For some reason, #MakeSolor2Happen is trending on Twitter again.
I reviewed this film when it came out. In short, 2018’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” didn’t have a chance. It had an over bloated budget while being a niche story in the “Star Wars” universe, it was coming off the heels of the greatly controversial “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which came out 5 months earlier, and it told a story nobody was asking for.
Worse yet, it was plagued by behind-the-scenes drama including lead Alden Ehrenreich supposedly needing acting lessons, and the film’s original directors were fired and replaced by Ron Howard.
And then, the film came out and it was absolutely fine.
I gave it a 6.5/10, but if I were reviewing it today, I’d give it an 8/10. “Solo” was one of the first films I reviewed for InReview, and I was noticeably more stingy with my ratings when the site was young vs. today.
“Solo” was at its best when it was just trying to tell a cool space heist movie, with smuggler Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Crime Lord Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), Cloud Rider Leader Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman) and Donald Glover’s young Lando Calrissian being standout characters from the film. While not terrible, the love interest of the titular protagonist Han Solo (Ehrenreich), Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), had potential, and could be a great character in a future “Star Wars” property.
The movie gets heavily criticized for its surprise cameo of Darth Maul (Sam Witwer), as the character was killed off for good in the show “Star Wars: Rebels,” which takes place chronologically after “Solo,” but as “The Clone Wars” Season 7 proves, just because you know the end destination of a story, does not mean the journey to it cannot still be amazing. Add to this the fact that Maul had a very good arc in “Clone Wars” Season 7, and I’m also completely down for a Maul story in between “Solo” and “Rebels”.
When I reviewed “Solo” in 2018, I remarked that it had all of the making of a cult film, and it seems like my prediction came through. The hashtag #MakeSolo2Happen has been trending specifically because the film has a cult following. Unlike the horrible nightmare that was “The Rise of Skywalker”, “Solo” has enough original “Star Wars” content for it to be its own thing, and while it failed because Disney put too much money in it, its originality has allowed it to grow on people, much in the same way the “Star Wars” prequels have now grown on people.
Had “Solo” not been branded as “Solo,” but rather an original tale in the “Star Wars” Universe that had a creative title something like “Outbound Flight” or “The Truce at Bakura,” and had it not been released so close to “The Last Jedi” and had its budget inflated to a ridiculous $275 million, “Solo” would have made a profit. It’s a good film that had everything working against it.
To #MakeSolo2Happen, I say: Why not? But do it right this time. And please don’t call it “Solo 2.” Give us an original tale that just so happens to feature some of the cast of “Solo.” Keep it under budget (no more than $100 million) and make it the only “Star Wars” film that’s coming out the year it releases. Get a cool script, and make Dave Filoni an executive producer.
It’s a shame that “Solo” derailed Disney’s plans for “Star Wars” anthology films, because by any metric, “Solo” was an outlier. It was a niche story that nobody asked for that went way over budget and was mismanaged behind the scenes so much so that its original directors had to be fired. Just because “Solo” failed does not mean every other anthology film would have failed, but that pretty much sums up Disney’s ownership of “Star Wars”. They’re a giant company that does not understand the property, and make decisions based on a spreadsheet.