Sometimes I wish that Star Wars wasn’t so important to me.
I wish that I could look at all of this new content as either a new or casual fan. I wish that I didn’t have standards that every film had to live up to, or even the small bit of knowledge about the characters’ histories that isn’t shown on-screen.
But the fact is that… well, it is. And it’s not like Star Wars post-Disney-purchase has been a constant letdown. Hell, I fucking LOVED both The Force Awakens and (obviously) Rogue One. I thought that this was going to be the “Star Wars Renaissance”, an age filled with such perfect films that it’d rival Disney Animation’s Renaissance.
And then I didn’t like The Last Jedi. And now I’m not so sure.
My expectations going into Solo were really low, similarly to how I felt before going into Rogue One. I thought, here’s EXTRA, you know? This is something new that I don’t have to hang the moon on. But where Rogue One exceeded my expectations by the FURTHEST MARGIN OF ANYTHING THAT HAS EVER EXISTED, Solo just kind of… met them.
It was fun. It was action-y, space-western-y. Chewbacca was awesome.
But I was still left disappointed because all I could think about was how Star Wars could, and SHOULD, be more than just that. It has proven, REPEATEDLY, that it can be more than just that. And beyond that? I feel like these past two moments have lost the respect for the original content (or, jesus, even the NEW content) that it deserves.
So I rewrote Solo in my head. And then I took notes. And then I decided I had to share it.
Look, it’s not like I think I can do Star Wars better, or that even think I’m of the caliber needed to write Star Wars in the first place. But I think the Solo both missed some solid opportunities to do better in certain areas, AND to have a bit more emotional resonance, AND to pay more respect to Han’s character.
A CHARACTER THAT I PROBABLY CARE ABOUT LEAST IN THE STAR WARS UNIVERSE, MIND YOU.
But I think my purpose in sharing this is more to magnify the blatant, desperate need that Lucasfilm has right now: MORE DIVERSE WRITERS. MORE DIVERSE DIRECTORS. MORE DIVERSE STORIES. And when they do hire the white dudes, as they keep doing, they have to hire the ones that are SUPER nerdy about the original content. Because in my opinion, JJ and Gareth did it RIGHT-- and it’s because they REALLY FUCKING CARED.
Anyway, onto the rewrite…
******* SPOILERS FOR SOLO AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. *******
First of all, I took out Qi’ra, Beckett, and L3. Let me explain why.
I found no positive qualities in Qi’ra. She was boring, predictable, and a “female romantic lead in an action movie” cliche. If there are things we learned about Han through his relationship to her, we can learn those things through other means. Also, I’m not liking the plot device that is becoming a recurring theme in the SW Universe: “romantic love as motivation” (you deserved better, Rose Tico). And, yeah, okay, I’ll admit it: I think Han’s relationship with Qi’ra lessens his reactions and feelings towards Leia. Because if Han just becomes this dude who’s there to “save the girl”, that’s all he ever is, you know? And he can be, and IS, more than that.
Beckett is an important character, and I think a somewhat necessary one, but I think there was a better way to play out his storyline. More on that in a bit.
And finally, L3 was… I’m not quite sure how to take her. To me, she came off as a caricature of an SJW, written by a white dude and passed off as a joke. But so ACTUAL SJWs didn’t get mad, they gave her a vaguely heroic end. Nah. Lose her completely. Kaytoo was a better “sassy droid”, and L3’s storyline ALSO works better elsewhere. And, seriously, you’re calling Lando pansexual but having him kind of be in love with a FEMALE DROID, rather than giving him feelings for a DUDE? Get out, Lucasfilm.
Now, let’s get down to it.
Han’s story STILL should begin on Corellia (with no explanatory text beforehand because IT SHOULDN’T BE NECESSARY). He still steals the coaxium in hopes to use it for payment to get off the planet, but for different reasons: his father is what he’s trying to escape, not Lady Proxima. He’s a powerful dude in the Corellia crime world, but he’s also cold and basically hates his son, thinks of him as an embarrassment. So he sends Han to get the coaxium to prove his worth, but Han basically does the same thing that he did to Lady Proxima. He takes it to the planet border and tries to buy his escape, but his dad catches him. He’s pissed and violent, but is all like, “You want off the planet so bad? Fine. Go die in a war” and HE signs Han up for the Imperial army. Important note: Han gives HIMSELF the last name “Solo” because he wants to be rid of any attachment to his father. Done.
