However, there’s one big way in which the film could backfire. Nothing is less exciting than the prospect of a movie that demystifies Han, and spells out his backstory in too much detail. Fans already love Han; do they really need to see every piece of his past – much of which is already known - dredged up with a different actor?
Much like Darth Vader, Han was an enigma in the original film, and the last thing anyone wants is for this iconic space smuggler to end up with his equivalent of an “I hate sand” or “NOOOOOO!” moment. Han is the king of cool in the galaxy far, far away, and it would be a shame if his spinoff film affected that legacy.
With any luck, Lawrence Kasdan’s script will eschew the obvious, and tell a cool new story with Han at its heart instead of over-explaining who he is and where he comes from.
A good place to start would be steering clear of these 15 Things Han Solo NEEDS To Avoid.
Everyone already knows that Han and Chewie are best buds. Would showing the first encounter between Alden Ehrenreich’s version of the scruffy-lookin’ nerf herder and Joonas Suotamo’s take on the oft-gargling walking carpet add anything to the mix? Arguably not.
The chemistry shared by Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew – the original actors – is unforgettable and iconic. Arguably, it would be more fun for the new film to build on this – perhaps showing the duo in less chummy times, rather than explaining the pairing in excruciating detail.
After all, for hardcore fans, the story of how Han met Chewie is old news. In the previous Expanded Universe canon, they met when Chewbacca was a slave and Han was the guy that busted him out (earning a loyal companion in the bargain). Does this story really need telling again?
One rather neat piece of the old EU canon is that Han Solo was previously employed by the Empire. After growing up as a street urchin/gang member, he enrolled in the Imperial Academy. He eventually graduated top of his class, and was quickly sent on assignments.
This isn’t as a big a scandal is a might sound. After all, even Luke Skywalker himself wanted to fly away and join the Academy. It was kind of the done thing, especially when you came from an awful backwater planet. (Han’s home, Corellia, is a hive of scum and villainy as well.)
Again, though, as much as this story – Han being trained up by the Empire, only to abandon them when faced with some harsh truths – is a fun one, it’s not necessary for telling a spinoff story about Han. Arguably, explaining every detail about how Han came to be is the least interesting thing this film could do.
The prequel trilogy proved that explaining stuff doesn’t equal entertainment. Here’s where Anakin’s hand got chopped off, here’s Obi-Wan picking up the lightsaber he later gives to Luke, here’s where the idea of becoming one with the Force after death came from – none of these are particularly exciting or enjoyable moments. They just fill gaps, and explain stuff that fans already know about.
Some fans don't want the same thing to be done for Han. It’s fun having a bit of enigma around him, and, to maintain that, the powers-that-be need to avoid explaining every tiny detail about his story pre-A New Hope.
It’s already known that Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando in a game of cards. Seeing Ehrenreich and Donald Glover actually play that fateful hand wouldn’t really achieve anything. Plus, it would be tough to make that scene any cooler than the version of it in fans’ imaginations.
Han got boarded, and he had to dump some cargo. As a result, he owes Jabba money. Every Star Wars fan knows this already – would anything be gained by watching Ehrenreich get boarded, dump some cargo, and realise that he owes Jabba money as a result?
If the film goes down this route, it will just be a medley of fan service moments-- a greatest hits selection of things that everyone already knows about Han. It would be predictable at best, and, at worst, it could demystify an enigmatic character that everybody loves.
A better approach, arguably, would be to take a leaf out of the James Bond franchise’s playbook. Just drop Han into a new situation, with a new baddie, and let sparks fly. It doesn’t have to link up with A New Hope at all. This tactic could create some new fan favourite moments, rather than just listing the old ones.
Spelling out the history between Han and Greedo would just be needless fan service. Also, in a sense, it would rob new fans of the opportunity to meet Han the proper way. Younger viewers that might see Han Solo before A New Hope don’t deserve to have the latter spoiled for them.
One of the coolest things about meeting Han in A New Hope is that he’s already got a history. There’s clear beef between him and the bug-eyed bandit that is Greedo. First time around, fans got to meet Han at this point: he’s already notorious, with trouble approaching in all directions.
If the Han Solo spinoff showcases Han’s previous skirmishes with Greedo, the mysterious air around Han in A New Hope will be spoiled. Nobody wants that, right?
