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Solo: A Star Wars Story (or simply Solo) is a 2018 American space Western film[12][13] based around the Star Wars character Han Solo, though also featuring his original trilogy co-protagonists Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. Directed by Ron Howard, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the second Star Wars anthology film following Rogue One (2016). Alden Ehrenreich stars as Han Solo alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany. The film explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca, who join a heist within the criminal underworld ten years prior to the events of A New Hope.[14]

Solo: A Star Wars Story
A group of people standing in a row, in the middle stands Han Solo pointing his blaster. The background is divided into blocks resembling a cockpit window.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Howard[a]
Produced by
Written by
Based onCharacters
by George Lucas
Starring
Music by
CinematographyBradford Young
Edited byPietro Scalia[b]
Production
company
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • May 10, 2018 (2018-05-10) (Los Angeles)
  • May 25, 2018 (2018-05-25) (United States)
Running time
135 minutes[8]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$275–300 million[9][10]
Box office$392.9 million[11]

Star Wars creator George Lucas began developing a Han Solo prequel in 2012, and commissioned Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay. After Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, Kasdan was hired to write Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), leaving his son Jonathan to complete the Solo script. Principal photography began in January 2017 at Pinewood Studios, directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The duo were fired in June 2017 following "creative differences" with Lucasfilm, and Howard was hired as their replacement. With an estimated production budget of at least $275 million, Solo is one of the most expensive films ever made.

Solo had its world premiere in Los Angeles on May 10, 2018, and was screened at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2018. It was released in the United States on May 25, 2018, in RealD 3D, IMAX, and IMAX 3D. Solo received generally favorable reviews from critics who praised the film's acting performances (particularly Ehrenreich and Glover), visuals, musical score, and action sequences, while some felt its storyline was predictable.[15][16] The film is the first in the Star Wars franchise to be considered a box office bomb, grossing $392 million worldwide, thus becoming the lowest-grossing live-action film in the franchise. It received a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 91st Academy Awards.[17][18][19]

PlotEdit

On the planet Corellia, orphaned children are made to steal to survive. Young adults Han and Qi'ra make an escape from a local gang. They bribe an Imperial officer with stolen coaxium (a powerful hyperspace fuel) for passage on an outgoing transport, but Qi'ra is apprehended before she can board. Han vows to return for her and joins the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet. When the recruiting officer asks for his surname, Han explains that he is alone with no family, so the recruiter gives him the last name "Solo".

Three years later, Han has been expelled from the Imperial Flight Academy for insubordination and is serving as an infantryman on Mimban. He encounters a group of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers led by Tobias Beckett. Han attempts to blackmail them into taking him with them, but Beckett has him arrested for desertion and thrown into a pit to be fed to a Wookiee named Chewbacca. Able to understand Chewbacca's language, Han persuades him to cooperate to escape. Beckett, aware of the usefulness of a Wookiee's strength, rescues and enlists them in the gang to steal a shipment of coaxium on Vandor-1. The plan goes awry when the Cloud Riders, a group of so-called terrorists led by Enfys Nest, arrive, resulting in the deaths of two crew members, including Beckett's wife, and the destruction of the coaxium.

Beckett reveals that he was ordered to steal the shipment for Dryden Vos, a high-ranking crime boss in the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Han and Chewbacca volunteer to help him steal another shipment to repay the debt. They travel to Vos' yacht where Han finds Qi'ra, who has joined Crimson Dawn, and is Vos' top lieutenant. Han suggests a risky plan to steal unrefined coaxium from the mines on Kessel; Vos approves but insists Qi'ra accompany the team. She leads them to Lando Calrissian, an accomplished smuggler and pilot who she hopes will lend them his ship, a freighter called the Millennium Falcon. Han challenges Lando to a game of sabacc, with the wager being Lando's ship. Lando cheats to win but agrees to join the mission in exchange for a share of the profits.

