After a dormant period following the release of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, the Star Wars saga has roared back to life following its acquisition by Disney. With a new film practically every year, Star Wars fans will have more than enough content to binge on to make up for the dry season.
Basking in the afterglow of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi comes Solo: A Star Wars Story. As part of the Star Wars stories series, the film is a side story that fills in the gaps in the plotlines of the main adventures. 2016’s Rogue One centred around the stealing and transmission of the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance; Solo will predictably look at the backstory of the lovable old rogue Han Solo, like how he meets his eternal partner-in-crime Chewbacca, and fellow gambler and rival Lando Calrissian.
But in the near-constant barrage of SW content that Disney is flinging in our faces, why watch Solo? Here are five good reasons.
You get to see Donald Glover take up the mantle (literally!) of Lando
Lando Calrissian was introduced in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back as the administrator of Cloud City, on the gas planet of Bespin. When Han and co. go there to seek refuge, their banter clearly shows them to be well-acquainted, to the point where Lando still jokingly begrudges Han for winning the Millennium Falcon from him in a game of sabacc. Donald Glover has proven through his past projects that he has the swagger and casual lack of concern it takes to play young Lando. Look forward to his Millennium Falcon is decked out with every imaginable amenity, including a closet dedicated to capes.
The origin behind the Kessel Run
For the hardcore moviegoers who have watched the original trilogy multiple times, there were plenty of throwaway lines that have become classic because they afforded the viewer the opportunity to create elaborate backstories for the quote.
Among the most famous is a line Han says when Obi-Wan and Luke try to recruit him to fly away from Tatooine in Episode IV: A New Hope: after Obi-Wan Kenobi asks Han whether he flies a fast ship, Han indignantly references the time the Falcon “made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs”. Fans speculate that the Kessel Run, an infamously dangerous stretch of space used mainly by smugglers, will be featured in this movie, especially after the director Ron Howard said that the Kessel Spice Mines will play a role in the story. If it is, then the age-old question can finally be settled - what on earth did Han mean?
Everyone’s favourite Wookiee, Chewbacca, has always fascinated fans; where does he come from? How did Han meet him? Why is he such a good pilot? While his history is explored in the now non-canon but legendary Star Wars Holiday Special as well as Extended Universe novels, where he was an Imperial slave freed by Han, the skimpiest of orgins is given to him in the prequel trilogy (where he serves as little more than referential). In Solo we will finally get to know more what brought this poor walking carpet into the gang.
Old and new faces
The sequel trilogy is not a good introduction to the world of Star Wars because they are the first ones produced under a different directorial vision. Their canon-stretching can make the recently-inducted fan more rather than less confused. Solo seems to strike a good balance between bringing back old and familiar characters and themes as well as newer challenges. The Star Wars Stories, which tells the stories in between the main films, has largely succeeded because of their ability to tell of what’s comforting and familiar, and merge it with something fresh and new.
It’s Star Wars
Really, there should be no other reason than because it’s Star Wars. It’s a chance to get involved with one of the longest continuously-running science-fiction sagas in history, and one that is still growing and expanding in strange and wonderful ways that can surprise everyone, from the starry-eyed neophyte to the jaded veteran.