solo name scene

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a mostly enjoyable piece of entertainment, but there are a few moments that might give you pause. One controversial scene in particular comes early in the film, and has been singled-out by many as an all-together bad idea. Yet, interestingly enough, this disliked scene is one of the main things that convinced Disney to make the film.

Read more below, and beware of spoilers.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – back when Phil Lord and Chris Miller were still attached to helm the then-untitled Solo: A Star Wars Story, in fact – a strange plot detail emerged. Disney CEO Bob Iger let slip that the approaching Han Solo movie would reveal the origin of Han’s name: “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.”

This immediately gave people pause, because it implied Han Solo’s “real name” wasn’t actually Han Solo. Many quickly shrugged this off, assuming Iger had misspoke or was perhaps speaking metaphorically. And then Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters on May 25, 2018, and we all learned that Iger was being literal. There is indeed a scene early in the film where young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is awarded the surname “Solo.” Here’s how it goes down: Han is trying to sign up to join the Empire, with hopes of becoming a pilot. The recruitment officer taking Han’s info asks him what his last name is, going on to inquire, “Who are your people?” Han replies he doesn’t have any, which inspires the officer to make up a last name on the spot: Solo.

For many, this scene is cringe-worthy. It’s the type of needless explanation that no one asked for – why can’t Han Solo’s real name just be Han Solo? Why did his surname, of all things, need a backstory? Personally, the scene didn’t bother me that much. It was quick, and happened relatively early in the film, allowing me to move past it. But I’m in the minority here, and I know this particular scene sticks in a lot of people’s craws.

And yet, interestingly enough, it seems this controversial scene was one of the main reasons Disney wanted to make the film.

In an interview with CinemaBlendSolo co-writer Lawrence Kasdan reveals the surname scene was a big hit with the Disney brass. In fact, the scene was in Kasdan’s original pitch for the film, before the script had even been written:

“My presentation was, [Han] comes to an immigration spot and someone asks, ‘What’s your name?’ It’s not just that he doesn’t have a name, which tells you a lot about his history. He says ‘I have no people.’ That to me is so forlorn and so isolating and rife, and the guy fills in his name. Bob Iger said ‘Alright, I’m in.’ That was it. That was the moment. He reacted to it the way I reacted to it, which was, it’s very moving. This was a guy who has nothing. Someone plants a name on him. He doesn’t even know the guy. It sticks for the rest of the saga.”

Even though the scene in question doesn’t bother me that much, I have to say that Kasdan’s explanation reads a lot better than how the scene plays-out on screen. There really is something sad and lonely about the fact that Han has no one else in the expansive Star Wars galaxy. Then again, audiences weren’t really looking for a sad, forlorn Han Solo movie. They wanted rollicking space adventure. So perhaps having Han spring from such melancholy beginnings wasn’t the best idea.

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