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There is no movie franchise quite as beloved as Star Wars. After the original trilogy changed the movie world forever, the property was passed down from generation to generation. With Disney now in possession of George Lucas' beloved universe, the House of Mouse has been putting out a ton of quality movies for the fans to feast upon. While some fans may are still recovering from Rian Johnson's subversive sequel Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the franchise's second standalone movie has jut hit theaters. Solo: A Star Wars Story has a ton of emotional weight attached to it because of its focus on the franchise's original heroes, and it contains a ton of easter eggs and references to different parts of the galaxy far, far away. While some critics find these moments to be distracting "fan service", Solo writer Lawrence Kasdan recently opened up about that new controversial term. He said,
I didn't even know the phrase 'fan service' until a few years ago. But for me, that only meant, always, that there was a tradition here...I don't think of those things as, 'Oh, we're going to hit that button or ring that bell.' I think of it in terms of, 'In this long story, there are elements that keep rearing their heads,' and those are very comforting. They're fun, you know, they give you this feeling of familiarity that is good.
It seems that the Kasdan brothers aren't particularly thrilled with the concept of fan service, especially in an iconic, expansive property like Star Wars. Utilizing the characters and settings of the universe shouldn't necessarily be seen as a bad thing; they're just using all the colors in the Star Wars crayon box.
Lawrence Kasdan's comments no doubt comes from personal experience, as fan service is a concept that he and brother/co-writer Jon had to mull over when crafting the story of Solo. Because the movie is set in between the prequels and A New Hope, the doors were open to include characters and references to both trilogies. And the standalone movie did just that. Surprise characters popped up, there were tons of passing references, and the fans got to see the origin of Han Solo and Chewie, their relationship with Lando, and his acquisition of the iconic Millennium Flacon.
In the same conversation with ET, Jon Kasdan spoke to the dichotomy of wanting to include as much quality Star Wars content as you can, while also keeping it simple and servicing a greater story.
I think there's certain things you sort of want to see and you're sort of wrestling between two opposing poles. You don't want to do exactly what's expected, and we are aware of voices that are saying, 'Why does this movie exist?' and 'We don't need a lot of fan service.' At the same time, I think there's a deeper and more sort of primal impulse, larger audience that really does want to see how Chewie and Han met and what circumstance that was and what the first sort of interaction with the Falcon was like.
With Solo: A Star Wars Story now officially in theaters, it looks like Disney is going to have yet another major payday on their hands. Early reception for the standalone film has been positive, as its a welcomed moment of levity after The Last Jedi's extremely high stakes.
You can catch Solo out now, and be sure to check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.