- "You know, he's younger in this movie and that's fun because you have to imagine him 10 years earlier in his early 20s. What was he like before he hardened up? Before he had some setbacks? Before he put on this cynical coat? What got him there?"
- ―Lawrence Kasdan
Solo: A Star Wars Story is a stand-alone Star Wars film directed by Ron Howard from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan, released worldwide on May 25, 2018. It is the second installment of the Star Wars Anthology Series. It stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in the years prior to Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Donald Glover portrays Lando Calrissian and Joonas Suotamo portrays the Wookiee Chewbacca. Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandiwe Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge also star.
The film was first announced as a Han Solo picture in 2015, along with the news that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would be the film's directors. Principal photography began in January 2017, after which creative differences arose between the two directors and the studio. They were replaced by Ron Howard, who was tasked with completing principal photography along with what was reported to be extensive re-shoots.
Solo held its world premiere on May 10, 2018 in Los Angeles, and it was screened at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival on May 15. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances, music, and visuals, although some felt that the story was weak. Solo received a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 91st Academy Awards.
Solo is the first and only live-action, cinematic-release Star Wars film to not involve space in the title card nor in the first shot other than in the "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" or preface cards.
Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga's most unlikely heroes.
Defying Lady Proxima
Six years after the formation of the Galactic Empire, on the shipbuilding world of Corellia, a human "scrumrat" and aspiring pilot named Han and his love interest Qi'ra long to escape the clutches of the Grindalid crime boss Lady Proxima's White Worms crime syndicate. Following a delivery job that went awry, Han flees some criminals on his M-68 landspeeder through the streets of Coronet City. He drives through a bridge and hangs his dice on the windscreen.
Arriving at the Den of the White Worms, he and the other Scrumrats are herded by Lady Proxima's enforcers into her underground chamber. Three children fight over stolen items they had pick-pocketed. Han and Qi'ra embrace each other in a tunnel. He tells Qi'ra that he managed to steal a vial of hyperfuel coaxium and plans to use it as their ticket offworld. Moloch, Syke, and Rebolt soon catch up with them and bring Han before Lady Proxima, who lives underwater.
In the Scrumrats and her enforcers, she asks Han for a progress report. He claims that the other criminals kept his money and coaxium but that he learned a "very valuable lesson": that we cannot trust those "guys." Lady Proxima is furious that Han came back with nothing from his errand. Rebolt beats Han with a stick. A defiant Han grabs Rebolt's stick and says that he will beat those who beat him. Moloch raises his blaster at Han but Qi'ra stops him. Lady Proxima warns Qi'ra not to disobey her.
Han pulls out a rock and claims to have a thermal detonator but Proxima is not fooled. Han reveals that it was a bluff and hurls the rock through the ceiling, letting in a beam of sunlight. Exposed to the beam, Proxima is badly burned in the face and dives beneath the pool. Han and Qi'ra escape in Han's stolen M-68 landspeeder and race out of the White Worms' den into the streets of Coronet. Han's plan is to drive to Coronet Spaceport with the stolen coaxium and use it to bribe their way offworld. Han vows to be a pilot and see the galaxy. Qi'ra hopes they will get their own starship and no longer be told what to do.
They are soon pursued by Moloch's A-A4B truckspeeder, which is also carrying two Corellian hounds. Moloch rams his truckspeeder against Han's landspeeder. After narrowly avoiding a truck, Han drives through an Imperial checkpoint. An RA-7 protocol droid objects to their intrusion but is rolled over and decapitated by Moloch's truckspeeder. When Qi'ra says that Moloch is fast, Han reassures her that they are faster. Han's landspeeder and Moloch's truckspeeder is pursued by an Imperial patrol trooper on riding a C-PH patrol speeder bike. However, the rider crashes into a barrier.
Han and Qi'ra drive through a factory with Moloch hot on their tail. Han manages to escape Moloch's truck by driving the landspeeder through a tight corner. With the landspeeder stuck, Moloch dispatches Rebolt and the Corellian hounds after them. Han and Qi'ra managed to reach the Coronet spaceport on foot. There is a strong Imperial military presence at the spaceport, where there are long queues offworld. They witness several people including a family being arrested by stormtroopers.
Han and Qi'ra join a queue. Qi'ra is worried about being trafficked by the Crimson Dawn but Han vows to protect her. Since they don't have identification, Han and Qi'ra use the coaxium vial to bribe the Imperial Emigration Officer Falthina Sharest into letting them through the customs booth. After depositing the coaxium, Han manages to cross through. Before Qi'ra can cross into the other side of the terminal, she is apprehended by the White Worms enforcers. Qi'ra tells Han to flee and he vows to return for her.
Han manages to evade Imperial forces and the White Worms by donning a stolen hat and hiding behind several crates. He witnesses more people being arrested by stormtroopers. Lacking sufficient funds to travel offworld, Han finds an Imperial Military recruiting post. Han speaks to the Imperial recruitment officer Drawd Munbrin and volunteers to join the Imperial Navy as a pilot. Since Han lacks a surname and family, he dubs him "Han Solo" in absence of a surname. Approving Han's application, he tells Han to proceed to Transport ID-83 to the Imperial Flight Academy on Carida, promising Han that he will be flying in no time.
Ordeals on Mimban
- "Well, this ain't a quick job, it's a war!"
- ―Rio Durant to Tobias Beckett
Three years later, Han has been expelled from the Carida Flight Academy for insubordination, and is serving as a Mudtrooper Corporal during a battle on the planet Mimban. Solo's 224th Imperial Armored Division is locked in trench warfare against the Mimbanese Liberation Army, enduring heavy casualties in the torrid, muddy weather.
Han takes part in a ground assault led by Major Staz to capture a ridge. After Han is thrown to the ground, Staz helps him to the ground and tells him they are almost there. Solo is confused but Staz tells him to head to the last ridge. Staz is soon killed by an explosion. Han and some surviving troops including Private Collum Woslo, Corporal Sharlu Greslin, Corporal Danith Nodar, and Corporal Wesger Odry gather in a trench with "Captain" Tobias Beckett, who takes command as the most senior officer in the group. Beckett leads the soldiers into action and they take out the last resistance in the ridge.
