Solo Part VI-Double double cross *Spoilers*

The group lands on the ‘refining’ planet Savareen, and Lando is pretty much upset by the cost of the trip-his droid co-pilot, and the damage to his ship. “I hate you” he says to Han, to which Han replies “I know”.

 

Image result for I hate you i know

The scene is of course a callback to the classic Empire Strikes Back moment…

 

Image result for I love you I know Star Wars

Which of course was also given another inverse callback in “Return of the Jedi”.

Related image

Shortly thereafter, the Cloud Riders show up, and Lando gets the hell out of dodge.

Image result for Cloud riders Solo

However, it turns out that the Cloud Riders are in fact a Rebel cell, and Enfys is actually a teen girl, played by Erin Kellyman.

Image result for Erin kellyman

Not only that, but one of her lieutenants is Teazel, one of Warwick Davis’s many Star Wars characters, making this the first of Davis’s characters that he’s reprised since Wicket. Weazel was one of Watto’s buddies at the Pod Race, but apparently he fell on some hard times once the Empire took control of everything and decided to join the Rebels.Also he played a different character in “Rogue One”, which was also part of a Rebel cell, although a somewhat more messed up one (Saw’s faction).

Image result for Warwick davis solo

The concept of Han having an early, if small, role in the formation of the Rebellion is something that’s also used in AC Crispin’s trilogy, which had Han’s former girlfriend ultimately become one of the first leaders of the alliance, and killed while stealing-you guessed it-the Death Star plans. (The comic series Underworld, which I covered a few weeks ago, also dealt with that).

Image result for Rebel dawn

Basically Han agrees to help the Rebels by giving them the Coaxium, and fool Vos with a fake shipment. However, Vos already knows that it’s bogus, thanks to Beckett.  However, Han already anticipates the betrayal, and the Cloud Riders are able to ambush Vos’s men on the group. A fight then breaks out while Beckett flees with Chewbacca, and Vos has these interesting red daggers, another case of the not-quite-lightsabers the film uses. Although the red color not only invokes the name “Crimson Dawn” but also might be a small hint as to who runs Crimson Dawn….

 

Related image

Qi’ra eventually saves Han by killing Vos, and Han leaves while she says she’ll catch up.

However, she decides to make a holographic call to the real leader of Crimson Dawn-none other than Darth Maul, in a scene that perhaps was the most confusing to casual moviegoers. Film-wise, Maul is seen cut in half in “The Phantom Menace”.

Image result for Darth Maul

However, the Clone Wars series brought him back, revealing that he wound up with some robot legs, and that he also had a brother (Savage opress). After going nuts for a bit, he was mentally healed by his mother on Dathomir, and then set about doing various organized crime things during the Clone Wars, (and has a few rematches with Kenobi)one of which brought him to the attention of his former master, whose plans had evolved beyond Maul at this point.

Image result for darth maul clone wars first appearance

 

After this, Maul continues his organized crime activities, and that’s the point where we are in “Solo”. The rest of Maul’s story is pretty much already been told, in “Rebels”-he winds up on the planet Malachor. After escaping, he eventually winds up on Tatooine again, once again facing his enemy, Obi-Wan, who kills him before he can reach Luke.

Image result for darth maul rebels

Qira just decides to leave with Vos’s ship/fortress, probably realizing that with her duties with the Crimson Dawn revealed Han would never love her again, or perhaps knowing that crossing Maul-who orders her to Dathomir-would be a very bad mistake. It’s kind of unclear what happens to her. It’s possible there will be “Solo” sequels but it’s not looking good with the Box office of this film. Maybe a novel or comic down the line will deal with her fate, if the movies can’t.

Image result for Qi'ra maul

Han, in the meantime, confronts Beckett….and of course shoots first. The two have a short conversation, but Han shoots him (first!), although Han seems  somewhat agonized by the decision and holds him as he dies…

Image result for Beckett Star wars

Something he definitely wasn’t later on in the timeline with Greedo. (Then again Greedo was pretty much fried anyway). Although whether Han shot first or not depends on what version of Star Wars you’re watching.

Image result for Sorry about the mess Han

After declining Enfy’s plea to help with her rebellion, (something which he’ll of course, eventually reverse-makes you wonder if they ever met again?) he decides to have a rematch with Lando on a sort of jungle planet (Lando here is trying to charm someone with another anecdote that uses terms from the old Lando novels, again). Here we get a callback to ESB, with Han hugging Lando, although in this case, Han uses the opportunity to take Lando’s cheating device literally off his hands….and he’s able to win the Falcon.