After reaching Kessel in the Falcon and infiltrating the mine, Lando's droid co-pilot L3-37 instigates a slave revolt. In the confusion, they steal the coaxium, but L3 is severely damaged, and Lando is injured during the escape. Meanwhile, Chewbacca manages to find a group of other Wookies that had gone into hiding after the Empire had conquered their original homeworld, but when the others decide to take another ship to escape, Chewbacca chooses to stay with Han. With the help of L3's navigational computer, hot-wired into the ship's systems, Han pilots the ship through the dangerous and uncharted Kessel Run in approximately twelve parsecs to elude an Imperial blockade. The Falcon, badly damaged, lands on the planet Savareen to process the coaxium.

During a confrontation with Enfys, who tracked the team from Vandor, Lando flees in the Falcon, deserting everyone else. Enfys explains to Han that she and her crew are not pirates, but rebels made up of victims from the tyrannical state of the galaxy trying to strike back at the syndicates and the Empire. Han becomes sympathetic to their cause and tries to trick Vos, but the crime lord reveals Beckett has already alerted him to the double-cross. Vos sends his guards to kill Enfys, but the Cloud Riders overpower them instead, leaving Vos defenseless. Having anticipated Vos's strategy, Han tries to take the coaxium, only for Beckett to betray Vos, escaping with it and taking Chewbacca hostage. Qi'ra kills Vos and sends Han after Beckett. She contacts Vos' superior, the former Sith lord Maul, to inform him of the mission's failure, and claim Vos' position. She blames the failure on Beckett, never mentioning Han. Maul orders Qi'ra to meet with him on Dathomir.

Han catches up to Beckett and confronts him, shooting Beckett before he can return fire. With his dying words, Beckett tells Han that he made a smart choice because he would have shot Han. Qi'ra leaves in Vos's yacht, while Han and Chewbacca turn the coaxium over to Enfys, who offers Han a chance to join the rebellion against the Empire; when he declines, she gives him a vial of coaxium, enough to purchase a ship of his own. Han and Chewbacca locate Lando and challenge him to a rematch in sabacc, once again wagering the Falcon. Han wins, having stolen the card Lando was keeping up his sleeve in order to cheat, and he and Chewbacca leave for Tatooine, where Han heard a crime lord is putting together a profitable job and the film ends with the Falcon jumping into hyperspace.

CastEdit

  • Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo: A cynical smuggler who joins Beckett's crew.[20][21] When asked how Solo differs from his appearance in other Star Wars films, Ehrenreich stated, "I think the main thing that's different is that the Han we meet in this film is more of an idealist. He has certain dreams that he follows, and we watch how it affects him as those dreams meet new realities—realities that are harder and more challenging than he'd expected."[22] Harrison Ford, who portrayed the character in previous films, met with Ehrenreich, giving him some insight and words of advice.[23]
  • Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett: A criminal and Han's mentor.[24][25][26] The character of Beckett was based on Long John Silver from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.[27]
  • Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra: Han's former lover. Describing her character, Clarke said: "She has a couple of guises, but essentially she is just fighting to stay alive. If you've got a really glamorous lady in a really sordid environment, you kind of know the glamor is hiding a few rough roads."[22] With regard to her character's relationship with Solo, Clarke offered that "They grew up as comrades, essentially. They grew up as pals, as partners in crime. There is obviously the romantic side of things. But they grew up together. So they were kids together."[28][29][30]
  • Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian: A smuggler, gambler, and self-proclaimed sportsman on the rise in the galaxy's underworld.[31][32] Billy Dee Williams, who previously portrayed the character in the previous films, met with Glover, giving him some insight and words of advice about the character.[33]
  • Thandie Newton as Val: Beckett's wife, a fellow criminal and member of her husband's crew.[6][26]
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37: Lando's droid companion and navigator.[34][26]
  • Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca: Han's Wookiee sidekick and best friend, who also serves as his first mate.[6]
  • Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos: A ruthless crime lord who has a history with Beckett.[26] Michael K. Williams had originally been cast,[35] but he was removed from the final film after being unable to return to set during the film's reshoots.[36] Bettany was cast in his place, with the character being reworked from a motion-capture alien (described by Williams as half-mountain lion, half-human)[37] to a scarred near-human alien lifeform.[38]

