Solo: A Star Wars Story offers a glimpse into three years of Han Solo’s life, which is meant to give us an understanding of where he came from and how he became the hero that we all love. Don’t worry—he knows.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
I love a good backstory. In fact, I often find them at least as interesting as the adventures that ensue as a result of them. This backstory movie set out to offer a glimpse into the development of the character of Han Solo, I guess. Although it was a good movie to watch, and showed a bit more of how the Rebellion was formed, it didn’t really reveal much.
The writers took two or three aspects of Solo’s attitude and gave a little background on them. We get to see a more sweet, sensitive side of young Solo, the Kessel Run, and the card game in which we already knew that Han won the Millennium Falcon. We see how he met Chewie, some cute references to our favorite lines from Epsisodes 4, 5, and 6—some fun stuff.
Worth seeing in the theater, there were some excellent moments of action, some appropriately funny bits, and some interesting characters that we previously haven’t met. But some things missed the mark so badly that I can’t even think where they came from (when you see Chewie’s first appearance and how Han’s name developed, you’ll know what I mean).
As far as lessons or moral themes go, this movie did introduce the horror of human trafficking (although, not in terrible detail as to make it inappropriate for children to see), the courage it takes to stand up for what is right, the value of friendship, and the poverty that workers of industrialized areas often experience at the hands of big businesses who exploit them. It wasn’t preachy; there weren’t huge discussions on them, or anything too deep–just images and blips that aware adults could use as jumping off points for a conversation (I did that for you in a section below).
Is it appropriate for your kids?
I would take the kids. I suppose it was PG-13 for the scary elements? It was not terribly violent and there was not a lot of cursing. It did contain an insinuation of a woman who was victimized by human trafficking. There’s a saucy female robot, but she’s fine, too.
Here’s the trailer for a little preview of the type of action you’ll encounter:
A young man named Han, orphaned as a child and caught up in a sort of Oliver Twist situation is looking for a new life of freedom for himself and his girlfriend, Qi’ra. As he has known stealing as his only method of survival, Han naturally turns to this option as a quick way to get what he needs to rescue Qi’ra and start over. This quest introduces him to Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, and the newly formed Rebels, all of whom will play crucial roles in his life later. He gets out of some sticky situations using his street smarts and special skills. He gets the Millennium Falcon, a great friend in Chewbacca, and a new direction for his life.
Some Themes for Discussion
- Han had a rough early life. He was abused, forced to steal, put into dangerous situations, and held captive by a crime boss who exploited children for a living. That really happens in our world. It’s called “human trafficking.” What do you think should be done to stop children from being exploited?
- What do you think of the decisions Qi’ra made? Why do you think she became who she became? Do you think she will ever change? Why?
- When faced with other people who had been treated unfairly who decided to fight back (the Rebels), Han made some choices that give insight into his true character. How do you think his childhood affected the way he responded to the Rebels?
- How do you think his early experiences of abuse shaped his sense of justice, compassion, understanding, trust?
- L3-37 was quite the salty robot. What do you think of her quest to free those of her kind? Do you think that what she did on Kessel was worth the sacrifice that she made? How did her freeing of a few lead to something enormous?
- Beckett had a philosophy that you should never trust anyone. Why do you think he felt that way? Do you think he’s right? Why or why not? What do you think of Han’s response (in this movie) to that philosophy?
- What do you think of the lifestyle of the people on Kessel and Savareen, the places where coaxium were mined and processed? Do you think that there are people on our planet who have similar experiences? Do you think it’s fair?
- Some characters in this movie were willing to stand up for what is right, and some weren’t. What do you think causes someone to do what’s right when others don’t?
- Han and Chewbacca became inseparable, trusted friends. What do you think made their friendship so strong? What made them able to trust and rely on one another? Who in your life are trusted friends? What makes you able to rely on them?