People are still angry about The Last Jedi and another Star Wars film is about to drop. SOLO: A Star Wars Story is the second Anthology series film, following in the steps of Rogue One before it. Though it releases in a week's time, we have all the juicy spoilers right here. Which means, yes, this article is FULL. OF. SPOILERS. If you want to go in to the film blind, don't click through. If you're keen to hear exactly how it all plays out - this is the article for you.
This is our final spoiler warning before we kick into lightspeed.
First, let's quickly recap what happens.
I've got an entirely mediocre feeling about this.
Lucasfilm established with Rogue One that these 'Anthology' films were not going to get opening crawls, so once the sparkly green logo dies down, we're hit with the "A long, long time ago" blue font and then a short passage about the planet CORELLIA, where a slave boss named LADY PROXIMA has been raising kids to steal stuff for her and make her rich and all that stuff that crime syndicates in Star Wars do. We meet Han and Qi'ra, Emilia Clarke's character, who are under Lady Proxima's employ. Han has stolen some coaxium (I think) and wants to use it to get off Corellia by bribing a guard with it - it's worth like 600 credits at least, we're told. Han and Qi'ra play tonsil hockey then get ready to escape.
Lady Proxima's goonies - with an Urdnot Wrex looking captain named Moloch - come a-knockin before they can get away, dragging Han to Lady Proxima's dark den. Lady Proxima is a water worm and she emerges from her pool with metal rings chinking. She's pissed at Han, of course. Wants the stuff she was promised. He ain't giving it up. She's going to kill him, so he pretends he has a thermal detonator (a rock) and throws it at the window behind her, letting all the light in to her crack den.
A Star Destroyer under construction above Corellia
The sunlight burns her, giving Han and Qi'ra a chance to escape. He pilots a speeder and gets to the hangar to get off planet. At the security checkpoint, they bribe the guard with stolen goods but as Han passes through the checkpoint, the doors close and he and Qi'ra are separated. "Ahhh" they both scream, sadly. "I'll come back for you" Han says.
To avoid detection, Han slips into an Imperial recruitment centre and signs up with the Empire to get off Corellia. The last name "Solo" is bestowed upon him by the guard, because he doesn't have a family. He's in the Empire now.
[Jump Cut To Three Years Later]
Han is fighting in the very brown and yellow sands of Mimban. He first meets Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his crew of Val (Thandie Newton) and Rio Durant, an Ardennian pilot, who seem to be Imperial troops, but Solo notices they're not really fighting so they're here for some other reason... To steal things. He asks to join their crew and fly away with them so he can get back to Corellia and save Qi'ra, but Beckett rats him out to the Imperials as a deserter and they throw him in a pit, chained to "The Beast".
For anyone that can't see like, 30 seconds ahead: The Beast is Chewbacca.
They become buddies because Solo can — for reasons unexplained — speak Shyriiwook, the Wookiee's language, poorly. In a subtitled back-and-forth, they devise a way to get out of the pit and because of their ingenuity, Beckett lets them join the crew. Val is pissed about it. Rio is like "I like this kid".
Beckett's crew are tasked with hitting a train and stealing coaxium, a highly volatile fuel source, from one of the carriages. The first big set-piece takes place during this heist, where Solo, Chewie, Beckett, Val and Rio have to disconnect a carriage from the middle of the train as it speeds around the Swiss Alps. Everything is going well, then some troopers in magnet boots show up to blast everything and Enfys Nest and the Cloud-Riders (or Marauders/Pirates as Rio explains) fly in to steal the score.
Then characters start dying. For one, Rio Durant, who is piloting the ship, gets shot in the shoulder and expires — which means Han has to take over piloting the freighter they're using to steal the coaxium. Second, Val sacrifices herself to blow up a bridge. Beckett is sad, because for like 6 seconds of screen time, he and Val were really close (in love, even!). Eventually, they steal the coaxium, but Enfys Nest and crew are hitched to the carriage and they all head for a mountain. Han, at the last second, lets go of the cargo so that Chewie, Beckett and himself can survive.
Beckett is pissed. He says his boss is going to be pissed they let the coaxium go and he will probably kill them. Solo's like - "chill, mate, I will come with you and we can tell your boss we will get an even BIGGER score for him" because that's what Solo always does. The two don't at all plan ahead.
Turns out Beckett's Boss is Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), one-dimensional evil man in black, who has a face that looks like it got dragged through broken glass and a haircut that looks like he's in a late 90's British boy band. He runs the crime gang Crimson Dawn. The crew don't have to go to him, because he turns up in his sharkfin party shipboat and they all climb aboard. Beckett goes to get a drink at the bar and Solo looks around even though Beckett tells him to stare at the ground.
