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Avoiding The Lucas Traps: 5 Ways To Make The Young Han Solo & Boba Fett 'Star Wars' Films Great

by Edward Davis
February 7, 2013 2:24 PM
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Han Solo Boba Fett

Star Wars” apologists are the worst. The excuses they make for the prequels are tenfold -- they’re made for children, you’re just too old now, and you’re looking at things through a nostalgic lens, so quit being melodramatic and get a life. True, the “Star Wars” prequels are not a travesty and they didn’t ruin any sensibly-adjusted adult’s life that grew up loving the original “Star Wars” trilogy as created by George Lucas. But they’re not good films either. Not by a long stretch. At best, they are an entertaining lark relatively semi-full of imagination. At worst, they mostly robbed “Star Wars” of its mystery, power and allure by explaining everything unequivocally (and we'll politely overlook the general execution of the films themselves).

While hindsight is 20/20, Damon Lindelof – who ironically still helped co-botch the sorta-prequel “Prometheus” – perfectly captures what’s wrong with most prequels, or at least what’s fundamentally wrong with the “Star Wars” prequels. They destroy myth-building, by pouring light on what was originally in the shadows. "With all due respect to anyone who makes a prequel, but why would you ruin the greatest twist in the history of cinema, 'Luke, I am your father,' by showing me three movies which basically spoil that surprise," he's said. "You can do movies which take place before 'Star Wars' but I don't need to see the story of the Skywalker clan. Show me something else which I can’t guess the possible outcome of. There is no suspense in inevitability. So a true prequel should essentially proceed the events of the original film, but be about something entirely different, feature different characters, have an entirely different theme, although it takes place in that same world.”

Amen. The ‘SW’ prequels are boringly linear, they spell out a banal and uninspired six-degrees-of-separation world where everyone from the original films is connected, there is zero suspense, and these legends described in passing in “Star Wars” don’t ever seem so mythic or legendary in their presentation. So for the “Star Wars” films going forward, please: less history, more mystery. We feel, more so than most fans, pretty objective about “Star Wars.” We like, but don’t adore the originals like most do. And we don’t loathe the prequels as much as lament them as a huge missed opportunity. We have no horse in this race, but with such a gigantic, rich and mythic universe at hand, we would hate to see yet another squandered opportunity with any of these new “Star Wars” films.

Over the past week, word started percolating about Disney's "Star Wars" spinoff plans -- movies said to take place outside the central saga and story arc -- and if they are to be believed, we'll be seeing a young Han Solo film, a Boba Fett movie and possibly a solo Yoda film.

“Disney realizes they can come up with new characters if they want to, right? Or did Lucas forbid that in his contract?” Ain’t It Cool writer Eric Vespe wrote sarcastically on Twitter yesterday. And that was pretty much our initial thought. Can’t they create spin-off films from new characters? To many, these “Star Wars” spin-offs signify a creative team not really wanting to take risks. And/or maybe they’re just executing a Lucas/Disney vision to help keep the brand thriving (and more importantly, the merchandising), but frankly, none of these are great ideas. Why not start with 'Episode VII' and then spin-off films with new characters or simply take new original stories set within the “Star Wars” universe, much like the video games, comics, books and Extended Universe stories did. If those guys could do it, can’t the filmmakers? Are they to follow the same mistakes Lucas did? Those who forget recent history are generally doomed to repeat it. But Kathleen Kennedy, Simon Kinberg, Lawrence Kasdan and to a lesser degree (since he’ll be working on 'Ep VII' and not the spin-offs) J.J. Abrams are smarter than that, no?

In case they’re not, here are 5 ways how to not totally fuck up these “Star Wars” spin-off movies (or several ways you can easily fuck it up if you choose).

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  • Darth-Zaruda | February 17, 2013 10:05 PMReply

    The prequels were fan made by George Lucas and should not be seen as canon, we should ignore them and forget they are in the same universe as the originals.
    I believe that Starwars was made great by other peoples work and genius that Lucas took credit for, you know this by how the prequels turned out, they were the way George Lucas would have made the originals had he not been challenged by greater minds.

    The problem with Disney is we already know how they will make these new Starwars and spin offs, we saw their handy work with the flop John Carter and I guarantee they will use the same awful CGI tricks and bland green screen film making, wooden acting and emotionless scenes.
    I think true fans should send messages to Disney asking them to try and bring back the original creators and collaborates of the old films. (the ones that are still alive)
    So if you care about Starwars being made right and not like the prequels show your support and send a message to Disney and the old Starwars team to join forces and to get it right.

