So-So: A Star Wars Title, by Tyler Smith
The title of the new Han Solo standalone Star Wars film has been officially announced. Director Ron Howard charmingly tweeted a video of himself holding up a sign with the title on it. It will be called Solo: A Star Wars Story. I certainly am not alone in my complete lack of excitement over this, but then I’m not really one to breathily anticipate announcements as mundane as titles in the first place. If they want to call the film Look, You’re Gonna See It, Because It’s: A Star Wars Story, that’s fine with me; I’d even award it extra points for candor.
What strikes me more than the blandness of the title itself is what it has come to represent. Despite my general misgivings about the now-constant stream of Star Wars movies, there was still potential for a Han Solo movie to be exciting, especially as early details were announced.
The casting of Alden Ehrenreich – the scene-stealer from the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! – as Han Solo seemed a delightfully off-kilter decision, as did the choice of directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord to helm the film. Everything about the movie was beginning to lean towards an off-beat adventure comedy, possibly injecting some different tones into the larger series.
But then rumors surfaced about Ehrenreich not giving the studio what it expected. And then Lord and Miller were fired. Then the announcement that Howard would replace them. With each new revelation about the film, it became significantly less unique and more routine. And now, with the announcement of this completely forgettable title, it seems all but confirmed that this will not be the comedic breath of fresh air that could have benefitted the series. Instead, it will likely be an exercise in not rocking the boat. It will give the fans exactly what it thinks they want from a Han Solo movie, it will be moderately entertaining, and then it will simply dissolve into the larger Star Wars franchise, having made no real impression at all.
Of course, I could be wrong. There’s nothing specifically wrong with any of this. Howard is an extremely capable director, and the title is simple and concise. But “simple” and “capable” aren’t very exciting words to apply to a film that once had the potential to be something notably different. Now, what should have been a heavily-anticipated film will become just another obligation; a movie to watch just to see how it turned out, and then forget about instantly.