– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Star Wars was never made in a vacuum. From day one in the ’70s it had countless inspirations including the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s and Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress. Like many good films, it wasn’t so much is own thing as it was a mishmash of countless other things that came before it.

With the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, it seems like it’s going back to its roots in that regard. In a new piece from EW, writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan discuss some of the inspirations behind the film, starting with the Robert Louis Stevenson classic Treasure Island:

“One of the things that Larry and I talked about right at the beginning of where we started working together on this was what kind of stories we wanted to riff off. One we immediately reread was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island because we wanted it to be a boy’s adventure story, but one in which he encounters characters of dubious intent, and that everyone he would encounter would sort of inform his maturation as an adult.”

Wait…why does Jon Kasdan call his dad by his first name? Anyways, there were many other inspirations, including Michael Mann’s crime thriller Heat, as told by Lawrence Kasdan:

“We talked about the relationship between Val Kilmer and Robert De Niro in Heat, where there’s a sort of older, wiser criminal, and then someone who’s learning the ropes from them. We wanted this movie to have that flavor and that swagger. No one is reliable. There’s always a chance of betrayal. And, I wanted to take what is essentially a street smart, but very innocent, young man, and figure out how could we start him on the journey to being the character who comes into the cantina?”

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The third main inspiration is a given. Given that gunslinger shot we got in the trailer, it was clear that it would have the feelings of a western, and that was no accident, as Jon Kasdan stated:

“There’s a feeling in Unforgiven between the kid and Clint that hits the kind of [apprentice/gunslinger] relationship we were interested in. [The Unforgiven] is obviously a much darker movie than [Solo] is.”

The real surprising inspiration is The Big Lebowski. Here’s what Jon Kasdan said:

“[We were] trying to create a crime movie where our character was entering a crime world where there were already dramas in place and relationships and complications, and we have to see him negotiate a lot more rivalries than he is expecting at the beginning of the story. [Solo] has that flavor of a crime world that has weirdness and surprise and people stumbling into things — and other people very intentionally getting into [trouble]. The Big Lebowski is a great example because Solo has a more off-kilter tone than you’ve ever seen in [Star Wars].”

Off-kilter tone, huh? This quote actually gets me very excited. What exactly do they mean by that? We can’t help but wonder if this is why Phil Lord and Chris Miller were originally brought in to direct. Perhaps they overestimated just how wacky Lucasfilm wanted things to get with the tone?

What do you think of these odd inspirations for Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.