With Solo: A Star Wars Story hitting the DVD shelves this week I want to talk about the missed opportunities of the film. In many ways, it is amazing that Solo is as good as it is considering the trouble production history the film had. However, the film still feels safe as it ticks off all the standard tropes and key moments of Star Wars history you’d expect. I believe, with a one tiny changes, Solo could have been a much more interesting film.
Spoilers below for Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Solo: The Plot of the Film
Before I can start discussing the changes I would like to have made, first we need a basic plot run down. Han (he doesn’t get the name Solo till part way through the film) is an orphan on the planet Corellia where he plans to escape with his childhood sweet heart Qi’ra but she is taken before they escape and Han spends the rest of the film trying to get her back.
We know how this love story ends because Solo being a prequel while at the same time the love story Leia and Han is much more interesting. It also cuts across the true love story of the film between a man and a walking carpet!
The Real Love Story
Like all the previous Star Wars prequels, Solo had to show us how certain events in the Star Wars universe happened and among the list this film had to deal with is the meeting of Han Solo and Chewbacca and, for me, this should have been the love story at the heart of the film.
Using the maths of Thrillist, the time difference between Solo and Star Wars: The Force Awakens is 46 years during which time Chewie and Han have only been apart a year (going by what we have seen on screen) and that was against their will when Han was captured by Jabba the Hut, which is a hell of a long time for a partnership to last. If it was a marriage they are only 4 years away from their golden wedding anniversary.
At this point, I should add I’m not arguing that the relationship between Chewie and Han is romantic – it is clearly platonic – but it is still a love and strong enough to anchor any movie. More importantly it is a story the audience already cares about and won’t hurt any future story lines.
This refocusing of the love story shouldn’t have to change the plot of the film dramatically. All you have to do is change Han‘s motivation from trying to save his childhood love to just trying to survive. Reasons to move the plot forward need to be no more than Han trying to save his skin but getting into a different kind of trouble as a result. Anyone who knows their Star Wars history, knows this is how we find Han in both Star Wars: A New Hope and The Force Awakens.
Qi’ra doesn’t have to be written out, instead introduce her on Vos’ yacht as a Femme Fatale style character and her story line continues unchanged.