Remember the Star Wars Extended Universe books, now known as Legends? If you adore those, you’d probably love Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Solo: A Star Wars Story Synopsis
This franchise spin-off takes place in the early years of the Galactic Rebellion and answers several questions fans have been wondering for years. How did Han Solo and Chewbacca meet? What was their biggest heist? Did Han cheat during that infamous Sarbacc game with Lando, from which he won the Millennium Falcon?
What were Han’s involvements with the Rebellion prior to meeting Obi-wan and Luke too? Most important of all, was Leia Organa Han’s only love? Surely a swashbuckling scoundrel like him couldn’t just have one love!
In some of my previous posts, I might have come across as somewhat of a hard-core Star Wars fan.
Well, I’m not. While I love the movies and I’m confident of my familiarity with the franchise, I don’t participate in cosplay events, collect the lifestyle items, or attend fandom events. Heck, I don’t even play the SW games, acclaimed as some of them are.
Much of this, in turn, is thanks to those Extended Universe books, nowadays known as Legends. (Hopefully, un-legended eventually) I’m not saying all are unbearable but work through enough of them, and I’d be surprised that you don’t notice how derivative and repetitive they are. How they also, ultimately, make you weary of the Star Wars galaxy.
Invariably, those books do no more than incessant extrapolations of characters and places, or dialogue, from the canon movies, particularly those of the original trilogy. Worse, many of these books systematically develop and enshrine a cycle of birth, celebration, and sudden death.
Some character is introduced. The awesomeness of this character stuns the galaxy. And then the character is killed. Unceremoniously snuffed for the sake of another book or to conform to the events of the movies.
But, this is a movie review about Solo: A Star Wars Story, isn’t it? I ought to get back to it … or have I already? This latest franchise milking gaiden plays and feels exactly like an Extended Universe book. It is the cinematic representation of that recipe that relies wholly on fans hungry for more and more, and more, from the main episodes.
Given the financial wealth of the production, visual effects are expectedly slick and kick-ass throughout, but strip that away and there’s immediately little left. It doesn’t help too that performances are generally lacklustre; sorry, I don’t feel Alden Ehrenreich or even Donald Glover growing the classic characters. In fact, I actually felt both were working too hard to conform to the canon portrayals. Which is ironic, given Han’s well-known personality in the original trilogy.
Finally, there’s the curious absence of the Force in this spin-off. Yes, I know this is a backstory for Han Solo. Episode IV clearly stated him to be a disbeliever too.
Still, isn’t it odd that the juice of the entire franchise is markedly missing? Or, OMG, is that a hint of the story for the next spin-off?! I certainly hope not!
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