 

Image result for Han lando hugg

 

BTW Lando’s outfit here is even more loud than his other one, with a kind of tacky pattern on it showing what appears to be some sort of glider underneath two suns. (Couldn’t find any in-film pics so I settled for this).

Image result for Solo lando ending costume

Now taking their rightful place as pilots of the Falcon, the two set upon a job that Beckett hinted at, with a gangster on Tatooine.

Related image

Of course it doesn’t take much thought to know who the gangster is….

Image result for Jabba

So that’s Solo. Unfortunately, it’s probably one of the weaker Disney Star Wars efforts. While it’s got a decent cast, some nice additions to Star Wars lore and nicely incorporates elements from the “Expanded Universe” into it, but Alden Emmerich doesn’t quite have the charisma of Harrison Ford or the presence, which I think unfortunately hurts the film. Also, although it doesn’t really incorporate much of the Jedi/Sith/force aspects of the larger saga, it still does feel a bit ‘recycled’ in some aspects, a criticism often applied to Disney’s films-the Kessel Run sequence in particular seemed to be a bit of a “Greatest hits” thing. It’s a bit unclear if any of these problems were due to the film’s director drama, or some other aspects. Unfortunately, SOLO wasn’t a huge hit, and Disney seems to be recessing their Star Wars release strategy at this point, although Episode 9 is still on track for a 2019 release and there are other projects in the pipeline apart from the “Story” films.

 

Advertisements

Solo Part V-Kessel run!

 

Although they manage to clear Kessel, the Empire has decided to pop up and block the Maelstrom with a Star Destroyer. It’s a pretty cool image that appeared in the trailers. Say what you will about Disney’s handling of the franchise, but they’ve really managed to get some cool Star destroyer imagery in these films. The Empire’s arrival is signaled by an ominous DUN, DUN DUN DUNNNN!!!! music, used in Star Wars and Rogue One at the beginning of most Death Star scenes.

 

Related image

And they’re definitely not letting Han and co. through, as they release TIE fighters. Among these is the TIE brute, a new model of TIE fighter that doesn’t particularly look as different as Rogue One’s Striker and Last Jedi’s silencer, seeming more like a downgraded version of the the TIE bomber from ESB and (briefly) ROTJ.

 

Image result for Solo TIE fighters

Han decides to go around the Destroyer, launching on the fabled Kessel run. Unfortunately, to me, this scene sort of plays a lot like a sort of greatest hits kind of thing for the films. First, you’ve got Beckett using the Falcon’s manual cannons, which of course we “later” see in A new Hope, Force Awakens and Last Jedi. It even uses the same “Here they come!” music, although with a bit more drums….and the cannon is somewhat not quite a ‘quad’ yet, but a single and mostly useless one.

Image result for Solo falcon turret

Then we get the Falcon trying to evade the TIEs in an asteroid field; naturally, of course, playing the Asteroid chase music! It’s a great piece of music of course, and it’s nice to hear it again in a Star Wars film (While “Here they come” shows up in ROTJ and TLJ again, ESB was the only other film to use this theme)….but still, couldn’t come up with something more original?

Image result for Solo kessel run

It’s here that Chewie takes his rightful place as Han’s co-pilot as well, set to the triumphant Star Wars theme. We also learn that Chewie’s 190 years old, which sticks with most non-film sources saying he’s about 200 at the time of the OT.

Lando plugs what’s left of L3 into the Falcon’s computer to help them navigate, allowing for her to pretty much become the ‘brains’ of the Falcon, so we know who Threepio was ‘talking’ to in ESB.

Image result for i don't know where your ship learned to communicate

Finally, we get to the big finale-which involves a giant space monster. While monsters-including ones out in space-have been a sort of Star Wars trope for a long time, it still feels a bit ‘greatest hits’, especially after the last two parts of the chase.