Following the skirmish, Han speaks with "Captain" Beckett, thanking him for his help. Beckett advises him to get away from here as fast as he can. Solo soon encounters Beckett's companions Val and the Ardennian Rio Durant, who are disguised as Imperial Army troopers. They tell him not to follow them. Lieutenant Bolandin tells Han and his comrades that they will be moving out to the Southern marshlands in three hours. When Bolandin requests an advance party, Solo questions why the Empire is destroying and occupying Mimban, earning the enmity of his commanding officer.
Disenchanted with the Empire, Han seeks out Beckett and his gang, who are planning a heist. Han recognizes them as thieves who are posing as Imperial Army personnel. Val and Beckett want to kill Han but he offers his services as a pilot. When Rio asks what is a fancy "fly boy" doing in the mud, he claims he was kicked out for having a mind of his own. Han points out that Rio is an Ardennian. Desperate to escape offworld, Solo tries to blackmail them into allow him to join their gang by threatening to expose them as infiltrators. However, Beckett turns the tables on him and convinces Lieutenant Bolandin that Solo is trying to desert.
Seeking an opportunity to rid his unit of a "trouble-maker", Bolandin has a chained Solo thrown into a pen where he is condemned to battle a "beast" held in captivity. Two Imperial Army trooper sentries joke that they haven't fed the beast in three days and that it should be fun. The beast is revealed to be a Wookiee named Chewbacca, whose species has been enslaved by the Empire. Thinking he is a threat, Chewbacca attacks Han and hurls him against the girders and mud.
Owing to Han's ability to speak Shyriiwook, Solo convinces Chewbacca that he is a friend. Working together, the two stage a fight for the benefit of their captors after discovering that one of the pillars supporting the mesh above their cell is weak. The unsuspecting sentries laugh and think that Han is doomed. After several attempts, Han pretends to goad Chewbacca into pushing against the main pillar supporting the mesh, causing to collapse. After jumping out of harm's way, Chewbacca throws Han out of the pit and follows suit.
The two find that they are chained together. Chewbacca wants to flee the camp but Han convinces him to escape him to a nearby airfield. He tells Chewbacca to trust him, promising him that they can go their separate paths if he chooses after that. Meanwhile, Beckett's gang board their stolen Y-45 armored transport hauler. Throwing off his Imperial army helmet and uniform, Rio asks how they can breathe in these stuffy suits. The three take off but Beckett spot Han and Chewbacca waving to them below.
Rio is impressed by Solo's determination and thinks that a Wookiee will be helpful as muscle. Val is opposed but Rio convinces Beckett to bring the ship down so that they can pick up Han and Chewbacca. The five depart Mimban in the stolen hauler. Han takes a shower in the shower unit. When Chewbacca steps in, Han suggest that they could have done it one at a time. Chewbacca roars.
After Han and Chewbacca's escape from Mimban, Beckett takes the transport hauler to the snowy, mountainous world of Vandor. While watching over the snowy mountains from the hauler, Han thanks Chewbacca for saving him. Han says that only took the Wookiee because of him. He tells Chewbacca of his plan to do one job with Beckett's gang in return for their freedom. Chewbacca accepts the deal. Han asks Chewbacca what is his name and settles for "Chewie," finding it easier to say than his full name in Shyriiwook.
After landing, Beckett enlists the two for a planned to steal a shipment of the hyperfuel refined coaxium from a 20-T Railcrawler conveyex transport on Vandor. While surveying the train tracks from the distance, Beckett outlines his plan which involves hitting the conveyex between the tower and the bridge. Rio drops them onto the conveyex so that they can separate the payload container and lift it up onto the AT hauler. Rio jams their communications signals while Val blows up the bridge, allowing them to fly away. On the night before the heist, Beckett warns the gang of the threat posed by Enfys Nest and the Cloud-Riders.
While resting by the campfire, Val is critical of Beckett for enlisting Han and Chewbacca, whom she regards as amateurs. Beckett defends his plans as a means of settling their debts. At the campfire, Beckett and his associates question Han about his motives. Han tells them about his plans to become a pilot and go back and find Qi'ra. Rio says he prefers to be tied to anyone while Val talks about her relationship with Beckett. Chewbacca says that he is searching for his family. Beckett promises Han and Chewbacca that they will have more than enough to buy their own ship if they follow his instructions.
Heist on Vandor
While Rio flies the Y-45 hauler, Han, Chewbacca, and Beckett land on the cargo wagon carrying coaxium while Val sets up position on the bridge. Beckett and his team's presence soon draws the attention of Imperial range troopers, who exchange fire with them. As the conveyex train navigates a narrow cliff face, Han and Chewie narrowly escape being crushed against rocks. Working together, the two managed to detach the coaxium wagon from the rear line.
Keeping in touch with Beckett, Rio lowers the "witch cables" onto the coaxium wagon. Before Beckett's gang can escape with the stolen coaxium, the group is attacked by the Cloud-Riders, who ride swoop bikes. The Cloud Riders' leader Enfys Nest orders her followers to lower their harpoons. Han and the others dodge blaster fire. One of the swoop bikes crashes against a rock. Two of the Cloud-Riders board the Y-45 hauler and fatally wound Durant. Solo leaves Chewbacca to uncouple the wagon from the front train while he goes to help Rio.
Solo manages to climb aboard the transport hauler and fly the ship, tripping a security sensor as he gains control. Val warns Han that Viper probe droids are heading his way. As the skirmish continues Val, who is stationed on top of a nearby bridge, uses her vantage point to distract and fend off several security viper probe droids. With his dying breath, Durant apologizes to Solo for mocking his flying abilities and tells him that Val was right in her belief that no one should die alone. Beckett fights with Enfys Nest on top of the wagon.
However, the conveyex is rapidly approaching the bridge and Val realizes that there is not enough time for her to abandon her position without letting the crew steal the coaxium wagon. After telling Beckett of her change of plans via comlink, Val professes her love for him before detonating the bomb, killing herself and destroying the bridge. The destruction of the bridge causes the conveyex to plunge into a deep gorge. After a struggle, Chewbacca manages to detach the coaxium wagon from the rest of the train.
