Solo: A Star Wars Story co-writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan have revealed some of the spinoff's unlikely influences, including cult classic The Big Lebowski and Michael Mann's Heat. The spinoff is shaping up to be something different for the franchise, so it isn't surprising the creative team looked past the classic Flash Gordon serials that informed George Lucas on A New Hope. Instead of a space opera with a struggle of good against evil, Solo is pitched as a crime film in the faraway galaxy, delving into the underworld like never before.
The advantage of the Star Wars anthologies is that they can experiment with different styles and genres to offer something unique for fans. For instance, Rogue One took cues from war dramas in its depiction of a desperate Rebellion fighting back against the Empire. Solo's teaser trailer provided viewers with the first hints of a slick heist movie, and the Kasdans looked to some iconic works while crafting the story.
In an interview with EW, the father and son duo broke down their key sources of inspiration for Solo. Several of these (including Treasure Island, Heat, and Unforgiven) look to be the basis for young Han's relationship with mentor Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) as he transitions from idealist to cynic. For the overall feel of the film, the Kasdans looked to a Coen brothers staple:
“[Solo] has that flavor of a crime world that has weirdness and surprise and people stumbling into things — and other people very intentionally getting into [trouble]. The Big Lebowski is a great example because Solo has a more off-kilter tone than you’ve ever seen in [Star Wars].”
The Big Lebowski is certainly one of the more unorthodox offerings in the Coens' catalog, centering around lifelong slacker The Dude who gets roped into a case of mistaken identity and tries to get to the bottom of it with the help of his bowling buddies. It's not the first film that springs to mind when one thinks about Star Wars, so it'll be fascinating to see how those sensibilities are translated to the galaxy far, far away. Drawing from the likes of Big Lebowski and Heat sounds like an ideal way of keeping the franchise fresh, which will be necessary if Solo is to land with the intended impact. Yes, it looks to have an old school aesthetic, but it'll have to bring some new ideas to the table in order to justify its existence. Going a more unconventional route for the tone sounds fun on-paper.
Even when Solo became marred by unprecedented production issues last year, many hung their hopes on the script, as it received praise from numerous members of the Lucasfilm family. Lawrence Kasdan is a legend of the studio, having written three Star Wars saga installments and Raiders of the Lost Ark. His pedigree was enough to sway some doubters, but knowing he incorporated some unusual (but welcome) influences is quite exciting. If anything, this development will make fans even more intrigued to see how the origin story shapes up.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019