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The world of Star Wars has always drawn from both the wells of learned literature and pop culture when it comes to its influences. In the case of the upcoming spinoff, Solo: A Star Wars Story, both worlds are well represented, as there are three important inspirations that writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan had in mind for the prequel. The first two are Treasure Island and Heat, which are already a pretty fantastic combination. However, the third source is the one that really ties the project together, and it's The Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski. That film's importance to Solo is for the following reason, explained by Jon Kasdan:
[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].
So what was starting to shape up as a typical Star Wars movie, full of importance and mythology, is now looking like what could be the most comedic heist in the canon of the George Lucas-originated universe. So rather than seeing Alden Ehrenreich's Han Solo staring wistfully into the distance, similar to his buddy Luke Skywalker, this origin project feels more like the sort of wry caper a Corellian rogue would engage in. All that's missing is a slight riff on Chewbacca's walking carpet nickname, and this could be a truly Lebowskian affair.
Come to think of it, Solo: A Star Wars Story definitely sounds like the sort of film that former project directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller would have been able to sink their teeth into, given their penchant for offbeat comedies. Then again, current helmer Ron Howard's earlier resume includes films that sound like they'd match up to what Jon Kasdan told EW about the film he co-wrote with his father. With that in mind, it's worth considering that the balance between the other two influences may have been where Lord and Miller ran afoul of the project's true image.
While it sounds like there's plenty of cocky fun to be had in the criminal underworld of Solo: A Star Wars Story, it also sounds like there are a lot of tonal plates spinning in place at once. Throwing in the paternal relationship between Woody Harrelson's Beckett and Ehrenreich's Solo, as well as any piece of the DNA from Michael Mann's crime classic Heat, is a tough mix for any talented writer or director. This is where the middle ground of the hard-boiled stoner detective comedy of The Big Lebowski would come in to save the day.
A unique mix of influences could be the key to making Solo: A Star Wars Story work. Considering how worried some fans have been about delving into the past of the character that Harrison Ford made famous, this is a very hopeful bit of news.
We'll be able to see the finished product for ourselves soon enough, as Solo: A Star Wars Story is set for release on May 25, 2018. But if you're looking for some thrills a little sooner than that, then you should definitely head over to our 2018 release schedule so that you can plan your box office excursions accordingly.