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"You know, he's younger in this movie and that's fun because you have to imagine him 10 years earlier in his early 20s. What was he like before he hardened up? Before he had some setbacks? Before he put on this cynical coat? What got him there?"
The film was first announced as a Han Solo picture in 2015, along with the news that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would be the film's directors. Principal photography began in January2017, after which point creative differences arose between the two directors and the studio. They were replaced by Ron Howard, who was tasked with completing principal photography along with what was reported to be extensive reshoots.
The earliest incarnation of a live-action depiction of young Han Solo came during the pre-production of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Writer and director George Lucas conceived an idea of Solo as a child on Kashyyyk, with Chewbacca raising the young boy like a son. Solo would have been present during the Battle of Kashyyyk and would have encountered Yoda, helping the Jedi Master discover scraps of a droid that could have aided Yoda in determining the whereabouts of GeneralGrievous. Concept art from Iain McCaig showed the young Solo as a slob, a juxtaposition of the character in his later years. "He's such a persnickety guy later — he always has to have the best of everything," McCaig said in The Art of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, "so I thought it'd be great if when he was a kid, he was an absolute slob." These concepts never made it out of pre-production, and Solo did not appear in Revenge of the Sith—though Chewbacca ultimately did make a cameo appearance during the battle.
After the release of Revenge of the Sith, Lucas began planning a live-action television series called Star Wars: Underworld, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The series, dealing with elements of the criminal underworld, could have included some of Solo's backstory. According to Stephen Scaia, one of the writers of the ultimately unproduced series, the show's writers came up with a story for how Solo met Chewbacca. Another story would have dealt with how Solo first met Lando Calrissian, who first appeared in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.
"…George had sort of roughed-out many movies—not just the new trilogy but other movies, the spinoffs and things. I wasn't sure I wanted to do anything, but I said, "I could do the Han Solo movie"—because he's my favorite character."
Ideas for a young Han Solo film began to percolate in the lead up to The Walt Disney Company's acquisition to Lucasfilm. In October2012, as Lucas was preparing to sell his company, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy contacted Lawrence Kasdan, writer of The Empire Strikes Back and co-writer of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and asked him to meet her and Lucas to discuss new films in the franchise. Kasdan recounted that Lucas had already come up with some basic ideas for the sequel trilogy and had also come up with the concept of stand-alone films. One of those movies was about young Han Solo, before the events of A New Hope. Kasdan was initially hesitant on being part of the new films, but he decided he could do the Han Solo movie as Solo was his favorite character. He pitched his idea to Bob Iger by telling him about the scene where Han gets his last name.
After agreeing to the job, Kasdan was also asked to help develop what would become Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Once he had completed work on that film, Kasdan felt creativly drained, so he asked his son Jon to assist in developing the Han Solo film. The Kasdans worked on the script for nine months, during which they were inspired by Treasure Island, Heat, Unforgiven and various films by the Coen brothers. Meanwhile, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were hired to direct. Lord and Miller tested several thousand actors for the part before settling on Alden Ehrenreich, who had been the first person to audition. According to Miller, they didn't want an impersonation of Harrison Ford, but "someone who could evoke the spirit of the iconic performance we all remember while bringing something new and fresh." Ehrenreich was officially announced during Celebration Europe. He (and later, Ron Howard) met with Harrison Ford to discuss the character, and Lucasfilm sent Ford a copy of the script for his approval. Once Ehrenreich was cast, certain parts of the script were revised to be tailored to his voice; The final script also incorporated contributions from Lord, Miller and (later) Howard. As Jon Kasdan told SFX magazine, "I think ultimately the movie that you'll see is truly a product of the five of us all coming together in this weird way to tell this story."
"I think in terms of us leaving the project, I think everybody went in with really good intentions and our approach to making the movie was different than theirs. That was a really big gap to bridge, and it proved to be too big."
Principal photography began in January2017, with a working title of "Star Wars: Red Cup." By March, a film crew was present in Fuerteventura, Spain. One of the three rewards in the 2017 Force for Change fundraiser was a role in the film.
