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When it was first announced, the rumor was that the young Han Solo film that would go on to be called Solo: A Star Wars Story would be the first chapter in a trilogy, chronicling the scoundrel's younger years. Somewhere between Phil Lord and Chris Miller getting fired and the debate over how much Ron Howard reshot, that trilogy talk got lost. Yet now, as the movie is mere weeks away, more Solo adventures are looking increasingly possible, with Alden Ehrenreich admitting that he is signed on for three films and Ron Howard implying that any future films would depend on the success of this one. So it sounds like the door isn't closed on a trilogy, and Ron Howard recently said it would be interesting to move forward with more Han Solo adventures. He said:
Well, there are so many possibilities and, you know, it's kind of one of those things where we're sitting around, waiting for those shots. Although, with [director of photography] Bradford Young, there's not a lot of time. He moves fast. He's an indie guy. And, so we were able to make this movie at a pace but, once he began to see the possibilities for scenes and ideas. So, I don't have a big vision as to where the plot would go, even though ultimately we know where he's headed and it would be intriguing to navigate him there.
It sounds like as they were making the film, new ideas popped up that could be explored in the future. Maybe they weren't full film story arcs, but a story has to start somewhere and scenes and nuggets of ideas are as good a place as any. Until we all see Solo, we can't say what is and isn't covered in that film, but what Ron Howard is getting at here is that being able to see what shaped Han Solo and made him into who he is when we meet him in A New Hope is compelling. In short, there is no shortage of possibilities for the future. We know that Solo takes place around a decade before that film so there are plenty of storytelling opportunities in that time period to explore.
Ron Howard also spoke to Screen Rant about the strength of the Solo script in that it gives answers to questions fans would have about Han Solo, from his relationships to the notorious events he was involved in, but does so in a way that surprises, satisfies and makes sense. For the director, if Solo does wind up being the first chapter in a spin-off franchise, future entries would have to follow that template:
I think that ought to be the litmus test for anything going forward, which is can you head in a direction that feels right and authentic and do it in a surprising way.
That is the very delicate balance a prequel must strike: not betraying the character or the story that came before, while still delivering something that still feels fresh and exciting. I think that's what is interesting about Solo and prequels in general, including the Star Wars prequels. When you have an amazing story or character there is often the desire to know what shaped this person or how did the world, or galaxy, come to this point. Especially in something like Star Wars where there are these references to things like the Clone Wars and the Kessel Run. It's hard not to want to learn more about those and see them. There is always the danger of ruining the mystery or retconning or not living up to expectations, but there is something compelling about going on a unknown journey with a known destination.
The success of Solo will likely dictate any future films, and it is already off to a strong start in pre-sales and could enjoy a $170 million opening weekend domestically. Reviews aren't out yet, but early reactions are a little bit mixed (although generally positive) and teasing a fun movie. Solo: A Star Wars Story blasts into theaters on May 25th.