Solo: A Star Wars Story co-writer Jonathan Kasdan defends the film's connections to Return of the Jedi. Whenever a film franchise has gone on as long as Star Wars, fans can expect the latest installments will have nods to the works that have come before. For better or worse, Disney's entries in the galaxy far, far away have included plenty of Easter eggs and references - and some are definitely more subtle than others. With Solo exploring Han's younger days prior to the original trilogy, it seemed like a foregone conclusion there would be several ties to the earlier movies.
Fortunately, there weren't any jokes about carbonite or allusions to being murdered by estranged sons, but some of Solo's connections proved to be a bit on-the-nose for some. In a movie that was already answering questions like how Han met Chewbacca and got the Millennium Falcon, Solo wasn't afraid to go for broke with the original trilogy explanations. Two in particular drew heavily from Return of the Jedi. Early in the film, Han uses a rock as a thermal detonator as he escapes Lady Proxima's den, and later on when arriving on Kessel, Beckett is wearing what would be Lando's disguise in Jabba's palace. Now, Kasdan has offered some insight.
On Twitter, Kasdan shared a thread with several factoids about Solo, and he took the time to address the Return of the Jedi connections. In the case of the detonator, Han apparently told Leia about that trick, which the princess kept in mind for when she posed as a bounty hunter in Jedi. As for the Tantel Armor, Kasdan simply imagined a special feature where Beckett puts the outfit in a closet on the Falcon, and years later Lando discovers it as he infiltrates Jabba.
These two references drew their fair share of criticism from circles of fans, which is something Kasdan acknowledges in his notes. Unfortunately, he doesn't really provide a deeper explanation for why they're in the movie, other than "that's the kind of nonsense I think about." On one hand, it is cool for fans to see how the various Star Wars films come together, but a case can be made the filmmakers may have gone far in a few places. Leia was always a capable and intelligent fighter, so she easily could have thought of the thermal detonator threat all on her own. Granted, she upped the stakes by using a real explosive, but she didn't need to get the idea from anybody. Beckett's disguise is a little more understandable, as it's an easier sell he wasn't in possession of the armor before meeting Lando. That very well could have been a costume from Calrissian's smuggling days he let Beckett borrow for the Kessel job.
Episode IX will surely follow suit by having its own list of connections to the Skywalker saga it's set to conclude, but soon Lucasfilm may have to stop leaning on the past. Both Rian Johnson's trilogy and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss' series are set to tell all-new stories that are not part of the generational tale Star Wars has always been, so it would be slightly jarring if those films contained any overt references to their predecessors. But that may be exactly what the franchise needs to thrive for years to come. This "Phase 1" for Lucasfilm's modern era was a fun nostalgia trip that owed plenty to the original trilogy, but it's time to let old things die.
Source: Jonathan Kasdan
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019