He's tapped on the shoulder by a - omgcoulditbe - Qi'ra. He's surprised, but not out of his mind surprised, like I would be if I just met the girl I was in love with three years ago that I suddenly became separated from and vowed to return to one day and save but whatever. He's Solo.
In the background, Chewbacca does two shots, because at this point the film hasn't really gathered any steam whatsoever and needs a solid kick in the blaster.
Qi'ra is now under Dryden's employ and they are working for a mysterious person that shall not be named (yet). Dryden is pissed they missed out on the coaxium but, on the fly, Solo and Beckett come up with a plan to get more coaxium. They need to go to the spice mines of Kessel and retrieve unrefined coaxium stored there then get it to ANOTHER planet where it can be refined, quickly enough that it doesn't just blow up in their face.
Yes, the Kessel.
Dryden tells them Qi'ra is coming with them and now all they need is a fast ship. Enter: Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), proud owner of 1 x Millennium Falcons and a pretty dodgy Sabacc player. Qi'ra takes the ragtag crew to meet Calrissian, who bets the Falcon on a game of Sabacc. Han's been doing well, pulls out a pretty good hand and the bar goes wild.
Then Calrissian is like "sorry babe, you ain't seen nothing yet" and using a card hidden up his sleeve, wins the game. We are introduced to his droid, L3-37, which spells LEET, as in elite, to anyone on the internet around 2005. Solo's group and Calrissian come to an agreement that they can use the Falcon, even though Han couldn't win it, but Calrissian wants half the takings from the coaxium score. Beckett barters him down to 25 percent and then they're off to Kessel - taking a route that avoids The Maelstrom - some deep, galactic storm that will end you.
L3 pilots the Falcon and Lando explains how she also has like, srsly the B E S T navigation computer in the universe. On the way, Solo kisses Qi'ra as she's trying on some of Lando's capes. Sexy. Later, L3 is like "Lando is really into me" and there's a romantic robosexual subplot that kind of gets glossed over quickly because L3 is not interested in Lando - she just wants to liberate droids from their oppressive masters. Lando definitely wants to Bone The Robot.
On Kessel, the heist takes place. L3 uses the computer to free all the slaves. Chewie frees some Wookiee slaves and we see him body slam a guard while other Wookiees bat at the masters. In the gunfight, L3 gets taken out and dies in Lando's arms. That's now two pilots in an hour that Solo has killed just by being in their presence. It gives him a chance to pilot the Falcon out of Kessel, with the unrefined coaxium on board. A Star Destroyer blocks their safe exit, which means Han has to improvise.
He goes into The Maelstrom.
Outside of this tube is the Maelstrom, where people DIE (usually)
Meanwhile, because L3 was such a good navigator before she was cruelly taken from us, the crew rip her brains out and plug them into the Falcon. She merges with the Falcon and plots a course through the Maelstrom and past The Maul... a giant black hole that will swallow everything eventually. In the meantime, a Space Cthulhu is awakened, tentacles everywhere and it wants to eat the Millennium Falcon like a Wookiee eats a Porg.
Solo - flying a Corellian Freighter for the first time in his life - gets the space Cthulhu so close the black hole that its skin rips away from its skeleton. Realising they don't have enough power to escape the gravity well, Beckett drops some of the coaxium in the reactor which gets them out of the well and into lightspeed. Eventually they land on a sandy planet I forget the name of but it starts with S - and its a place where they can refine the coaxium.
Owing to the fact that Enfys Nest placed a tracker on the Falcon long ago, they turn up uninvited ready to steal the coaxium. Beckett, Solo, Chewie and Qi'ra are like "please no" and try to talk it out. Solo's threatening Nest like "see my Falcon over there? 30 blokes on it ready to shoot you" and the Lando (in the Falcon) takes off. For some reason, Enfys Nest doesn't just kill this idiot for being a cocky nobody and instead takes off the badass helmet.
It's a teenage girl.
She's like "we don't want the coaxium for money you fools, we want it because we're starting a god damn rebellion against Crimson Dawn and the Empire!!!" They want the coaxium for BOMBS. The Cloud-Riders crew aren't marauders or pirates, they're bloody REBELS! The two crews come to an agreement and formulate a plan to take down Dryden Vos and Beckett is a bit reticent, so he's like "no, I am walking away - I don't need this - BUT hey, if you make it out come to Tattooine for a real score, legend"
Except, when they kick off the plan, Evil Man Dryden is a step ahead because Beckett betrayed Solo. Beckett still wants the coaxium because he's going to get a good payday, so he takes it and Chewbacca hostage and escapes. A fight takes place between Solo, Qi'ra and Evil Man where Evil Man is eventually killed by Qi'ra with a nice old knuckduster to the heart. Solo escapes and Qi'ra is like "I am right behind you". She isn't.
