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Han and Chewie in the Falcon

The galaxy far, far away just keeps getting bigger. With Disney now in charge of the beloved Star Wars property, there is plenty of new content being released regularly. In addition to the main installments of the franchise, Lucasfilm has introduced the use of standalone films. Rogue One helped bridge the gap between the prequels and A New Hope, and soon Solo will do the same-- while also expanding the backstory of beloved heroes like Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian. Ron Howard's blockbuster will show new version of classic characters, and the director also teased that Solo would provide something new to the fans: life within the terror of the Empire's rule.

It's set in a different time. As I said in the featurette, the Empire rules everything at this point, and it's a time of total oppression. Of course, this is largely the story of this renegade, young guy, seeking freedom, trying to escape all oppression. This is a defining adventure for a young guy with a lot of swagger.

While Star Wars, and the villainous Empire, have been around for decades, we haven't been privy to what life on the inside was like. There are still pockets of the galaxy that remained unexplored, allowing the generations of fans to continue being surprised. Solo will do this by showing the Empire at full power, and seeing how our favorite smuggler eventually ends up being a renegade.

Ron Howard's comments to Fandango tease one way that Solo: A Star Wars Story will be able to provide something new and exciting to the overall franchise. While the Galactic Civil War and the fight for freedom is very much at the heart of the property, it's not a franchise that really focuses on the little guy. We follow the rebel heroes and their adverseries, and therefore don't know what the day to day experience within the Galactic Empire was like during the time before A New Hope.

It's certainly exciting that we'll be privy to new pockets of the galaxy in Solo, although the pressure is on for Ron Howard to provide another critical and financial hit for Lucasfilm. And the odds aren't necessarily stacked in the acclaimed director's favor; Howard replaced original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller half way through filming, when they were fired over creative differences with Lucasfilm. There have also been plenty of other negative rumors surrounding the film, including a claim that lead actor Alden Ehrenreich's performance as the title character was subpar.

Then again, the Star Wars franchise hasn't had a misstep since it returned with The Force Awakens. And with a strong cast and iconic settings to play with, Ron Howard may just pull another win after all. Exploring new areas of the galaxy is certainly one way to keep anticipation and excitement up.

Solo: A Star Wars Story will arrive in theaters on May 25th, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.