Even though I didn’t put Solo: A Star Wars Story on my list of most anticipated films last year (and for good reason, I would argue), the film’s first trailer release was certainly something I was eager to see happen. The fact that we had to wait until nearly three and a half months until the film hit theaters was just a tad bit strange, and the notoriously rough production only further increased my curiosity. Just what the hell would Solo end up being? The answer we can best get from this Solo: A Star Wars Story trailer is, honestly, not as exciting as the question around it.
Because, if the first full-length trailer is any indication, Solo looks to be…a very boring looking Star Wars movie, one that leaves me once again asking the question I’ve been asking since the very moment this project became a thing: why the hell do we need this? A great, exciting, distinct trailer could have easily answered that question. But this trailer is absolutely none of those things. It’s disappointingly bland, which exactly is what I feared this film would end up becoming after what went down behind the scenes.
Which, I know, I know — is always unfair to do with a movie. We shouldn’t judge a movie by how it was made, because plenty of great movies had rough production cycles (see: Star Wars.) But when a movie so embodies all the problems that a bad production would present, it’s kind of hard not to bring it up. The extremely delayed advertising, the dark and visually bland footage, the vague plot — I’ve seen this all too many times. I saw it with The Dark Tower last year, with Ghostbusters the year before that, and with the Fantastic Four reboot the year before that, and now I can’t help but see it here with Solo.
Maybe I’m just being obnoxiously pessimistic here, but this trailer really did do nothing for me, in the worst way possible. Rather than fill me with excitement, it only supplied me with even more reservations. Like: why is everything so dark and dreary here? This is a fucking Han Solo movie — it should be colorful and vibrant, at least matching that of the original film. Instead, every shot looks like it was thrown through the Rogue One darkness filter, for no reason whatsoever.
Why is Han Solo a non-entity in his own teaser trailer? I honestly started to get worried about this last night during the Super Bowl spot, but I can’t help but feel like Disney is trying to hide the obvious here: Alden Ehrenreich bares absolutely zero resemblance to Harrison Ford. He doesn’t particularly look like him and, even worse, he doesn’t really sound like him — the illusion of him being a “young Han Solo” is completely broken, because there’s little here that seems particularly “Han Solo-ish.” If I showed this trailer to a casual Star Wars viewer (like my mother, for instance), I am 100% sure they wouldn’t put together he was young Han Solo at all. I started to get worried about what we were getting from the whole “they had to hire an acting coach” thing, but I can’t say the little we see here shows much promise for Ehrenreich in the role.
And why does it look so tonally flat too? Returning to my initial point: this is fucking Han Solo. Have some fun with it! The man should be cracking jokes and making quipts, but there’s no humor or flair to speak of in this trailer. I don’t know if other fans agree with me on this (I honestly haven’t checked), but I really believe the tone here should be closer to a Guardians of the Galaxy than the aforementioned Rogue One. And even though I far from loved that movie either, at least it had an ethos! It was a “dark war movie” and, from the trailers, you got that impression immediately. That is so important for a film’s trailer to do, and something that Guardians of the Galaxy did so damn well — that initial “what a bunch of a-holes” teaser sold exactly what the film would be: a funny, offbeat sci-fi adventure. I would argue that Solo: A Star War Story should have aimed for something similar. But, apparently, Lucasfilm disagreed with me, to the point they fired the two guys who would have probably made something like that to begin with.
BUT, once again, I know I’m being unfair to the film here. To name another virtue I can’t live up to, we shouldn’t judge a film by what we want it to be — it should just be viewed as what it is. So what exactly is Solo: A Star Wars Story? Well, that’s the problem — this first trailer doesn’t present ANYTHING about what the movie is trying to be. And for a movie that I am very much iffy on, that’s like priority number one.
There’s still time for my opinion to sway on Solo‘s marketing efforts (it did for Rogue One, for what it’s worth), but I hope Disney brings it’s A-game next trailer round. I know it isn’t impossible with this movie — I mean, look at these character posters! They are great, and sell exactly the kind of vibrant and unique Star Wars film I was looking for. But how they match up with the washed-out, murky looking blandness presented in the trailer is beyond me.
Yeah, the fact that the movie posters have more color and style than the actual film? I am so worried about this movie, you guys. But since I’ve been a massive negative nancy this entire post, I will say one positive about the trailer: the background music is pretty great! And I’m still here for Donald Glover’s Lando — always, and hopefully forever.
Solo: A Star Wars Story hits theater on May 25, 2018. God, I hope it doesn’t suck.
Also published on Medium.