Erin Kellyman appears as Enfys Nest, the leader of a gang of pirates called Cloud Riders.[39] Jon Favreau voices Rio Durant, "a very cool and important alien character" and member of Beckett's crew,[40][41] and Linda Hunt voices Lady Proxima, the serpent-like leader of the gang to which teenage Han and Qi'ra belong. Ian Kenny portrays Rebolt[42] while Clint Howard portrays Ralakili.[43] Additionally, Anthony Daniels cameos as Tak, enslaved alongside Chewbacca,[44] Kiran Shah plays Karjj and Warwick Davis briefly reprises his role from The Phantom Menace as Weazel, a Cloud Rider.[45] Ray Park reprises his role as Maul,[46] with Sam Witwer providing the voice, reprising the role from The Clone Wars and Rebels animated TV series.[47] Peter Serafinowicz, Maul's original voice actor in The Phantom Menace, was initially brought to record Maul's dialogue, but his vocal performance was ultimately dropped in favor of Witwer's.[48] Dee Tails[49] appears as Quay Tolsite, the director of the Pyke Syndicate's operations on Kessel.[50]

Screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan and first assistant director Toby Hefferman portrayed Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna, respectively—two characters that first appeared in the Star Wars Legends comics published by Dark Horse Comics. The scene was not included in the finished film.[51][52]

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

A planned live-action TV series developed by Star Wars creator George Lucas titled Star Wars: Underworld would have depicted Han Solo's first meeting with Chewbacca and his winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian.[53][54] In 2012, Lucas began developing a film about a young Solo, and hired veteran Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay. After Lucas sold his company to Disney in 2012, Kasdan was hired to help finish the script for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, leaving his son Jonathan Kasdan in charge of writing Solo until his return.[55]

In February 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed the development of two Star Wars standalone films, one written by Kasdan.[56] Shortly thereafter, it was reported that Disney was working on a film featuring Solo.[57] Disney CFO Jay Rasulo described the standalone films as origin stories.[58] In July, Lucasfilm announced that an anthology film focusing "on how [a] young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley"[59] would be released on May 25, 2018. The project was to be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from a script by Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan. Kathleen Kennedy would serve as a producer, with Lawrence Kasdan and Jason McGatlin as executive producers;[1] Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel also produce.[6] Solo's Wookiee friend Chewbacca was also announced to appear in the film.[60][61] In May 2016, Lawrence Kasdan stated that filming would start in January 2017.[62]

CastingEdit

In January 2016, a list of actors was revealed for the role of young Han Solo, including Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, Emory Cohen and Blake Jenner.[63] In March 2016, it was reported that Alden Ehrenreich, Reynor and Taron Egerton were on a shortlist for the role.[64] In May 2016, Ehrenreich was reported to have been cast as the young Han Solo,[20] and was revealed in the role at Star Wars Celebration Europe III two months later.[21] Miller called casting the role one of "the hardest casting challenges of all time", adding that they "saw over 3,000 people for the part".[65]

By the following October, Tessa Thompson, Naomi Scott, Zoë Kravitz, Emilia Clarke, Kiersey Clemons, Jessica Henwick and Adria Arjona were being considered for the female lead,[66][67] while Donald Glover was being considered to play a young Lando Calrissian.[66] Glover was confirmed for Calrissian shortly after,[31] with Clarke cast as the female lead the following month.[68][67] Shameik Moore also auditioned for the role of Calrissian.[69]

