Somehow, someway along the lines of movie history, there was a huge schism in Star Wars fandom. Between the Special Editions, Re-Releases, Prequels, and now everything that Lucasfilm has done since being acquired by Disney has been lauded on by fans and critics or vilified. There's no in-between.
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi caused that schism to grow even wider. The fans have been 100% divided on their feelings towards the film. There is simply no “it was alright.” So when Solo: A Star Wars Story was released this past May, there were all kinds of reasons the film was considered a failure. But it wasn't a failure at all. In fact it was the most fun Star Wars has been in a long time as opposed to the meandering, depressing plots.
Most of the reasons for its failures had little to do with the film itself and most of the reasons for its success ARE the actual film itself. Don't let outside influences and preconceived notions cause you from seeing the film. When you're done watching it come back and check out 13 Reasons Why Star Wars Fans Are Wrong About Solo (And 11 Things That Make No Sense)
24 Best – The Prequels And OT Are Tied Into The Film
While each Star Wars film has callbacks and echoes of other Star Wars films, few, if any of them have as many intertwined moments to all of the films like Solo. From the guy who' really running things for Crimson Dawn to where Han and Chewie are heading to at the end of the film, Solo has threads that connect to just about every other film.
The Kessel Run mentioned in several films? It's here. Han’s Dice seen in The Last Jedi? They're here too. Seeds of the Rebellion seen in both deleted scenes of Episode III and Rogue One? There's just so many callbacks to the rest of the films that there's so much fan service no matter which chapter of Star Wars is your favorite.
23 Wasn't – No More Star Wars Stories
Thanks to all of the critical backlash for Solo: A Star Wars Story, there have also been articles and opinion pieces online calling for the resignation of Kathleen Kennedy and a complete overhaul of how the Star Wars franchise should go.
By the way, many of these fans are the same fans who claimed that George Lucas ruined their childhoods. While plenty of these articles are a bunch of hogwash, if even the most ardent fans and keyboard warriors can't keep their outlandish opinions to themselves, Kelly Tran leaving social media won't be the only consequence - we won't be getting at least one Star Wars flick a year.
Think about it, it's sound business. If more than half of your fanbase is going to be absurdly critical about everything you do, and your films are going to lose money than why keep making them? So that Obi-Wan movie that fans and Ewan McGregor we all gung-ho for? Kiss that one goodbye.
22 Best – (Spoiler) Is Still Alive!
At the end of Solo, his former flame, Qi’ra takes off Dryden Voss’ ring and calls out to the head of the Crimson Dawn - Darth Maul himself! It was a pretty cool surprise for all of the fans. One that opens up a heck of a lot of the galaxy throughout the Star Wars universe.
For the fans that have kept up with the Clone Wars cartoon though, Maul being the head of the Crimson Dawn was the only surprise. He's been alive on that series for years now. Rebuilt with robotic legs and constantly seeking revenge on Obi-Wan, alongside his brother Savage Opress.
21 Wasn't – (Spoiler) Is Still Alive?
When Qu’ira reaches out and calls someone and it's revealed to be Darth Maul, and he is not a force ghost, some fans were scratching their heads. “Didn't Obi-Wan slice him in half?” Yes, he did is the right answer. At the end of the much-maligned Phantom Menace, Kenobi leaves Maul hurtling down a pit being diced in half with a lightsaber.
Fans that had no idea about the Clone Wars cartoon and Maul’s history might be hemming and hawing about this twist. But did it really ruin the whole movie for you to know he was alive? Hopefully, Boba Fett claiming out of the Sarlaac Pit didn't ruin your enjoyment of Return Of The Jedi.
20 Best – Smuggler’s Run
When we first meet Han Solo in the Mos Eisley Cantina, we are told he was a smuggler, a space pirate. Harrison Ford finally got to play the smuggler part of Han in the Force Awakens when he reveals he's been hauling crazy looking Ranthar creatures and has to talk his way out of debts owed by two different gangs.
But we never got to see young Han Solo go on a big heist. Until now in Solo. If you haven't seen the film yet, which you really should, the big heist scene shown in a lot of the trailers is only the tip of the iceberg about what batcrap crazy heist jobs Han takes part of.
19 Wasn't – Many Characters Don't Make It
Just about everyone we meet in Solo doesn't make it out of the movie alive. For some reason, this really grinds some gears. Remember you're watching a prequel movie, and a stand-alone Star Wars movie. Plenty of people weren't going to make it out of alive. Plus, they're smugglers and gangsters - a dangerous world that they all operate in.
Did anyone seem to mind that no one lives during the critically lauded Rogue One? If the good guys couldn't live in one movie, why did the bad guys in another have to? Just because this isn't the movie that was in your head doesn't mean it wasn't a pretty good one.
18 Best – Lando
Donald Glover’s take on Lando has been hailed by both critics and fans alike. Heck, it was hailed just at the mere announcement that he was up for the role.
