Welcome back to my series “Why I love Star Wars”. This is a series that was inspired by reading Ken Napzok’s Why We Love Star Wars: The Great Moments That Built A Galaxy Far, Far Away, a countdown of the top 100 moments from Star Wars that made him love it all, including canon stories from every medium. As I was reading this book, I found myself thinking of some of my own favourite moments and wanted to discuss them.
While there are certainly some films that I do not like as much as others, every movie has some wonderful moments that I would always say outweigh the bad, so for that reason I wouldn’t say that I hate any of the Star Wars films. With the way that too much Star Wars talk has gone down a dark hole in recent years, hopefully reminding ourselves of the great moments and focusing on the positives will help the fandom recover.
Why I Love Star Wars:
- A New Hope
- The Empire Strikes Back
- Return of the Jedi
- The Phantom Menace
- Attack of the Clones
- Revenge of the Sith
- The Clone Wars
- The Force Awakens
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- The Last Jedi
Unlike in the book, I will not put the moments in any specific order (I do things like that enough in my Top 10s!) as the order would probably change on every viewing. Today I will be looking at Solo: A Star Wars Story
Beware: this will contain spoilers for the movie!
So as someone who has watched The Clone Wars and Rebels and absolutely loved them, let me talk through how my mind worked through the scene when Qi’ra was talking to the hologram near the end of the movie, and the reveal that it was Maul:
“Hey that’s Sam Witwer’s voice! … Interesting. Whoever this guy is, he has robotic legs! … Oh my god!”
All the clues I needed were there to identify the true leader of Crimson Dawn, but they just didn’t click into place in my mind as I never thought Lucasfilm would be brave enough to reintroduce him here as many casual viewers would be unaware of his return in the animated shows and still think he had died at the end of The Phantom Menace. Seeing Ray Park combined with Sam Witwer’s voice – and wielding the old Inquisitors’ lightsaber he had in “Twilight of the Apprentice” – was perfect, with the quick musical return of the “Duel of the Fates” theme working perfectly in the moment. I really hope we get more of Maul’s history with Crimson Dawn over the coming years.
The riot Elthree began on Kessel reaches a head as Han and Chewie – with the help of the other Wookiees – bring the coaxium to the Millennium Falcon. Lando emerges, covering them with both his and Han’s blasters, before throwing Han’s to him as he arrives at the ship. The pair cover the Wookiees as they load the coaxium, also covering Beckett, Qi’ra and Elthree as they make their way back to the ship. Immediately you can see that chemistry with Han and Lando working together. Everything seems to be going so well, until Elthree gets shot. Donald Glover puts in a great emotional performance as he goes back for her and tries to carry what he can to safety, getting shot himself. Then Alden does a great job of letting the good guy in Han come out over the self-preserving scrumrat we usually see, as he goes back to help Lando. Finally we get the emotional moment of Chewie turning down the chance to leave with his fellow Wookiees in order to go back and help Han and Lando, while Qi’ra gets her own hero moment in the scene, taking out the blaster cannons with detonators. Solo gets a lot of hate, but I see this scene as a great advert for Star Wars!
Ambush on Savareen
More than any other film in the saga, Solo: A Star Wars Story embraces the Western vibes, no more so than in the scene where Han and company are ambushed by the Marauders on Savareen.
Going for a drink while the coaxium is refined, they find that the patrons of the local bar are all silent, leaving them somewhat uneasy. Then we hear Beckett’s name called, and they look around to see Enfys Nest and the Marauders fanned out around the exit, all aiming their blasters at the group. The music has been subtle, a little unnerving, but at the reveal of the Marauders, it crescendos with the theme that has become linked with them in this movie – one of my favourite themes from the movie. The camera angles continue the Western feel as the group walk out to face the Marauders, with the camera focusing on Han’s holster as he prepares to draw his blaster.
When I think back to this movie, this is one of the first moments that comes to mind.
The first Sabacc game
Sticking with the Western vibe, the influences are clear in Han and Lando’s first Sabacc game, right down to the shots framed around Han’s lower body again. With the dingy lighting, it helps create an ambiance for the scene to take place in, making it very clear that this is not a high class area, which makes the flamboyant Lando stand out from the crowd. I love the way that both Han and Lando size each other up through their conversation, including Han deliberately mispronouncing “Sabacc” to make it look like he isn’t experienced at playing. The scene progresses at a good pace, building to the eventual battle between the pair that Han thinks he has won, before being beaten in the cruelest of ways, and finally the reveal to us the viewer that Lando has cheated to win, proving that Han was not a bad player, just naïve. The only thing I did find weird was the rules of sabacc not being what I was used to, but that was something I could put aside as being another variation of the game.
Han’s subterfuge revealed
One of Beckett’s big lessons to Han throughout the movie is to not trust anyone, as they will eventually betray you. It looks like he has proved that to Han as he is revealed to have told Dryden Vos about Han’s plans to double cross him. Dryden guesses that the refined coaxium Han has handed him is fake; Han, Chewie and Qi’ra are surrounded by Dryden’s armed guards; Enfys Nest and the Marauders are captured with the real coaxium by the rest of Dryden’s forces.
And then comes the moment when Han tells Beckett that he did pay attention, and that he guessed that Beckett would betray him. The crates of coaxium with the Marauders are opened and found to be empty, while Enfys Nest is revealed to be one of the locals wearing her armour. And in that moment, the real Enfys and her Marauders spring their trap and make quick work of the Crmson Dawn forces, leaving Dryden and Beckett stunned. Beckett realises that the “fake” coaxium is actually the real coaxium and quickly guns down the remaining guards.
I love this scene as it is a great reveal to us and the bad guys that Han really has learned from his experiences throughout the movie and is not as naïve as he appeared.
What are your favourite moments from Solo: A Star Wars Story?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you…