By Jack Dignan
Solo: A Star Wars Story continues to grow on me as time passes by. When I first came out of the premiere, it was a low three, perhaps even a borderline two and a half. But having now seen in twice, it’s certainly a high three, borderline three and a half. So yeah, okay, it’s not *too* much better, but this is certainly I film I enjoy. It’s fun. And while I haven’t really done this with a Star Wars movie before, and honestly I don’t necessarily want a direct sequel to this film, there’s enough here to talk about where the Star Wars anthology series should head next. So be warned, as always, there’ll be plenty of spoilers here. Read my spoiler-free review here.
We all know where the story of Han Solo leads. And those of us, like myself, who stay up to date with the modern Star Wars canon probably already knew a great deal of what happened in this film (albeit, only in vague details). For me, while I enjoyed Solo and will no-doubt add it to my yearly Star Wars marathon, it felt like it was just ticking off the boxes of what we’ve come to expect from this character’s origins. He joins the Imperial Army, he frees Chewbacca, he desserts, he becomes a smuggler, he does the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs (if rounded down), and then he wins the Falcon off of Lando. And the film literally follows every one of those plot beats. But this does open up a much wider door for the inevitable follow-up.
Once the credits start rolling at the end of Solo, we’re still left with a ten year gap before A New Hope begins, and come on, there’s no way Disney aren’t going to capitalize on all possible money they can make from this extended period of time. However, if they really want to keep audiences on their toes, don’t make a direct sequel to this film. Sure, it’s gotten some pretty solid audience reactions, and reports that it’s a box office flop are overwhelming exaggerated (there’s a difference between flop and failing to meet expectations), but I don’t want to see this narrative continue. What I want boils down into two words: Boba Fett.
I’ve vocally expressed disinterest in giving every Star Wars character their own spin-off movie, instead wanting more new and original stories like The Last Jedi or Rogue One, but as reported this week by the Hollywood Reporter, Logan’s Oscar nominated director James Mangold is apparently set to write and direct a Boba Fett movie. If you asked me two weeks ago if I wanted a Boba Fett movie, it would’ve sent shivers down my spine. No, thank you. Not here, not now. But having come out of Solo, buzzing from that secret cameo, a Boba Fett movie not only makes perfect sense, but it’s a story I’m now dying to see.
Yes, for all of you who are yet to watch Solo, Darth Maul makes his triumphant cinematic return. Still played by Phantom Menace actor Ray Park, except now dubbed by Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels voice actor Sam Witwer, Maul is back, baby, and what a bloody great twist that was. For those who haven’t watched the animated shows, Maul survived his infamous defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan. He gained a pair of robot legs, started a powerful criminal organisation, and then slowly went insane in a lust for power until meeting his demise at the hands of an older, Tatooine-bound Obi-Wan. But his story, it seems, is far from over.
On the surface, this Maul reveal looks to be setting up a direct Solo sequel. That’s what I initially took from his cameo. But when you start to reflect on the Han Solo we met in A New Hope, this can’t be the case. When Han meets Luke, he’s a skeptic who would sooner pull the ears off a gundark than admit to believing in the force. Which basically means there’s no way he could came face to face with Maul, a powerful force user armed with a double bladed lightsaber, only to just stop believing the force exists a couple of years later. It wouldn’t make sense for his character. But do you know who could run into him? Boba Fett.
Boba Fett’s childhood saw his father, Jango, decapitated at the hands of the Jedi Order, leading him down a path of violence into the criminal underworld. When we catch up with him all those years later, he’s working for Jabba the Hutt, and then later Darth Vader. I know there’s plenty of people clamoring for a story set after Return of the Jedi, but personally, I’d rather a pre-New Hope story that goes even further into the seedy Star Wars underworld than we’ve ever been before. And best of all, you could still bring back a young Han Solo and young Lando, who were easily the two best characters in the Solo movie, although let’s not forget about my beloved Chewbacca.
Not only have both actors signed on for a trilogy of movies (and presumably Emilia Clarke has too, since her character seems to have strong ties with Maul), but having them reappear in the Boba Fett movie just makes sense. What I want to see is a dark, gritty gangster film that deals with a war between all the different syndicates already set up in both Solo and The Clone Wars. We could spend the first act of a Boba Fett movie establishing Fett as a Logan-esque antihero, before bringing him in to start working for Jabba, as well as Han, Lando, Chewie, Greedo and maybe even Bossk, who already got a name drop in Solo.
Their mission, whatever it ends up being, could see them taking on Maul’s syndicate, which, of course, would bring about personal stakes for Han and Lando as they now find their once-friend Qi’ra working for the opposition. But this would remain a Boba Fett movie, of course, so while they’re all sorting out their dysfunctional family, Fett could be going straight for the big baddie in charge; Maul. By the time the film comes to end, no major players will be killed off, but there’s still plenty of wriggle room for personal stakes, especially between Han and Qi’ra, and besides, we know this job has to end terribly, or else Han wouldn’t be on the run from Jabba by the time the next film begins.
This is the story I wanted the first Solo movie to be. Sure, Solo is fine, but you could still follow the basic plot elements ticked off in this film while also adding in a more epic, personal story along the lines of what this apparent sequel seems to be setting up. Why not have Maul be the adversary in a film that also features the Kessel Run? It would’ve transformed a decent film into a great one, but since that isn’t the case, I’m shockingly excited for where they’re taking this franchise next. But even if they do literally nothing from this article (which is obviously very possible), I have enough faith in James Mangold to be assured that the Boba Fett movie is in great hands.
Like the article? Make sure to spread the word on social media.
You May Also Like: