By Cody Pestana
When I first heard about the Han Solo standalone movie I was not happy. It was the dumbest Hollywood cash grab in a long time. Ever since… well we’ll get to that. The character is a classic, the performance is iconic and so far the only way to make a bad Star Wars movie is to make it a prequel.
To write, Disney hired Lawrence Kasdan. A good decision but also kind of an obvious one. He is the only person other than Lucas who has ever written Han, he knows what he is doing and he is generally a reliably good writer. But I was still unimpressed, figuring the idea was just so bad that there was no way even he could pull it off.
But then they hired directors specifically Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Lord and Miller are fantastic directors who have yet to make a bad movie. They have a history of turning bad ideas around. Both Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street looked like stupid film ideas on the surface but both are well-liked and successful. And that isn’t even touching The Lego Movie.
I remember hearing about The Lego Movie a year before it came out. I was livid. This was the stupidest franchise idea I had ever seen. A movie about Legos? Seriously? How dumb did they think we were? But of course the movie turned out to be a sublime piece of pop art. And that’s the thing. The Young Han Solo Movie is the dumbest idea I’ve heard since a movie about Legos.
But still, you can’t recast Harrison Ford as Han Solo. It doesn’t matter how good the directors are. You don’t have a Han, you don’t have a movie. I spent a good chunk of time sitting around with my friends trying to think of a single person who could fill the role. We came up empty.
I recently saw Hail, Caesar and was blown away by Alden Enrenreich. He stole scenes out from under experienced actors and he had an odd charm that made me eager to see more. When he was announced as a contender for the roll of Han, I was surprised to find I could picture him playing Han Solo. Luckily they gave him the part.
So here we are with an actor who can fill the role and directors whose entire careers are based on making bad ideas into great movies. I still kind of can’t imagine it being good. But I just keep thinking I felt the same way about The Lego Movie. I think we all did. And look how that turned out.
Cody Pestana is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JEFF - I love Star Wars, Star Trek DS9 and TNG, The Flash, Arrow, Equilibrium, anything Christopher Nolan does, The Terminator, Back To The Future, RPGs especially Mass Effect and Dragon Age, martial arts movies, and Bantha Milk!