In early January 2017, Woody Harrelson was revealed to be in negotiations to portray Han Solo's mentor,[70] and was confirmed to be appearing in the film shortly after.[24] Christian Bale had previously been in discussions for the role.[71] A subsequent interview with Harrelson bolstered speculation that he may be specifically playing Legends character Garris Shrike,[72][73] but Harrelson revealed the character's name as Beckett in March 2017.[25] In February 2017, Phoebe Waller-Bridge joined the cast in an undisclosed role, said to be "a CGI-driven performance" similar to Alan Tudyk in Rogue One as the droid K-2SO.[34] Additionally, it was reported that Thandie Newton was in negotiations to star in the film.[74] Waller-Bridge and Newton were confirmed as being cast by the end of February, alongside the announcement that Joonas Suotamo would appear as Chewbacca, reprising the role from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, where he shared it with original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew.[6] Michael K. Williams entered talks to join the film in early March 2017,[75] and was confirmed shortly after,[35] portraying a half-human, half-animal creature.[36] By the end of the month, Ian Kenny had joined the cast.[42] Warwick Davis was confirmed as part of the cast by the end of July 2017.[45]

Peter Serafinowicz was set to reprise his voice role as Darth Maul and had recorded dialogue during production at Pinewood Studios. He was later informed by Lucasfilm after the film's premiere that he had been replaced by Sam Witwer in order to maintain continuity with The Clone Wars and Rebels animated TV series, in which Witwer voiced the character.

FilmingEdit

 
Ron Howard took over directing duties midway through production, reshooting 70% of the film.

Filming began on January 30, 2017,[76] at Pinewood Studios,[65] under the working title Star Wars: Red Cup.[76][c] By February 10, the film had spent $54.5 million on production.[79] Lucasfilm announced that principal photography started on February 20, 2017.[6] Bradford Young serves as the cinematographer for the film.[80] In May 2017, filming moved to Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Monte Piana in the Dolomites in Veneto, Italy, to the Fassa Dolomites in Trentino,[81] Italy, and to the Canary Islands. Lucasfilm replaced editor Chris Dickens with Pietro Scalia.

On June 20, 2017, citing "creative differences", Lucasfilm announced that the directors had left the project with a new director "to be announced soon".[2][82] It was reported that the directors were fired after Kennedy and Kasdan disagreed with their shooting style;[3][83] Lord and Miller believed they were hired to make a comedy film, while Lucasfilm was looking for the duo only to add "a comedic touch". Lucasfilm also felt the directors were encouraging too much improvisation from the actors, which was believed to be "shifting the story off-course" from the Kasdans' script.[84] To appease Kasdan, who was unhappy with scenes not being filmed "word for word", Lord and Miller shot several takes exactly as written, then shot additional takes.[7] Lord and Miller refused to compromise on certain scenes, such as filming a scene from fewer angles than Lucasfilm expected, thereby reducing the options available in editing.[84][7] The duo were also unhappy when Kasdan was brought to the London set, feeling he became a "shadow director".[7] The decision to remove Lord and Miller was made after a short hiatus in filming taken to review the footage so far.[3]

It was reported that Ron Howard, who had previously collaborated with Lucas as an actor in American Graffiti (1973)[d] and the director of Willow (1988), was a frontrunner to step in as director. Howard had turned down an offer to direct Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.[85] Joe Johnston and Kasdan were also considered, though Directors Guild of America rules state that a replacement for a director may not be someone already involved in the production.[83][86] Two days later, it was announced that Howard would take over directing for the remaining three-and-a-half weeks of scheduled principal photography as well as the scheduled five weeks of reshoots.[4][87] Howard wrote, "I'm beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars universe... I hope to honor the great work already done and help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film."[88] Howard was expected to arrive in London on June 26 to complete filming.[7] During the reshoots, actor Michael K. Williams was unable to return to the production, due to a schedule conflict with filming The Red Sea Diving Resort, resulting in his part being cut. Williams stated the reshoots for his character were "to match the new direction which the producers wanted Ron to carry the film in", and that he would not have been available again until November 2017; the production did not want to wait for his availability to make a release in May 2018.[36]

