Squeaky Mouse Droid: The Han Solo Cast Photo
In, say, about the spring of 2014, long before the film’s actual release, Disney and Lucasfilm gave us an iconic black and white photo of the cast, along with the director and screenwriter, of The Force Awakens (and I don’t believe the film’s title had been announced at that time) sitting at the table read of the newly completed script for the continuation of cinema’s most iconic saga. It got a lot of people talking. Before that film’s release – in late summer of 2015 – we got a photo of the cast of Rogue One, all in character, and that photo captured the gritty, more serious tone of that film. Not, in early 2017, we got our first photo of the cast of the “untitled” Han Solo standalone project, something to whet the appetite long before the film’s summer 2018 release.
Well, what can I say? I like it. I don’t know who some of the characters are and how they will play into the film (mainly the female characters, but there’s no doubt that Han will put on the charm with one or both of them during the film). Alden Ehrenreich is not the splitting image of Harrison Ford, but he needn’t be: he just has to resemble the character just enough, and it’s up to his acting ability to capture something of that character (arguable one of the most iconic male characters in film history) in his performance. Chris Pine didn’t really on his his dead-on imitation of William Shatner’s mannerisms when he played the young Captain Kirk in the Star Trek reboot films, he instead played an actual character, bringing something of himself in his performance, but he left no doubt in the audience’s minds that he was still Kirk. Our new boy Alden must (I believe) attempt the same trick in order to convince us that he is Han. The weight of this movie will all be on him, but you can see his confidence cutting through all of that in this picture. Good.
Then there’s Donald Glover as Lando. No need to say much: Glover will totally own this role. If anyone aside from the great Billy Dee Williams could ever play Lando, it’s Glover. What’s so great about this little photo is that Glover already captures that bit of smugness that is Lando.
The others, including Woody Harrelson’s character (reported as a mentor to Han in the vein of Garris Shrike from the old Han Solo novels which are now Legends), we’ll just have to wait and see. But they all look like they are having fun. Maybe, in addition to being a kind of Western (as has been reported) maybe this new film will be the funniest Star Wars film. That’s fine, but Star Wars must be careful with not going overboard. This ain’t Guardians of the Galaxy, and Star Wars writers must remember that, with the Empire in control, things are a bit bleak overall, and any humor and excitement must come from our spirited characters. I don’t mind comedy in this film, but I don’t want a farce, and I don’t want it to be all jokes.
What I do want (or: what I expect):
Seeing the Kessell Run? Check.
Seeing how Han and Chewbacca become friends, and why Chewie is indebted to Han? OK, but I personally don’t need to see this.
Seeing Han win the Falcon from Lando in a card game? Sure, why not?
Seeing what drove Han and Lando apart until they reunite in Empire Strikes Back? Check (And remember, it wasn’t the card game with the Falcon at stake. Whatever drove those two apart was something more serious. Watch Empire again and listen closely to the dialogue if you don’t believe me. There was clearly another event that they were referring to.)
Seeing Han get in over his head while delivering Kessell spices for Jabba and needing to vent his valuable cargo into space? Nah. We might get this in the film, but I don’t need to see it.
What I want to see are the dice that hang from the dashboard in the Falcon spotted in A New Hope for a few seconds) Even more than that that, I guess I am eager to see the Falcon itself, the most iconic spacecraft in all of fiction. In this picture, it’s new. You can even get that new car smell from it.
Even more than that, I just want a good, solid story. The Han Solo film is the riskiest project that the new Disney-fied version of Lucasfilm has on it’s plate, because we don’t need a Han Solo-centered prequel, and we don’t want to tarnish our impressions of the most perfect Star Wars character.
But they are doing it. I wish them luck.