However, the Cloud-Riders have attached grappling hooks to the wagon, dragging it down. Not wanting to risk the lives of Beckett and Chewbacca, Solo makes the difficult decision to let go of the coaxium wagon; which plunges into the ravine below and explodes. Chewbacca grabs Beckett and the two survive by clinging on to the cable.
An audience with Dryden Vos
Following the failed heist, Beckett erects a hasty memorial to Val and Rio. Angered by Solo's decision to drop the cargo, Beckett strikes him in the face. Beckett reveals he was ordered to steal the coaxium in order to repay his debt to Dryden Vos, leader of the Crimson Dawn criminal syndicate. Han proposes deserting but Beckett counters that Vos sends out bounty hunters to hunt down those who have crossed him. Beckett says that the only thing they can do is go to Vos and make amends. Han agrees to come along in order to make things right and exacts a promise from Beckett to pay him and Chewbacca for their services. Chewie agrees to come along.
Beckett, Han, and Chewie travel to the outskirts of Fort Ypso, where Vos' yacht First Light has arrived. After surrendering their weapons to Captain Aemon Gremm, they enter the public gallery Beckett's team enters the yacht's hallway. Beckett speaks to Vos' concierge Margo, seeking an audience with Dryden Vos. She tells him that Vos is having an audience with Governor Diles Anevi, whom Vos kills. Captain Gremm informs Vos of Beckett's presence.
Beckett advises Han and Chewbacca to keep their eyes down because the people here are not their friends, gesturing to the wealthy people around them, eating and drinking the most expensive, tasty and quality food available. Han has an unexpected reunion with Qi'ra, who now works for Vos. The two drink together while reminiscing about their past and ambitions. Beckett soon arrives with Vos and introduces Han and Chewie to him. Vos reveals that Qi'ra is his top lieutenant. After exchanging pleasantries, Vos chastises Beckett for underestimating Enfys Nest and tells Beckett to give him a reason not to kill them.
Since the few available stocks of coaxium are in Imperial hands, Han and proposes stealing unrefined coaxium from Kessel, where the Pyke Syndicate runs a mining operation. While Vos is unwilling to jeopardize his syndicate's business relations with the Pykes, Han and Beckett inform him that they have no alliance with the Pykes and taking on the operation themselves would not implicate Crimson Dawn. Qi'ra is supportive of Han's idea but warns that the unstable coaxium must be brought to a processing facility quickly before it deteriorates. Beckett suggests Savareen since it is not under Imperial control. Vos approves of the plan but sends Qi'ra to keep an eye on Han and Beckett. In the turbolift, Beckett says that he can provide the gear while Qi'ra offers to provide the ship.
Finding a ship
Knowing that they would need a fast ship for the Kessel heist, Qi'ra takes Solo and his companions to The Lodge at nearby Fort Ypso. There, she introduces the team to Lando Calrissian, an accomplished smuggler and pilot who reportedly won his ship in a game of sabacc. Walking past two dueling droids, they find Lando playing sabacc with several alien patrons. Against Qi'ra and Chewbacca's advice, Han challenges Lando to a game of sabacc, seeking to win his ship.
Han wins the first round and collects several credits. While Han and Lando are playing, the Cloud-Rider Weazel is spying on them. Han agrees to a second round and places a wager on Lando's ship, reputed to be the fastest in the galaxy. However, Lando uses a sleight of hand to win. Following the game, Lando speaks with Qi'ra, who tells him that they need a ship capable of doing the Kessel Run. Beckett manages to convince Calrissian to join the mission in exchange for 25 percent of the profits. While chatting with Calrissian, Beckett recalls killing the bounty hunter Aurra Sing during a skirmish.
Han and his companions also encounter Lando's droid co-pilot L3-37, who has a female programming and is an avowed droid rights advocate. L3-37 objects to the droid fighting pits at the Lodge and picks a fight with the owner Ralakili, who objects to her trying to stop his droids from fighting. L3-37 almost chokes Ralakili but Lando convinces her to let him go. Despite L3-37's misgivings about the newcomer, Lando and the others set out for Lando's ship, which has been impounded.
After L3-37 cuts a hole through the impound lot, Lando shows Han and his companions his ship, the Millennium Falcon. Lando has refurbished the ship including installing an escape pod and wet bar. Beckett agrees to remove the gravity lock in return for taking five percent off Lando's cut, reducing it to 20 percent. Lando reluctantly agrees to Beckett's deal. As the Falcon disembarks, Weazel informs Enfys Nest that they have planted a homing beacon on the ship. Enfys gambles that if they survive, they will bring the price to them.
Voyage to Kessel
While traveling aboard the Falcon, Han tells Lando that he recognizes the ship as a YT-1300 light freighter because his father worked at a CEC plant before he got laid off. Solo's dad built this and wanted to be a pilot. Lando remarks that his mother was the "most amazing woman" he had ever known. L3-37 arrives and ushers Solo out of the co-pilot seat. She sets a hyperspace course for Kessel and they jump into lightspeed. Lando explains that they have to travel through the Akkadese Maelstrom to reach Kessel.
Meanwhile, Beckett plays dejarik with Chewbacca. Beckett uses one of his pieces to take out one of Chewbacca's pieces, angering the Wookiee who slams his fists on the hologram set. Beckett schools Chewbacca that he has to think a few steps ahead. Han asks if they have seen Qi'ra but Beckett replies that people are predictable. Han walks to Qi'ra's quarters where she is trying on a blue cape. Qi'ra asks Han about his plan for Kessel. He wants to ask her about her experiences following their separation on Corellia but Qi'ra is not interested.
Han gives Qi'ra a passionate kiss and the two embrace. Beckett walks in on them and reminds them that they have got a lot of work to do. In private, Beckett tells Han that he is making a big mistake by trusting Qi'ra. He tells Han that him and Chewbacca would make a good crew but doesn't trust Qi'ra. Beckett advises Han to trust nobody and to assume that everyone will betray him. Han thinks this is a lonely way to leave but Beckett says this is the only way.
