Solo: A Star Wars Story was the biggest disappointment for Disney and Star Wars since the two became part of the same company in 2012. While a lot has been written about why Solo failed, the biggest issues was it’s story and how to sell it.
When it was announce that Han Solo was going to get his own origin movie, I wasn’t excited. The idea of a solo Solo movie was uninspired and I had hoped that Star Wars movies that were separate from the number trilogies would take place during the 30 years gap between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens or the video game series Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (which takes place 4,000 years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace). After seeing and enjoying the first spinoff in Star Wars history Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and finding out that Solo had a 71 percent on rottentomatoes.com, my expectations for Solo increased. I went into the theater expecting to see a movies that was closer to Ant-Man than Avengers: Infinity War in quality, and I would’ve been perfectly find with that. What I actually got was a movie that was of similar in quality of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but slightly worse.
From this point on I will be going into full spoilers for Solo. The reason Solo is similar to BvS, is because I was mostly bored watching it and all the events that I imagined being cool before I saw the film were lame when I saw it. I expected Solo to show how Han and Chewbacca met for the first time, but for that moment to be Han being thrown into a pit and convincing an enslaved Chewbacca—who has apparently been killing and eating humans and aliens for his captors’ entertainment—to help him break a support beam holding up the roof keeping them inside the pit by play fighting, was a huge disappointment. The scene where Han wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian was a few minutes a way from being a post credits scene and felt rushed.
One area that separates Solo from BvS, is that at least BvS showed Batman fighting Superman, while Solo didn’t show how Han Solo became the man fans meet and loved in Star Wars: A New Hope. Instead Solo provides answers to question most fans never asked. Solo revealed that Han didn’t have a last name until he signed up to join the Empire and they gave him the last name Solo. The Solo name reveal might have been the worst scene in any Star Wars movie and raised even more questions. Are all orphans without a last name given the name Solo? Should I assume that the Star Wars universe works like Game of Thrones where Jon is a bastard that was born in the north so his last name is Snow, but there is no regional or directional difference and that everyone born a bastard is given the last name Solo? Is Rey and Finn’s last name Solo? These are the type of questions I wasn’t expecting to be asking after watching Solo and they’re the type of question that keep a movie from having good word-of-mouth, because most people won’t rushout to see a movie they weren’t interested in after hearing this.
If Solo had been closer to a super hero origin movie, it would’ve been much better. Solo could’ve started by showing Han as a child struggling to survive, then as a teenager or young adult learning to become one of the best pilots in the galaxy, later he meets Chewbacca and Lando and they accept a mission from Jabba the Hutt that involves the Kessel Run, and the movie ends with Han completing the Kessel Run, but in a way that results in a sad ending and causing Han to become the cynical man we meet in A New Hope. This version of the movie would have spent at least 30 percent of it’s screen time developing its villain, and I would’ve made that villain Boba Fett. This version of Solo couldn’t happen, because Disney was set on making as many spinoffs as humanly possible and didn’t want to waste Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt in one movie.
Putting the quality of Solo as a movie aside, going forward Star Wars should follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe in how to build hype for their movies. After seeing and hating the second Thor movie Thor: The Dark World, I said I wouldn’t see Thor 3. But when it was announced that Thor: Ragnarok would be a team-up movie featuring the Hulk, I instantly changed my mind and went to the theater to see it. The most shocking and interesting part of Solo was when Darth Maul showed up as a crime boss at the end of the movie. Instead of using Maul as a surprise cameo, they could’ve made him the main villain and showed him in the first trailer. This would’ve shocked everyone and gotten more people interested in seeing the movie. While it would force the writers and directors to answer the difficult question of how Han could convincingly defeat Maul, everyone that saw the trailer would be asking the same question and many would go to the theater to find out.
As someone that enjoyed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I don’t think people hating that movie caused Solo to tank. What caused it to tank was a poor story and a movie whose mere concept wasn’t enough to get people to want to see. Luckily for Disney, both of these issues can be fixed with a little more creativity.