With just three months to go before the release of the movie, the first trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story is officially here. The teaser comes after Disney replaced directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with Ron Howard, and follows reports that the actor playing a young Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich, needed an acting coach. But with actual footage finally here, we can stop worrying and start getting hyped. After watching the trailer, The Ringer staff answered a few questions.
1. What is your tweet-length review of the Solo trailer?
Amanda Dobbins: Good luck to Alden Ehrenreich!
Alison Herman: WHERE IS PHOEBE?!?!?!?!?
Andrew Gruttadaro: Donald Glover as Lando looks dope; Woody Harrelson looks dope; Emilia Clarke looks dope … None of those people are the character this movie is named after, unfortunately.
Ben Lindbergh: Visually striking, even by Star Wars standards. Did Ron Howard really direct this?
Daniel Chin: While it’s nice to finally see some footage, I’m not totally sold on how this film is going to turn out yet. I guess it doesn’t really matter, though, because Disney has my money regardless.
Sean Fennessey: Star Wars movies have ceased to be art and transformed into vehicles for anxiety. That this looks like not a fiasco is about as much as we can hope for.
Jack McCluskey: I’m here for Young Chewbacca, who I think has been criminally underutilized in the new Star Wars movies. Give me more Wookie.
Kate Knibbs: I want to know more about the space octopus.
Justin Charity: For months, I assumed that the very notion of this movie was nothing more than a Funny or Die sketch that doesn’t actually exist. I’m still not sure.
Chris Ryan: I can’t help myself. Let’s do this.
2. What is the best moment of the trailer?
Knibbs: The space octopus!
Dobbins: When Woody Harrelson says “I’m getting a crew together.” Like my esteemed colleague Andrew Gruttadaro, I love a getting-the-gang together montage.
Gruttadaro: When the Millennium Falcon does Millennium Falcon things at the end; I would watch an origin story movie about the Millennium Falcon.
Fennessey: I thought there was a decent chance that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would inject 100 CCs of “Everything is awesome!” into this Wookie, which certainly would have been a choice. When the movie’s dark, sooty palette was revealed, I sighed with relief.
Good evening to Donald Glover's Lando beard and no one else pic.twitter.com/TMLFbzYUfn— Alison Herman (@aherman2006) February 4, 2018
Charity: Lando, wearing candlelit leisurewear, smiling as he leans to his good side.
Surrey: When Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian flashes a smile, bringing back memories of Colt 45 spokesman Billy Dee Williams. This was the perfect casting—like, it’s so good I totally forgive Glover for delaying Atlanta Season 2 so he could mess around in space.
McCluskey: What’s that?
Chin: The snippet from what looks to be a beach shootout. I have no idea what the context is or who these suited figures are, but the Western-style gunslinger setup for this has me HYPED.
Ryan: The quick cuts to Solo’s Eleven—Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Donald Glover, and a robot that I am assuming is played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Good crew. Let’s hang out.
Lindbergh: I liked all the levers and throttles. And hey, Han has his dice in his speeder!
3. Which moment has you extremely concerned?
Herman: What does Alden Ehrenreich’s voice sound like, exactly?
Fennessey: The only thing that seems completely out of place is … the star of the movie. Alden Ehrenreich appears to be making no effort at imitating Harrison Ford—which is fine—but he also doesn’t quite seem to be channeling Han’s “Who me?” attitude. He seems neither swashbuckling nor sarcastic.
Lindbergh: I’m extremely concerned by the trailer’s lack of the fur-clad Lando reveal from the Super Bowl spot.
Dobbins: Besides the answer to question no. 4? I have some concerns about Emilia Clarke’s bangs.
Knibbs: Why did they do that to Emilia Clarke?
Surrey: Is “every single moment with Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo” an appropriate answer?
Chin: Every time Alden says something. I’ve been concerned about the choice for Han Solo since I saw reports of a need to bring in an emergency acting coach for him, and based on this first look, even that didn’t seem to help much. I’ve got a bad feeling about this, to say the least.
