Star Wars junkies, relief is at hand. The new Han Solo film opening tonight, May 24th, will answer some (not all) of your burning questions about who the H, Han Solo actually is.
Now, let’s just be clear – you don’t have to be an obsessed Star Wars fan to enjoy the ride along with young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), in the new film, Solo: A Star Wars Story. Like all Star Wars movies, the action is fast and furious, starting ASAP in the opening seconds. If we ever had any doubt, Han, we quickly see, is a troublesome rebel from way back. He’s on the run from his “mob” boss, Lady Proxima (Linda Hunt), on the gloomy, grimy planet of Corellia, after stealing an uber-valuable mineral called coaxium in hopes of using it to escape with his love, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). Now, how Han, who is parentless as is Qi’ra, actually came to be on Corellia, enslaved to Lady Proxima, we never find out. How do orphans raise themselves anyway in a galaxy a long time ago, far, far away? That’s an answer that Han Solo, and any number of other action films, never give us. Like, we still have no idea of how Rey managed to survive on Jakku after her parents disappeared when she was just a little girl? Hmm, maybe that will be the subject of a future film.
In any case, Han and Qi’ra are currently trapped like Oliver Twists, working as scavengers while also being exceedingly good looking and madly, passionately and deeply in love. They bravely make their escape in a speedy chase and try using the coaxium to bribe their way through Empire gatekeepers to hop a flight to anywhere else, all while being hunted, and then disaster – Han makes it, Qi’ra doesn’t. And that is the set up for all of Han’s adventures as he embarks on his quest against all odds to learn how to be the best pilot in the galaxy, and to rescue his beloved, Qi’ra. Along his literally very messy way – would it be anything else with Han Solo? – we learn that our hero has developed the expert skill at being a major bluffer/bullshitter -in- chief, that he’s got the risk-taker gene and that beneath his sardonic exterior, he’s always had a heart of gold. We discover the origin of his deep palship and partnership with his loyal Wookiee co-pilot, Chewbacca, he teams up with the charming rogue, Tobias (Woody Harrelson), who mentors him in a weird, morally ambiguous way, AND we learn why he has such a hard time later surrendering in love to Princess Leia. Then we also get practical answers, like how Han won his beloved spaceship, the Millennium Falcon.
Donald Glover is entertaining as Lando, the shady original owner of the Falcon, and you will def be happy to see that women’s liberation was in full force in that far away, long ago galaxy, at least, as embodied in a smart-talking female droid, L3-37. Let’s hope L3 somehow makes a reappearance in future films. So grab your popcorn and settle into your theater seat for Solo: A Star Wars Story. You’ll get an enthralling ride.