Before You Watch Solo: A Star Wars Story

Before You Watch Solo: A Star Wars Story

File Photo via Movieweb

Here's what you need to know before you see Solo: A Star Wars Story.

When does Solo take place?

Going by the timeline established in the official tie-in novel Last Shot, the action in Solo appears to take place somewhere between three and eight years before the events of A New Hope. So don't expect to see familiar faces like Leia and Luke, because at this point in his young career, Han is a one-man operation. That's going to change, though, as the film promises to show Han's meeting with his right-hand-Wookiee Chewbacca, as well as the galaxy's smoothest frenemy, Lando Calrissian. And that leads to the infamous game of cards that wins Han his one true love, the Millennium Falcon

Who is the Game of Thrones lady playing?

Game of Thrones viewers know her best as Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, but in Solo, actress Emilia Clarke plays a very different yet equally badass lady in the form of Han's sometimes partner-in-crime Qi'ra. She may look glamorous, but Clarke assures fans she's just as devious as Solo himself. She explained: "If you have got a really glamorous lady in a really sordid environment, you kind of know that maybe the glamour is hiding a few rough roads.

Who is L3-37?

In the grand Star Wars tradition, Solo will introduce a new droid to the Star Wars universe. But some parts of Lando's partner L3-37 will look familiar to fans. Literally: the droid is self-made, having constructed herself out of spare parts from other droid models, including bits of BB and R2 units, and protocol droids like C-3PO. And in the Last Shot novel, we learn that L3 is both a committed droids' rights activist and deeply spiritual, saying in the book, "Some guy in a factory probably pieced me together originally, and someone else programmed me. But then the galaxy itself forged me into who I am. Because we learn, maybe we're our own makers, no matter who put the parts together."

Who are the new rogues?

Though Solo has plenty of cameos and callbacks, most of the supporting characters are all new to the Star Wars universe. So you don't need to read or watch anything in order to appreciate Woody Harrelson's criminal mentor Tobias Beckett, Thandie Newton's expert marksman Val, or Paul Bettany's crime boss Dryden Vos. Fans of the Star Wars comics from Dark Horse are in for a treat, though, as Jonathan Kasdan and Toby Hefferman, Solo's co-writer and assistant director respectively, portray Imperial soldiers Tag and Bink, bumbling officials who accidentally play a key role behind the scenes throughout the original trilogy. Classic.

Where's the fan service?

While the whole film could be considered fan service, there are more inside references than just the inclusion of Tag and Bink. For instance, part of Solo is set on the mud planet of Mimban, which was originally introduced was back in the 1978 tie-in novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, but it's never made it into an actual movie until now. And the tease of other Wookiees could signal the return of Chewie's family. Though most fans would prefer to forget it, the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special introduced Chewbacca's wife Malla and his son Lumpy. Bringing them back would be the ultimate inside nod for hardcore Star Wars fans.

Who directed this?

Rumors of problems on-set plagued Solo right from the start. To help smooth over production woes, Lucasfilm reportedly hired an acting coach for star Alden Ehrenreich and brought in co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, who also co-wrote both Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, to lead script rewrites. And when things still didn't get straightened out, Lucasfilm went with the nuclear option, firing directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller right in the middle of shooting. After a delay of several weeks, Ron Howard came aboard to finish filming and right the ship. Hey, it wouldn't be a true Han Solo adventure if everything went according to plan.

What's the bottom line?

Though Solo is obviously intended to fit into the greater Star Wars universe, fans don't really have to worry about knowing every little bit of franchise trivia. Because unlike the previous Star Wars films, Solo is designed to be a totally self-contained one-shot film. Sure, you'll get more out of it if you get some of the in-jokes, but there shouldn't be any cliffhangers here, just a big, sprawling space adventure featuring one of the most beloved characters in cinema. That's not to say this is necessarily the end, though. If Solo ends up being really popular, we might get more big-screen adventures starring young Han. That's because Alden Ehrenreich is apparently signed up for three movies.

Will the film prove popular enough to spawn a trilogy of its own?

If there's one thing we've learned over the years, it's never bet against Han Solo.

And as always thanks for reading.