You probably heard the (somewhat short lived) internet uproar when Marvel’s Star Wars comics – which are part of Disney’s official new canon – introduced the idea that Han Solo had a wife prior to the events of A New Hope.
During a sneaky scheme to rob a crime lord, Han married Sana Starros (or pretended to, at least). Han being Han, he ran off with the money. Years later, between the events of the original trilogy of movies, Sana caught up with Han and made a scene – in front of his new friends, including Leia-- by pointing a gun at him. (Which is fair enough, to be honest.)
This story was fun, but, again, fans already know it. If it turns out that the crime-lord-robbing job is part of the Han Solo spinoff film, it’ll just be a re-tread of old ground. Much like the C-3PO "red arm" bit from The Force Awakens, it might play like a shoehorned attempt to shift some comics.
There must be some fans that want stuff like this to be explained, but this is probably not the majority vote. It’s a fun idiosyncrasy of Star Wars lore that Han’s statement about the Millennium Falcon doing the Kessel Run "in 12 parsecs" makes absolutely zero sense.
It would be a shame to lose that quirky mystery, even if the explanation came with a very cool action scene. This film is going to have big spaceship sequences either way, so please – if you’re reading, Lucasfilm – let the "12 parsecs" line remain fan-pleasing nonsense.
If you really want an explanation, there are a couple on the market: either parsecs is a measure of speed or time instead of distance in the Star Wars galaxy, or Han found a shortcut and managed to knock a bit of distance off the Kessel Run racetrack.
It is believed that Woody Harrelson is playing a mentor figure in the Han Solo movie. His character name is listed as Beckett, although members of the fandom have speculated that this character might be similar to the old EU figure Garris Shrike – a gang leader who took Han under his wing and showed him the tricks of the trade. (He also turned out to be an abusive guy, so Han got away as soon as he could.)
Actually showing Han’s childhood in the film feels like a step too far, though. It would produce enigma-shattering levels of demystification to see a kid Han being taught how to use a blaster, or shown the secret compartments in a ship. There’s no need to give Han a childhood flashback.
Debatably, it would be more interesting to see Beckett show up in the main plotline of the film as a shady figure from Han’s past, without spelling out exactly who he is or what history there is. This could add to the complexity of Han, rather than diminish it.
If you’ve seen Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, you will have seen this horror up close very recently. X-Men Origins: Wolverine did a similar thing. It always sucks. Does anybody really want to know where iconic screen heroes get their outfits?
It’s an easy thing to imagine, though: Han gets into a scrape, messes up his old threads, and ends up hiding out somewhere. He looks into a space closet, and pulls out a familiar-looking sleeveless jacket. He later steals a holster belt from someone he’s killed, and then he takes the blaster from, err... wherever.
Nobody needs this. It would just be fan service for fan service’s sake. If they prioritize stuff like this over telling a cool new story stuffed with fun Han moments, they’ll have missed the point of what made this character – and this franchise - popular in the first place. It wasn't callbacks; it was originality.
In the original trilogy (and again in The Force Awakens, to a degree) Han Solo was an aloof guy who didn’t want to get involved in the grander conflicts of the galaxy. It was a fun perspective, offering a fresh view on proceedings that lesser films wouldn’t have bothered to include. Han’s got a classic "refuse the call of adventure, then later step up" thing going on.
Again, it doesn’t feel necessary to offer an explanation for this in the Han Solo spinoff/prequel movie. That’s just the way Han is. He’s been through a lot – the ambiguous horrors of which are probably more interesting than an actual explanation would be – and he likes to stay on the sidelines, make his money, and stay out of other people’s fights.
To open the film with a more enthusiastic Han, and show the events that made him a hardened presence in A New Hope, is a predictable approach. It would be more fun to show the Han fans know getting into totally new situations. By all means, they can show different sides to his personality, but there’s no need to spell out his whole life story.
Fans love Chewie enough as it is, and showing his tragic backstory wouldn’t actually add that much. Fans have either read that story before, or have heard it through Wookiepedia or word of mouth.
Chewbacca was a slave, and he pledged Han a life debt after being freed. That's why he hates wearing handcuffs in A New Hope. This is fairly common knowledge. Shouldn’t the resources of a massive movie be spent on new ideas, rather than old ones?