  • 2015orbust | February 11, 2013 4:22 PMReply

    It's also not a good sign that they're using the same the director of the Star Trek reboot to do the Star Wars reboot. Besides just not seeming right for the two franchises to be mixed, it reeks of Hollywood's continuing creative decline.

  • alex | February 11, 2013 11:36 AMReply

    I remember the Dark Horse comic Boba Fett: Death, Lies, and Treachery being almost exactly the type of story you are hoping for. It has the wonderful Dashiell Hammett-like qualities of tight plotting, inventive scenarios, dry humor, and moral ambiguity.

  • Joe | February 9, 2013 9:10 PMReply

    By the way, I have a 6th and 7th way. Don't pander to fans' wishes. Prometheus is a film that catered to fans and it sucked. Fans don't know squat about making great film. The 7th way is to not make these films at all. It's a stupid idea. Who wants to see a Han Solo without Harrison Ford. Boba Fett was only on screen for all of 2 minutes. He was only cool because of his appearance and his one line of dialogue.

  • Joe | February 9, 2013 9:05 PMReply

    LOL! Disney hasn't shot one single frame yet, and they're already well on their way to running Star Wars into the ground to the point that nobody will give a shit about Star Wars in 5 years. Anyone who thinks that spinoff films based on individual Star Wars characters is a good idea, is a fool. Star Wars spinoff films are going to suck ass. So spare me the "way to avoid Lucas traps" argument.

    In ten years, Star Wars fans are going to be longing for the prequels after Disney gets through shitting it up.

  • Chris | February 8, 2013 12:46 PMReply

    You hit this topic dead on the head, the ORIGINAL Star Wars universe was all about the mystery and mythos. Imagining the back story was far more fun and interesting than actually seeing it. The prequels were totally unnecessary at best and aimed to ruin everything the original trilogy stood for at worst. What!? Darth Vader, one of the best villains ever created, grew up a whinny bitch? And built C3-PO? And knew Greedo? And, and, and . . . ? Come on!

    Disney has managed to make some good films with the franchises it's acquired, BUT it's also made more than a handful of stinkers. I think they're well aware of George's pit falls, but hopefully they don't make entirely new ones in their attempts to avoid the others. Trying to treat the Star Wars universe like the Marvel universe and fill in every character and backstory is not the way to do this. The key to revitalizing the Star Wars franchise is to keep it moving forward. Show us things we HAVEN'T ALREADY SEEN OR HEARD ABOUT! Re-inject the mystery and mythos. If they really want to do more films outside of 7,8, and 9 with the original characters, listen to the fans, recast and focus on some of the expanded universe that would make great cinema, a la The Thrawn Trilogy. Hell, Death Troopers would make an excellent Han and Chewie stand alone film: Zombies in the Star Wars galaxy? With smugglers? Trapped on a prison barge? Hell yes!

    Unfortunately, as a fan I know none of my wishes will ever be brought to fruition. Just like George, Disney will make these films whether we like it or not and they will ALWAYS find an audience. So, since they are making all these stand alone origin stories, the best advice they can take is laid out in this article, you can show me some cutesy fanboy crap, but focus on a singular adventure not an epic story, and MAKE IT FUN AGAIN! Every since I saw it, I've said that if Lucas would have fleshed out Episode 3 amongst 3 movies and made that the trilogy, allowing the drama to unfold instead of forcing it (and of course finding better actors), the prequels could have been pretty damn good. We didn't need to see all the shit with the Trade Federation and the Senate, let alone an origin story, just a singular event or arc would have been SO much more impressive. If Disney can adopt that mindset and find a way to re-inject that mystery and mythos that made the original Star Wars trilogy so exciting, THEN I'd see a young Han Solo movie . . . and practically anything else they throw at me, no matter how ridiculous.

  • csschneider | February 8, 2013 12:20 PMReply


    Unless you do Performance Capture Star Wars films that would allow younger body doubles to lend a hand with the physicality of the performance, but allow Ford to perform and voice a younger Han Solo. Don't make them Photorealistic, make them in the vein of Tintin and I'll be interested in showing up. Live action films that recast a younger Solo and I'm out.