Seldom in today's world of a fickle internet and fandom has a marriage between a role and the actor been such an inspired and beloved choice that it was championed from the initial announcement all the way until seeing him or her in the finished product. Thankfully, Glover more than lived up to the hype.
17 Wasn't – He Is Given His Name
A collective groan was heard throughout Star Wars fandom. Similar to the voice when millions of voices cried out, so it went with how Han Solo got his name. A friggin’ Imperial recruiter gave it to him.
Why couldn't his name just be Han Solo? It didn't need to be retconned like this? This isn't just the fault of Star Wars prequels and sequels either, plenty of films feel the need to add little Easter eggs.
Remember when Judgement Day was this event that Sarah and John Connor fought to ensure would never happen? Then in the next film, we're told it's inevitable - way to negate two hours of fans’ lives. Thankfully, Solo's last name was just two seconds.
16 Best – When Han Met Chewbacca
Since the early days of the Star Wars Expanded Universe stories we have heard two things - Han at one point was an Imperial Cadet and Han saved Chewbacca from the Empire. While Lucasfilm has stated much of the EU is now considered a legend and not canon, these two facets of Han’s past were still a big part of the film.
The Empires heaved Han in a cell for being a deserter and large wet hairy Wookie was in the muck chained up and ripping the arms off of anyone that got tossed in the cell with him. But true to form, Han talks his way out of destruction and the galaxy’s greatest duo was born.
15 Wasn't – It All Happens In A Day
A prequel that is also paving the road for future sequels should leave a little mystery, but Solo threw all of its Sabaac cards on the table in a big way. Han’s dice, Chewie, the Falcon, Lando, the Kessel Run - just about all we know about Han’s past from the movies, we got to see how everything happened all in the span of two hours.
Seemingly everything important that happened to Han happened during this time frame, which might leave a lot of room for more during any possible sequels but also felt a little shoehorned into this film.
14 Best – L3’s In The Falcon
After the demise of Lando’s droid, L337, she is hooked up into the Millennium Falcon. In doing so, this added all of L3’s navigational information into the Falcon, which helped Han make the Kessel Run in less than 12 Parsecs.
With L3 being a part of the Falcon, it gives credence to C3PO’s line, “Sir, I don’t know where your ship learned to communicate, but it has the most peculiar dialect.” Just another one of Solo’s many trilogy spanning Easter eggs.
13 Wasn't – Han Speaks Wookie
In terms of the Star Wars timeline, most of Solo takes place ten years before we first meet Han and Chewie on Tatooine. We've watched the smooth-talking smuggler and his bestie for four films before we first meet Han in Solo.
Not one time did the Corellian speak a lick of Shyriiwook, the Wookie’s main dialect. But he does in Solo. It's only for a brief scene, and it's enough to get Chewie’s attention instead of ripping Han’s arms off. But it is still one of the groan-inducing moments of the film.
12 Best – The Kessel Run
“You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon? It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs,” Han Solo one told Luke in their initial meeting in Episode IV. The Kessel Run is one of the most spoken about moments in Star Wars canon.
A moment we got to see in its glory in Solo. As the Falcon and her crew try to flee Kessel, they're being pursued by an Imperial blockade, leaving Han no choice but pilot through an uncharted route, which is how the Falcon makes the Run.
11 Wasn’t – Robot Revolution
Lando’s droid co-pilot, L337 is possibly the most divisive part of Solo. She's just as snippy as other droids in the Star Wars movies, but unlike all of the other ones L3 is doing her best to convince Qi’ra and the audience and her and Landon have a thing.
While that part of things is played up for yucks, the fact that the crew’s entire mission on Kessel is almost ruined and then somehow succeeds thanks to L3 starting a robots revolution is a little head scratching. Thankfully, there wasn't much to this sub-plot as L3 and her revolution were put down just as fast as she thought she found her calling.
10 Best – Ron Howard Takes The Helm
With apologies to the film’s original directors, Chris Miller and Phil Lord, but if they weren't going to make a Star Wars movie with their touch and instead make their movie with a hint of Star Wars; then they shouldn't have been directing Solo at all.
But Lord and Miller kept deviating from Lawrence Kasdan’s script and not willing to conform with Lucasfilm’s vision. Which is why Ron Howard jumped onboard to right the ship. While the Lego Movie might have won critical acclaim, it's no Apollo 13, and Miller and Lord are no Ron Howard. We now live in a world where Star Wars is being directed by award-winning directors and that's not a bad thing at all.
9 Wasn't – “The Good Guy”
Who is Han Solo? He's the rabble-rousing no good double crossing swindling space pirate who looks after and cares about only himself. Or at least that's what we're told up until the moment the Falcon surprises Luke and the rebel fleet by showing up at the Battle Of Yavin.
