The danger in telling any origin story is that the script can get caught up in foreshadowing. Solo: A Star Wars Story is a case in point; several key scenes were essentially unnecessary setup for the Star Wars original trilogy.
Certain key scenes and ideas were always baked into a Han Solo origin story. Nobody ever doubted that the film would explain how Han became a smuggler, how he acquired the Millennium Falcon, and how he began his partnership with Chewbacca. Some of the answers Solo gave us were pretty smart, too; one of the most effective twists is the fact that Han doesn't win the Falcon the first time he goes up against Lando in a game of Sabacc.
But the movie blended this basic plot with a lot of fan-service, foreshadowing or teasing some of the major beats from the original trilogy that didn't need foreshadowing or teasing, occasionally feeling more focused on setting up movies we've already seen than telling its own story, and some of it even detracted from moments that, in the OT, seemed spontaneous. Here's our picks for some of the worst culprits.
The Thermal Detonator
Let's start with one of the strangest moments in the entire film. Early on in the movie, the young Han is brought before Corellian crime boss Lady Proxima for judgment. Unable to talk his way out of it, Han decides it's time to practice one spectacular bluff; he picks up a rock, makes a clicking noise with his tongue, and pretends he's really holding a thermal detonator. Given Han had been searched before being brought before Lady Proxima, it's a rather odd bluff to try, and Lady Proxima isn't impressed.
Fortunately, Han has the bright idea of using the rock to break a window, shedding a little lethal light on the confrontation. The scene foreshadows a similar gambit in Return of the Jedi, when a disguised Leia threatens Jabba the Hutt with an actual thermal detonator. Co-writer Jon Kasdan has taken to Twitter to defend this scene, insisting that Han told Leia the story and that was her inspiration. "For anyone who feels that maybe that didn't need to be explained," he added, "you're crazy, it had to be explained!"
Lando's Disguise from Return of the Jedi
When Han and his band attempt to infiltrate Kessel, their plan involves Beckett pretending to be Qi'ra's bodyguard. Beckett dons a disguise with a very distinctive helmet and breastplace, and attentive viewers recognized it straightaway; years later, Lando would use the same disguise when he infiltrated Jabba's palace in Return of the Jedi.
Jon Kasdan reflected that he wished there was a special feature showing time-lapse footage of this outfit just sitting in a closet in the Falcon for fifteen years - until it ended with Lando picking it up and donning it for the mission to Jabba's palace. "And if you're wondering why or objecting to how interconnected to the movies it is with the others," he added, "it's 'cause that's the kind of nonsense I think about."
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- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019