McCluskey: Alden Ehrenreich’s smirk-turned-nervous-swallow. If it’s an indication that the young Han is still figuring things out, that he’s dealing with some feelings of impostor syndrome in this interaction with Qi’Ra, then it’s the best moment. If it’s a sign that Alden is in over his head, then it’s the worst.
Ryan: Some will say it’s Ehrenreich’s few speaking moments on camera, but I’m a little more wary of the origin story of it all. I was hoping Solo would take place in media res, and we wouldn’t have to grapple with any Major Defining Moments that made him who he was. If I’m seeing a Han Solo movie, it’s because I want to see someone be Han Solo, not become Han Solo. Most of the characters in the Star Wars universe are trying to heal some Freudian wound from their childhoods. I cannot stress this enough: I do not care about Han Solo’s childhood. Just be funny and fly the Falcon. Don’t screw this up.
Charity: All the moments where Han Solo makes preposterously earnest origin-story declarations, such as, “I’m going to be the best pilot in the galaxy,” or, “Hillary Clinton’s going to win Ohio by eight points.”
Gruttadaro: I can’t believe people are still really saying “I’m puttin’ together a crew” in movies.
4. Grade Alden Ehrenreich’s performance as Young Han Solo based on this very small sample size.
Fennessey: Er, see above. Hopefully he shoots first.
Ryan: He is the Markelle Fultz of the Star Wars universe. Before production, he looked like an inspired choice—he was really wonderful in Hail, Caesar!, and he had the Harrison Ford look. But all the rumors and footage we’ve seen make me think he has a serious hitch in his blaster-draw motion. Seriously, this movie is coming out in three months and we’ve seen him say one line. I’m not confident.
But I am intrigued. You can tell when he says “... what’s that?” to Emilia Clarke, that he is pulling up from behind the charm arc.
Gruttadaro: I give him a C. Saying things that make you seem confident and being naturally confident are two different things.
Knibbs: It was much better than I expected, so E for Exceeds Expectations.
Surrey: D. At least he literally looks like a young Han Solo.
Herman: He stares at the camera for 0.0005 seconds pretty well!
Chin: I’m gonna give Alden a C here. I don’t think there’s enough footage to go into full panic mode quite yet, but it just doesn’t seem like he’s bringing the same charisma or humor that Harrison Ford did.
McCluskey: The over-the-top line readings—“I’ve been running scams on the streets since I was 10”—aren’t great. And Lucasfilm clearly included the last line, “Thought we were in trouble there for a second. But it’s fine. We’re fine,” for those worried about the buzz that the film is in peril. But the dude can wear a fur coat (though maybe not as well as Donald Glover’s Lando).
Lindbergh: His delivery of the last line is encouraging, but I spent most of the trailer at DEFCON Christensen. At least his silhouette looks vaguely like Harrison Ford’s.
Dobbins: The last joke—“Thought we were in trouble there for a second. But it’s fine”—is a genuine glimpse of Good, Charming Ehrenreich. Here’s the problem: It’s also the Goofy, Joke’s-on-Him Ehrenreich of Hail, Caesar! Han Solo is not a clueless character from a Coen brothers movie, and this trailer does not have very much charisma. Grade: C, with a “see me after class.”
Charity: He got the smirk down. It’s all that matters, really.
5. Predict the plot of the movie based only on this trailer.
Dobbins: They need to steal something from the Empire, and then they steal it.
Gruttadaro: One thing I’m very sure of, is that Woody Harrelson is puttin’ together a crew.
Herman: Star Wars’ most famously apathetic character gets retconned into being an anti-fascist rebel from the jump. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Knibbs: I’m guessing it will have something to do with Han Solo reluctantly performing heroics. Just a hunch.
Charity: There’s some sort of Death Star. The heroes rally to destroy it.