Lucas, Howard's friend, mentor and collaborator, made a surprise visit to the set to encourage Howard on his first day shooting. Intended as a short meeting, Lucas spent the whole day with the crew. While Lucas had not meant to interfere, at some point he forgot and asked "Why doesn't Han just do this?"; Howard included his suggestion.[89] On October 17, 2017, Howard announced that principal photography had been completed, and revealed the title of the film.[90] Howard used rear-projection visual effects for the Millennium Falcon cockpit scenes, an updated version of the technique used in the original trilogy.[91]

In March 2018, after it was reported Howard had reshot around 70% of the film, it was announced that Lord and Miller would not challenge for director credit and instead agreed to executive producer credits.[5][92] The duo saw an early cut of Howard's film and provided him with their feedback.[93] Post-production wrapped on April 22, 2018.[94]

Visual effectsEdit

The visual effects were provided by Industrial Light & Magic, Hybride and Blind LTD and Supervised by Nigel Sumner, Julian Foddy, Greg Kegel, Joseph Kasparian, Francois Lambert, Andrew Booth, Rob Bredow and Patrick Tubach with the help of Jellyfish Pictures, Raynault VFX, Lola VFX and Nzviage.[95]

MusicEdit

John Williams' involvement was actually a huge factor in my wanting to take this gig. I have such respect—perhaps awe is a better term—for the musical history of this series that being able to have the film-scoring equivalent of Yoda be part of it was a massive incentive, and an obvious advantage that I could not let pass. The actual experience of being allowed to see into John's process? I couldn’t imagine a greater gift.

—John Powell on agreeing to score Solo.[96]

In July 2017, John Powell was announced as the main composer of the score.[97] Longtime Star Wars composer John Williams composed and conducted the Han Solo theme, "The Adventures of Han", for the film.[98] Powell began writing the music in late 2017 after finishing his work on Ferdinand. In December 2017, Williams wrote two musical pieces and combined them to create Han's theme. The following month, Williams recorded the demos with the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles at the Newman Scoring Stage.[99] Powell interpolated Williams' new theme into his score, as well as incorporating music by Williams from previous Star Wars films, including the Star Wars main title, and several motifs and cues from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Phantom Menace.[96]

Powell revealed the track listing on his Instagram page.[100] Walt Disney Records released the soundtrack album on May 25.[99]

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
ReleasedMay 25, 2018 (2018-05-25)
StudioAbbey Road Studios
GenreSoundtrack
Length1:17:11
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerJohn Powell
John Powell chronology
Ferdinand
(2017)
Solo: A Star Wars Story – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(2018)
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
(2019)
Star Wars soundtrack chronology
The Last Jedi
(2017)
Solo
(2018)
No.TitleMusicLength
1."The Adventures of Han"John Williams3:52
2."Meet Han" (Includes "Star Wars Main Theme" by John Williams)John Powell2:22
3."Corellia Chase" (Includes "Star Wars Main Theme" by John Williams)John Powell3:36
4."Spaceport"John Powell4:09
5."Flying with Chewie"John Powell3:34
6."Train Heist" (Includes "Imperial/Stormtrooper Motif" from A New Hope by John Williams)John Powell4:51
7."Marauders Arrive"John Powell5:16
8."Chicken in the Pot"John Powell2:12
9."Is This Seat Taken?"John Powell2:39
10."L3 & Millennium Falcon" (Includes "Star Wars Main Theme" by John Williams)John Powell3:19
11."Lando's Closet"John Powell2:14
12."Mine Mission"John Powell4:14
13."Break Out" (Includes "Rebel Fanfare" by John Williams)John Powell6:18
14."The Good Guy"John Powell5:28
15."Reminiscence Therapy" (Includes "Death Star Motif", "Rebel Fanfare", "TIE Fighter Attack", "The Asteroid Field", and "Star Wars Main Theme" by John Williams)John Powell6:14
16."Into the Maw" (Includes "Rebel Fanfare" and "Star Wars Main Theme" by John Williams)John Powell4:52
17."Savareen Stand-Off"John Powell4:28
18."Good Thing You Were Listening"John Powell2:11
19."Testing Allegiance"John Powell4:23
20."Dice & Roll" (Includes "Rebel Fanfare" by John Williams)John Powell1:59
Total length:77:11

