The real Han Solo never had it this good.
Disney-Lucas Films launched its “Solo: A Star Wars Story” in Cannes on Tuesday night, giving the festival a much needed shot of Hollywood glamour amid a frustrating fortnight.
“Solo,” a Ron Howard film, was the first and only real adrenaline boost for Cannes on the red carpet, with the John Williams “Star Wars” theme signalling the most excitement so far. Disney responded by throwing an old fashioned premiere on the Croisette, at the beach club across from the Carlton Hotel. Around 10pm, the studio set off fireworks akin to the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade over the Cannes marina– sight to behold as cast members like Woody Harrelson, Alden Ehrenreich, and Emilia Clarke mixed with the likes of Cannes’ other American superstar of the week, Spike Lee.
“Solo” was met in the Palais with cheers and applause lasting five minutes or more. I’m told this will not be a standalone movie. “If it’s a hit,” was the consensus among participants, there will be sequels. One cast member advised me they were already in the works.
Will “Solo” be a hit? Yes. First of all, it’s a “Star Wars” movie. Second, it’s filled with action scenes pulled off skillfully by Howard, who came in and replaced a pair of directors who had edgier plans. “They wanted to make this more meta, like Guardians of the Galaxy,” said a source. “Lots of in jokes. That just doesn’t work for Star Wars. And what they saw on the screen each day in dailies didn’t match what was in their script.”
Indeed, “Solo” hews closely to the earnestness of all the previous installments of the 41 year old franchise. Building on its own massive mythology, “Solo” tells us how Han got his name, how he met Chewbacca, and where he was while Luke Skywalker was just getting his bearings.
Nevertheless, this is a difficult “Star Wars” film to make because there is no Force, no Yoda, no light sabers. Everything in this movie takes place before Han wanders into the world of Luke and Leia and the Empire. There were actually more Star Wars stormtroopers on display in the Palais last night than in the movie.
So “Solo” is really an origins story. In the sequels perhaps there will be more reference to the aforementioned. But here Han is just a kid who’s in a hot romance and trying to survive. There’s no Darth Vader, either, although there’s no dearth of Darth in a way. You’ll have to watch the movie to see what I mean.