The trouble with prequels is that it’s hard to raise the stakes when you already know certain characters are going to live. And in the same vein, you can predict who’s going to die, but Solo: A Star Wars Story was able to capture the exploration of a pre-New Hope universe with fun dialogue and action and great performances from its cast.
The movie, opening on the 25th, follows an adolescent Han Solo, navigating his way through life in the intergalactic criminal underworld, picking up friends and enemies along the way—two of them being the extremely hairy and iconic, and growling, Chewbacca and the charismatic, slick-talking smuggler, Lando Calrissian.
It’s always great seeing familiar faces (or, in this case, characters) who tie into the original Star Wars trilogy. It’s also nice not being overloaded with the computer-generated imagery of the second trilogy, aka Episodes I, II and III. CGI effects were definitely in the film, but they struck a good balance with the special effects, incorporating the visual look and feel of the original trilogy that audiences first fell in love with.
Alden Ehrenreich was an impressive Han Solo, and Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra was a much better fit than her Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys. I still prefer the chemistry between Han and Princess Leia, but the young-love couple worked here, and we got a good idea why Han does Han the way he does.
As usual, Woody Harrelson provided some well-received comic relief as the lovable scumbag and mentor to Han, while Thandie Newton came through with that Westworld grit.
But who is it we really wanna know about? The man of the hour, Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino! I mean, let’s face it—Glover’s on fire right now. In just the last week, he’s had everybody and their mama replaying “This Is America” on their phones, catching something new every view before writing a think piece on it, and then the season 2 finale of his Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning show, Atlanta, was another amazing way to wrap up his 2-year-old show.
As Solo moves closer to its opening, Glover has already been pushed into the spotlight once again because of the release of “This Is America,” which he did not touch on during the Star Wars press conference. In other interviews, Glover has disclosed how he tries to steer clear of the internet whenever his work is released because he can be quite sensitive to criticism. So it’s probably safe to say, whatever criticism his Calrissian character receives, he’ll also try to shield himself from it.
Glover, who steps into Billy Dee Williams’ shoes as Calrissian, may not have the stature or wavy hair of Williams, but it was a role he knew he had to pursue.
“When I heard they were making these, I told my agent, ‘If they’re making anything with Lando in it, I have to be Lando,’” Glover said at the Star Wars press conference Saturday.
“And he was like, ‘I hear you. I don’t like your odds,’” Glover said. “That was exactly what I needed to hear. I really auditioned like it was the only role I wanted in the world. It really was.”
Glover played Calrissian brilliantly and had Star Wars fans in the theater smiling. But one would have to wonder what Williams thought of his portrayal of the most suave man in the galaxy.
Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Joonas Suotamo, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany and Woody Harrelson, Solo: A Star Wars Story opens May 25.