ReleaseEdit

 
Cast, director and producer promoting the film at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

Solo: A Star Wars Story had its world premiere on May 10, 2018 at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles,[101] and also screened on May 15, 2018 at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.[102] The film debuted in selected countries on May 23 and had its US release on May 25, 2018, the 41st anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars film (later renamed A New Hope to distinguish the film from the series), in which Harrison Ford first appeared as Han Solo.[1][2]

MarketingEdit

A "sneak peek" TV spot was released during Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018.[103] It became the most popular Super Bowl trailer on YouTube with 8 million views. It also had 5.9 million views on Facebook.[104]

The first official teaser trailer was released on February 5, 2018. Graeme McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter criticized the trailer as "dull", and compared it negatively to the look of Rogue One, opining that the visuals "should be the hive of scum and villainy of the Cantina of the very first movie, filled with colorful aliens and things happening all over the place. That busyness, the sense of danger and hustle, feels appropriate for Solo in a way that what's on show in this first trailer simply doesn't." He also noted that several plot elements presented in the trailer were reminiscent of The Han Solo Trilogy, a series of novels published in 1997 and 1998.[105]

In early March 2018, French artist Hachim Bahous asserted that Disney had plagiarized a series of album covers he designed for Sony Music's label Legacy Recordings in France with character posters for the film. Disney stated they were investigating the alleged plagiarism and that the Solo posters had been produced by an outside vendor.[106]

In the weeks leading up to the film, EA Capital Games announced that new characters based on the film will eventually be collectible and playable in the mobile game Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, including a younger Han Solo and Chewbacca as they appeared in the film.[107] Both characters became unlockable on May 17, 2018, via a two-day limited-time event titled "Preparation Perfection".

AdaptationsEdit

A novelization by Mur Lafferty, Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition (ISBN 978-0525619390) was published on September 4, 2018 by Del Rey Books. It includes scenes from alternate versions of the film's script.[108] Also, a seven-issue comic book adaptation of the film was published by Marvel Comics starting in October 2018.[109]

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

Solo: A Star Wars Story grossed $213.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $179.1 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $392.9 million.[11] With an estimated production budget of $275 million,[10] the film needed to gross at least $500 million worldwide to break even.[110][111]

A week after its worldwide debut of just $147.5 million, Variety wrote that the film would lose Disney "tens of millions of dollars" off a projected final total gross of $400–450 million[112] while The Hollywood Reporter estimated the losses would range from $50 to $80 million.[113] In April 2019, Deadline Hollywood calculated the film lost the studio $76.9 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[114] In June 2018, in response to the film's poor commercial performance, director Ron Howard tweeted he was proud of the film, and sorry that fans were not turning out to see it, but was happy for those who had enjoyed it.[115] The following year, Howard stated that online trolls were partially to blame for the film's underwhelming box-office performance.[116] Dani Di Placido, blogging on Forbes.com, described Solo as "a bad idea, with a surprisingly good execution."[117]

United States and CanadaEdit

Initial projections three weeks before its release had the film grossing around $170 million over its four-day Memorial Day opening weekend. Deadline Hollywood noted that it was tracking higher than the previous Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One (which debuted to $155 million), and had more interest from audiences than the likes of fellow blockbusters Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.[118] After its first day of pre-sales, Fandango announced the film was the second-best seller of advance tickets in 2018, after Avengers: Infinity War.[119] At the week of its release, projections had the film making $135–170 million over the four-day frame, with Disney predicting a $130–150 million debut.[120]

