The following article contains major spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story, in theaters now.
Solo: A Star Wars Story did not have an easy flight into theaters.
The film came under intense scrutiny from the moment its existence was confirmed. That’s not a huge surprise, considering how near and dear Han Solo is to Star Wars fans. A testament to his popularity, the character’s legacy extended far beyond that of the mainline film franchise well before Solo was announced. Comics recounted his boisterous run-ins with the Empire’s worst while the Expanded Universe (now Star Wars Legends) made a habit of incorporating the rogue with a heart of gold into every other storyline. But when word came down that a full, Han Solo-focused movie was in the works, fans became understandably suspicious. Thankfully, time has proven those suspicions to be unwarranted.
The trouble began back in April of 2017, when the annual Star Wars Celebration was in full swing. The convention brought news of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, toys and games, but not a peep about Solo, the second most immediate Star Wars film at the time. Hopes were high. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were signed on to the film to direct and had been connected to the project since 2015. After their shared success with The LEGO Movie, fans thought the duo might be able to get Han Solo right. Of course, that was never meant to be.
Lord and Miller were fired by Disney two months after Solo proved to be a no show at Star Wars Celebration. Panic set in, not because Star Wars films have never been beset by behind-the-scenes drama (Rogue One was directed by Gareth Edwards, but filmmaker Tony Gilroy was brought in at the eleventh hour to helm extensive rewrites and reshoots on the film), but because whoever would be jumping into the director’s chair would have less than a year to craft a satisfying film from the ground up. The director of choice ended up being Ron Howard, whose filmography is incredibly solid, but doesn’t exactly scream “Star Wars.”