A new trailer for “Solo: A Star Wars Story” dropped last week and it is, front to back, entirely dull. It should be exciting; there are spaceships, violence, and peoples of dubious intent, but none of it lands. That is a bit worrying for anyone with high hopes for the film because this should be the trailer that showcases all of the awesome: the sharp dialogue, the compelling performances, the unexpected aliens and settings. One would expect a film with Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, and Emelia Clarke to be dripping with charisma, but it just isn’t there. They just feel like people standing in front of a camera saying things. There’s no power or passion to the performances that we’re shown.
There is a passable chance that this is a heist movie and that all of the best parts are deep spoilers so we don’t get to see them yet, but even if we ignore that side of the preview there is still something fundamentally disappointing about the story they are setting up. It seems clear from the trailer that this isn’t A Han Solo movie. It is the Han Solo movie.
One of the things that made Han Solo a compelling character was how rich and full his history appeared. With relatively little screen time they managed to convey the fact that Han was widely traveled, spoke many languages, had been on many adventures, and had friends and enemies across the galaxy. They did that by leaving blanks: he was in debt to a mob boss, but it wasn’t clear what for; he was friends with the mayor of a city in the sky from back when they were scoundrels together, but the details of their adventures were never given; he had a unique ship with no explanation as to how he got it. All of the half-told stories implied that he was a man with a thousand more to tell.
This film has no interest in letting Han keep any of his mystery. In the span of a two and a half minute trailer, he meets both Chewie and Lando, gets the Millennium Falcon, and even appears to be given his signature blaster. What this trailer is promising is that they are going to explain away every bit of uncertainty about Han’s background into one neat and tidy origin story. Just like how the prequels diminished Darth Vader, the Han Solo movie is set to reduce the rich potential history its title character to a single event.
I really hope I’m wrong.