This morning, Forbes ran an article called “Why I Want ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ to Fail.” I’ve been covering Star Wars on the internet for a while now and I can without any hyperbole state this is hands down one of the stupidest articles I have ever encountered on the topic of Star Wars (that generally lacked racism and sexism).
Yes, in the epic sweeping landscape of stupidity I encounter daily on a topic as broad as Star Wars, this takes the cake. I don’t want to simply dismiss it as “clickbait” even though that is probably all it really is. However, the author Dani Di Placido is either an entitled asshole or such a sellout he’ll shill any opinion in order to get Forbes some clicks and a friendly pat on the head like a good dog.
Di Placido discusses how he has been hit with a case of “schadenfreude” concerning the next Star Wars film, Solo: A Star Wars Story:
I seriously doubt the majority of the rumors have much weight to them (except the one about switching directors halfway through the shoot – that one’s probably true). But to be honest, I’m kind of hoping they’re all true.
I wonder if Di Placido knows what a “rumor” is. Because Phil Lord and Chris Miller leaving the film isn’t “a report of uncertain or doubtful truth.” Starwars.com announced it on its highly frequented website whose URL is printed on every shirt, cup, poster, and toy it makes.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm.
You know, it also wasn’t a rumor when they followed up by hiring an insanely talented and famous director with Ron Howard. Yeah, that isn’t even a rumor either. Howard came on board back in late June with an official announcement and everything. So yeah, it is “probably true.” But there’s no question if you try to Google it. Hell, you could Ask Jeeves, and he’d probably know the answer to that before writing an article about it for Forbes.
Di Placido then goes on a rant about how he wants sexually frustrated nerds to make horrible edits that cut Han Solo from the film and all kinds of Twitter outrage. The writer basically advocates for lame e-terrorism. He admits he has no idea if the movie is any good or not.
Armed with such ignorance Di Placido comes to his stunning thesis:
Solo is Hollywood at its most cynical, squeezing every last drop of blood from an iconic character until he’s nothing but a faded husk, played by Alden Ehrenreich.
As I read this “faded husk of entertainment journalism” I’m faced with the question “does it take one to know one?” Because that’s just Forbes’ Di Placido being cynical that one of the greatest space opera heroes of all time has no adventures left in him…
Hell, Han Solo has been in four Star Wars films, and they’re all pretty well-revered films on the pop culture landscape. It would be foolish to bet against the character at this point, albeit with some very minor reservations thanks to the recasting of the role.
You see, the article is really a tantrum about how time marches on. Actors age out of playing their characters. But Di Placido makes a critical error of thinking the characters are the actors. Sure, actors define roles. Yeah, Harrison Ford contributed greatly to Han Solo as a character and brought him to life off the pages George Lucas, Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz, Lawrence Kasdan, and J.J. Abrams wrote for the scruffy-looking nerf herder. Han Solo wasn’t the brainchild of one genius, but rather a team of storytelling greats that dared to dream in a galaxy far, far away.
Harrison Ford is Han Solo. Hell, Ford even ad-libbed the famous “I know,” to Leia’s “I love you,” which indicates he understands the character even better than George Lucas.
I hate to break it to you Di Placido, but George Lucas quit, but not before putting this film on the table alongside Episode VII. I also have the sneaking suspicion that had he not walked away, Di Placido or some other hack that will say anything for his corporate masters would simply shift this idiotic article into a piece about how George Lucas doesn’t understand his characters anymore.
And really, does anyone care about how Han first met Chewbacca? Or Lando Calrissian? Or how he had his heart broken by Daenerys Targaryen before he met Leia, or how he starting wearing vests, or whatever?
Yeah, they do. That’s why every day there are people asking when the trailer is going to hit. It is also why an elder Han Solo stepped onto the Falcon with Chewbacca in 2015 and uttered the words, “Chewie, we’re home,” and grown men wept. To me, it seems foolish to think that enthusiasm only flows forward and not backward in the storytelling timeline.
Forbes’ article then goes on a short rant about fan service. And I have to say that it is a legitimate fear. Maybe its most potent point. I’m not a crazy diehard Marvel fan, but I see the films for the theatrical experience. When I encounter those fanservice moments, as an adult, I simply realize those moments aren’t for me. I’m not that deep in that culture. But I’m happy for the lady next to me flipping out about whatever that happens to be in that post-credits moment I don’t understand. To see people moved to excitement is amazing and I think hating on fan service is as questionable as desiring it. We could go back and forth all day on fan service moments that were beautiful and moments that were a detraction from the film.
Really, I only want this film to tank so that Disney is frightened, discouraged from telling unnecessary origin stories of iconic characters forever.
How can telling the origin stories of iconic characters be unnecessary? A nervous Disney is such a bizarre desire to hold. Should Disney only tell origin stories of unimportant characters with absolutely no audience or desire to see on screen from the movie-going audience? It seems easier to sell established charters than unestablished characters. Hell, it should be easier to sell Han Solo than, say, a new character we don’t know like Jyn Erso or Cassian Andor. It seems easier to sell people on an idea about how Han met Chewbacca rather than a team of rebels who all die. But Lucasfilm did it, and it’ll sell this concept to the Western world too.
If Lucasfilm had already made several origin story films, I’d at least grant him that some originality is left to be desired, but so far it’s made The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and The Last Jedi. One-quarter of the new films that have actually been worked on at Pinewood have been origin story-based. Meanwhile, Lucasfilm is making a new trilogy with all new characters in Rian Johnson’s upcoming trio of films. So Lucasfilm makes one origin story film, and Forbes wishes it failure and feels justified in doing so? Hell, it is actually the unique film here, the outlier if you will.
Frankly, everything I have seen and heard from Solo: A Star Wars Story has been pretty rad. In fact, it doesn’t feel like a film looking backward from my vantage point as someone that has seen a little more than the general public. The film shows us that the Star Wars cinematic universe is healthier than ever and characters like Han Solo still have tales to tell us. The movie, at least at moments, looks like Star Wars on the American frontier with new villains and characters we haven’t seen before (some from Lucas himself). Only someone with limited imagination and a loveless relationship with popcorn cinema would miss the point of Star Wars and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
I find it appalling that someone would wish failure on writers and artists. I find it strange that someone is so entitled that he thinks people’s hard work should fall apart because he has the sneaking suspicion the film lacks heart or because he dislikes origin stories. Lucasfilm had the gall to step in and decide the film wasn’t working and that the film could be better. Instead of sitting on their hands, Lucasfilm took action and did what needed to be done and made the hard choices. Kathleen Kennedy and her crew knew they would take a hit for it, but they did what was best for the film, just like with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and as a Star Wars fan that didn’t edit out the women from The Last Jedi, I’m grateful.
Finally, pessimism isn’t edgy, cool, or fun. Pessimism in the flavor Forbes expressed in their piece is shameful, heartless, and boring. If you have to read the article for yourself, you can find it here. However, I don’t recommend doing so.