 

Image result for Solo giant space monster

Although “Solo” does add something new, or rather, something reworked from the novels; the Maw, a massive black hole that soon snares both the monster and the Falcon. I’m pretty sure this is the first time we see or have a black hole mentioned in a Star Wars film, although they’ve been around quite a bit in the EU-especially this one, the Maw. In the Jedi Academy novels (now non-canon) it’s revealed that the Maw is host to an isolated Imperial weapons factory, which had a prototype version of the Death Star (something obviously completely retconned by “Rogue One” and even further back, “Revenge of the Sith”) and also a super-powerful “Sun crusher” which has torpedoes that create supernovas. (One such torpedo destroys Carida in the trilogy; Carida is actually mentioned earlier in this film as one of the Imperial academies).

Image result for Maw black hole Star wars

The Maw pretty much ‘eats’ the giant space monster, and almost the Falcon, but by ejecting some of it’s extra weight and a little coaxium, manages to escape the Maw….in 12 parsecs. Sort of. Of course, all this wear and tear pretty much gives the exterior of the Falcon it’s “classic look”. Sort of.

 

Image result for Millennium falcon Solo end

Solo Part IV

Kessel! We first see our characters go through the Akkadese maelstrom, a sort of big gas tunnel. Funny thing is, it almost sounds a lot like the “Antares Maelstrom” the way it’s pronounced, which puts me in the mind of a quote from another “Star” franchise.

 

 

Image result for He tasks me

 

Here’s some sort of character downtime, where we get a look at the much cleaner interior of the Lando-era Falcon. We also learn why the holo-chess is a bit flickery later on-Chewbacca hits it, thinking the “pieces” are in fact, solid.

Image result for Solo holochess

We also get Qi’ra and Han reminisce on old times-and share a kiss-in Lando’s closet, which of course is full of many capes and outfits. She also states that she’s reluctant to restart her relationship with Han because she’s done terrible things for the Crimson Dawn syndicate (Not really elaborated on, but it’s a criminal organization so probably some bad stuff).

Image result for Lando's closet Qi'ra

I wonder if the Cloud City outfit is in there?

Image result for Lando cloud city

 

The white interior of the Falcon and the clothes put me in mind of yet another sci-fi franchise; the Doctor Who series, where the Doctor keeps a closet of multiple outfits handy in the TARDIS, which comes in helpfully when the regeneration alters his personality-and fashion sense-sometimes, not for the better.

Image result for Twin dilemma closet

I also wonder if this is the same area where Han and Leia first kiss later on. I’m not about to dig out a technical manual or anything to look that up. Kind of makes sense though, that Han would scuttle the closet once he gets the ship. Han basically has two main looks in the OT-the vest and jacket (The jacket also made a comeback in The Force Awakens), so he probably has little need for a fancy closet.

Image result for Han leia kiss

We also learn that Han is familiar with the YT-1300 design because his father worked on the docks. That’s pretty much all we learn about Han’s father (Who is of course Kylo Ren’s paternal grandfather, and probably didn’t end up anything like his maternal grandfather)…..that would be an awkward family visit.

Image result for Vader

We also learn Lando was raised by a single mother as well, a slight detail from the old Lando novels (not the only mention they’ll get). We also get a bit of an awkward conversation between L3 and Qi’ra, and how L3 and Lando seem to have feelings for each other.

Finally, we come to Kessell, where the group pose as slavers selling Han and Chewie to the mines. The mines actually look fairly cheap for a Star Wars film, just kind of a regular mine.  Sorry to bring Star Trek into this yet again, but they don’t look all that different from the Rura Penthe mines in “Star Trek VI” (although with out snow).

Image result for Rura penthe mines

Here we get a little bit of an easter egg-Becket’s disguise here is pretty close to the one Lando wears to infiltrate Jabba’s palace in ROTJ.

Image result for Beckett skiff guard Solo

Chewbacca briefly splits to help out another Wookie, a sort of more hairless one (possibly from being in the mines so long)….who is played by none other than Anthony Daniels, AKA C-3PO! When Daniels was cast, everybody naturally assumed he’s be playing 3PO in a cameo similar to his “Rogue One” appearance. Nope! This is the second time we see Chewie among others of his own kind, after “Revenge of the Sith”. Of course, The Holiday special set the precedent (and some assumed from the trailers that the other Wookie was a member of Chewie’s family, as seen in that special)….but that’s best forgotten.

Image result for Solo other wookie

Image result for Anthony daniels

L3 causes the droids in the control room to revolt while Becket and the others steal the “Coaxium”. While some have been mixed on L3 as a character, I really liked that the droids in this had a sort of  boxy ‘retro’ look, like they could’ve walked out of the 1977 film…

Image result for Droid designs in Solo

or even one of the knockoffs, such as “The Black Hole”.