Lando and L3-37 take the Falcon out of hyperspace and arrive outside the Akkadese Maelstrom. Lando goes to check on the "damps" and asks if L3-37 needs anything. She sarcastically replies "equal rights" as the ship travels through the stormy cluster. When Qi'ra arrives in the cockpit, L3-37 explains that the sound is caused by carbonbergs, planet–sized objects crashing into each other. She warns that it is dangerous for ships to travel through the Maelstrom. L3-37 asks Qi'ra about her plan and notices the brand on her hand. When L3-37 points out that Han is in love with Qi'ra, she denies it but L3-37 confides that Lando is infatuated with her but that she doesn't share the same feelings for her master.
As they approach Kessel, Beckett briefs the team about their plan to reach the thermal vault where the coaxium is stored. He warns everyone to stick to the plan. The Falcon lands in a clearing at the base of the mine where they are greeted by several Pykes including Capo Quay Tolsite. Qira' poses as the slaver Oksana Floren, Deputy Assistant to the Vice Admiral of the Federation of Trade Route Allocation and Monetization. Han and Chewbacca pose as slaves while Beckett poses as a helmeted "security attache." L3-37 poses as a servant droid.
"Floren" meets with Capo Tolsite and offers to trade the Federation's slaves in return for the Pyke Syndicate's spice. One of the Pyke sentinels forces Chewbacca and Han Solo to their knees with a pike and inspects them. Tolsite sends Han and Chewbacca to be clipped. Before leaving, Qi'ra punches Han in the gut but discreetly passes him his lucky charm. Qi'ra, L3-37, and Beckett accompany the Pykes into Tolsite's control room while Han and Chewie are led into the mines. L3-37 translates for Tolsite, who cannot speak Galactic Basic.
Qi'ra watches with concern on the surveillance cameras as Han and Chewie are beaten by their Pyke captors. Tolsite insists that "Floren's" "security attache" wait outside his office. While Tolsite is not looking, Han and Chewie turn the tables on their guards as the camera feed fades. Han knocks out his guard but Chewie ends up pulling the arms off his captors. Back in the control room, Beckett tricks two guards into holding his pike and then shoots them. While Beckett eliminates the remaining guards, Qi'ra defeats and kills Tolsite using the martial arts Teräs Käsi, which Dryden taught her. L3-37 is impressed with Qi'ra's combat skills.
Heist and the slave uprising
In the mines, a disguised Han and Chewbacca mingle among the slaves and guards. L3-37 speaks to the WDD adminmech DD-BD and frees him of his restraining bolt. She convinces him to free his droid brethren while she directs Han and Chewbacca to the thermal vault. The liberated droids free the slaves of their remotely controlled restraints and chains, sparking a droid and slave uprising in the mines. As they approach the vaults, Chewbacca breaks off to free a Wookiee slave named Sagwa. Han passes Chewie a pike, which he uses to attack the Pyke guards beating Sagwa.
Following Beckett's directions, Han reaches the vault and incapacitates the guard. After L3-37 unlocks the vault, Han steals 12 unrefined coaxium canisters. Meanwhile, Lando reminisces on the fifth chapter of the Calrissian Chronicles, which deals with his encounter with the Sharu. Lando is distracted by the noise resulting from the uprising and L3-37 tells him that she found her true purpose. Han struggles to push a sled carrying the canisters but is noticed by the Pyke guards. Chewbacca comes to the rescue and takes out the guards with his pike. Sagwa and Chewie help Han to push out the canisters.
Lando exits the Millennium Falcon to join the battle as Han and the rest of the team fight their way out with the liberated slaves and droids. Han and Lando shoot several Pyke sentries. Beckett and Qi'ra exit the mines. L3-37 cheers. While Chewbacca and Sagwa load the coaxium canisters aboard the Falcon, Han and the others exchange fire with Pyke sentries, who have brought a sonic cannon. Before they can leave, L3 is fatally damaged by gunfire. A grieving Lando comes to the aid of the dying L3-37, who succumbs to systems failure. Lando is hit and Han comes to his aid, driving the sentries away.
A slave named Tak leads the slaves to safety. Chewbacca embraces Sagwa before leaving with Han and Lando. Chewbacca carries a wounded Lando aboard the Falcon while Qi'ra takes out the Pyks' sonic cannon with a grenade, which causes an inferno. While a distraught Lando cradles a disintegrating L3, Beckett orders Han to get them out of Kessel. Han flies the Falcon out of the mine into the skies of Kessel. While Lando mourns the loss of L3-37, Qi'ra volunteers as Han's co-pilot. They are joined by Chewbacca while Beckett seals the hidden storage compartment containing the coaxium.
Completing the Kessel Run
As they approach the Akkadese Maelstrom, Lando warn them that they have to hurry due to the volatile nature of the unrefined coaxium. The Falcon soon encounters an Imperial Star Destroyer, which has exited hyperspace in response to the rebellion on Kessel. Lando wants to drop the shipment but Qi'ra warns that that Dryden will kill them if they fail. Seeking to recover the Falcon's stolen coaxium cargo, the Star Destroyer dispatched several TIE fighters and heavy fighters in pursuit of the freighter.
Han flies the Falcon around the Star Destroyer and the Imperial TIE fighters give chase. Due to the highly volatile nature of the unrefined coaxium, Lando estimates that completion of the Kessel run is impossible before the fuel detonates - the conventional route having never been done in less than twenty parsecs. Han proposes taking a short cut through the maelstrom, which Lando regards as suicidal. Han convinces Lando to download L3's neural cords, which contains her navigational data, into the Falcon's systems.
Han takes the Falcon and its TIE pursuers through the dangerous storm clouds of the Akkadese Maelstrom while Beckett mans the ship's ventral laser cannon, taking out two TIE fighters. However, a third fighter manages to evade Beckett's laser cannon and inflicts damage on the top of the Falcon's hull, causing Lando to fall. Han rolls the Falcon, striking the TIE fighter with its side and sending it into an asteroid. More TIE fighters continues the pursuit, prompting Han to state they needed to divert power to the rear shield generator. Chewbacca does so, causing Han to ask when he learned to fly. Chewbacca responds that he is 190 years old.