The battle scenes on Mimban that come up next can basically stay the same, except there is no Beckett, only Val. She poses as captain, gets Han thrown in the dungeon thing with Chewie for treason, etc. etc. But SHE’S the one who decides to take him onboard to assist with the raid on Vandor. SHE gives him his gun. SHE shows him how to fly. And she’s gruff, but kind-- VERY similar to how Han treats Rey in The Force Awakens (FOR A REASON, obviously). And when Enfys Nest and the pirates show up, Val is the one to drop the shipment. When Han doesn’t understand, she tells him the biggest lesson he’ll ever learn from her:
“The only thing is to survive, and keep surviving.”
The consequences are the same, however. Val now owes coaxium to the mob boss that gave her the job, and Han comes up with the plan about the unrefined coaxium to HER. They don’t go to see Dryden Vos on his space yacht, but go straight to see Lando Calrissian. The scene there can basically stay the same, with a big difference: Lando is CLEARLY crushing on Han. He still wins and avoids losing his ship to Han, but agrees to lend it to them and go along for the ride because of the possible money to be made AND because he has a big ol’ crush.
They go to Kessel. Events there can stay the same, but it’s Chewie who incites a riot/revolution, when he sees the mistreatment of the other Wookies. When they escape, that “map” business isn’t mentioned, and the only reason they escape is because of Han’s idea about the coaxium boost and some very awesome flying between him and Chewie. Lando is basically giving him heart-eyes over it… until they get to Savareen and he sees how messed up his ship is.
Enfys Nest shows up again and they find out that they’re rebels, and Lando is flat out DONE. He wants nothing to do with politics/the rebellion and peaces the fuck out. Val is somewhat sympathetic, but mentions to Han that getting involved with Rebels is too dangerous-- survival is still her number one priority. Chewie disagrees, of course, and there’s some argument there-- Han is clearly torn, particularly when Chewie says he’s going to stay with the Rebels and help them.
The mob boss that Val owes suddenly shows up on his ship. Lando has sold them out (to get his money to fix his ship, of course) and here’s the fairly predictable twist: it’s HAN’S DAD, but there’s a purpose for this, hang on. Han tries the whole switcheroo act, but his father immediately knows he’s lying and there’s a shootout similar to what’s already in the movie. His dad shoots Val and Han freaks out, tackling him to the ground. He has his blaster to his father’s head and is about to kill him, but… he can’t (I THINK THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO HAVE IN HAN’S MOVIE GIVEN WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FORCE AWAKENS. FIGHT ME, KYLO DOESN’T HAVE HALF THE HEART HAN DOES). His father does the typical ha-ha-ha-you-are-weak thing that bad guys do when the good guys can’t kill them, but then Val shoots him with the last of her strength. As she lays dying, she tells Han to do whatever it takes to keep surviving-- just keep surviving. This moment clearly resonates with him, and it explains his actions in A New Hope MUCH better (which is one of my bigger issues with Solo).
He stumbles outside, unsure of what to do, where to go, and thinking he’s going to be alone… until Chewie lays a hand on his shoulder.
We end, like in the movie, with the scene with Han and Lando playing for the Millennium Falcon. Han is drunk and messy, half-flirting with Lando and half-yelling. He still wins, and Lando is PISSED. The end.
(I know people are freaking out about Maul, but *sigh*, HE GOT CUT IN HALF YOU GUYS CAN WE NOT FIND OTHER STORIES TO TELL?!)
Like, I am 100% that pretty much anyone could write something better, but this addresses my biggest issues with Solo, which are:
- Val, THE FIRST WOC CHARACTER IN A STAR WARS FILM EVER (no, Maz does not count, and please understand HOW MUCH I LOVE LUPITA N'YONGO), IS KILLED OFF REALLY POINTLESSLY. And I hated it.
Nothing in Solo explains why Han acts the way he does when we first met him in A New Hope. There was no depth added to his character. There was no POINT to this movie, so why did they make it?
I’m okay with having a more fun, less serious movie than Rogue One. But if the MCU has proved anything, it’s that you CAN have a fun movie with emotional resonance. Like… can Kevin Feige give Kathleen Kennedy some pointers? They’re owned by the same company, for christ’s sake. There was ZERO emotional resonance in this movie, and honestly? I wanted SOMETHING. We lost Han, fairly recently. It would’ve been nice to have a movie that honored his character a bit more.
Nevertheless, the Lucasfilm train chugs on.
Help us, JJ Abrams. You’re our only hope.