A 'Han Solo' Standalone Film = Very Bad Idea

October 26, 2015

The word "prequel" may have existed before Star Wars Episode 1, but 'The Phantom Menace' was certainly what made it a household term.  There were a few years where prequels came crawling out of the woodwork after the ungodly amount of money that was made off of Episode 1.  Suddenly, it was important that the world knew the origin and backstory to 'Dumb and Dumber', 'The Flintstones', 'From Dusk til Dawn', 'Tremors', and even 'Cruel Intentions'. TV shows were not immune either, as 'Star Trek:  Enterprise', arguably the worst of the TV 'Treks', started shortly after Star Wars Episode 1.  It was as if the big wigs in Hollywood said to all their underlings, "I want that kind of money! Go find anything that we could use to make a prequel." 

Now, naturally, prequels tend to be origin stories, so for the sake of this article, when I say "origin story", I am only referring to origin stories told in a later prequel or sequel after a successful movie has already been made. The idea of going back and exploring the origin of a character or story is something that started as an annoying fad and has now grown out of control.  I am not saying that every time you tell an origin story it is undoubtedly going to turn out bad.  Certainly the world is a better place because of 'Monster's University' and 'Godfather II' but sadly, those results are the exception rather than the rule. I love movies and I really love great movies.  A great movie has a well told story with well developed characters.  When you have both of those things you usually have ALL the info you need to love and enjoy a character.  Case in point...Han Solo.

As a lifelong Star Wars fan boy, I am so excited about the next three movies coming out.  I am particularly psyched to see what Rian Johnson will do with Episode 8.  (Probably going to be the best one!)  I am less excited, and very concerned, about the standalone 'Star Wars' films that are scheduled to come out between the releases of the Saga films.  Some might be good, as  anyone who read the X-wing novels knows what kind of potential there is in the 'Rogue One' movie. But I also know that Han Solo is one of the greatest characters in movie history.  But think about it for a moment.  Why would you ever want to see an origin story about Han Solo?

The first problem, for me personally, is the consistent drop in quality of the films when they make origin stories.  I'd rather watch the worst LOTR movie over the best 'Hobbit' movie any day.  Although the drop in quality is a big issue, perhaps a larger problem is purpose.  When it comes to origins and prequels, you really have to ask, "Why?"  If you loved the first 2 'Underworld' movies, like I did, then you know that there was NO reason to show the events of "Rise of the Lycans" because the story was told perfectly well in the flashback scenes of the first 'Underworld'.  No one walked out of a theater in the 30's after being amazed by 'The Wizard of Oz' and said:  "That movie was great but it would be so perfect if they made a movie about how the wizard got to Oz."  This is the main reason we do not need a Han Solo film: we just don't have to have one!

I know that many of you are just like me when you hear about new Star Wars films (or anything for that matter) you get excited, and rightfully so.  But there are important reasons why Han Solo is such a great character.  He is such a great counterbalance to Luke Skywalker.  While Luke is the young, excited, relatable, boy on a journey to becoming a man, destined to become a hero, Han is an experienced, jaded, man who is in it for himself.  This character is okay and grabs your attention throughout the first film because he is clever, cocky, and funny.  You like him but you really want to *love* him.  But unlike the rest of the characters, including the droids and Chewie,  Han shows that he feels like he has been thrown into this, rather than committing to the team.  The team that you as an audience member have already subconsciously joined.  It is only at the very end, when we have put all our faith in Luke, when Biggs has died, Vader is about to finish him off, and Han comes flying in and saves the day do we realize that his character has changed!  We can love Han now.  He is a complete and wonderful character.  And then we get 2 more excellent movies to explore how this new Han will interact with his new team, his new "family," and eventually Leia.  :) 

Now, getting to the point.  Why in the hell would you EVER want to make a movie about a young Han Solo?!?  The character basically becomes a real character in Star Wars!  The only thing you are going to be able to do with a "Star Wars Origin:  Han Solo" movie is tell a story about a young Corellian kid who had a rough life.  There will probably be some stupid part about him falling in love for the first time and getting burned, or they might show him winning the Falcon from Lando in a game of Sabacc.  They might even show him saving Chewie and the beginning of their relationship.  None of this matters, ultimately, because everything we need to know about Han Solo is laid out for us in 'Star Wars'.  He is a cocky smuggler scoundrel who thinks about his own needs before others.  Han is basically a good guy, "I have no love for the Empire," but he doesn't hesitate to drill a blaster bolt through a skinny green bounty hunter in a "you or me" situation.  This is the set up for him BECOMING the character who we all know and love.  So an origin film will have to be about a young man who goes through some difficult stuff but in the end never really learns anything.  By the end, Han still has to be the unfinished Han that we know from the first film.  Otherwise, GOD FORBID, they ignore what is necessary and try to make a movie where Han does learn a powerful life changing message at the end and it completely contradicts with his scoundrel ways in the holy trilogy.

Side Note:  The aura of mystery that practically radiates off of Boba Fett is one of the keys to his awesomeness.  They should avoid making any Fett origin films as well, but that's a story for another time...

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