Solo: A Star Wars Story was met with mixed reaction when the film released back in early May, which was the result of development issues and a lingering feeling from The Last Jedi. The home edition of the controversial film released digitally on the 14th with the physical Blu-ray set to release on the 25th. After looking through the bonus features, which is personally my favorite part of digital/physical releases, Solo delivers an immersive look into the Star Wars experience. Solo was rich in the lore of Star Wars, pulling from the canonized materials to now shelved material in Legends books and comics. This immersion into the history of Star Wars was bound to happen, as this is the first time an anthology dived into a character’s past, starting with the beloved Han Solo.
The deleted scenes were hit and miss with some scenes showing why they were cut while others were likely scrapped due Ron Howard wanting to go in another direction. The Corellian Foot Chase is an example of Howard changing the direction of the story wanting to focus more on Han’s early prowess with being a pilot. It’s a shame as this scene, where Qi’ra and Han are running through a busy Corellian market, pays homage to Solo’s original actor, Harrison Ford, with an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade reference about pulling a slithering animal from the main character’s trousers. The Imperial Cadet scene where Han Solo gets removed from his pilot cadet status really should have been left in as it had a hilarious scene in a movie where most jokes were flat. In the scene where the Commodore who removes Solo from the Navy states “we’ll have you flying in no time” followed by a terrific edit to Solo flying through the air from an explosion in the trenches on Mimban. A scene where it was cut for obvious reasons was the snowball fight between Chewie and Han. While the scene was fun as it showed the budding friendship between the two copilots of the Millennium Falcon it was not an essential scene and could be easily taken out on the cutting room floor.
Corellia is well known through the galaxy as being a hub for aviation with a long history of pilots and aerospace designers. This makes the planet the perfect place for Han to hail from but as we saw in the film escaping the slums was not an easy task. In the bonus footage for Solo, the crew examined how they wanted to examine the early part of Han’s life. Being stuck between Episode III and Episode IV, the crew felt it necessary to dive into a retro feel compared to the sleek aspect of Episode VIII. As Ron Howard correctly reflects during this period, “it’s an entirely lawless time the Empire controls everything. It’s a time of absolute oppression of freedom.” With this in mind, the juxtaposition of Han’s dream of becoming the best pilot in the galaxy sets an interesting story in the beginning portion of the film.
When producer Simon Emanuel mentioned the chase scene he said, “they wanted to keep as much action in camera.” This made for a realistic feel with much of the action being done authentically. However, with the chase scene going through the heavily developed streets of Corellia there was a need to mix in computer effects to add additional room for the chase. A map of Corellia, created by James Clyne, was needed in order to create roads for the chase to occur which included Bespin and Death Star over the horizon. Han’s speeder was influenced by a range of muscle making the car grounded despite having the feel of a Star Wars vehicle. Wheels are a thing of the past, actually, the future, in the case of Star Wars making the physics of the chase differ from regular car chases. Special Effects Supervisor Dominic Tuohy detailed the speeder as a “4-wheel drive vehicle with a 525-brake horsepower with facility switch between 2-wheel and 4-wheel at the push of a button.” As stunt performer, Ben Collins pushed the vehicle around the corner “very very sideways” which simulated the feeling of hovering.
It would be a waste if I did not cover the Falcon in this article as it was as much an origin story for the ship as it was Han and Chewie. In the brief bonus documentary “Remaking the Millennium Falcon” the crew covers what went into the ship at its early age and under different management. Design Supervisor James Clyne and others had to decide how far they wanted to reimagine the ship as it was brand new. Some of the new changes to the ship is a bigger fin that acted as a spoiler giving it the sports car vibe. The film took a deeper look into the ship’s quarters by examining Lando’s quarters and engine room giving an inner look at how the ship operates. Donald Glover states that “If I were flying through space this is how I would want to do it. This is a great party ship. Just like land somewhere and put the ramp down and let people hang out in here.” There is much more of a party vibe in this early edition of the ship fitting Lando’s swinger mentality. Supervising Art Director Alastair Bullock mentioned that this was the original set from Episode VII that had undergone de-aging treatment.
There is so much behind the scenes material that it is impossible to cover everything in one article. If you are a fan of Star Wars you will not be bored with everything you’ll find on the home edition of the film. Solo may not have been a great movie, but it was a fun one that dived deep into the lore of Star Wars. Seeing the behind scenes of this film will give anyone a deeper understanding and appreciation of the film. Between the computer generation and live action, this film is totally in a galaxy far far away.