Chin: Woody Harrelson gets the band together to perform a heist on the Empire. Emilia Clarke’s Qi’Ra character still seems extremely mysterious, so I’m guessing she ends up betraying the group somehow. Also, Han performs the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.
Ryan: Solo has a secret. Solo also has a posse. Solo is in love. By the end of it, that secret will be out, that posse will become a family, and that love will take on a tragic feel, since Solo is decidedly single in A New Hope.
McCluskey: Han pilots various vehicles, makes smart-aleck remarks, grudgingly joins a team, and helps save the day.
Lindbergh: In case Woody Harrelson—sorry, “Tobias Beckett”—saying “I’m putting together a crew” wasn’t enough of a tip-off, this is a heist film. It’s safe to say we’ll find out where the Falcon came from, get warm, fuzzy feelings from Chewie, laugh at Lando, and be given a glimpse of the insecure kid beneath Han’s practiced scoundrel exterior.
Fennessey: Ostracized pilot must overcome being shunted aside by the Empire to win the heart of a feisty young woman and a bounty in the stars. There will be creatures along the way. I hope they don’t resist letting Han being a little scummy. He’s a crook!
Surrey: Han, Chewie, Lando, Qi’Ra and Co. traverse the galaxy to figure out where, exactly, Lando got his incredible coat (he forgot, it was a wild night, etc.).
This is inadvertently how Han Solo completes the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.
6. Solo has been a production surrounded by issues. Now that you’ve seen actual footage for the first time, do you think all of the concern was overblown?
Knibbs: Yes, this movie seems like it’s going to be perfectly fine!
Charity: No. Most movies are bad. Trailers are magic tricks designed to convince us otherwise.
Gruttadaro: I do not. I actually believe all of the reports way more now.
Fennessey: Lost in the shuffling of George Lucas out of the greater Star Wars industrial complex is the series creator’s wide-eyed sense of adventure. The new movies have a kind of self-awareness with which all modern action is saddled—we’ve seen this before, if not exactly this. Solo might, for reasons out of its control, be the most self-aware product in movie history. Whether that affected Ron Howard’s involvement or Disney’s bottom line is immaterial. We’ll be thinking reshoots if we’re aware of the reshoots in the first place.
Chin: I don’t know if the concern was completely overblown, because Lucasfilm still had to bring in a new director and do a ton of reshoots regardless of what the final product may be. It looks great visually, and Emilia Clarke and Donald Glover both look awesome, so I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about this film right now. May the Force be with Alden, though, because this guy is probably about to get roasted in a few months.
Herman: I’ll just say that the vibe was distinctly not Lord and Miller, and if this desaturated dystopia vibe was what Lucasfilm wanted in the first place, it’s weird they were ever hired!
Lindbergh: I find fans’ lack of faith in Kathleen Kennedy disturbing, but the trailer hasn’t convinced me that this won’t be the least essential Star Wars installment of the Disney era.
Surrey: It’s worth giving Disney the benefit of the doubt—the company hasn’t had a misfire since acquiring Lucasfilm after the disastrous prequels—but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Solo ends up flopping. When the biggest concern is the star of your damn movie maybe not knowing how to act, you’ve got real issues.
McCluskey: Yes and no. It looks fantastic, visually. There’s a lot of potential for it to be a fun Star Wars–adjacent story. But I have a bad feeling about it, in terms of its reception by the hard-core fans for whom Harrison Ford’s Han Solo is sacrosanct. Can anyone really live up to that? I’m not sure what the answer to that question is, but I’m leaning toward no.
Ryan: TBD, when it comes to Ehrenreich’s performance. But if anything, this trailer shows that Star Wars is a vibe now, and maybe directors don’t matter as much as we think they do. Three different people had a hand in helming Solo, and the final product—at least this bit of it—doesn’t resemble anything we’ve seen from Lord and Miller, or Ron Howard. It looks like a Star Wars movie. When you have Kathleen Kennedy, Lawrence Kasdan, and Bradford Young, who needs directors?