Han Shot First: Han Solo and Boba Fett Get Films before Next Star Wars Trilogy
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
It’s possible you’ve been out of the loop for a bit. If you avoided the internets yesterday, you probably missed quite a juicy bit of news regarding Star Wars. That news? Both Han Solo and Boba Fett will be getting solo, spinoff films prior to the release of the next installment in the saga in 2015. That’s right: fans will get to see younger versions of the iconic characters, prior to Carbonite freezing and Sarlaac pit sinking (and escaping).
Naturally, such news elicited the requisite mixed reactions that come along with such news. Some people were thrilled, while others swore of the Star Wars universe for the millionth time. Both reactions are likely merited to some extent, but what exactly caused all the commotion in the first place? Aren’t these films a good thing?
Yes and no.
Star Wars is one of the most iconic franchises of all time. The sheer imagination behind the original trilogy was so groundbreaking at the time that it’s since endured. Legions of fans remain slavishly devoted to the universe created by George Lucas and co., so much so that the film s quoted and referenced in so many different avenues of pop culture. With a legacy as strong as that, only adding to it will presumably make it better. Therein lies the problem.
When the second trilogy was released, there was an insane optimism and excitement to seeing them. The fact that Anakin Skywalker’s origin would be told (prior to him becoming Darth Vader) was so tantalizing that it was presumably a sure thing. Fact is, the films weren’t that good.
Essentially, Lucas more or less used the movies to showcase as much CGI as possible. Maybe because he felt like he was making up for lost time (since he didn’t have all those toys with the original trilogy) or maybe because he just liked how it looked. Who knows? The point is that the latter three films had none of the magical storytelling that the first three films had; instead, relying on the already established universe to anchor the viewer. It’s the lack of storytelling that really hurt the movies, something that the previous films had in spades.
Now, Lucas has since sold LucasFilms to Disney, hence the sudden outburst of new films. Having said that, the fact that Disney is behind them might be a good thing. If the focus moves back to the storytelling (which it seems to be), then that should be positive for both Han Solo and Boba Fett as characters. New blood in the franchise that was seemingly prevented by Lucas’ stranglehold on the property will only be positive.
Han’s story is slated to be set to take place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, likely focusing on him becoming a smuggler and refining his illegal ways. It’s likely Jabba the Hutt will play a large role in the film, considering he’s probably the easiest arch-nemesis for Solo. Boba’s story will be set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (or between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi). Both clearly occur over the course of the prior trilogy, as that’s when the two characters were most prevalent originally.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a surprise if their two films were related somehow. After all, Boba’s reason for being in the original trilogy was to find Han, Luke and Leia. He was particularly interested in Han, seeing as he wanted the bounty from Jabba. It’s likely that two related films with Boba chasing Han wouldn’t be too exciting (since Empire Strikes Back featured that to an extent). Referencing the chase in their movies if the timeline fits would be a good service to the fans.
Casting has to be done right as well. Harrison Ford is Han Solo, actually writing in a script for Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark that a line was “too Soloish.” He became synonymous with the character, so the actor cast to play him has to have that ability to be a similar star. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been an early favorite, but he seems to be linked to every movie these days (including maybe playing Batman in the Justice League movie).
Fett is a little easier. Hopefully, he maintains the same stoic demeanor he exhibited in the original trilogy (save for the Wilhelm scream in Return of the Jedi). If they make him chatty, then a lot of the mystique around his character will be lost. Keeping him in the helmet will dictate who is cast in the role. If they get him out and full of dialogue, then it’s possible that Michael Fassbender or James Purefoy would be good fits for the role.
The rumor mill will be churning full tilt as more and more news about the standalone films are released. The original Star Wars was made without the scrutiny and second-guessing of Twitter, social media and bloggers. There will be even more fury if the solo films are seen as just cash grabs, but only time will tell. There are also rumors of a Yoda standalone film as well, which is a whole other column entirely. Han Solo and Boba Fett are storied enough to carry their own films, if they’re done right and respectful of the characters.
If the movies aren’t good, it’s not like Disney can go back in and change them or anything.