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Anxiety Check: ‘Solo’

Is it bad that the next ‘Star Wars Story’ is out in four months and we still haven’t seen a trailer? Or that the lead actor needed an acting coach? Or that Disney fired the movie’s original directors? HOW PANICKED SHOULD WE BE RIGHT NOW?!

Lucasfilm/Ringer illustration

Did you know that in four months, a new Star Wars movie is coming out? Most theaters will still be sweeping up porg feathers from The Last Jedi when Solo: A Star Wars Story—the Han Solo prequel directed by Ron Howard—arrives on May 25.

Yet outside of Howard’s Disney-approved, Earnest Dad Gives Social Media a Shot posts from the set, and the underwhelming announcement of the film’s title, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any official information about Solo online. Is there any footage of the movie? Nope. Any photos? Only from Howard’s dorky Twitter and Instagram accounts. Do we have a poster? Just a leaked one that Disney denies is its doing, which is actually a relief since it looks like the poster for a straight-to-DVD movie. The synopsis was finally revealed on Tuesday, but unless it comes as a surprise that Han Solo will be meeting Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian in this movie, and that the Millennium Falcon features prominently, then it’s not the information you’re looking for.

By contrast, you’ll find a treasure trove of disconcerting tidbits. Howard was only brought in when the original directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller of 21 Jump Street and Lego Movie fame, were dropped from the film after Lucasfilm took issue with the tandem’s freewheeling style, which included lots of improvisation. Alden Ehrenreich, the young Solo who nabbed the role after an exhaustive search—beating out the likes of Emory Cohen, Taron Egerton, and Jack Reynor—has reportedly struggled so much that an acting coach was brought to the set. One report from ScreenGeek described the script, from legendary Star Wars scribe Lawrence Kasdan, as “unworkable” and claimed that Disney expects the movie to bomb. We know the Corellian smuggler doesn’t like being told the odds, but C3PO would agree: Oh my goodness.

OK, now that you’re all worked up and on the brink of throwing a Kylo Ren–level temper tantrum, here comes the part where we tell you to take deep breaths. Sure, Solo has been a bit of a mess, but there’s reason to believe Lucasfilm will right the ship in time.

This isn’t the first Star Wars movie since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm to experience on-set drama. Rogue One, the first Star Wars anthology film from 2016, underwent similarly extensive reshoots before the film was released (given how several scenes from the trailers were completely omitted from the movie, there was probably a decent overhaul). Though director Gareth Edwards was never fired, the reshoots were led by Michael Clayton writer-director Tony Gilroy, who wrote and directed additional scenes incorporated into Rogue Oneincluding Darth Vader’s scene at the end of the movie when he slices through hapless rebels, which might be the most badass Star Wars moment put to film in the past four years. Howard has a heavier lift for Solo than Gilroy did for Rogue One, but once again, the company is bringing in a steady, veteran hand to get a troubled movie to the finish line; Rogue One has an 85 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

More concerning, to be sure, is the lack of Solo footage. The past two Star Wars movies, Rogue One and The Last Jedi, released teaser trailers eight months prior to their respective releases, and The Force Awakens released its first teaser trailer a full year ahead of time. Less than five months away from Solo, we still haven’t seen a thing.

However, while Howard’s directorial takeover probably postponed Disney’s plans to release footage, it seems likely that the current trailer delay is—or at least has become—a strategic one. Why release a Solo trailer in the dead months of winter—a time when the biggest releases are a Maze Runner sequel and another Liam Neeson transportation disaster—when you can wait a little longer and air it during the most watched television event of the year? If a Solo trailer isn’t unveiled during next month’s Super Bowl, then we can flip the switch to full-on panic mode.

But for now, Disney-controlled Lucasfilm should be given the benefit of the doubt. Through three good-to-great films, the company hasn’t failed fans yet, and despite being the most troubled production of the new batch of films, Solo shouldn’t be given a premature death sentence. All judgment should be frozen in carbonite, until we have something tangible to complain about.