Image result for Black hole droid

Chewie also rips a guard’s arm off, the first time we really see him do such a thing, although JJ Abrams did intend for him to do that to Unkar Platt in a scene deleted from Force Awakens.

Image result for Chewie rips arm off

So all hell breaks loose, and the group are soon shooting for their lives. Lando, meanwhile, talks about the chronicles of Lando Calrissian to a holographic recorder, I think talking about the Mindharp of Sharu. Pretty much puts the old Lando novel ‘more or less’ back into canon, I guess, if you substitute L3 for Vuffi Raa.

Image result for Mindharp of sharu

Unfortunately, during the escape, L3 is fatally shot down, one of the saddest droid ‘deaths’ in the series along with K-S20 (R2 and 3PO were frequently damaged in the series, but ‘got better’ for the most part). While K-S20 sort of had a brave sacrifice and his ‘light’ went out, L3’s is far more shocking, as she starts talking in ‘malfunctioning’ language and seems to be in great ‘pain’ as she ‘dies’.  Lando is also injured as well….which of course now means it’s up to Han to take his rightful place…..

 

Image result for Solo cockpit

Next: Kessel Run

Solo My thoughts Part III *spoilers*

There’s a bit of a nice scene with Han and Qi’ra before Dryden shows up and sort of spoils the reunion. Basically, Vos isn’t too happy that the Coaxium was lost. It’s a bit like that scene in the special edition of “A New Hope” where Han talks to Jabba, except Vos here is a bit more intimidating (Han seems to not be too intimidated by Jabba here, even stepping on his tail, even if that of course was added as a CG joke by Lucas), but still kind of a bit cartoonishly evil.

 

 

Image result for Jabba a new hope

After a bit of negotiating they agree they’ll get some unrefined Coaxium from Kessel-Kessel of course the planet mentioned multiple times in A New Hope, as the place where there are “Spice mines” that 3PO worries will be their punishment, and of course Han’s famous line about making the Kessel run in twelve parsecs. Although the planet has been featured many times in Star Wars expanded media, “Solo” is it’s first on-screen appearance.

Of course Dryden’s hand in this can not be seen since he as an alliance with another criminal organization around that area….so Han and co. need to do things a bit incognito. Although he does send Qira in as their chaperone, which does kind of tie her to Vos if she’s discovered, so that’s not exactly a plan that’s 100% foolproof. Plus they need a ship/pilot.

Enter Lando. Gambler, card player, scoundrel. You’ll like him.

We shift to a scene on the same planet, with another, far more run-down lodge/cantina, which looks a bit more like the more divey places from the other Star Wars films than Vos’s ship.

Image result for Droid cage fighting Solo

This bar also has something a bit new-droid fighting. While we see droids in the other films in competitive sports (attack of the Clones) and being tortured (Return of the Jedi) I think this is the first time we see them as a sort of “battlebots”.

 

Image result for battlebots

It’s here we meet Lando, one of the highlights of the film, played by Donald Glover. Glover has plenty of Billy Dee’s mannerisms down, and we also learn that Lando is a bit of a cheat, using a device on his arm to rig the card games. There’s also a nod to Billy Dee William’s weird pronunciation of Han in the OT (Which sounds more like “Haan”). I also feel this is one of the scenes where Alden has more of the old style Harrison Ford swagger.

Image result for Lando calrissian solo

This is also the first time we see “Sabacc” a card game mentioned in the EU but never seen in “canon”. The old EU frequently portrayed the cards as actually small electronic devices, which would shift values electronically-as seen in this artistic rendition from the Shadows of the Empire card set-the cards appear to be lit up.

Image result for Sabacc

But the Solo version of the game seems to be somewhat more like your old fashioned card game, and also uses symbols that might be a bit more familiar to Star Wars fans.