The film opened in 4,381 theaters, the ninth-highest total ever, including 3,300 3D locations and 400 IMAX screens. It grossed $14.1 million from Thursday night previews, the lowest of the Disney Star Wars films but the best-ever for Memorial Day weekend, besting the $13.2 million made by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End in 2007. Including Thursday previews, the film made $35.6 million on its first day, lowering weekend projections to $115 million. It grossed just $84.4 million in its opening weekend (and $103 million over the four–day weekend), far below projections and marking the lowest Star Wars debut since Attack of the Clones in 2002, although it did set a new career-high opening for Howard.[121][122] Deadline Hollywood compared the below-expectations opening to Justice League the previous November, and attributed it to fan negativity toward the concept and the behind-the-scenes problems, as well as competition from Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War.[111] Many analysts and publications, including Deadline, The Atlantic, Entertainment Weekly and CNN, interpreted the low box office returns as a case of "Star Wars fatigue", since Solo was the fourth film of the series released in 29 months, and came just five months after The Last Jedi.[123][124][125] Other analysts attributed the film's underperformance to lackluster marketing,[126][127] as well as the divided fan reception to The Last Jedi.[128] Solo dropped 65% in its second weekend to $29.4 million, the worst sophomore frame for any Star Wars film since the original trilogy.[129][130] It dropped another 46% in its third weekend to $15.7 million, finishing second behind newcomer Ocean's 8, and $10 million in its fourth week, finishing fourth.[131][132]

Other territoriesEdit

Worldwide the film was expected to make $285–340 million in its opening weekend, including $150–170 million internationally.[120] It opened in 43 markets on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to its US release and made a total of $11.4 million, including $3.3 million in China.[133] It went on to open to just $65 million internationally and $147.5 million worldwide. It grossed $10.3 million in the United Kingdom, and also finished first in Australia ($5 million), Germany ($4.3 million), France ($3.9 million), Russia ($3.6 million), Spain ($2.6 million), Mexico ($2.5 million), Italy ($2.2 million) and Brazil ($1.3 million). Despite being the second-largest international opening, it made just $10.1 million in China, far below the other three Disney Star Wars films.[134] The film held a better-than-expected 47% in its second weekend, making $30.3 million from 54 countries and remaining the top film in several, including Australia, Spain and the United Kingdom.[135]

Critical responseEdit

 
Donald Glover's performance as Lando Calrissian was praised by critics.

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, Solo has an approval rating of 70% based on 442 reviews, with an average rating of 6.39/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A flawed yet fun and fast-paced space adventure, Solo: A Star Wars Story should satisfy newcomers to the saga as well as longtime fans who check their expectations at the theater door."[136] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 62 out of 100, based on reviews from 54 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[137] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 89% overall positive score and a 73% "definite recommend".[111]

Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, complimenting the cast but criticizing the lack of creativity, saying, "somehow Han Solo—the roguish Star Wars hellion famous for breaking all the rules—finds himself in a feel-good movie that doesn't break any."[138] Bernard Boo of PopMatters wrote, "If what you want from a Star Wars movie is an action-adventure romp, and the last two movies in the franchise (The Last Jedi and Rogue One) felt a little too dreary and heavy on pathos, Solo is sure to lift your spirits and give you more thrills than you can handle. Some of the action sequences are seriously breathtaking and will keep you teetering on the edge of your seat."[139]

A. O. Scott of The New York Times said, "It doesn't take itself too seriously, but it also holds whatever irreverent, anarchic impulses it might possess in careful check." He noted that it is "a curiously low-stakes blockbuster, in effect a filmed Wikipedia page".[140] Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter praised the cast and production values but felt the film as a whole felt too safe, writing, "while Ehrenreich's Solo proves adept at maneuvering the Millennium Falcon out of some tight spots, the picture itself follows a safely predictable course. Missing here are the sort of plot-related or visual curveballs thrown by Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi or Gareth Edwards with Rogue One."[141]

For the New York Post, Johnny Oleksinski gave the film one star out of a possible four, writing that while Glover was "amusing" in his role, Ehrenreich was "given an impossible task: to make us forget about Harrison Ford, easily the most iconic action hero in modern cinema."[142] Dani Di Placido for Forbes wrote "[Han Solo] is a dashing rogue, a scoundrel with a twinkle in his eye, but so what? Characters like him are cheap and plentiful. It was the formidable charisma of Harrison Ford that turned him into a pop culture juggernaut. Recasting him is akin to recasting Indiana Jones - it’s a cinematic cardinal sin".[143] Matthew Rozsa of Salon.com wrote that "Whenever Star Wars tries to develop one of the franchise's key characters, it whiffs. Solo is no exception."[144]