Qi'ra checks on Lando in the passenger area and uses one of his red capes to douse a fire despite his protests. ATIE fighter manages to shoot the Falcon's rear ventral cannon, causing it to break off. Han flies the Falcon deeper into the Maelstrom with the TIE hot on his tail.
Mimicking a move copied from a Corellian street racer, Han gets Chewbacca to deploy the landing gear as the Falcon scrapes against the surface of an asteroid. This damages the landing gear but uproots rocks and debris, one of which breaches TIE fighter's cockpit. Han then takes the Falcon deeper into the Maelstrom. Meanwhile, Lando and Qi'ra manage to retrieve L3's internal processor. Beckett observes the coaxium vials becoming more unstable and alerts the others. Lando and Qi'ra manage to install L3's processor into the Falcon's systems.
As they reach the Maw Cluster, L3 constructs a model of the Akkadese Maelstrom and warns them that they are approaching a massive summa-verminoth. The Falcon soon find themselves face to face with the monster. The crew tries to escape the monster, but end up arriving at a large gravity well, which Lando identifies as the Maw. Thinking fast, Han ejects the Falcon's escape pod into the well for the summa-verminoth to follow, which takes the bait. Guiding the ship's systems, L3 finds a way out 90 degrees to the left.
However, the Falcon is trapped in the gravity well. Qi'ra and Lando convince the rest of the team to inject a drop of coaxium into the fusion core to give them the kick needed to escape the gravity well. Carrying out their plan, Beckett retrieves a drop of coaxium. Meanwhile, the verminoth is pulled into the Maw and ripped apart. At Solo's command, Beckett boosts the ship's fusion core with a drop of coaxium, which briefly supercharges the engines. Despite a false start, the hyperdrive comes online and the Falcon jumps into lightspeed before the Maelstrom closes on them.
Landing on Savareen
After making the Kessel Run, Solo and his companions land on the planet Savareen to rendezvous with Vos. As the Falcon approaches the Bis Refinery, Solo radios the air traffic controller Dhowar Repareed, warning that he is coming with a cargo of coaxium that needs to be offloaded immediately. The damaged Falcon circles the coastal refinery before landing on a landing pad. Due to its damaged landing gear, the Falcon is lopsided.
As the coaxium is offloaded, Solo quips that he made the Kessel Run in just twelve parsecs with some generous rounding. Han puts his arm around an un-amused Lando, who is grieving over the loss of L-3 and is furious at the damage to his ship. He tells Han that he will be waiting aboard his quarters for his share of the money and vows not to see him again.
Han finds Qi'ra at a bar in the nearby Pnakotic Coast village and asks when Vos is coming. Qi'ra reassures him that he will get paid for doing his job. When Solo asks Qi'ra about her servitude to Dryden, she explains that the crime lord helped her out of a "bad" situation. He asks how long it will take her to pay off her debt. Qi'ra warns her that everybody including Vos serves someone and not to make any enemy of Dryden Vos. Han says he can take care of himself and is no longer the "kid" she knew on Corellia. When Qi'ra asks who he is, Han says he is an outlaw. She tells him she is the only person in the galaxy who knows that he is a good guy. Han disagrees and says he is a terrible person. Beckett reminds the two about the coaxium.
Confronting the Cloud-Riders
While walking through the village, Han and his companions notice that much of it lies in ruins and that the inhabitants are impoverished. While visiting a bar run by Kenholdt Ransard, the group are surrounded by Enfys Nest and her Cloud-Riders. Han tries to lift his blaster out of his holster but Beckett counsels him not to. Solo attempts to intimidate the Cloud-Riders by claiming to have a complement of armed mercenaries aboard the Millennium Falcon. However, Lando takes off aboard the Falcon, leaving Han and his companions behind.
Beckett claims that Crimson Dawn will be here by the time the coaxium has been refined and dares them to kill them. Qi'ra proposes a compromise but Beckett dismisses the Cloud-Riders as marauders who only know how to kill. However, Enfys Nest steps forward to face Beckett and removes her mask, revealing herself as a young human girl. She walks past a shocked Beckett and tells them that she needs a drink.
Inside the bar, Enfys tells Han and his companions how the Crimson Dawn originated from a band of mercenaries who plundered a planet. When the inhabitants rebelled, the mercenaries responded by cutting off the tongues of every last man, woman, and child. Enfys explain that she and the Cloud-Riders are from populations who have been terrorized by the Crimson Dawn and the other Five Crime Syndicates. She warns Han and his companions that the Crimson Dawn will use the stolen coaxium to plunder more systems. When Han asks what the Cloud-Riders will use the coaxium for, she tells them that they need the coaxium for their rebel cause.
Sympathetic to the Cloud-Riders' cause and plight, Solo tells Beckett that they cannot give the coaxium to Dryden Vos. Beckett doesn't care and asks Solo if he has a plan. Solo says he has a plan to get their money without giving up the coaxium. Beckett warns that Dryden has a private army and suggests an alternative plan. From a distance, Enfys asks what Solo and Beckett are discussing and Qi'ra says he is going to help them. After their meeting, Beckett invites Solo to come with him but Han declines the offer. Before leaving, Beckett tells Han that he going to Tatooine, where a big-shot gangster is recruiting a crew for a job. Beckett sees it as an opportunity to pay off his debts.
When Dryden Vos lands on his yacht First Light by the Pnakotic Coast, Han along with Qi'ra and Chewbacca go to deliver the purportedly "fake" coaxium canisters to the Crimson Dawn crime lord. Entering the ship, a masked guard welcomes Qi'ra home and tells her that Vos is waiting for them. When he asks about Han and Chewie's weapons, Qir'a vouches for them. The trio travel up the turbolift. Han is confident of winning but Qi'ra says that the trick is surviving rather than winning.
