Update: The full Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer is now online.
The Solo: A Star Wars Story teaser may be primarily focused on promoting the full trailer (airing Monday on Good Morning America) but it still contained one big reveal: that Han Solo's Legends origin is coming over to the new canon.
The Star Wars Saga has always been bigger than the movies; by the early 2000s, the story of the galaxy was being explored in popular console games, novels, comics, and animated series. This so-called "Expanded Universe" was viewed as canon up to the point it contradicted a movie. It explored the ancient history of the galaxy through to the future of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Order. However, when Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 this all changed; the EU was rebranded as Legends, with official canon just the movies and newer material.
It was a bold, and divisive, move. However, since then, Lucasfilm has worked hard to absorb the best idea from the old EU into the new canon. Indeed, Solo already seemed to draw inspiration from the old Star Wars canon - after all, the film has cast the characters of Tag and Bink - but the first teaser has suggested there may be a much more notable similarity.
Han Solo's Original Origin Story Is Being Repeated in Solo
In the old EU, Han's backstory was told by A. C. Crispin. She revealed that Han was an orphan on the streets of the industrialized world of Corellia, and was taken in by space pirates. The young Han served under the crime-lord Garris Shrike for several years, only escaping when he was a teenager. Solo initially became a smuggler, but ultimately pursued a career as an Imperial pilot. When Han saw an Imperial officer beating a helpless Wookiee, however, he intervened. That was how Han first crossed paths with Chewbacca, and the two became a smuggling team. Han's future was sealed when he won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of Sabacc.
There's a lot of similarities to what we're being shown in Solo; In the new canon, it looks as though Han started out as a podracer on Corellia and joined the Empire when his luck failed him. Character-wise, Alden Ehrenreich's version of the smuggler has the same bluster too: he doesn't just want to be a pilot; he wants to be "the best in the galaxy". It would seem that Ron Howard's movie is lifting big chunks of accepted narrative from the EU, a very different approach to the completely Legends-divergent Rogue One. Even differences fit a broad mold - Corellia looks a very different planet, but is still Han's homeworld.
Of course, the teaser doesn't suggest just how Han will meet Chewie. One intriguing possibility is that, in the new canon, Han will find his copilot and companion on the planet Kessel. This bleak world is the origin of a narcotic known as spice and Star Wars Rebels has established that the Empire uses Wookiee slaves on Kessel. The planet was always guaranteed to crop up in Solo; after all, the Millennium Falcon is famous for completing the Kessel run in 12 parsecs. If this happens, we still get a rather close adaptation.
What Do The Legends Parallels Reveal About Solo's Plot?
The teaser also devotes a few moments to a new character; Emilia Clarke's mysterious Qi'Ra. Lucasfilm are keeping details under wraps, but it's possible Qi'Ra will serve the same purpose as A. C. Crispin's Bria Tharen. Crispin realized that it wasn't enough for Han to be disgusted with the Empire; he also had to have reason to distrust the Rebel Alliance. Tharen was introduced as a love interest who committed herself to the Rebel cause, and actually manipulated Han in order to aid the Rebellion. Left bitter and frustrated by the fate of the galaxy, Han resolved to sit the politics out. He refused to commit to either side, setting up his arc in A New Hope. Given the number of plot elements Lucasfilm are lifting from Crispin's trilogy, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Qi'Ra portrayed as a love interest who became a Rebel.
Crispin's story was carefully built, one that understood where Han needed to end up without contradicting the original movies. As she delivered the most logical way to achieve that goal, why would Lucasfilm want to reinvent the wheel?
Fans of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe will have a strange, bittersweet reaction to the first Solo teaser. On the one hand, it's sad to see a beloved trilogy written out of existence. On the other, it's a delight to see the best elements of that trilogy actually adapted for the big screen. Only time will tell whether Solo wins fans over with as much success as Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019