Ron Howard said that original Han Solo actor Harrison Ford saw the film twice and spoke positively about it and Ehrenreich's performance.[145]

AccoladesEdit

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Teen Choice Awards August 12, 2018 Choice Summer Movie Solo: A Star Wars Story Nominated [146]
Choice Summer Movie Actor Alden Ehrenreich
Donald Glover
Choice Summer Movie Actress Emilia Clarke
Visual Effects Society Awards February 5, 2019 Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature Rob Bredow, Erin Dusseault, Matt Shumway, Patrick Tubach, Dominic Tuohy Nominated [147]
Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature Julian Foddy, Christoph Ammann, Clement Gerard, Pontus Albrecht for "Vandor Planet" Nominated
Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project Masa Narita, Steve Walton, David Meny, James Clyne for "Millennium Falcon"
Academy Awards February 24, 2019 Best Visual Effects Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, and Dominic Tuohy Nominated [148]
Saturn Awards September 13, 2019 Best Science Fiction Film Solo: A Star Wars Story Nominated

Possible sequelEdit

Alden Ehrenreich confirmed his contract deal to appear as Han Solo extended for two additional films, giving the studio the option to pursue a sequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story, or feature him in other anthology films in a supporting capacity.[149] Ehrenreich said he would like any sequels to differentiate themselves from the previous Star Wars trilogies by being standalone, in the vein of the Indiana Jones films, rather than direct follow-ups.[150] Emilia Clarke, who played Qi'ra, also signed on for future installments.[151]

Ron Howard said that while no sequel was in development, it was up to the fans to decide.[152] Critics noted the film intentionally left room open for sequels.[153] Solo writer Jon Kasdan said that he would include bounty hunter Bossk (who briefly appears in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and is mentioned in Solo) if he were to write a sequel for the film.[154] Kennedy also said that a film focusing on Lando Calrissian could happen, but was not a priority. Donald Glover also expressed interest in a spin-off film, saying he would imagine it as Catch Me If You Can in space.[155][156]

On June 20, 2018, Collider claimed that all future anthology films were on hold due to the financial performance of Solo.[157] A day later, Lucasfilm denied the rumors as "inaccurate" and confirmed that there are multiple unannounced films in development.[158] Bob Iger has said that the production of new films would go on hiatus after 2019's The Rise of Skywalker, though none were cancelled.[159]

On May 23, 2019, the hosts of "The Resistance Broadcast" encouraged fans on social media to use the hashtag #MakeSolo2Happen. The campaign was a mixture of celebrating the first movie and to spread awareness that a sequel is indeed wanted. The campaign reached multiple people involved with the film, including director Ron Howard. To express his gratitude, Jon Kasdan tweeted an image of three crime syndicate logos, hinting that future stories could still be in the works.[160] Kasdan has hinted that a sequel could potentially feature Jabba the Hutt, possibly being an origin story of Solo partnering up with the character.[161]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the film's original directors,[1] were fired from the film in June 2017 after over four-and-a-half months of shooting, about three-quarters through principal photography.[2][3][4] Howard took over directing duties for the remaining three-and-a-half weeks of scheduled principal photography and five weeks of reshoots.[4] The duo opted to receive credit as executive producers on the film.[5] See the Filming section for more information.
  2. ^ Chris Dickens, the film's original editor,[6] was replaced by Scalia in May 2017 during principal photography.[7]
  3. ^ Solo Cup Company is famous for its red "party cups",[77] which George Lucas has stated may have helped inspire the character's name.[78]
  4. ^ Previous Solo actor Harrison Ford also co-starred.

FootnotesEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit