The first teaser for Solo: A Star Wars Story is here, giving our very first look at at the next movie in the Star Wars franchise. While this movie is set to have many of the most iconic elements in Star Wars between Han, Chewie, Lando, the Millennium Falcon, and the Empire, it's also going to feature some of the most unique aspects of the universe to appear on the big screen, and that's what this first look focuses on.
Between new villains, planets, and ships, there's a lot to break down, with footage from both the Superbowl teaser and the full trailer from Good Morning America to work from. The footage doesn't necessarily give away any major plot elements, but a number of reveals help piece together the scant details available so far with the movie's lack of advertising.
A Clean Millennium Falcon
We knew the Falcon was worse for wear under the ownership of Han Solo, but this trailer shows us just how much of a slob Han Solo is, revealing a pristine Millennium Falcon interior. It can only be expected for the ship to get a little dirty over time, but knowing the interior was stark white on black and not tan on gray is not a good look for Han and Chewie's cleaning habits.
It can be imagined, however, that as the ship's previous owner, Lando took a lot of pride in maintaining its interior, keeping it as flashy as his glowing smile. The ship will probably take a few years to start looking as dirty as we remember it being from the other films, but if there are any sequels to Solo: A Star Wars Story, you can bet we'll gradually see the Falcon fall into a state of filth and disrepair.
Han's Imperial Recruitment
The Han Solo backstory provided in the non-canon Star Wars Legends was that he originally joined the Imperial Navy before deserting and becoming a smuggler, and it looks like things could play out similarly in Solo.
The trailer opens with Han sitting down with an Imperial officer in what appears to be an Imperial recruitment center with an officer who asks him which branch he's interested in joining, to which Han replies: "I'm going to be a pilot. The best in the galaxy." It's just like Han to talk such a big game, especially when it comes to his piloting skills.
The trailer is fairly light on Chewbacca, but it's highly possible that service in the Imperial Navy is what ultimately brings him into contact with Chewie in the first place since the Wookiees were enslaved by the Empire. Breaking his hairy friend out of captivity seems like a pretty sensible way for him to break his ties to the Empire.
Star Destroyer in Clouds
With Arrival's Bradford Young serving as Solo's cinematographer, we can expect quite a few iconic shots to come out of this movie, but this shot of a star destroyer navigating through a cloudy tunnel surrounded by lightning is already one for the books and bears a strong resemblance to a number of shots we've only seen in the likes of Star Wars Rebels so far.
As far as what's actually going on in this image, it's hard to know for sure, but it sure isn't the kind of place you'd expect to casually find a Star Destroyer, so it's likely it's either chasing someone (like the crew of the Falcon), or patrolling a known smuggling route - such as the infamous Kessel Run. Star Wars fans have long theorized that Han Solo's boast about the Kessel Run could be explained by the route being difficult to traverse, thus the use of "parsec," a measurement of distance, not time.
New TIE Fighter
The name of the game so far with new Star Wars movies is new TIE Fighters. The Force Awakens introduced First Order TIEs, Rogue One revealed TIE Strikers, The Last Jedi ushered in Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer, and now Solo: A Star Wars Story is debuting... this new TIE.
While it maintains the same typical TIE aesthetic, it's not a design we've seen before, and it's purpose isn't immediately clear. There is a second section next to the cockpit, but it's not big enough for a co-pilot or gunner, but it definitely sports a pair of canons. TIE fighters already have canons mounted below the cockpit, so it's not clear what's different about these, but given the dedicated module next to the cockpit, it can only be surmised that this TIE packs a little more punch than it's single podded bretheren. Given the size of this canon module, it may even pack its own ordinance, making this TIE a bit more dangerous than the fighters we're more familliar with.
Ever since the iconic cantina scene in the very first Star Wars movie, fans have been obsessed with the various alien species of the Star Wars universe, including a few frequently featured species. We've now had 3 Star Wars movies land in theaters in the post-Disney era of the Star Wars franchise, but so far, a majority of the aliens shown on screenhave been new species. Thankfully, it looks like Solo will break that trend and return to some favorite aliens, like the Twi-lek.