Han and Chewie were firm friends when A New Hope opened, so they must have already had loads of adventures by that point. Why not show a bit of this instead of the generic origin stuff that fans already know and casual viewers could probably guess?
For a compromise, on this one, they could have someone allude to Han and Chewie’s shared history, just so absolutely everyone is up to speed. To spend a whole movie on this would feel like a waste, though.
When he shows up in A New Hope, Han is a man of the world/galaxy. He’s been to a lot of places, and he’s seen a lot of things. But he hasn’t witnessed anything that suggests “there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything.” It was only meeting Obi-Wan and Luke and living through the original trilogy that changed his mind on that.
This forces (pun intended) the Han Solo prequel movie into an interesting corner. Since this movie takes place before A New Hope, Han can’t cross paths with any Jedi or witness any Force-fuelled moments.
In amongst all the non-Jedi action, there’s no need to provide a backstory for Han’s galactic atheism. He’s seen bad things and he’s never met a Force-user. Fans know that already. They don’t need to see a childhood Han being taught that the Force is fake, or anything like that.
Rogue One promised a Force-free movie, then decided to chuck in Darth Vader. But Han Solo has no option but to keep the Jedi and the Sith away from the action. That should make it a very unique movie. That’s a more exciting prospect than endless Easter eggs and explanations.
There’s been gossip about a Boba Fett film for a while now (Josh Trank was attached at one stage), which could feasibly take place in the same between the originals and the prequels gap as Han Solo.
It’s a bit more of a long shot, perhaps, but this still seems predictable: Lucasfilm might want to tease Boba’s big screen comeback during the Han Solo movie. They might even want to hint at some tension between the two iconic characters, offering some knowing fan service nods.
After all, there’s no real reason why Boba and Han can’t have a history. In Return Of The Jedi, when Han woke up blind after the carbonite freezing, he recognized the name Boba Fett. In the 1997 special edition DVDs, George Lucas spliced Boba into the Tatooine-set Jabba confrontation scene from A New Hope, seeding the idea that the bounty hunter has kept tabs on the smuggler for a while.
Including Boba Fett in the Han Solo movie wouldn’t just be predictable, though, it would also be a distraction from the action at hand. Including Easter eggs and cameos to tee up future films might work for Marvel and DC, but it’s not really the Star Wars way.
Taking a trip to Mos Eisley’s iconic cantina would be the ultimate nod to Han’s destiny. Visiting this dive bar of galactic importance is surely tempting for the writers, and, to be fair, it probably would garner whoops and cheers at packed out fan-filled screenings.
However, is fan service really what fans want? This might sound like an odd question-- especially considering the praise that’s been lavished on moments like “Chewie, we’re home” and Darth Vader shredding Rebel soldiers with his lightsaber– but it’s worth thinking about. This fandom was built on enthusiasm for an original idea, not nostalgia for the days of yore.
Arguably, they’re already going too far with it. The Mos Eisley reference in Rogue One (those charming patrons that bumped into Jyn on Jedha) felt superfluous, and taking Han back there could have the same effect. What’s wrong with designing some cool new locations?
Han Solo loves shooting things. He tried to shoot Darth Vader in the face once, and everyone knows that he either did or didn’t shoot first cantina stand-off (well, sit-off) against Greedo. This notorious re-edit from George Lucas instigated one of the biggest and best-known Star Wars debates.
Since Lucasfilm is stuffed with fans of the franchise, there’s no chance that the idea of a "Han shot first" gag hasn’t been raised with regards to his spinoff movie. Heck, Chris Miller marked the start of filming by Tweeting a clapperboard pic with the caption "Han First Shot."
It would be a relatively easy thing to work in. Han will be blasting people in this movie, obviously, and he could feasibly pause after frying some fool and dispense a line like, “I always shoot first, kid.” Again, it would probably get big laughs on opening night.
However, it’s predictable and it’s safe. It’s a callback to something that fans have already been speaking about for decades. If they really want to push boundaries and recapture imaginations with these new movies, at some point Lucasfilm needs to stop looking backward, and starting look ahead.
Can you think of any other plot points you want Han Solo to avoid? Are there any that you want to see? Let us know in the comments!