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The post-mortem on Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story has begun. Did it open in the wrong month? It is too close to Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Is Star Wars "fatigue" a thing that Disney needs to contend with? We can continue to have these conversations for weeks as the rest of the movie's box-office fortunes play out. But when it comes down to WHY Disney agreed to make a young Han Solo movie, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan tells CinemaBlend that it was one defining scene in the hero's narrative that convinced the executives that this was a movie worth telling. During a recent press event for Solo: A Star Wars Story, Kasdan recalled:
Five years ago, when I came onto the thing -- and Disney wasn't on when I came on, then three weeks later, they owned the company -- and they came up to Marin [California] and Kathy [Kennedy] got the people who were already working on it to make a five-minute presentation to Bob Iger and Alan Horn and everyone. My presentation was, [Han] comes to an immigration spot and someone asks, 'What's your name?' It's not just that he doesn't have a name, which tells you a lot about his history. He says 'I have no people.' That to me is so forlorn and so isolating and rife, and the guy fills in his name. Bob Iger said 'Alright, I'm in.' That was it. That was the moment. He reacted to it the way I reacted to it, which was, it's very moving. This was a guy who has nothing. Someone plants a name on him. He doesn't even know the guy. It sticks for the rest of the saga.
There's a certain irony to this admission, as several fans who have been vocal about their issues with Solo: A Star Wars Story on social media over the opening weekend have signaled out this scene as one of the things that really rubbed them the wrong way about Han Solo's journey. This scene, where a military recruiter tags Han as "Solo," and the scene where Han invents Chewbacca's nickname have received Twitter scorn (a valuable commodity) as Solo has tried to find its way in a competitive marketplace. It either falls into a camp of "questions we didn't need answered," or "too silly to actually believe."
Personally, that scene where Han (Alden Ehrenreich) receives his infamous moniker didn't strike me as being false. It felt credible, like, if this is how it happened, I'm willing to accept that. And now that I know that this is the impetus for Lawrence Kasdan and his son, Jon, to pitch a solo Han Solo story, then the reveal has a bit more weight to it. Though, I doubt that is going to change any minds.
Solo: A Star Wars Story got off to a disappointing start at the box office, hauling in an estimated $83.3 million at the domestic box for the three-day total. Disney is looking for a strong Monday to salvage the looks of the movie's performance, but even still, there are going to be some difficult conversations at Lucasfilm about the types of movies that they make going forward, and when they are planning to release them.