So I finally got around to watching Solo – it popped up on Netflix and I realized that I, previously one of the greatest Star Wars fans of all time, had not bothered watching it yet. This is in the wake of me having watched The Last Jedi a single time in theaters, realizing that my prevarication afterwards about whether I liked it or not meant I actually didn’t, and having not bothered seeking out a repeat viewing … even when it popped up on Netflix as well. Which is just … sad.
Anyway, griping about TLJ isn’t why I’m posting this. Solo is. So I should review it.
I think I can sum up my feelings about Solo with one word: Meh. It wasn’t terrible, but neither was it very good, IMO. (Or necessary, but that’s beside the point.) The internet hubbub about the “SJW droid” was pretty much overdone – it was intended as comedy relief that seemed to work for the two friends of mine who watched it with me but mostly fell flat for me. That’s fine. The casting wasn’t terrible – I though Donald Glover was an excellent take on Lando and Alden Ehrenreich was … okay as Han. I didn’t hate him, so there’s that, and he did a decent job at carrying across Han’s smug arrogance and general “I have no idea what I’m doing and am making this up as I go” attitude. I didn’t really like that the movie essentially implied that Han Solo basically kickstarted the Rebellion with the money from the heist – I’d much rather that he’d intended on keeping the money, then got double-crossed by the pseudo-Rebellion types who took it from him. I’m also surprised that the Dryden Vos character – Paul Bettany’s character – wasn’t responsible for Solo’s chin scar … but then, that probably did seem like some low-hanging fruit they decided to avoid. Seeing Maul show back up was interesting … until he ignited the saber. Why, exactly? So the normies could go “Oh, right. That guy.” I guess. So ultimately, not terrible, not great, and very much not necessary.
As I discussed what I wanted to see in a future Star Wars movie with my friends, though, I realized that Valkryie could theoretically make a really interesting story concept. If you’re unfamiliar with that movie, it is “a dramatization of the July 20, 1944 assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Adolf Hitler during World War II.” Now imagine that in the Star Wars universe. Set it immediately post A New Hope so Alderaan has been destroyed by the Death Star and a group of Imperial officers are utterly appalled at what this New Order has just done. They signed up to help bring order to a chaotic galaxy, not obliterate a peaceful planet! So they start plotting and scheming, intent on assassinating the Emperor or Lord Vader (maybe both?) to topple the despotic regime that has gotten out of control. These officers are not Rebels – they legitimately believe the Rebellion is an illegal and immoral insurgency and based on what we saw in Rogue One at the beginning with Cassian Andor and how he murdered a contact just to maintain his cover, it seems probable that the Imperials have good reason to distrust believe them – but are instead actual patriots to the New Order who believe that the target of their assassination/coup is simply a problem. Ultimately, I think it probably makes more sense if Vader is the target of this coup with the conspirators believing that he’s responsible for the Emperor having lost his path. So they attempt to kill Vader but naturally fail … and he ends up killing them all. Hmm. Interesting thought here: have one of these plotters be General Madine who manages to escape Vader’s purge and ends up going full-on Rebellion at the end? If I did that, I’d not make him the main character, but maybe a secondary or tertiary one who keeps warning the protagonist that the plan isn’t going to work or something. I’d also be pretty tempted to have the protagonist survive Vader’s purge but be brought before the Emperor who personally executes him after revealing that this was all part of Palpatine’s plan to expose some traitors within the officer corps.
Unfortunately, casting Imperials as good guys for any reason probably wouldn’t fly for Disney, so I am doomed to never see the Star Wars: Empire movie that I would like to…