Reaching Vos' living room, they are greeted by Vos, who seems pleased with their plan. Qi'ra claims that Beckett did not survive while Han claims that Beckett died saving his life on Kessel. Vos expresses admiration for Beckett's principles and thanks Han and his team for following his example. Qi'ra claims Han and Chewbacca would make good mercenaries with their own ship. Vos is pleased that his top lieutenant Qi'ra survived.
When Han asks for payment, Vos asks to see the coaxium. Han opens the storage vial and brings out a sample of the processed coaxium. When Vos asks to see one, Han claims its volatile but complies when Vos insists. Vos surprises Solo's team by announcing that the coaxium is fake and reveals that he is aware of Han's plan to sell the real shipment to the Cloud-Riders. Han thinks Qi'ra betrayed him but Vos responds that Qi'ra has a weak spot for Solo.
Vos then reveals his "inside man" as Beckett, who walks into the living room. After "apologizing" to Han, Beckett reminds him about his "lesson" not to trust anybody. Beckett orders Han to surrender while a guard checks the lid. A defiant Han responds that it is too late because Enfys Nest has it. Beckett responds that they have figured that as Captain Aemon Gremm and his Hylobon Enforcers storm the nearby village, capture the masked "Cloud-Riders", and seize the coaxium containers. Vos asks Qi'ra what to do with the "traitor" Han. Qi'ra responds that she would want to know why and to prove their loyalty by sacrificing something they loved.
One of Vos' guards raises a sword. Beckett says that he tried to warn Han about her. However, Han responds that he was paying attention to Beckett's advice and knows that people are predictable. Meanwhile, the Hylobon Enforcers discover that the coaxium containers are empty and that the "Cloud-Riders" are villagers serving as decoys. The real Cloud-Riders including Enfys Nest and Auromae Iselo soon emerge from hiding and ambush Vos' Enforcers. One fires a rocket launcher at the enforcers, disorientating them. The Cloud-Riders disarm and subdue Aemon and his enforcers.
Back aboard the First Light, Han mockingly asks Vos if he sent all his enforcers. Beckett realizes that the real coaxium is with Solo. Abandoning Vos, Beckett shoots the two remaining guards and forces Han at gunpoint to load the coaxium into the case. He also takes Chewbacca hostage and leaves with the coaxium containers. A furious Vos warns Beckett he is making a big mistake but the criminal ignores him before traveling down the turbolift with Chewie and the coaxium.
Once Beckett has left, Han grabs his blaster and fires at Vos, who retrieves a pair of custom Kyuzo petars. Vos attacks Han with his Kyuzo petars and manages to knock the blaster out of his hand. Vos chases Han around the room, hurling his daggers. While Han is distracted with Vos, Qi'ra draws a sword and manages to pin Solo to the ground, knocking the blaster out of his hand. Qi'ra apologizes while Vos says that Qi'ra is loyal to Crimson Dawn.
However, Qi'ra quickly reveals that it was a ruse and strikes the unsuspecting Vos with her weapon. Vos fights back with his Kyuzo petars but Qi'ra gains the upper hand and kills him by slashing him in the chest. Qi'ra tells Han to go after Chewbacca and Dryden Vos, telling him that if they give their coaxium to Enfys, they will need something else to buy a new ship. Before parting company, Qi'ra embraces Han and reminds him to look after Chewbacca and to smile. She tells him that she is right behind him.
After Han leaves, Qi'ra removes Dryden Vos' signet ring and uses it to seal the living room. Alone aboard Vos' yacht, Qi'ra contacts Vos' superior, who is revealed to be the former Sith apprentice Maul. She informs him of the coaxium mission's failure and assumes Vos' position but carefully avoids telling him about Han's involvement, instead pinning the blame on Beckett. She claims that Beckett stole the coaxium shipment. Using the Force to draw his dagger, Maul orders Qi'ra to bring the yacht to the planet Dathomir and tells her that she will be working more closely with him in the future.
Meanwhile, Han catches up with Beckett and Chewbacca along the Pnakotic Coast. Beckett says that Han is relentless while Han tells Chewie that he came as fast as he could. Han confirms that Dryden is dead and that Qi'ra killed him. Beckett says that Han still doesn't understand that Qi'ra is a survivor. Han responds that Beckett's problem is that he thinks that everyone is like him. Beckett responds that Han is not like him. He tries to trick Han into lowering his guard by offering to tell something while reaching for his blaster.
Before Beckett can shoot him, Han shoots first, fatally wounding the gangster. Han helps up the dying Beckett who compliments Han for his quick thinking, admitting that he would have killed him had Han not reacted. Beckett praises Han for his courage on the Vandor mountain before breathing his last. Han watches as Qi'ra departs on the yacht First Light, having given Solo a clean break from his debts to the Crimson Dawn. Qi'ra watches Han and Chewbacca from the viewport. Chewie puts a comforting hand on Han.
Following the deaths of Vos and Beckett, Han and Chewbacca deliver the refined coaxium to Nest, who reveals her plans to use the coaxium, which is worth 60 million credits, to aid the rebellion against the Empire. She offers Han the chance to join her but he declines. In response, Nest states that some day he may feel more sympathetic to the rebels' cause. Out of gratitude for his help, Nest gives Solo a vial of coaxium, enough to buy a ship for himself.
Rematch with Lando Calrissian
- "You really have it bad for the Falcon, don't ya?"
"It's mutual. Trust me, she belongs with me."
- ―Lando Calrissian and Han Solo
Elsewhere, Han and Chewbacca soon track down Lando to a jungle outpost on Numidian Prime, where Lando is regaling patrons about his adventures in Starcave Nebula. Han chides Lando for leaving them on Savareen before embracing him. When Lando asks for his cut, Han replies he is not getting any since they barely survived their last adventure. After exchanging pleasantries, Han again challenges Lando to a sabacc game for possession of the Falcon. Han had previously subtly relieved Lando of the cards stashed up his sleeve and therefore and wins the game.