Sadly, this is a fact that Solo aims to dismiss. According to Qi’ra, no matter how hard Han tries to fit in with the scum and villainy, he's really a good guy. While that might be true, it also completely shakes up the narrative of the original Star Wars, ensuring that Han would never actually abandon his new friends.
8 Best – The Seeds Of The Rebellion
One of the cooler aspects of both Rogue One and now Solo is that Rebellion is alive and well throughout the galaxy. Why wouldn't it be - at this point, Darth Vader has been traversing the cosmos for nearly ten years going unchecked. In Solo, the rebellion lives in the form of Enfys Nest and her Cloud Riders, who are certainly are hero’s enemy at first, until they reveal themselves to be fighting the good fight.
Nest and her crew have been working diligently to keep items like unrefined coaxium out of the hands of the Imperial army and groups like Crimson Dawn, who by this point, Han has realized aren't going to good business partners, and double-crosses them to help Nest snag the coaxium before Dryden Vos gets his mitts on it.
7 Wasn't – Continuing The Story
When the Star Wars Stories concept was first announced, the films were supposed to be stand-alone movies that had little or no connection to each other or the Skywalker saga. Then Solo came along.
The film gives an explanation to just about every facet of what we already knew about Han Solo, but the film still had a lot of unanswered questions about what happens to Qi’ra, Lando, Enfys Nest, and even Han himself. While there may never be a sequel to Solo, there shouldn't necessarily be this many loose ends to your prequel story.
6 Best – Continuing The Story
Who cares if the Anthology movies were supposed to be standalone movies? Solo was a super-fun adventure movie reminiscent of the swashbuckling adventure films that George Lucas grew up on, and conversely the original Star Wars films many of us grew up on.
So what's wrong with a little more of those types of stories? You wouldn't even have to have Solo parts II and III. You could continue the story with Lando film and conclude the trilogy with a Boba Fett and / or a Jabba standalone.
5 Wasn't – The Film No One Wanted
When Solo was first announced, there was a chorus throughout the internet that was more or less, “no one is asking for this film,” or “this film isn't needed.” To be fair, no film is ever needed. But Solo has had an uphill battle literally from its inception and kudos to Lucasfilm for seeing the production all the way through.
That being said, it still kept fans from theaters, expectations, and hype for this didn't even crack the surface what Star Wars hype generally is, which only hurt box office receipts and continued the narrative that Solo was the film no one asked for.
4 Best – going First
Out of all of the narrative changes George Lucas made to the original trilogy, perhaps the most damaging to fans was the now horrible looking and character moment stealing of switching Han shooting first while chatting with Greedo in the Cantina. Lucas himself even went back and again tried to change it and have both characters draw at the same time, but still not good enough as far as character building goes.
Thankfully, Han doesn't hesitate one bit in Solo, and doesn't even let the bad guy monologue one bit before putting the blaster bolt in him.
3 Wasn't – Last Jedi Jetlag
Not only was Solo a film “no one asked for,” but it was the first Star Wars film being released after the uber-mega-divisive The Last Jedi. Also, the film was released not even a month after the wildly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War. The film just did not have anything helping it, not even its release date!
Thanks to the backlash over the Last Jedi, there was #BoycottSolo that had crept up on the internet. With this fickle of a fan base, it's a good bet that a lot more than just some of the fans did indeed not bother with Solo due to their disenchantment of the Last Jedi.
2 Best – The Millennium Falcon
Say what you will about everything important to Han happening in this film being a detriment to it, if the most badass ship in all of Star Wars, let alone science fiction, in general, hadn't been a part of the proceedings, all of Star Wars fandom might have imploded faster than a black hole.
Thankfully, the fastest ship in the galaxy is in all her glory here, complete with an escape pod that Han jettisoned during the Kessel Run, and an entire room devoted to Lando Calrissian’s capes. Before Han got his hands on the flight stick, the Falcon was nice and sleek and nothing like the hunk of junk we’ve all come to know and love. It will be interesting to see what else happens to the Corellian freighter in the years before A New Hope.
1 Best – Han
Let's face it - there isn't an actor on this planet that can replace Harrison Ford or his portrayal of Han Solo. It's so ingrained into so many fans’ childhood and beloved by everyone that to try and replicate it would be a really bad move for any actor to try to pull off. Thankfully Alden Ehrenreich doesn't try to pull off a Harrison Ford impersonation. He plays his own version of a young Han Solo, one that isn't a complete cynic just yet.
Han is still a little bit of an idealist here, and Ehrenreich plays Han with a teenage rebel attitude that shows Han thinks he's the smartest guy in the room.
Thankfully, Ehrenreich was able to pull it off and be a great addition to the Star Wars universe. He's signed on for three films, so hopefully, all of the backlash won't completely ruin future movies.
Source: Forbes, RottenTomatoes, Esquire, NBCNews