The first official trailer for this May's Solo: A Star Wars Story dropped a few days ago, and the internet is buzzing about the future of the Corellian smuggler on the big screen. Many naysayers have already been won over to Ron Howard's vision and Alden Ehrenreich's look, but there are still so many things that we don't know about the film yet. Having said that, we already know one thing that Solo: A Star Wars Story absolutely shouldn't do: it should not take a cue from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and directly line its ending up with A New Hope.
Let's be honest here: no matter what happens in Solo: A Star Wars Story, it would definitely show a certain degree of coolness for the film to end with Han sitting across from two unseen figures in the Mos Eisley cantina and saying "I'm Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon," and then cut to black. However, it would also be the wrong choice for the movie. At its core, the Han Solo spinoff looks like an origin story for Han and his relationships with characters like Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian (portrayed by Donald Glover in Solo). The Original Trilogy framed these relationships as deeply-personal connections with years of history backing them up. To learn that characters like Han and Chewie only had the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story to get to know each other would not only feel somewhat unearned, but it would also cheapen the way we view their rapport with one another in the classic Star Wars films.
On the other hand, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had a great ending that caught up with A New Hope, so why couldn't it work for Solo? The difference between the two stories is that Rogue One offered a natural means to do so within the arcs of its characters. To refresh your memory, after the deaths of everyone on Scarif, the Rebels play a fierce game of cat and mouse against Darth Vader. From there, the plans for the first Death Star finally find their way into the hands of CGI Princess Leia, which then leads her ship to jump to hyperspace and feed directly into the events of the first Star Wars movie.
This worked for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story because none of the principal characters from that movie could go on to a sequel or have more story. By their very nature, they were designed to be expendable heroes sent on a suicide mission. Han is the exact opposite. We know that he dies at the hands of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which means the only way for us to keep exploring the character's personality is to keep things loose in the earlier portion of the timeline and leave gaps for more sequels and spinoffs. He's less Jyn Erso and more James Bond.
With that in mind, it would just feel like a bad habit for the Star Wars movies to continue that Rogue One tradition. The timeline of the Star Wars franchise is practically infinite, and bookending every movie with another movie fills in crucial gaps that normally could've allowed for more stories. Think about it: if Solo ends up being a hit for Disney and Lucasfilm, and audiences end up demanding a sequel, everyone involved will thank themselves for leaving some room.
Do you think Solo: A Star Wars Story should lead directly into A New Hope?