On June 20, 2017, Lucasfilm announced that directors Lord and Miller were departing from the project due to creative differences and that a new director would be announced soon.Entertainment Weekly reported that Lord and Miller encouraged an improvisational style on set, which Lucasfilm insiders believed was moving the film away from the vision crafted by the Kasdans in their script and ended up significantly changing the story. Lucasfilm believed that these apparent issues could be fixed during reshoots, but Lord and Miller were reportedly reluctant to significantly alter their approach to the film. As a result, Kennedy made the decision to remove Lord and Miller from the production. Co-writer Lawrence Kasadan later attributed it to tone: "You can have fun with the tone but you never make fun of the tone, in my world."
A TV spot aired during Super Bowl LII, followed by a full teaser trailer the next day and the release of a series of character-themed teaser posters; A theatrical trailer and poster were released on April 8, with the former debuting during American Idol. Tickets became available for pre-sale beginning on May 3, and sold second to Infinity War among 2018 releases. The film had its world premiere on May 10, 2018. and appeared at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15. It is scheduled for wide release on May 25 (the 41st anniversary of the release of A New Hope, in which Harrison Ford first appeared as Han Solo). Its opening weekend box office is estimated to be $170 million.
The release of the initial teaser posters prompted a complaint from a French artist, Hachim Bahous, that the design of the posters was a plagiarization of a series of covers he designed for Sony Music for French album releases. A side-by-side post demonstrated that the posters and covers feature nearly identical colorization for both the background and character/album names, as well as a similar font. On April 23, a lawsuit was filed by Ren Ventures, who hold the trademark for the card game Sabacc, against Lucasfilm and Denny's Star Wars card game after Sabacc was featured in promotion for the film.
Solo: A Star Wars Story was released at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2018. The film scored a 70% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 103 reviews.
Forbes reviewer Scott Mendelson described the film as a "Star Wars" story that played like an Indiana Jones movie. While opining that the film had no "artistic" reason to exist, Mendelson praised Solo for its decent cast, fine action sequences, and references to the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. He also described Solo as the first live-action Star Wars that felt like a random adventure rather than the usual "Empire versus Rebellion" struggle.The Hollywood Reporter's reviewer Michael Rechtshaffen described the film as "an origins story that represented a return to the saga's more humble, original space Western roots which emphasized character development over kinetic, adrenaline–fueled action sequences." He also praised Alden Ehrenreich's performance as Han Solo and Ron Howard's directorship.
The BBC reviewer Nicholas Barber gave Solo a mixed review; awarding the film three out of five stars. He wrote that Solo was a "Disney-fied, sub-Guardians of the Galaxy adventure: a lightly comic, family-friendly, action-packed, nigglingly sexist popcorn movie." Barber described Ehrenreich's depiction of Solo as a "likeably goofy hero with an irresistible grin and an air of boyish decency", and compared him favorably to Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in the Prequel trilogy.CNN reviewer Brian Lowry wrote that the film had a "messy, flat opening half before rallying and picking up speed down the stretch", which he attributed to the fraught production process. Lowry praised Ehrenreich and Donald Glover's performances as Han Solo and Lando Calrissian respectively, opining that they captured the spirit of the Original trilogy characters.
Solo also received several critical reviews. Vox reviewer Alissa Wilkinson described Solo as the "safest, most forgettable Star Wars movie" and criticized what she termed as the "box-ticking approach to filling Solo's story as distinctly unimaginative." Similarly, National Review critic Kyle Smith dismissed Solo as a "soulless intergalactic freeway pile-up" and criticized the fast-paced nature of the plot.
↑@RealRonHoward (Ron Howard) on Twitter. "Wondering why we r all together? @Jon_Favreau is voicing a very cool & important alien character for #HanSolo Flattered & fortunate I could pull him away from his #LionKing directing duties"
↑Imperial Arrestor Cruiser has been cut from Solo. Colin Cantwell (May 20, 2018). Retrieved on May 22, 2018. "Bad news everyone. The #ArrestorCruiser scene has been cut from #solo. I wasn't told the reasoning for this decision, but my ship will still be featured in a Solo book to be released soon. I hope they include the scene in the director's cut as I was very much looking forward to seeing her fly. #colincantwell"