Posted on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 by Jacob Hall
Before today, the only thing we knew for sure about the young Han Solo movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are currently filming is that it will follow the galaxy’s most charming scoundrel in his younger days. Now, thanks to an interview with Disney CEO Bob Iger, a few other details about the film’s scope and plot details have arrived. Some of them are obvious enough, but one detail is the truly bizarre implication that Han Solo’s actual name is not Han Solo. Or something.
Iger was interviewed at a USC business and tech event (you can watch a full video of it right here), where he spoke briefly about the Han Solo movie, which will feature Hail, Caesar! star Aldren Ehrenreich as galaxy’s wildest vest-wearing smuggler. For what’s really an offhand collection of sentences, there really is an awful lot to sift through here:
We’re actually shooting now an origin story of Han Solo, which will come out in 2018. That picks up with Han Solo when he was 18 years old and takes him through when he was 24. There are a few significant things that happen in Han Solo’s life, like acquiring a certain vehicle and meeting a certain Wookiee that will happen in this film. But you will also discover how he got his name.
Okay. Let’s take those one at a time.
We knew this was going to be a “young Han Solo” movie, with Woody Harrelson playing the young rogue’s mentor (who we recently learned is named Beckett), but it sounds more like this will be a “Han Solo coming of age” movie. From the sound of things, we aren’t going just to see one defining moment that made this guy into to the crafty fellow we first met at the Mos Eisley cantina – we’re going to witness an entire journey into adulthood. Han Solo won’t become Han Solo overnight. It sounds like we’ll get to witness him come into his own over the course of years. Insert your own “is this the science fiction version of Boyhood?” joke here.
According to canon, Han was 29 years old when he joined the rebellion, which means there’s another five years of criminal mischief going on before we even get to the original trilogy (which means plenty of room for more solo Solo movies).
Iger isn’t even trying to hide the identity of that “certain vehicle” or that “certain Wookiee,” and why should he? We all pretty much figured this territory would be covered in the movie. Although the Star Wars canon is currently up in the air, it had been previously established that Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of sabaac (a favorite card game in the Star Wars universe) and that Chewbacca fell in with Han after being rescued from an Imperial slave ship. However, those storylines also involved Han being a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, so it’s not entirely clear how much is being kept and how much is being completely jettisoned.
What’s in a Name?
And that brings us to the most bizarre part of Iger’s statement, because it’s not entirely clear what he’s talking about when he says “But you will also discover how he got his name.” If he really means “This movie will explore how Han Solo made his name as a smuggler and crook,” then he probably should have worded it better. Because his choice of words here certainly make it sound like Han Solo isn’t Han Solo’s real name and that this movie will explore how he earned that name. Let me pause to roll my eyes for a second.
Okay, I’m back. If “Han Solo” is a nickname or a false identity, that would be an enormous and profoundly stupid reveal. Imagine a scene where young Han does something very skillful on his own, only for someone to say something along the lines of “Way to fly solo!” Now imagine the camera pushing into a close-up as everything clicks. Blech. It’s also easy to imagine a somewhat more forgivable version of this scenario, like Han being a literally nameless orphan who takes on a proper identity.
But for now, I’ll go with my gut and suggest that Iger probably misspoke. If it is the latter…well, let’s just say that Chris Miller and Phil Lord have built their careers on the back of beautifully executed bad ideas.
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