Related image

Han tries to get Lando’s ship, but this isn’t the point where he wins the Falcon. We also meet L3, a female droid who is Lando’s co-pilot, but who also has a thing for droid’s rights, a topic that’s sort of been implied a bit in the films but never really explored (“We seem to be made to suffer, it’s our lot in life etc.”). L3’s an interesting design, she basically looks like an R2 unit with a more humanoid body. Lando likewise also had a droid pilot in the old EU as well, although in the end he turned out to be some kind of strange alien (The old Lando novels were kind of weird, although they’re actually sort of referenced in this film a bit later! So I guess there’s a “canon” version of them, but with L3 instead of the droid/alien thing Vuffi Raa) She breaks up the droid match, which kind of embarrasses Lando and provokes an angry rebuke from the guy running the fight…

Related image

Who turns out to be this film’s Clint Howard cameo. Clint is of course, Ron Howard’s brother, who has had small roles in many of his brother’s films, as well as several other TV and movie credits, including memorable roles in “Star Trek” “Seinfeld” and “Arrested development”.

Image result for Clint howard solo cameo

This isn’t the first time he’s shown up in something Star Wars related-he also played an Imperial officer in a commercial for “Kinect Star Wars”, the somewhat infamous game with, among other things, the Han Solo dance game.

Image result for Kinect star wars clint howard

Yep, that was a thing.

Image result for Kinect star wars Han dance

So Lando agrees to help Han and crew go to Kessel in exchange for a share. We’re given a somewhat weird scene with L3 asking the group not to look at her as she uses an R2-style buzzsaw to open the impoundment area. She looks a bit…different, with the mandible gap filled out and in noticeably better condition than later on.

 

Related image

The ship also appeared in “Revenge of the Sith” as well, in a “blink and you’ll miss it” cameo. (Falcon like ships are also seen in “Attack of the Clones” but according to Lucasfilm, this is the actual Falcon). Funny thing is, the “Revenge of the Sith” version is pretty close to the OT version, which means Lando must have fixed up the Falcon a bit, only for Han to kind of mess her up again. Some of the blue paint scheme is still a bit visible though.

 

 

Image result for revenge of the sith millenium falcon

However, we’re shown that Enfy’s Nest has planted a tracking device on the Falcon, which seems to me to clearly evoke this scene from ANH, where Vader and Tarkin talk about how they’ve let the Falcon escape so they can track it to the rebel base-although there’s no real escape here, and Enfys is not as nearly nervous about the plan as Tarkin was.

Image result for Darth Vader tarkin

Next: The Kessel run!

Solo-My thoughts-part two *SPOILERS*

As Han and Chewie join Beckett’s crew, we then come to the world of Vandor, which is a snowy planet a bit like Hoth and Starkiller, but this time with a lot more mountains, making I guess you could say, “The Himalayan planet”.

 

Image result for Solo snow planet

We get a nice bonding scene between the crew, who are out to steal a train cart of Coaxium. There’s some real chemistry between Woody and Thandie here.

Image result for Solo campfire scene

Here we come to the film’s next big set piece, as they attempt a heist of the conveyex, which, like the AT hauler, looks a lot like an offshoot of the Walker family. However, things get somewhat complicated. It’s a fun scene, with a lot near-misses for the characters. But things soon get even more complicated.

Image result for Conveyex

Chewie nearly falls off and gets crushed by the surrounding rock, which I’m not entirely sure, but it could be a slight nod to Lucasfilm’s other famous franchise where a character was stuck between a rock and a hard (vehicle) place….

Image result for Conveyex chewbacca

 

 

Related image

 

A group of marauders, the “Cloud Riders”, arrive. The Cloud Riders are another sort of call back to the old Marvel comics. Although this group-who have armor that looks like a mix between Boba Fett and Phasma-are definitely not anything like the old Marvel versions, except for their use of airspeeders and speeder bikes.

Image result for Cloud riders marvel

We see Enfys gets into a brief fight with Beckett. She has a lighted (heated?) blade, so it sort of gives off a lightsaber aesthetic without actually being a lightsaber. She’s also got an interesting theme, a sort of  high-pitched, somewhat Eastern European sounding choral music which sounds a bit like a lighter Duel of the Fates.

Image result for Enfy's nest

 

In other words, pretty much exactly like these guys. (although there’s more of this to come)

 

Related image

 

And the Empire is complicating things too. Stormtroopers-“Range troopers”  on the train itself, which look mainly like somebody “kitbashed” the Rogue One stormtroopers and gave them a bit of a fur coat. They also get part of the old school Imperial theme from ANH.

Related image

….and probe droids (although these look a bit different than their ESB/ROTJ/Rogue One counterparts, far more heavily armed and given more of a sentry/security function), which prove too much of a challenge for Val, who is hopelessly pinned down and destroys the rest of the Conveyex’s rail, and herself. Exit Thandie Newton.

