Deep Cuts: Film Influences on Solo A Star Wars Story

Around the Galaxy: Star Wars News & Notes - Feb. 13, 2018

Tasty Morsels from Breznican’s Star Wars Bakery

Okay, there’s plenty on Solo: A Star Wars Story out there on the interwebs. However, if you look carefully, much of it comes from interpretations of Anthony Breznican’s work from EW.com. Our own Jason Ward posted pieces pointing to AB’s work last week, and here I am bringing up the dustpan

However, these crumbs are quite filling…

Long John Solo?

To wit, watch the intro video from Breznican’s most recent story, entitled, “How Treasure IslandThe Big Lebowski, and Heat inspired Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

This nugget hit home because my father and I would watch Disney’s Treasure Island whenever it was on TV. And although Robert Newton’s character may have inspired the script of Solo, I also saw shades of Long John in Rogue One’s Saw Gerrera, too.

Anthony quoted Jon Kasdan saying:

One of the things that Larry and I talked about right at the beginning of where we started working together on this was what kind of stories we wanted to riff off… One we immediately reread was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island because we wanted it to be a boy’s adventure story, but one in which he encounters characters of dubious intent, and that everyone he would encounter would sort of inform his maturation as an adult.

Read that whole piece, here.

Howard’s Challenge

Before that, Anthony spoke with Ron Howard, the director of Solo about coming to the picture.

Breznican quotes Howard regarding his thoughts as he joined the film:

I actually felt like it was gonna be a very unique, creative experience for me. It happened to fit into my life, and I liked the adventure of tackling challenges, and this was certainly gonna be a hell of a challenge — and it has been… but an exciting one.

That chapter of the tome may be found here.

Criminal Finds

Meanwhile, the filmmakers spoke about the inclusion of Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, and Paul Bettany in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Explaining Val — Newton’s character — and her relationship with Solo, Breznican quotes Jon Kasdan:

I will say at first glance, [she] doesn’t necessarily have total faith in Han — as a lot of people he meets in his life tend to feel about him… She’s a little skeptical of this kid when she meets him. And her relationship with him goes in, I think, an … interesting direction.

The more I hear, the more I like. Read the piece.

Is the Slate Clean?

The news feed has seen quite a few stories like the below:

Slate’s Chris Lee writes:

It is, of course, impossible to quantify what percentage of the Star Wars fan nation is actively wishing for Solo not to succeed at the box office—and that standpoint is not likely reflective of a majority of fans. But in the months before its all-but-inevitable promotional blitz, it’s fair to say the movie is already polarizing the franchise’s faithful like no installment before it.

An Impromptu Editorial: Just Relax…

You can surmise my feelings on the sentiments expressed in the above story (and I point to The Last Jedi and The Phantom Menace as other excellent examples of polarization). But in short, I’d prefer that folks wait until the film comes out — and they’ve seen it — to bash it or wish it away.

After you’ve seen and disliked it, give an informed list as to why. We may disagree, but maybe you’ll educate me, too. Maybe, maybe not.

And yes, while I am predisposed to like Star Wars films (me along with half the planet), I’d also point out (repeat) that some of what I see in fan reception to recent popcorn films (of many genres) seems more akin to what I listened to on sports talk radio; ill-founded arguments that smacked of the shouted drivel one hears standing shoulder-to-shoulder before a late-inning urinal trough.

Honestly, I thought I had escaped that…

Nostalgic for Nostalgia

But I suppose all of this is par for the course.

Star Wars is — and always has been  — a mass-marketed, merchandized, pop culture product, passed down generation to generation.

Just as many sports team fans claim, “[insert legendary coach, player, team] was better,” in many people’s eyes’, the current lineup of films will never be as good as the original. They may or may not be right (but as someone who sat in the press box, they were usually wrong).

However, I would point out that to the young people who are picking up the Saga as we speak, this may be the golden age. These may be the films they introduce to their own children. To that point, one wonders how stupid we all sound to the kids watching Star Wars now; adults arguing — not discussing, not critiquing, not enjoying — the relative merits and debits of films that have entertained umpteen millions over a span of 40 years.

Someday, when and if the final Star Wars film is ever released, we may all look back (and I very much include myself in this), look in the mirror and admit how silly all the arguing regarding films depicting little green men and wizards with laser swords really was in the grand scheme of things.

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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.

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