The latest in the ever expanding Star Wars universe (Lucasfilm just announced that a Lando Calrissian movie is next), Solo: A Star Wars Story, takes us back to the origin of our favorite intergalactic smuggler. Set roughly 10 years before Han Solo meets Luke Skywalker at the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine, our hero finds himself in a universe ruled by various gangs and syndicates. Already established, the empire is slowly expanding and conquering more worlds.
Creating a prequel to an extremely loved character like Han Solo is always tricky. On one hand you know that the story is already something fans are surely interested in, on the other you’re always afraid that they’ll screw up and ruin the character.
Alden Ehrenreich, in all fairness, does a pretty decent job at it and you can see that he tries to do his best Harrison Ford every chance he gets. However, the Han we see in this period is very different from the experienced, jaded smuggler we meet in Episode IV. Although he already is extremely confident (or arrogant, depending on your judge of character), he’s still a rookie, much more idealistic, and still has a great amount of trust in people. Emila Clarke gives a solid performance as Qi’ra, who plays so much more than Han’s love interest in the story. You can tell from how the character is written that they’re establishing Han’s preference for strong women early, which we all know is in preparation for when he rescues a certain Princess in A New Hope.
But perhaps the biggest scene stealer in the film is Donald Glover as Captain Lando Calrissian—smuggler, gambler, and owner of the Millenium Falcon. Glover, who can seem to do no wrong nowadays, owned the role by combining the perfect amount of wit, charm, and heart to his performance that would make Billy Dee Williams proud.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is, all in all, a great film for the family. It’s filled with enough references from the original trilogy to entertain a true fanatic—from Han getting his iconic blaster to the first time Chewie sits beside him in the cockpit of the Falcon as first mate, while still making enough sense for someone who is experiencing the Star Wars universe for the first time to enjoy. Although it sometimes feels like you know what is going to happen in the story, it does manage to give you a few unexpected turns—and one really big one which we're not going to spoil here.
Undoubtedly, Solo: A Star Wars Story is going to spark plenty of debate again amongst hardcore fans once it hits theaters on May 23, but whatever their verdict, it won’t deter people from seeing and enjoying the movie—if only to see if Han really did make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs!