It’s a question I’ve heard a lot from people that know I like Star Wars. Whether it’s from fellow fans, or just friends who heard the news stories around Solo and wanted to know my thoughts.
“Was Solo a necessary Star Wars film?”
My answer? Not at all.
That surprises people; “I thought you liked it!” I did! I do. I think it’s a fun film that feels like a Western and a heist film set in space.
But it wasn’t necessary. We knew Han was a smuggler, did the Kessel Run, won the Falcon from Lando. I mean, did we even need Rogue One? We knew the plans got to Leia after being stolen from the Empire. Heck, while we’re at it, did we need the prequels? I mean, we all knew that Darth Vader was a Jedi trainer by Obi Wan who had two kids and then turned into a Sith. If we look at the world as a whole, is Star Wars even necessary?
I sound snarky, I know, and that paragraph was very tongue in cheek. But my point is, a lot of Star Wars stories aren’t necessary. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist or aren’t great. To me, if a film has a great story (and great acting, direction, visuals, etc to help back it up), that’s what’s important. Star Wars is fleshing its worlds and characters out with books, comics, games, and films, and I love it. Heck – I just finished reading Tarkin’s book. Tarkin! Arguably my least favorite Imperial. But he has an interesting backstory and I enjoy learning more about him.
That doesn’t mean every single SW Story needs to be loved – sometimes I see an over reliance on non-film stories (example: Phasma. I think her portrayal in the films vs her book is SO different – I like both but they feel disconnected to me).
There’s also times I don’t know if they made the best choice of which stories to tell. Solo is a good example – if you asked me which character solo film (no pun intended) should be made first, I would say Obi Wan or Boba Fett. Both were films fans clamored for, and neither would be running into the “nobody can replace Harrison” problem (unless they didn’t cast Ewan McGregor). (A note: I think Alden did a great job as Han and was fine with someone else playing Han.)
But even though I wouldn’t have picked Solo as the first character driven solo film, I still think it was a great film. It did some world (galaxy?) building, deepened our understanding of characters, and was fun.
At the end of the day, I think the question shouldn’t be “was that story necessary”, but rather, “Was that story a good addition to the Star Wars universe?”
For me, when I look at Solo, Rogue One, the prequels, the sequels, the comics, the books…the answer so far is yes.
(Minus Operation Cinder. I’m still salty about that. 😉)