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Thandie Newton honors Black Star Wars characters with 'Solo' premiere dress

16 May 2018

In the end Solo feels like a collection of references to other, better movies rather than a piece of cinema in its own right.

In 1977's STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE... who shot first in the Cantina?

"Let's just be women", she said, suggesting alternative questions could be, "How does it feel to play a female lead in a big blockbuster movie?" or "How does it feel to play someone with power?" If I say any more, the spoiler police will come after me. The Mouse House later chose to move forward with a new trilogy and a series of stand-alone pictures set in the "Star Wars" universe. In fact, the movie seems perfectly created to win back those who were upset by the visionary The Last Jedi's devastatingtwists and turns. Howard seems particularly attuned to these humanizing details, even if he can't do anything about the general treatment of the movie's female characters. It takes a bit - I mean, we all have a lifetime of Ford as Solo in our heads to try and forget - but after awhile, your brain decides, "Well, this is the main character and I'm going to accept that now", even though Ehrenreich's Han Solo sounds less like Harrison Ford and more like circa 1997 Leonardo DiCaprio. A lot of that comes through thanks for Bradford Young's cinematography. And heck, there are even some dangling threads that- though one could claim they're technically tied up in existing "Star Wars" movies- actually left me wanting more with this cast, in this time period.

That's certainly not my only issue with the movie. For the entirety of its running time, there's not a Jedi in sight, and the Empire is really more of a brief obstacle for Han to get around. Ron Howard directs "Solo: A Star Wars Story", and Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel are the producers. However, this story also focuses on those in the grey areas looking to make a quick buck.

We also see how Solo got involved with intergalactic gambler Lando Calrissian, played by Donald Glover (Billy Dee Williams in the original film) and how he won the Millennium Falcon from him in a bet.

In terms of new characters, the key figures are Qi'ra ("Game of Thrones'" Emilia Clarke), the girl in Han's life, and his motivation for much of what ensues; and Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a smuggler/thief whose anything-for-a-buck mentality will play a role in forging - and defining the contours of - Han's own moral code. (A character called Rio, voiced by Jon Favreau, bears the unmistakable stamp of Rocket Raccoon from "Guardians of the Galaxy.") Written by "The Empire Strikes Back's" Lawrence Kasdan along with his son, Jonathan, "Solo" has been conceived as a space western, with all the overcomplicated (but also childishly simple) heists and double-crosses the genre entails. In teasing a potential villain path for Han's love interest in the movie, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), they bring back a character from the "Star Wars" saga that is a fan favorite, but is a freakish choice to be included in this story.

Neal Scanlan from the Special Creature Effects department revealed that the film begins with a dark tone, and as the film progresses the fans will get to see brighter scenes as well as brighter aliens and droids.

Like all "Star Wars" movies, there will be those who will absolutely love this movie, and there are certainly things to enjoy about it.

But my fear is "Solo" shows signs that Disney/Lucasfilm are hitting a point where the beloved "Star Wars" universe could be headed to a watered-down moment.

And sadly, Solo: A Star Wars Story is just another Star Wars movie.

Thandie Newton honors Black Star Wars characters with 'Solo' premiere dress