Rio also gets shot and dies, leaving Han to pilot the AT hauler, but the Cloud Riders also get the haul too. Han is forced to jettison their cargo (but rescues Beckett and Chewie), which results in a spectacular, mountain-destroying explosion, which looks and sounds a lot like Jango Fett’s seismic charges from AOTC. Maybe those things had some coaxium in ’em too. Although considerably how valuable they are in this film, I guess the stuff was less scarce before the Clone Wars and the Empire?

 

Image result for Seismic charge solo

With two of his friends dead and the loot lost, Beckett now has a price on his head (Not unlike what will happen to Han later on) and has to face the guy who hired him, Dryden Vos. Vos’s ship shortly arrives, and has a main hall that looks like a cross between Jabba’s sail barge and the more classy Star Wars places like Cloud City and Canto Bight. It’s one of this film’s Cantinaesque scenes, complete with weird singer.

Related image

Vos himself is played by Paul Bettany, who unfortunately comes across as a bit one-dimensional.  BTW that Mandalorian costume back there is just for show, it doesn’t really do anything 🙂

Image result for Paul bettany Solo

Bettany was a late addition to the cast, replacing  Michael K. Williams as Vos when Ron Howard took over the film.

Image result for Michael K Williams

Here, although Beckett tells Han to sort of lay low-similar to Han’s own warning to Rey year’s later (“Don’t stare at any of it”)….but he can’t help it when Qira suddenly, and unexpectedly, taps him on the shoulder…

Image result for Solo Qi'ra

Next: Reunions and Lando!

 

SOLO: My thoughts Part one *SPOILERS!*

Solo is the second of the Star Wars Anthology, or “Story” films. This time, like with “Rogue One” we’re once again in the Episode III-IV gap, but this time at an earlier point, and tells the story of Han Solo, a character whose background has been explored in multiple “Expanded Universe” media (Now mostly non-canon) but mostly ignored by the films apart from the fact that he was a smuggler who worked for Jabba the Hutt, and wasn’t much for causes, just money. At least at first.

 

The film starts in Corellia (Pretty much a planet producing a ton of Star Destroyers at this point-we see them being assembled in many shots), establishing Han (presumably in his teens?) working for Lady Proxima, who pretty much controls a bunch of kids/orphans/ne’er do wells in the slums of the planet. She’s kind of like Fagin in Oliver twist, in other words. However, Han manages to get “Coaxium”-a valuable “Hyperfuel”-and plans to leave with his girlfriend, Qira and get off planet. Her den sort of has a slight “Mad Max” look to everything.

Image result for Han and Qira

Well, now we know what exactly TPM’s hyperdrive was leaking….

Image result for Hyperdrive is leaking

….and exactly what TLJ’s fleet was running low on. Interesting sort of addition to the lore, I guess.

Image result for Last jedi fleet

Han manages to escape using a bit of a bluff (Similar to one Leia would use in ROTJ) and we get our first chase scene with Han and Qira. Although there have been many, many chase scenes in Star Wars films with fighters, pods, speeder bikes, airspeeders and of course the Falcon, I’m pretty sure this is the first one to actually use landspeeders, pretty much the Star Wars equivalent of a car.

Related image

Although they’re able to make it to a spaceport OK, getting through and onto a ship appears to be the rough part. This is also the only part of the film to really feature your traditional stormtroopers as well…speaking of….

Han and Qira get separated, and she’s taken back to Lady Proxima while Han, out of options, decides to enlist for the Imperial navy as a pilot (This is also the origin of his last name-the old books revealed he came from an old royal family line or something, but here it’s kind of just an Imperial designation, not unlike Finn)….the Imperial propoganda commercial even includes a somewhat lighter version of the Imperial march, the first time I think it’s been used “in-universe” so to speak.

but like Finn, Han doesn’t become a pilot, but actually a Stormtrooper(!) this is actually a break from previous origin stories for the character, which made him a TIE fighter pilot. (Although Han’s imperial background wasn’t mentioned in the earlier films, it was included in Lucas’s own backstory for the character and elaborated on in various “Expanded Universe” stories).

Image result for TIE fighter pilot Han Solo

No wonder he and Finn hit it off-they both have similar backstories-although in a weird way, Han’s backstory also echoes Rey, as he urgently wants to get back to Correlia once he manages to get a ship, much like Rey wanted to get back to Jakku so her family could find her (In both cases, fate-or the force?-has other plans)

Image result for mudtrooper Han

Kind of funny that Han’s look here isn’t all that far off from his disguise in “Return of the Jedi”. Heck, there’s even AT-STs in this scene, too!