The earliest incarnation of a live-action depiction of young Han Solo came during the pre-production of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Writer and director George Lucas conceived an idea of Solo as a child on Kashyyyk, with Chewbacca raising the young boy like a son. Solo would have been present during the Battle of Kashyyyk and would have encountered Yoda, helping the Jedi Master discover scraps of a droid that could have aided Yoda in determining the whereabouts of General Grievous. Concept art from Iain McCaig showed the young Solo as a slob, a juxtaposition of the character in his later years. "He's such a persnickety guy later — he always has to have the best of everything," McCaig said in The Art of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, "so I thought it'd be great if when he was a kid, he was an absolute slob." These concepts never made it out of pre-production, and Solo did not appear in Revenge of the Sith—though Chewbacca ultimately did make a cameo appearance during the battle.
After the release of Revenge of the Sith, Lucas began planning a live-action television series called Star Wars: Underworld, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The unproduced series, dealing with elements of the criminal underworld, could have included some of Solo's backstory. According to Stephen Scaia, the show's writers came up with a story for how Solo met Chewbacca. Another story would have dealt with how Solo first met Lando Calrissian, who first appeared in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.
- "…George had sort of roughed-out many movies—not just the new trilogy but other movies, the spinoffs and things. I wasn't sure I wanted to do anything, but I said, "I could do the Han Solo movie"—because he's my favorite character."
- ―Lawrence Kasdan
Ideas for a young Han Solo film began to percolate in the lead up to The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of Lucasfilm. In October 2012, as Lucas was preparing to sell his company, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy contacted Lawrence Kasdan, writer of The Empire Strikes Back and co-writer of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and asked him to meet her and Lucas to discuss new films in the franchise. Kasdan recounted that Lucas had already come up with some basic ideas for the sequel trilogy and had also come up with the concept of stand-alone films. One of those movies was about young Han Solo, before the events of A New Hope. Kasdan was initially hesitant on being part of the new films, but he decided he could do the Han Solo movie as Solo was his favorite character. He pitched his idea to Bob Iger by telling him about the scene where Han gets his last name.
After agreeing to the job, Kasdan was also asked to help develop what would become Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Once he had completed work on that film, Kasdan felt creatively drained, so he asked his son Jon to assist in developing the Han Solo film. The Kasdans worked on the script for nine months, during which they were inspired by Treasure Island, Heat, Unforgiven and various films by the Coen brothers. At the urging of the elder Kasdan, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were hired to direct. Lord and Miller tested several thousand actors for the part, including Harrison Ford impressionist Anthony Ingruber. They ultimately chose Alden Ehrenreich, who had been the first person to audition. According to Miller, they didn't want an impersonation of Ford, but "someone who could evoke the spirit of the iconic performance we all remember while bringing something new and fresh." Ehrenreich was officially announced during Celebration Europe. He (and later, Ron Howard) met with Harrison Ford to discuss the character, and Lucasfilm sent Ford a copy of the script for his approval. Once Ehrenreich was cast, certain parts of the script were revised to be tailored to his voice; the final script also incorporated contributions from Lord, Miller and Howard. As Jon Kasdan told SFX magazine, "I think ultimately the movie that you'll see is truly a product of the five of us all coming together in this weird way to tell this story."
- "I think in terms of us leaving the project, I think everybody went in with really good intentions and our approach to making the movie was different than theirs. That was a really big gap to bridge, and it proved to be too big."
- ―Phil Lord
Principal photography began in January 2017, with a working title of Star Wars: Red Cup. In addition to Pinewood Studios, the film shot at Fuerteventura, Spain, the Dolomites in Italy and at an undisclosed location near London. One of the three rewards in the 2017 Force for Change fundraiser was a role in the film.
On June 20, 2017, Lucasfilm announced that directors Lord and Miller were departing from the project due to creative differences and that a new director would be announced soon. Entertainment Weekly reported that Lord and Miller encouraged an improvisational style on set, which Lucasfilm insiders believed was moving the film away from the vision crafted by the Kasdans in their script and ended up significantly changing the story. Lucasfilm believed that these apparent issues could be fixed during reshoots, but Lord and Miller were reportedly reluctant to significantly alter their approach to the film. As a result, Kennedy made the decision to remove Lord and Miller from the production. Co-writer Lawrence Kasadan later attributed it to tone: "You can have fun with the tone but you never make fun of the tone, in my world."
On June 22, Lucasfilm announced that Ron Howard would take over directorial duties for the film. Howard had worked on three previous Lucasfilm projects: 1973's American Graffiti, 1979's More American Graffiti and 1988's Willow (which starred Star Wars veteran Warwick Davis, who also appeared in Solo.) After the announcement, Howard said that he had been a fan of Star Wars since the beginning and that he found it "gratifying to be asked to lend my voice to the [Star Wars] universe." Michael Kenneth Williams was originally cast in the film but was unavailable for the reshoots, so he was replaced by Paul Bettany. George Lucas visited the set at one point, and helped direct a scene. On October 17, Howard confirmed that production had wrapped up, and he officially announced the title of the film would be Solo: A Star Wars Story. By March 30, 2018, the editing and score were finished, and post-production had ended by April 22. John Powell composed the film's musical score, and John Williams contributed a new theme.
Marketing and release
A TV spot aired during Super Bowl LII, followed by a full teaser trailer the next day and the release of a series of character-themed teaser posters. A theatrical trailer and poster were released on April 8, with the former debuting during American Idol. Tickets became available for pre-sale beginning on May 3, and sold second to Infinity War among 2018 releases. The film had its world premiere on May 10, and appeared at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15. It received its wide release on May 25 (the 41st anniversary of the release of A New Hope, in which Harrison Ford first appeared as Han Solo).
The film was spotlighted in the February and April 2018 issues of Entertainment Weekly, the 300th issue of SFX and the June 2018 issue of Empire. The cast and crew made various media appearances to promote the film, including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Donald Glover hosted the May 5 episode of Saturday Night Live. Various cast and crew members participated in Q&A sessions on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
Lucasfilm arranged Solo licensing deals with Denny's, Esurance, General Mills, Nissan, Solo Cup Company and Symantec. Denny's aired a commercial that utilized props, characters and a set from the film. The French car company Renault also aired an ad showcasing the film's train sequence. The Solo merchandise line debuted in stores on April 13. The video games Star Wars Battlefront II, Star Wars: Commander, Star Wars: Force Arena, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Star Wars Pinball and Minecraft Star Wars were updated with Solo-related content.
