'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Teaser Review: An Unlikely Band of Scum and Villainy

After the long-awaited teaser for Disney and Lucasfilm's latest Star Wars spin-off, Solo: A Star Wars Story, finally dropped during Super Bowl Sunday, the past few weeks have given fans an even greater peek inside the Han Solo origin film with a bout of new footage and images. Sending up the western-noir tone of the film from director Ron Howard, filled with plenty of high stakes action but still heavily shrouded in mystery, the ambitious teaser sought to not only introduce us to Alden Ehrenreich as the infamous scoundrel, but also the band of rebels and crooks he's found himself apart of. With enticing looks at Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian and Woody Harrelson's shady mentor to Solo, our first peek at May's bold spin-off lent much more to be desired than detested. Still, while I'm still just as skeptical of this film as I was of 2016's Rogue One, here are my initial thoughts on just what Solo: A Star Wars Story could be.



The trailer begins on perhaps a more fun and lighter tone than any Star Wars trailer has before, diving instantly into where we'll find young Han Solo. Scrappier, more naive, and nearly as witty as Harrison Ford's iconic character in the original Star Wars trilogy, we find Ehrenreich's Solo carving his path through the galaxy after being left to fend for himself. Having run scams since the age of ten, we see the young scoundrel honing his charisma as he outruns what appears to be Imperial forces. His unique charisma runs almost parallel to his bold ambitions as well, as we get a brief glimpse at Han Solo's first encounter with the famed Millennium Falcon. With the film now confirmed to give us the iconic Kessel Run mentioned way back in A New Hope, it looks like we could see Solo embarking on his quest to become the best pilot in the galaxy through the deadly run.

Of course, how Solo gets his hands on the Falcon in the first place is another compelling element to the newest anthology film from Disney and Lucasfilm. While the first teaser gave us plenty to contemplate over how newcomer Alden Ehrenreich might fill the role made famous by Ford some 41 years ago, it also clued us into a number of supporting characters alongside the scoundrel, most notably fellow con artist Lando Calrissian. With actor/musician Donald Glover shifting elegantly into the shoes of Billy Dee Williams, while the teaser didn't offer much of Lando, released photos from the film tease the well-dressed gambler will most definitely play into Solo's journey towards becoming an ace pilot. Through playing a few risky games of sabacc, as well as sitting alongside Solo as they flash through hyperspace, Glover's smooth-talking smuggler seems to remain a vital piece to the rise of Han Solo.


Going back to the trailer, we see someone else at young Solo's side, aside from the suave Lando, as we meet Emilia Clarke's mystery woman Qi'ra. A fellow cast-off who finds herself entangled in the affairs of Solo as he starts out along the more vicious alleyways of the galaxy, the femme fatale of the film seems to be harboring much more beneath her innocent -- and glamorous -- facade. While the teaser might jump around a bit concerning who exactly Clarke's character is in relation to Solo, we do see glimpses of her not only amongst the upper class of the galaxy, but also donning more tactical garb alongside Lando's trusty droid L3-37 (played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge). While much still remains in the shadows for now about the character, how she plays into the story beyond simply as a love interest could be interesting.


The teaser continues as it explores the basic premise of the film, albeit at its most ambiguous. Here we find Woody Harrelson's Tobias Beckett enter the life of Han Solo. With Harrelson becoming a make-shift mentor to the young scoundrel, all while enlisting him for a deadly heist, new details from the film hint at Harrelson's shady idealist molding Solo like no one has before, providing him with a moral code in a time of lawless scum and villainy. Tied to Beckett we also catch a brief peek at Westworld actress Thandie Newton as Val, a mysterious crook who looks like she just teleported from the 1970s. Armed with a specialized blaster and a wicked gaze, Val initially sees Solo simply as an arrogant kid in over his head, but eventually becomes just as vital to his mission as the others among him.

We also get a peek at one of the many potential antagonists of
the film, in these cryptic, armor-clad warriors

While our first peek at this summer's Solo: A Star Wars Story might not clue us into every part of the upcoming film, particularly how these low-life characters, as well as others like Paul Bettany's crime lord Dryden Vos, merge together in the end, the first teaser trailer and photos did give fans an appropriate amount of appeal surrounding the risky sci-fi feature. While there might be obvious things that could make this film a success, like the promise of Glover's Lando Calrissian and even our new Han in Alden Ehrenreich, there remains a number of factors that leave me skeptical as to how it could hold up to not only the established saga of films, but to the similarly gloomy-looking Rogue One as well. Still, while Rogue One was mildly successful in chiseling out its gritty war film tone, Ron Howard's Han Solo film could make for an ambitious mixed bag of genres that will hopefully bring even more fun to a galaxy far, far away.
        

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