The first trailer for the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story—a spinoff-slash-prequel focused on the legendary Han Solo (now being played by Alden Ehrenreich)—made me instantly think of another iconic blockbuster hero. There’s the famous scene in Jurassic Park where Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) lectures the park’s creator on the foolishness of cloning dinosaurs: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should,” he proclaims with a sigh. The sentiment applies perfectly to the decision to give viewers a new, young Han Solo while Harrison Ford still walks the planet. Sure, in the wake of Disney’s blockbuster acquisition of Lucasfilm, the producer Kathleen Kennedy could do whatever she wanted with the Star Wars franchise. But Solo was always going to be a risky proposition.
The project was first made official in July 2015, with the 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller brought aboard to film a script by the father-son team Lawrence and Jon Kasdan. Lord and Miller were fired in June 2017 after reportedly clashing with Kennedy over their humorous approach, which she wanted toned down. From the looks of the trailer that debuted Monday, giving audiences the first look at any kind of footage from the film, she got her wish. Solo is being sold much like the other Star Wars movies that have debuted after Disney’s acquisition: as an epic swashbuckling adventure, with a brooding hero and plenty of expensive-looking set pieces.
The trailer plays it safe in every way. Han Solo, we’re told, is a rebellious pilot with an attitude, rejected by the Empire for having a mind of his own, and a dab hand behind the wheel of the spaceship. We get a peek at the ensemble around him, including stars like Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Donald Glover, who is playing a young Lando Calrissian. Chewbacca, Han’s favorite co-pilot, is on board as well. There are misty, foreboding shots of Star Destroyers and gun-wielding enemies and exciting chase sequences. It’s all to remind the viewer of one thing: This is a Star Wars movie.