Image result for The rebels have been routed return of the jedi

 

Han notes a group of three troopers who seem out of place, and sees this as his opportunity, especially after telling off his superior officer.  These scenes in particular have a dirty, war torn look that’s actually not something we’re used to seeing from the Imperial side of things, who usually look a bit cleaner (if still a bit worn at times).

 

Related image

They initially reject him, and this leads to Han getting caught and forced to fight a certain Wookie-who else? (It’s also implied Chewbacca actually eats unfriendly humans!)

Image result for Chewbacca

Han manages to persuade Chewbacca to help him escape, as he can understand Chewie’s roars and vocalize them to a degree to talk to Chewbacca. Although not much is made of this, or why Chewbacca seems to understand English or whatever the Star wars version of it is for the rest of the film.

It sort of makes a change from the original version of the story, where Han frees Chewbacca from slavery and that’s the reason he loses any future he had with the Empire. Now, it’s mainly just a mutual jailbreak.

 

Image result for Han frees chewbacca

We’re introduced to the three criminals again, who steal an AT-Hauler (Used to drop AT-STs, and sharing many design similarities with it’s big brother, with a bit of the folding wings of the Imperial shuttles) and become part of the crew.

 

Image result for AT hauler

Image result for Beckett's Star wars

The head of the crew is Beckett, played by Woody Harrelson, kind of playing the sort of rogue role you usually see him in these days. His partner-both in crime and romance- is Val (Thandie Newton) who, despite her increased profile these days in film and TV (Westworld), doesn’t really do that much.

Image result for Thandie newton solo

Rounding this out is Rio Durant, a kind of cool six-armed Orangtuan like alien, who’s a bit like Guardian’s Rocket Racoon, but a little less snarky. He’s voiced by Jon Favreau, who previously voiced Mandalorian baddie Pre Visla in the Clone Wars, and now has been given the helm of an upcoming post-ROTJ Star Wars TV show.

Image result for CG Han solo creature favreau

But like Thandie, his time in the film is limited, despite what the trailers might’ve given the impression of. I’ll get into that in my next installment….

 

Star Wars comics history-Riding Solo

Long before the upcoming “Solo”, Dark Horse made a limited series dealing with some of the more criminal aspects of the Star Wars galaxy-the “Underworld” series (Not to be confused with Lucas’s planned Star Wars TV series which never quite materialized), which has Jabba and a few of his fellow Hutts place a wager on who can recover a valuable artifact-the Yavin Vasillika. Each Hutt sends a team of three-Jabba sends Han, Chewie, and Boba Fett (Who are joined by Lando), while the other two pretty much get the rest of the original trilogy’s bounty hunters (Yes, even Greedo). It’s a kind of fun romp. Those expecting a serious Star Wars crime drama should probably look elsewhere…

 

Image result for Star wars yavin vassilika

The series is done in a sort of cartoony style, but it’s a generally offbeat story anyway, so it kind of works. Naturally, as with any Star Wars story dealing with the more unsavory elements of the universe, there’s of course a lot of double-crossing and manipulation going on.

 

 

Image result for Star wars underworld comics

The series is also a sequel-or sort of an epilogue-to the Han Solo novels by AC Crispin, which detailed Han’s troubled past before A New Hope, and possibly might have had a bit of a minor influence on the new movie.

Image result for Han Solo trilogy AC Crispin

This is also reinforced by the Vesillika ultimately winding up in the hands of one of Han’s ex’s-a major character from those novels (and also apparently one of the bazillion people who stole the Death Star plans in the “Legends” continuity) and also a rebel commander.

 

File:BriaTharen-YV5.jpg

Image result for Bria tharen star wars underworld

It’s revealed that the Yavin Vesillika is actually a key to open the Yavin temple (hence the name), which of course appears in “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “Rogue One” as the rebel base….this was kind of one of my bigger issues with the comic-another case of the “small universe” problem that’s often been an issue with the films, although it’s not directly contradicted by the events or dialogue in Star Wars that Han knew there was a rebel base on Yavin already…. (But it’s all irrelevant now anyway, due to these comics being non-canon).

 

Image result for Yavin IV temple