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

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by Edward Davis
February 7, 2013 2:24 PM
19 Comments
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1. Don’t feel the need to connect every dot. Let the characters explore things independent of the Star Wars Universe.
Greedo knowing Anakin as a child made us all groan. Let’s grow and not connect every single character and event that we’re already familiar with. Let’s learn from our mistakes. According to yesterday’s report, the Han Solo story would take place in the time period between 'Revenge of the Sith' and the first “Star Wars.” There are several ways to make this as banal and trite as possible. A) Show how Han Solo and Chewbacca first came together – the legend has it that he saved him from a form of empirical slavery. B) Show how Han got in dutch with Jabba The Hut. C) Show how Han Solo met and became friends with Lando Calrissian/how Solo won the Millennium Falcon from him – show that actual card game! Are there any more painfully obvious ways to connect this solo Solo film to what we saw in “Star Wars”? Is any of that really neccesary? Will they show how Solo made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? Do we really need to see the story of Boba Fett going from orphan to bad-ass bounty hunter? Do we need to fill in those blanks? We’d love to see these stories forget the past (or the future) and just try to tell new and original stories based on these character’s various exploits.

2. Forget origin stories, let them go off on their own adventures
“Star Wars” likes to take its coolest characters and make them uncool by revealing everything. In an origin story, it’ll be difficult not to undo all of Han Solo’s hip cachet as the bad boy, but there are a few ways it could be done. One way is to just learn who Solo is – and who he one day might become – along the way. Start the story smackdab in the middle of the action like the original “Star Wars” – Solo on the run from one of his smuggling exploits and from there drop in the kernels of what he’s all about. Yes, it runs the risk of an episode of “the further adventures of Han Solo,” but better that than a spelled-out version of his origin and how it connects to “Star Wars.” We don’t need to see him become a smuggler. He can just be one. Sure, throw in all the (hopefully small) fanboy-ish nods, but Solo’s smuggling escapades and adventures sound pretty interesting on their own. Why not tell one of these stories and have it in no way, shape or form relate to “Star Wars.” Hell, it’s a huge galaxy, right? Is it possible that this story can be told without including Tatooine on it?

3. We've been to Tatooine, let's go somewhere else.
Speaking of…. If the “Star Wars” universe is to be believed, Tatooine must be its epicenter. This is where Darth Vader was born. This is where his son, Luke was raised (though he was born on a spaceship and conceivably could have been raised anywhere). This is where one of the greatest ruthless gangsters, Jabba The Hut, held his base of operations. This is where Luke met Obi Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca. This is where Boba Fett died. Enough already. The Empire controlled the entire Galaxy. Even if there’s only say, nine planets in that galaxy, hyper drive allows these people to travel to entirely different systems, no? Expand your horizons “Star Wars” writers. Invent and invent. Let’s take a break from Tatooine, shall we?

4. Less is much more
What’s the percentage win in creating a "young Yoda" film? He’s a great minor character that again, has or at least had some mystery to him. A strange, odd budda/sensei discovered on a swampy bog of a planet, taking refuge there when most of his Jedi kin were wiped out – a lot of this already shown in montages in prequels. And we’ve already seen a younger Yoda in the prequels, the films detailing how he controlled the Jedi council with Mace Windu, how he sensed a disturbance in the force and how he watched the hopeful young Anakin Skywalker go bad. We even saw him – to much fan boy delight – go all ninja-like in 'Attack Of The Clones.' Fans seemingly got what they wanted. What could possibly be interesting beyond that? Yoda at 600 years old instead of 700? Showing him train young padewans in the glory days of the Jedi? Facing against other, earlier incarnations of Sith that threatened the order of things? How is this going to be remotely different or engaging?

5. The “Star Wars” galaxy is huge, let Han and Boba face-off against foes that aren’t Jedis/Siths or the Empire.
Honestly, can the writers break out of this formula? If anything, that’s the small appeal of both a Han Solo spin-off and a Boba Fett film – ostensibly, both films could exist outside this framework. Both characters needn’t interact with Jedis or Sith (hopefully) and while the Empire would clearly be in power, both characters could exist and operate with that dictatorship being in the background and not part of the central story. In fact, the Solo film could be like a “Star Wars” gangster/heist/crime picture; a cool outlaw kind of flick. This would be interesting. Similarly, Boba Fett’s film could be more of a Western type story. An outlaw, mercenary figure who has to track down criminals he’s paid to hunt down and capture, bringing them in dead or alive ("Boba Unchained"). We’d argue, Fett is another cool, middle eight character that should be left in the shadows. But regardless, the less history there is, the better, but we’re pretty sure the new “Star Wars” creative team will not be able to resist the urge to a) indulge in fanboy service, b) pull back the curtain on his shade. Either way, we don’t have to show Han or Boba facing off or crossing paths with Siths or the Empire as adversaries. Sure, they can be texture and they can be in the background, but goddammit, for such a huge universe, the storylines have been so small in everything since the original trilogy.

Thoughts? Do you share any of these concerns? Do you not care? Are you ok with these “Star Wars” films acting as we believe they might – simply filling in the blanks of history that we haven’t seen? – or do you believe there’s a better way to tell these tales? Let us know below.

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19 Comments

  • 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...

    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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