The Twi-lek haven't been completely absent from Disney Star Wars, with a few brief appearances in Rogue One, but the Solo trailer features a prominent shot of several of the headtailed humanoids dancing in a nightclub, giving us a new twist on the seedy corners of the galaxy that pop up across the franchise. Hopefully, this means we'll also be getting other familiar faces, such as Rodians,
The second the plans for a Han Solo movie were made official, fans started wondering: "will Lando be in it?" Thankfully, it wasn't long before the casting the Childish Gambino, Donald Glover, was made official and quickly jumping to the top of everyone's list of most anticipated aspects of the movie. Glover's history of comedy, drama, and music make him just as versatile as the future baron administrator of Cloud City.
Thankfully, the first footage, while brief, certainly doesn't disappoint. Billy Dee Williams's iconic first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back established Lando as a suave and stylish scheming gambler, and it looks like Glover won't let fans of that portrayal down, sporting a giant fur coat (hopefully that doesn't upset Chewbacca) and iconic mustache. Flashing the perfect Billy Dee Williams grin, Glover makes it clear he's going to shine in the role of the galaxy's classiest gambler turned future Cloud City administrator.
As one of the more mysterious additions to the cast, this trailer doesn't do much other than simply reveal the look of Emilia Clarke's character, Qi'Ra. Han Solo had a number of female allies before we came to know him, including Sana Starros, who has been heavily featured in Marvel's Star Wars comics, but not much exists in canon telling us what to expect from Qi'Ra, and the trailer doesn't make that situation any clearer.
As far as how she comes to be a part of this story, it appears that the original link between her and Han Solo was the character portrayed by Michael K. Williams before he had to be replaced when his schedule conflicted with Ron Howard's extensive reshoots. That role has now been passed on to Paul Bettany's character, but with him not even appearing in the trailer, that leave's Qi'Ra's ultimate involvement as a big mystery, although she may come into play in this club scenes we've seen, meaning she may have more in common with Lando than Han at this point.
L3-37 - Star Wars' First Female Droid (Sort Of)
Due to the secrecy surrounding Solo prior to the first trailer, not much was known about most of its characters, but fans could still get a general idea what most of the main cast would look like since, well, we know what the actors look like. The situation with Phoebe Waller-Bridge was entirely different, though, since she's playing a droid character, L3-37 who appears to be mostly motion capture, like Alan Tudyk's K-2S0 in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The similarities to Alan Tudyk don't stop there, as the droid's interactions, particularly with Lando, show that the droid apparently has a fair amount of sass, meaning fans just might have another favorite droid when this movie arrives in may. The fact that she's named L3-37, a clear callback to the somewhat dated L337 geek speak, in which numbers are substituted for certain letteers. L337 is ultimately derived from the word "elite," and only adds to the notion that L3 will have a bit of a sassy attitude. Just cross your fingers that she doesn't blurt out "pwned!" when they blow some TIE Fighters out of the sky.
Incidentally, L3 is also the first female droid to co-star in a Star Wars movie, although she's not the first female droid to make an appearance in the saga, with that distinction belonging (as far as we know) to R2-Kt, an astromech droid designed by a fan to honor his daughter, Katie. R2-KT went on to be canonized in both The Clone Wars and The Force Awakens, but Waller Bridge's L3-37 still has the honorary role of the first female droid as a part of the main cast.
The trailer also revealed another mysterious character - Thandie Newton's Val. The only tease we've had to work off for her character to this point was a set photo with director Ro nHoward where she appeared to be wearing an Imperial Naval officer's uniform, leading to speculation that she may be one of the movie's villains.. That's obviously not the case in this photo, so it's not clear if that was just misleading info, if she's undercover, deserting like Han, or maybe if the original picture was simply one of her wearing a disguise (which happens from time to time in Star Wars).