The release of the initial teaser posters prompted a complaint from a French artist, Hachim Bahous, that the design of the posters was a plagiarization of a series of covers he designed for Sony Music for French album releases. A side-by-side post demonstrated that the posters and covers feature nearly identical coloration for both the background and character/album names, as well as a similar font. On April 23, a lawsuit was filed by Ren Ventures, who holds the trademark for the card game Sabacc, against Lucasfilm and Denny's Star Wars card game after Sabacc was featured in promotion for the film.
- Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable — Sit down with director Ron Howard and the stars for an intimate and entertaining discussion of the film's making.
- Team Chewie — See what it takes to bring your favorite Wookiee to life in this lighthearted look behind the scenes.
- Kasdan on Kasdan — Iconic Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and son Jonathan share what it was like to write the movie's script together.
- Remaking the Millennium Falcon — Track the transformation of the most famous ship in the galaxy, from Lando's swank and impeccable pride and joy to Han's stripped-down hot-rod freighter with "special modifications."
- Escape from Corellia — Get behind the wheel for the making of this high-octane chase through the streets of Corellia.
- The Train Heist — Explore the challenges and thrills of creating this action-packed sequence, including its remote location and spectacular effects.
- Becoming a Droid: L3-37 — Meet the newest droid—and the talented actor who helps bring her to life.
- Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso — Take an in-depth tour of the rough-and-tumble bar where strangers mix and gamblers risk all in the legendary card game, Sabacc.
- Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run — Join Han and Chewie at the controls of the Millennium Falcon to see how this legendary moment in Star Wars history unfolds.
- The Millennium Falcon: From Page to Park — In an exclusive bonus feature available as a digital code with the Target release, you can get a look at the history of the most famous ship in the galaxy, its origin and development, and how it will translate in one of the most anticipated expansions in Disneyland's history.
- Deleted Scenes: Proxima's Den, Corellian Foot Chase, Han Solo: Imperial Cadet, The Battle of Mimban: Extended, Han Versus Chewie: Extended, Snowball Fight!, Meet Dryden: Extended, Coaxium Double-Cross
On the day of the digital streaming release, co-writer Jon Kasdan posted 52 behind the scenes details (in lieu of an audio commentary) on his Twitter account. He later joined Ray Park and the hosts of The Star Wars Show for a Facebook live preview of the film's bonus features.
Solo opened substantially below industry projections, with $103 million in North America and 68.2 million in foreign markets. Financial analysts estimated that Disney would lose $50 to $80 million on the film. Disney Chairman Alan Horn reflected on the film's performance: "It's always a challenge because — and I say this with love and respect for media — the thing about these big movies is they get a lot of attention, whether positive or negative. So when they don't work, like Solo, the media says it's a failure. I think it was a pretty good movie. It didn't resonate as much as we'd hoped it would, but the press writes it up in a more negative way than I would."
Forbes reviewer Scott Mendelson described the film as a Star Wars story that played like an Indiana Jones movie. While opining that the film had no "artistic" reason to exist, Mendelson praised Solo for its decent cast, fine action sequences, and references to the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. He also described Solo as the first live-action Star Wars that felt like a random adventure rather than the usual "Empire versus Rebellion" struggle.
The Hollywood Reporter's reviewer Michael Rechtshaffen described the film as "an origins story that represented a return to the saga's more humble, original space Western roots which emphasized character development over kinetic, adrenaline-fueled action sequences." He also praised Alden Ehrenreich's performance as Han Solo and Ron Howard's directorship. The Guardian's reviewer Peter Bradshaw described Solo as a "boisterous bromance," awarding the film four out of five stars. Besides praising Ron Howard's directorship and Ehrenreich's performance as the titular character, Bradshaw credited Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon for "channeling the spirits" of the original trilogy into the film.
The BBC reviewer Nicholas Barber gave Solo a mixed review, awarding the film three out of five stars. He wrote that Solo was a "Disney-fied, sub-Guardians of the Galaxy adventure: a lightly comic, family-friendly, action-packed, nigglingly sexist popcorn movie." Barber described Ehrenreich's depiction of Solo as a "likeably goofy hero with an irresistible grin and an air of boyish decency," and compared him favorably to Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy. CNN reviewer Brian Lowry wrote that the film had a "messy, flat opening half before rallying and picking up speed down the stretch," which he attributed to the fraught production process. Lowry praised Ehrenreich and Donald Glover's performances as Han Solo and Lando Calrissian respectively, opining that they captured the spirit of the original-trilogy characters. The New Yorker's Joshua Rothman wrote that "'Solo' is an entertaining movie, with engaging performances, vivid production design, and enthralling action sequences. It's also distressingly forgettable—it's about nothing, an episode of 'Seinfeld' with hyperdrive."
Solo also received several critical reviews. Vox reviewer Alissa Wilkinson described Solo as the "safest, most forgettable Star Wars movie" and criticized what she termed as the "box-ticking approach to filling Solo's story as distinctly unimaginative." Similarly, National Review critic Kyle Smith dismissed Solo as a "soulless intergalactic freeway pile-up" and criticized the fast-paced nature of the plot.
Aside from his credited role, Warwick Davis also played characters in the Sabacc and droid rebellion scenes, and acted as advisor for various droids and creatures.
Screenwriter Jon Kasdan and first assistant director Toby Hefferman filmed a scene as Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna, two characters that first appeared in the Star Wars comics published by Dark Horse Comics. However, this was deleted from the final cut of the film.
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Notes and references
- Solo: A Star Wars Story on Wikipedia
- Intrigue and Drama on the Han Solo Set (backup link)
- Inside 'Solo': A 'Star Wars' Story's Bumpy Ride to the Big Screen (backup link)
- Solo, A Star Wars Supervisor: Rob Bredow (backup link)