With just three months to go until the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story and still no trailer, fans were starting worry. What was behind the total lack of promotional material for the film? Was Disney trying to shield us from a disaster-in-the-making? Or was it waiting for the barrage of reports from the extremely fraught production to exit the news cycle?
Either way, the Super Bowl seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally unleash our first look at the hugely anticipated film, for better or for worse. First, the studio dropped a 30-second teaser of the Han Solo origin story during Sunday’s broadcast, and followed it up with a full trailer on Monday morning—and guess what? It looks pretty good!
Obviously, trailers are designed to make even the worst movies look enticing. But the 90-second clip gives us reason to be at least cautiously optimistic.
First of all, it looks and feels like a Star Wars movie. When Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired in the middle of the film’s production and replaced with Ron Howard, no one really knew how it would affect the film’s overall look. Lord and Miller aren’t exactly known for their keen visual acumen, and Howard is considered a reliable craftsman with no real distinct style. That’s a good thing, since it’s probably Star Wars czar Kathleen Kennedy who ultimately decides what each movie is going to look like. Here, she went with the same gritty, desaturated vibe that made Rogue One feel exciting and familiar at the same time.
But its dystopian aesthetic isn’t the lone thing that Solo seems to have in common with the only other Star Wars-adjacent movie. This latest outing also seems to be built in the mold of a heist movie. The biggest tip-off is the line, “I’m putting together a crew,” delivered with gusto by Woody Harrelson’s mysterious Tobias Beckett. Crews rarely come together to do something aboveboard, and with Solo’s future as a Corellian smuggler already preordained, chances are we’ll get to watch him hone his illicit skills in real time.
Joining the young Solo on his adventures will be fellow outlaw Lando Calrissian, who many believe stole the trailer from Alden Ehrenreich’s Han (but more on him later). When it was announced that Donald Glover would be playing the flashy space scoundrel, the consensus was that it was an ingenious bit of casting. Glover is coming off a career year, and while we don’t see much of him in the trailer, the snippets we do see absolutely crackle. There’s that coat. That smile. That hair. It may be too early to tell, but this looks like it could be Glover’s movie.
However, Emilia Clarke might have something to say about that. While the Game of Thrones star didn’t fare too well in her last major franchise outing, her role here as the femme fatale Qi’ra looks like it might finally launch the movie career she seemed destined for when she was cast as Sarah Connor in 2015’s Terminator Genisys. Not much is known about her character beyond the fact that she is Han’s childhood friend, which makes her “the only person who knows” what Han really is, as she tells him in one of the trailer’s most affecting moments.
One person who doesn’t seem to know who Han Solo is, is the actor playing him. Rumors about the quality of Ehrenreich’s performance have swirled after reports emerged that Lucasfilm had to hire him an acting coach. And it doesn’t bode well that he was the least memorable part of the trailer. He seems to lack the same rugged charisma and generational screen presence that made Harrison Ford such a force in the originals.
But of all the people involved in Solo, Ehrenreich’s job is by far the most daunting. Not only does he have to step out from under Ford’s towering shadow, but he also has to outshine Glover, a young Chewbacca and the iconic Millennium Falcon, which unfortunately for Ehrenreich, is shinier than ever.