Regardless of her ultimate affiliation, she's clearly channeling a sort of Foxy Brown vibe, which could be another excellent genre influence on this film. Between Solo and her recent big role in Westworld, Thandie Newton is poised to have a career-defining 2018 as another excellent addition to Solo's quality cast.
George Lucas was a big fan of car racing, as can be seen in American Graffiti and a number of his inspirations for Star Wars. It even manifested in a big way in the pod race in The Phantom Menace, and now Solo is bringing it back in a big way. Director Ron Howard was actually an actor in American Graffiti alongside Harrison Ford, so it's cool to see him helming a Han Solo movie featuring some racing set in George Lucas' universe all these years later.
It's not podracing like we saw in Episode I, but we do know that the vehicle is referred to as a "podcar," so it's not far off. Han's always boasted in his piloting skills, but we have only really seen him navigating the asteroid field in Empire Strikes Back as evidence, so between the podcars, the Falcon, and maybe some TIE piloting, it'll be great to see him hold his own behind the controls of a few vehicles.
In the few shots we get of Han behind the controls of the podcar, he's evading Imperial pursuit and making some risky maneuvers, providing excellent chase material for the big screen.
Han Shoots First?
Everybody knows about the age-old "Han shot first" drama, and all eyes will doubtless be on Solo when it hits theaters, with fans everywhere wondering if he's the type of scruffy looking nerf herder that would blow away his opponent in lukewarm blood or the kind that shoots down his enemy with his great reflexes and twitchy trigger finger.
The trailer definitely doesn't provide the answer to this question, but a shot of Han unclasping his holster in the style of some of the classic westerns that always inspired Star Wars definitely teases the fast hands of Han, putting him in a situation against Moloch and his henchmen where shooting first might be his best strategic move.
The "Han shot first" debate will, of course, probably never end, but as one of the central discussions surrounding the character, fans are doubtless going to be keeping their eyes peeled for any sort of reference to the classic feud - intentional or otherwise.
Han and Chewie
As one of Star Wars' most iconic duos, Han Solo and Chewie are obviously going to be the central fixture of this movie. Since Chewbacca's rescue is something that probably lands squarely in spoiler territory, he's barely featured in the trailer, but one of the shots he does appear in (from the first teaser) will likely end up being one of the more iconic in the whole saga as the lanky Wookiee slowly reaches out to put his hand on his smuggler buddy's shoulder.
We've always known that Chewbacca owes Han a life-debt, but the exact circumstances about how Han earned this sacred rite hasn't been detailed aside from a brief reference in Chuck Wendig's Life Debt. It may not be the most surprising or unexpected of twists, with Han simply liberating his future partner from Imperial slavery, but nevertheless, it remains as one of Star Wars' long-unanswered questions, so it makes sense not to spoil it in the trailers.
Han's ever faithful companion is already over 200 years old during the events of the original trilogy, so he's not exactly going to be a drastically de-aged version from what we've seen in the original trilogy. In fact, we've already seen a (slightly) even younger version of the Wookiee in the prequels when he teams up with Yoda to fight the Separatists off of Kashyyyk in Revenge of the Sith Nevertheless, his appearance in Solo does slightly little younger, with a fur coat that's maybe a little more lush and full, especially compared to his most recent appearance in The Last Jedi, which takes place over 40 years after the events of Solo.
Also of note is the Wookiee's new bandolier, which is also a deviation from his more classic over-the-shoulder rig, which he also wore in Revenge of the Sith, suggests he also may be using a different weapon than the iconic bowcaster we've seen him predominantly using in his other appearances.
This trailer features the Empire's presence in this movie, including stormtroopers, a Star Destroyer, and TIE Fighters, but the classicly villainous Star Wars organization isn't likely to be the main antagonist this time around, serving more as a backdrop than anything. There's no confirmation of Boba Fett or Jabba the Hutt either, both of whom would probably be outed by now if they had anything more than cameos. Instead, the only other villain focused on in this trailer is the mysterious "Moloch."
