Sunday, May 6, 2018

Please, Lucasfilm, Don't Make 'Solo' Sequels

Solo: A Star Wars Story is only three weeks away at this point (with its Cannes premiere on May 15), but the talk of sequels has already begun. In an interview with Esquire, Alden Ehrenreich confirmed that he's signed on for two more movies as Han Solo; director Ron Howard told Fandango that sequels are a possibility if the movie is a hit; and Star Wars News Net has reported multiple times that more Solo movies are on the table.
The consensus is that if the movie is a critical and commercial success, Lucasfilm is ready to make sequels. Over the past few days, it's become clear that at least half of that goal will be met. Variety and THR both estimated that Solo is tracking for a record-breaking, Rogue One-beating, $160 million-plus opening weekend, and its advanced ticket sales doubled Black Panther's and were the second highest of 2018, behind Avengers: Infinity War.

How audiences respond to the movie is a whole other issue, but if it really is a huge financial success, the opinion of fans won't matter as much when Lucasfilm decides whether to greenlight a sequel. (Just look at the Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5.) And by the tradition of Star Wars trilogies, that one sequel would turn into two, meaning that Lucasfilm would spend the next four years or so making Han Solo movies.
Yes, Solo looks fun, and there are certainly more stories that could be told with its characters. But the inherent problem with making sequels is that since Solo wasn't originally conceived as the first in a trilogy, it must already give Han a conclusive arc that lines up with his introduction in A New Hope. Whatever arc the sequels gave him would just end in the same place; there's no need for them to continue his story and add more to his character.
The entire message of The Last Jedi was to stop focusing on the past – specifically, old characters – and accept the new generation of heroes. It's weird enough to immediately follow that with Solo, but to make a whole trilogy about that, when the same resources could instead be devoted to new stories about new characters? 

Perhaps the only exception to this would be a Lando spinoff. Donald Glover's portrayal is indisputably the most anticipated part of the movie, and since the Sequel Trilogy has given him no attention whatsoever, there's quite a bit more to learn about him. More importantly, this would also be the first Star Wars movie led by a person of color—the first ever character of color in Star Wars, no less. 
Again, none of this is to say that Solo will be bad, or even that its sequels would be bad. But the beauty of the Star Wars trilogies is that they're envisioned from the start as a three-part story; making a standalone movie and then deciding to make two sequels because it made a lot of money and/or people liked it is not the way Star Wars should work.

As lovable as these characters are, the future of Star Wars should not be Han and Chewie. It should be Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren – the stars of Episode IX, who prove that new characters can be just as adored as old ones – as well as new faces in new corners of the galaxy that Rian Johnson, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (ugh), and other filmmakers create. 
And yes, obviously Lucasfilm can make Solo sequels and new stories at the same time – they already did that with The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, and Solo – but they need to stop relying on familiar faces, especially ones that have already received so much attention. We don't love Star Wars just for the characters, we love it for the wonder and the epic scale, and Han and Chewie in the Falcon is by no means the only way to reach that.

Do you think there should be Solo sequels? How big of a hit do you think the movie will be? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all. 

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