  • csschneider | February 8, 2013 12:18 PMReply

    I wish they would scrap this idea. Pronto. I can't imagine any good coming of these films. Young Indiana Jones wasn't a huge hit nor was it terrible, but it never grabbed my 10 year old Jones loving self. Why? Cause it wasn't Ford and none of the younger actors ever truly channeled Ford's Indiana. I don't want Han Solo movies if Han Solo isn't played by a 35 year old Harrison Ford.

    And, as you've stated, the prequels did so much nodding to the OT they ignored telling compelling stories that stand as their own films. All these spin offs will wink at the wrong things and tell uninspired stories about characters we will no longer care about. Leave Han alone, you already tainted Boba Fett and Yoda.

  • Pablo | February 8, 2013 9:51 AMReply

    Its a balancing act. As much as the ideals of having new and fresh story lines and locations is appealing, miss too many connections to the originals out and the geeks will be up in arms. Spend too much time connecting them all up, then it could be at the expense of a good story, as the prequels proved.
    Have a fresh, original story, unrelated to the previous 6 (and 7 by then) films, but with enough cameos or nods to the originals to keep us geeks happy. Cameos needn't be characters either, they could simply be spaceships or planets for example. Just enough to keep it 'star wars'

  • A CLOCKWORK BUNNEY | February 8, 2013 4:32 AMReply

    I reckon they should do a Boba Fett in the style of Drive.

  • rodie | February 7, 2013 8:28 PMReply

    Actually, showing the card game with Han, Lando and other scoundrels could be kind of cool in a Casino Royal way, IF it is not predictable and telegraphed. In Empire, Han says he won it "fair and square," so in the spin-off it has to be different. Han has to cheat in order to win and be shown to be lying in Empire. Or something.

  • tristan eldritch | February 7, 2013 3:41 PMReply

    People should just leave Star Wars behind. Of the original trilogy, only the first two were good, and only the second one was really good. This franchise hasn't produced a good movie since 1980! I don't get why people don't leave it in the past so that the marketeers realize that there aren't any dollars to squeeze out of it - and stop putting out stuff that people just whinge about anyway.

  • Joe | February 9, 2013 9:07 PM

    What the hell are you smoking? Return of the Jedi is better than 95% of the big event crap that's put out today. It's not without it's criticisms, but it was a good film and a damn enjoyable one that was far, far better than all three prequels combined.

  • MAL | February 7, 2013 3:11 PMReply

    If they must do a Solo film, why not, as suggested set it under the aura of the Empire like an old WWII spy thriller -- a mix between a resistance fighter movie and The Third Man, with Solo like a slightly more moral Harry Lime?

  • Anthony V | February 7, 2013 3:07 PMReply

    No more prequels or back stories. There's a rich EU series about Han and Leia's kids, twins who could take different sides. Meanwhile, the Empire has been crippled but still holds plenty if power. How does the rebellion establish a galactic government? How do the Skywalkers rebuild the Jedi? The SW universe is not nearly as well thought out as Star Trek, and this suffers from inconsistency - new films are a real opportunity to fill a lot of that in.

  • bohmer | February 7, 2013 3:00 PMReply

    I'd do a Boba Fett movie like they did with Dredd. Never tell is past but hint at his reputation. Don't show is face. Limit the story to one simple goal, the capture of one bad-ass villain that we don't know anything about.

    I'd do a Han Solo movie that feels like old adventures à la Indiana Jones with laser guns. Let him be the courageous but selfish mercenarie he was in the beginning. I don't want to know about where he's born or if he's a orphan or whatever. He should also already have is Millenium Falcon. Don't put Lando in this. Just Han and Chewie is enough.

  • rodie | February 7, 2013 2:48 PMReply

    Disney needs to introduce a new rogue character in Episode VII in a small supporting role then spin him off into his own series of movies. Why can't they just do a "James Bond in space" type spy/assassin character. And no, I'm not referring to Moonraker.

  • Superzoom | February 7, 2013 2:41 PMReply

    1) Don't let George Lucas write the story. Lucas is the master of "Death By History."
    2) Don't let George Lucas write the story.
    3) Don't let George Lucas write the story.
    4) Don't let George Lucas write the story.
    5) Don't let George Lucas write the story.

  • awefsa | February 7, 2013 2:35 PMReply

    leave han solo and yoda alone.. Maybe a Boba Fett movie would be cool but.. Do we really need more star wars?

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