Moloch is portrayed by stuntman Harley Durst, suggesting he'll be a very physical role, as we get a tease of atop the train as he faces off against Woody Harrelson's Tobias Beckett. The lack of a more well-known actor portraying Moloch suggests it's merely a smaller part, but the absence of any other antagonist leaves him as our best bet. Besides, with the character completely covered in armor, there's nothing stopping them from using a more iconic voiceover for dialogue. After all, this is Star Wars.
We don't know much about Tobias Beckett, but given he's played by Woody Harrelson, we don't really need to, we know he'll be great. Described as a sort of mentor, maybe even father figure, to Han Solo, Beckett can only be expected to be a gruff vehicle of tough love everyone has come to expect from the actor. He was originally rumored to be the Legends character Garris Shrike, but it's still possible Shike will influence his backstory.
Outside of that, he looks great in the Star Wars universe, which can sometimes be hard to envision with iconic actors like Harrelson. There's a brief shot of him against the backdrop of what appears to be a Corellian wasteland and another short shot where he goes toe to toe with the violent Moloch. Most fans expect Beckett to be killed off before the movie's over, but he'll clearly leave a big mark on Han Solo's character development.
A New (Old) Look For the Falcon
The Falcon's sparkly clean interior isn't the only thing about the ship that's different from its past depictions. The exterior also has a significant makeover, not just sporting a clean and bright white and blue paint job, but also a flat sensor dish and a pointed bow, instead of the traditional two-pronged mandibles.
We know the ship belonged to Lando before Han, and Lando obviously has a much stronger eye and preference for classy looking aesthetics, and the tear-drop shape of the Falcon in Solo definitely fits that bill, the question is just whether that's the stock appearance of YT-1300s right off the assembly line or if that's a body modification Lando made himself. Of course, aside from clearing that point up, fans will be mostly curious about how Han - who already has a reputation for his "special modifications" - came to transorm this sleeker looking ship into the hunk of junk fans know and love.
One of the very first brags ever made by Han Solo after appearing on screen in A New Hope was that the Millennium Falcon has made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, leaving fans confused for decades. What is the Kessel Run? Why did he list parsec, a measurement of distance instead of time? Is he just making things up as some canon-sources suggest? With Kessel confirmed as a major location in Solo: A Star Wars Story, some of these questions are about to be answered.
There's only a very brief shot of the Falcon in action, but based on the context, it very well could be our first peek of the famed Kessel Run. The hint that suggests the Kessel Run is the stormy exterior that's similar to the shot of the Star Destroyer in the cloudy electrical storm. One of the long-held fan theories for why Han brags about making the Kessel Run in a short distance instead of a short time is because the Kessel Run is through very dangerous space, meaning following a specific route is necessary to remain safe, and cutting corners (or more) to achieve a shorter distance would be hazardous. If the Falcon is flying the Kessel Run and they are trying to avoid a Star Destroyer, making Han boldly (or foolishly) decide to attempt a shortcut, it would make sense that this shot comes right from the middle of the famed run.
The movie's titular character and everyone's favorite smuggler with a swagger, Han Solo. It's no tall order to recast Harrison Ford in one of cinema's most famous roles, but after auditioning over 2,500 actors, Alden Ehrenreich was chosen. He's proven himself in his other roles, and clearly, Lucasfilm is confident in him, but this first trailer doesn't focus as much on proving he nails the role as much as it is establishing the universe that surrounds him.
Even so, in the brief lines delivered, the quick shot of him walking around the Falcon, and the short look at his face at the end, Ehrenreich already seems to embody the character. He says he wants to be the best pilot in the galaxy, and this slightly obstructed view of his face is the spitting image of the smuggler everyone knows and loves, so it seems like we're off on the right foot. All we need is a few wisecracks and this movie is ready for light speed.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019