She stays behind, takes Dryden's Crimson Dawn ring and activates a hologram of her REAL boss and his mechanical legs (more on this below). They discuss another job and she stares out the window as if to say "I will take this job with you, boss".
Solo catches up with Beckett and kills him before he's even had a chance to pull his blaster. Qi'ra, in control of Dryden's sharkfin party ship, departs. She stares out the window as if to say "Sorry, Han, but I've got a new man baby".
[Jump Cut To Some Forest Type Planet]
Lando is sitting at a Sabacc table and Solo turns up. They play another round but this time, Solo doesn't let him cheat. He wins the Falcon and the crowd goes wild and Lando's like "damn, baby" all sultry and stuff. Han and Chewie get into the Falcon and Han says he's got to get to Tattooine to meet some gangster that Beckett mentioned previously.
They flick lots of buttons and jump to lightspeed.
Now, for the big, big reveals:
Darth Maul Lives
I actually was agape at this. An incredible achievement keeping it under wraps until the film dropped.
For those who haven't been following the Star Wars Animated spin-offs — The Clone Wars and Rebels — first of all, you should be. They tell some of the best, and most important, young-adult-oriented stories that Star Wars has ever seen. Throughout the film, Dryden Vos and Crimson Dawn speak of a higher-up that they have to report to. After Vos is killed, Qi'ra takes his Crimson Dawn ring, connects it to a terminal and summons a hologram. We see a robed figure sitting on a chair, mechanical legs touching the ground before Maul pulls back the hood and shows himself. Ray Park is the actor, but Sam Witwer voices Maul.
He's aged, of course, but he's alive. He tells Qi'ra to come and meet him.
Why Han Solo?
When Han enlists in the Imperial Army he just says his name is "Han". The officer asks him who his people are. What is his last name? Han says he has none. He's alone. He doesn't give a name. So the guard calls him Han Solo and punches his enlistment form with that famous name. I really did not like this. I did not like this so much I scoffed. I don't scoff a lot.
Interestingly, most people in the film call him "Harn", with a hard 'R', while Lando gets at him with a constant "Haan". I still don't know the correct pronunciation.
Han Shot First
Perhaps as a nod to the Original Trilogy, the final showdown between Solo and Beckett features a standoff. Beckett bangs on but is cut off mid-sentence by a blaster shot to his chest. Han definitely shot first, no arguing that.
Han Makes The Kessel Run In More Than 12 Parsecs?
Once the unrefined coaxium is collected from Kessel, Han goes off piste and through The Maelstrom outside Kessel. Most say you cant get out of there in 20 parsecs but Han begs to differ. Once they reached the coaxium refinery, Chewbacca and Han discuss just how quickly they got out of there. Chewbacca says some not-subtitled words in Shyriiwook and Han says he "rounded down". It seems that the Kessel Run may have taken a little longer than 12 parsecs, but Han made a math correction and the myth was born.
Han's Lucky Dice
Early on in the film, we see Han fiddling with his trademark lucky dice as he escapes Corellia. As he becomes separated from Qi'ra, she holds onto them and eventually when they meet again, she hands them back to him. In the end, the dice don't have much of an impact on any real story beats besides being an item that signifies the bond between Solo and Qi'ra. He doesn't use them to win the Falcon, like many suspected.
Han Wins The Falcon, Eventually
As has always been the promise, Han Solo does win a game of Sabacc against Lando Calrissian for ownership of the Millennium Falcon. Except he doesn't win the first time. In an epilogue scene, Han tracks down Lando for another game of Sabacc. This time, when they shake hands, Han removes the card hidden up his sleeve. When Lando bets the Falcon, he goes to get the cheat card... and it's not there. Han gives a cheeky smile and... well, you know the rest.
He's been in every film so far - but he doesn't feature here.
No Boba Fett
Many hoped, and some expected, that Boba Fett would make an appearance in this film. The timelines make sense and there's a tangible connection there. Perhaps most surprisingly, the villain that came back was Darth Maul. That's enough to blow minds, but many will be pretty sad Boba didn't make the cut.
Tobias Beckett, before his untimely demise, mentions that he is putting a crew together and that they're all going to meet on Tatooine. That's all left for the future though - and any planned Solo sequels Disney might have will certainly look at the smuggler's first jobs with Jabba.
Why Didn't We Get The Solo Man Track In The Film?
I am imagining Solo as a 1980s advert and it is wonderful.
man, disney really stepped up their marketing for SOLO pic.twitter.com/KpaR29i4hW
— Jackson Ryan ???? (@dctrjack) May 21, 2018
Will you be seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let us know in the comments!