question! I’ll be the FIRST to admit that I’ve been nervous. I REALLY was NOT convinced it could work. And here’s the deal after seeing it…Alden Ehrenreich is NOT and will NOT be Harrison Ford. But, it’s ok! This is a younger, less hardened version of Han. Ehrenreich plays with the right arrogance, charm, cocky-confidence, and swagger that we’ve come to expect from Han. And it’s done in the right way, without just trying to be some bad impersonation of Harrison Ford’s character. The more hardened, pessimistic, sarcastic, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” Han isn’t really here yet (and I’ll admit I missed a bit of that). BUT he’s got a full 10 years of a probably tough smuggler life to get to that point. So, Ehrenreich really works in the role MUCH better than I was expecting! And…Harrison Ford thinks he did a great job! So, I’ll take it! 😉
4. Who are the stand out characters? Really, I thought the whole movie was cast very well! There were no bad main characters at all! But the favorite stand out for me is Donald Glover as Lando. SO good….SO SO good! Like at times you really just think it’s a younger Billy Dee Williams. He just works SO well in the role. I’d be happy seeing a whole Star Wars Story movie about Lando. Glover could TOTALLY rock that! I mean, REALLY…even just his poster! SO good!!! The scenes with Lando in them were some of my favorite of the movie.The other guy that deserves a special mention is everyone’s favorite Wookiee! Chewbacca really steals the show in just about every scene he’s in! He’s a constant throughout SO many of the Star Wars movies that we already love…but you’re really going to love him in this one!
5. Are there any jaw-dropping moments/fun plot twists? YES! WHOA yes! Will I tell you what it is?! NOPE! 😉 The deeper your level of Star Wars “fandom” though, the bigger “whoa” at least one of the twist moments will be. I will say my boys are going to FREAK OUT about one thing in particular (thanks to their love of both The Clone Wars and Rebels series). I think it’s REALLY cool to see them weaving so much of the different series and movies together!
6. Is it OK for kids? This answer always “depends” on your kids and your parenting beliefs. Though we are pretty conservative about our movie choices for our boys (ages 11, 8, and 5), they’ve seen just about everything in the Star Wars Universe except the second half of Revenge of the Sith (the 3rd prequel). And not to worry…this is NOTHING like the 2nd half of that movie. So my boys will ALL be going to see this one – in fact, we already have tickets for opening day!! Overall, I think this one is fine for most kids – certainly so if they’ve seen some or all of the other Star Wars movies.
At its heart, it really is like a classic Western meets big heist movie…set in space. It holds true to every Star Wars movie before it (which I am SOOOO thankful for) in terms of the language, innuendo, etc. Just like most of the other films in the franchise, there is VERY minor swearing (maybe a hell, ass or damn) a couple of times. There are a few kissing scenes (honestly more than any other Star Wars movie we’ve seen to date), but they are NOTHING long or overly “risqué” at all. The level of violence (which, like the other Star Wars films, is the reason behind the PG-13 label) is what you’d expect from a Star Wars movie (but honestly less scary/intense even then some of the others). If I had any concerns at all for younger kids especially, it’s that this movie is LONG. Like a 2.5 hour run time, long. The beginning especially might be a little slow for the kids (honestly it dragged there a little bit for me).So potty breaks and lots of snacks might be in order. But, once Chewie shows up…and then again when the Falcon shows up, the movie really picks up. And, I’m really thinking that there will be enough “Chewbacca moments” to keep the kids entertained even in more “lullish” spots of the movie.
7. Is it the movie worth seeing in theaters? YES! If you’re a die-hard fan, I know you’ll be seeing it anyway! 😉 But for casual fans, this is still worth a watch in the theater. The scale of these movies really are best seen on the big screen. And there are some fantastic moments in this! Honestly, I didn’t leave the theater thinking that this was my new favorite Star Wars movie. But it definitely kept me entertained for 2.5 hours…and I left with enough questions that I feel like they could make another one immediately where this one leaves off and I would happily go see it. So, I think that’s definitely a win!
Do you have any other SOLO questions you’d like answered? Let us know in the comments below! And, make your plans to see SOLO: A Star Wars Story in theaters on May 25th!
As always, a big thank you to Disney for inviting me to an early screening of this film so that I could bring you this review!