Solo: A Star Wars story wasn’t as well-received as many would have hoped but it still had some good things sprinkled in here and there.
Welcome to our Star Wars countdown. We’ve given our thoughts on the best and worst things from The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith so far. And now it’s time to turn our attention to Solo, the first Star Wars movie that failed to be a box office hit.
We now take a look back at the 2018 blockbuster, covering everything from Lando Calrissian’s swagger to L3’s rather irritating characteristics…
Best: Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo
It was always going to be a big task stepping into Harrison Ford’s shoes to play Han Solo. Particularly when there are plenty of rumors on the internet claiming that you’re struggling with the role, like what poor Alden Ehrenreich had to put up with.
But those worried that Han Solo wouldn’t be as great without Ford were wrong. While he’s still the best at portraying the former smuggler, Ehrenreich flourishes, giving off the same charming vibes as his predecessor. We’re hoping we see Ehrenreich for another movie with the actor supposedly contracted for two more.
Worst: A Forgettable Plot
Disney always intended to do a Han Solo movie but it appears they were unsure how to forge a plot together. Because while the movie has its highlights, and can certainly be entertaining in large parts, the actual story and narrative leaves much to be desired.
Basically, Han is sent to get some valuable stuff for Dryden Vos, who is working under Darth Maul (not that we knew it at the time). But it isn’t that interesting, ultimately doing nothing for the saga and certainly not making anybody want to crave a sequel. It was simple enough to follow but, for audiences who have been spoiled with rich and interesting plots over the years, it wasn’t up to scratch.
Best: Lando Calrissian’s Outfits
There was always going to be big pressure on Donald Glover given he’d be playing the smooth trickster that is Lando Calrissian who, when Billy Dee Williams had taken on the role during the original trilogy, became one of the most iconic characters within the franchise.
And it’s safe to say that Glover aced it, making even older fans feel as if they were back watching Williams. What helped his cause was the swagger of the character with the costume department piecing together amazing outfits, complete with fascinating capes. Han and Qi’Ra even take a look round his wardrobe and it’s safe to say that Lando doesn’t stinge when it comes to looking good.
When you think of the worst Star Wars characters, Jar Jar Binks tends to come top given how prominent he was during The Phantom Menace. Rose Tico, who appeared in The Last Jedi, also seems somebody unpopular among the fan base. But, perhaps worse than both of those two individuals is L3, Lando Calrissian’s droid.
It seems her only purpose is to send a message that everybody has to be equal which, while Disney can’t be faulted for believing that, doesn’t fit into a Star Wars movie. L3 simply doesn’t shut up about droid rights and it comes as a relief when she’s destroyed, much to Lando’s dismay. While he was devastated, however, the rest of us were relieved. Also, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s droid voice was irritating – so her being silenced was one of the better parts of the movie.
Best: The Qi’Ra Twist
Solo begins with Han Solo attempting to flee with Qi’Ra, his girlfriend played by Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke. They end up being separated, however, and when they’re finally reunited it emerges that Qi’Ra has started to work for Dryden Vos, the same criminal who charges Han with the task of retrieving coaxium.
She later turns on her master, murdering him in a sensational twist. But there’s a second twist involved when she snubs the chance to escape with Han in order to face questions from her true superior, Darth Maul. More on the return of the famous Sith Lord to come.
Worst: Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos
In the previous Star Wars spin-off movie, Rogue One, the villains had been majestically used. CGI helped bring Peter Cushing’s vile Grand Moff Tarkin back into the fold, Ben Mendelsohn is loathsome as Imperial officer Krennic while Darth Vader appears in just two scenes – and steals the spotlight in both.
That had fans hoping that the villain in Solo would be both somebody we’d seen before and, if not, somebody with enough about them to justify their creation. But Dryden Vos was neither, easily killed by Qi’Ra and easily tricked by Han Solo. He was rather forgettable and nobody was clamoring to know more about him following the blockbuster which, given Paul Bettany’s high stock in Hollywood, is a crying shame.
Best: Darth Maul’s Return
Few had been expecting to see Vader involved in Rogue One. But even less people thought that Darth Maul would pop up in Solo, with his return prompting audiences around the globe to gasp in shock.
He had last been seen in live-action being sliced in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi during an epic showdown on Naboo during the first movie of the prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace. And while he’d returned in other material such as The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, the sight of Ray Park igniting the villain’s double-bladed lightsaber against sent shivers down our spine. We’re hoping to see more of Maul, and his Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, further down the line.
Worst: Nobody Went To See It
Before Solo, came The Last Jedi. And while there’s large chunks of fans who like the second movie of the sequel trilogy, others aren’t so keen. And it appears that those who hated the blockbuster stayed away from Solo, with the movie failing to hit the box office heights as other installments of the saga.
Made on a budget of $275million, it managed to gross just $392.9m across the world – making it the worst outing of the entire franchise. Even the three older movies, released at a time where they had less ways to market their product, performed better for their respective time periods. And Solo’s box office failings is why Disney are now rethinking how they distribute material going forward.
Best: Han Meets Chewbacca
When you think of Han Solo, you can’t help but think about Chewbacca at the same time. They’re the double act of double acts, making audiences laugh with their amusing exchanges over the last 40 years. And Solo was always going to have to show their first meeting.
And it doesn’t disappoint. Han initially looks set to be Chewie’s next meal but, through the language of Wookie, he manages to persuade the beast into sparing him instead. It’s a funny moment for the movie and fitting for two legends of Hollywood.
Worst: It Just Didn’t Feel Necessary
Sure, a Han Solo movie sounds great on paper. But it just didn’t feel necessary.
It certainly hasn’t made us want to see the movie again in a horror. Don’t get us wrong it was great seeing stuff like Han Solo meet Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian’s wardrobe and, of course, the sight of Darth Maul on the big screen again. But it wasn’t necessary – which is perhaps another reason for its failure.