Why Solo is Failing at the Box Office
I knew Han Solo. Han Solo was a Halloween costume of mine. This is NOT Han Solo.
T.J. Jefferson, the author of That’s What She Said, producer of MTV’s Yo Momma and Punk’d and confidant of Ashton Kutcher, once wrote that “Han Solo is the greatest character in the history of characters.”
I know. I was there when he wrote it.
He also happens to be right.
Luke Skywalker? Too naive. Princess Leia? Too female. Obi-Wan? Too old. R2-D2? Too cute. C-3PO? Too annoying. Darth Vader? Too evil.
Han Solo? Just right! A true man’s man!
For more than 40 years Star Wars has remained relevant. When I saw it for the first time I hadn’t attended first grade yet. Yet go to the toy department of your nearest retailers and today Star Wars is still as relevant as ever.
What I loved as a boy is still beloved by the children of this generation. Star Wars is keeping Generation X young in our 40s.
So why is it that Solo is underperforming at the box office?
There are all sorts of theories. It came out too soon after The Last Jedi seems to be the most popular one.
But maybe the real reason is we just can’t get over the fact Harrison Ford isn’t playing Solo. And for all intents and purposes, it’s the first time we’ve really ever seen one of the main Star Wars characters in another actor’s body.
This isn’t to say Alden Ehrenreich doesn’t do a good job. He does!
In fact, fans can get around the lack of a physical resemblance because he gets a some physical characteristics right.
The classic Solo pose, leaning to the side, blaster at the hip, yeah, Ehrenreich’s got that.
But whereas Ford’s Solo is sly, Ehrenreich’s Solo isn’t. He’s more of just a bluffing liar. There’s one scene in Solo when he’s outnumbered but lies to the group seeking to attack him that there are 30 allies on board the Millennium Falcon just ready to back him up upon his signal.
That’s not Han Solo. That’s Indiana Jones telling the Nazis Marcus Brody can fit into any culture in The Last Crusade.
But the biggest difference in the two portrayals is how Han Solo gets the girl. In Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo lets Princess Leia come to him. For crying out loud, he’s so arrogant, so “you’re the one who wants me,” while playing the aggressor that Leia resorts to giving Luke Skywalker and incestuous kiss!
We didn’t know it at the time, but regardless.
Take note boys, Han Solo’s “let ’em come to you” demeanor is the strategy that gets the girl! Talk about the force being with you!
Ehrenreich’s Solo chases the girl. He joins the Imperial Navy and puts up with their crap for three years because he’s obsessed with finding a way to return to Corella and find her.
THAT’S NOT HAN SOLO!
His life is even saved by the girl. Please.
That’s not the Han Solo I know. The Han Solo I know not only saves Luke Skywalker’s life a couple of times, but Princess Leia’s as well despite being burdened by overwhelming debt. When the warp drive on the Millennium Falcon fails among heavy Tie-Fighter AND Imperial Cruiser fire, all he does is pilot her into an asteroid field, sneering at the 3,720 to 1 odds of survival, overcomes not only that but actually being eaten, is betrayed by an old friend, becomes the only known person in the history of the universe to survive suspended animation, is freed of his debt even though he is blind, regains his sense of sight, and then, moving way up in class, overcomes his background as a street urchin and spice smuggler to marry into intergalactic royalty!
And she’s even a looker, too!
But in classic Solo parlance, it’s not Ehrenreich’s fault. This is the script he’s given.
I don’t know, Ron Howard, subplot of being separated from the girl and then having to go away; what Harrison Ford/George Lucas movie is this a continuation of, Star Wars or American Graffiti?
You know what I did like about Solo? There was the revelation of just what making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs really means, how he joined and left the Empire, but really I rejoiced in knowing how Han got his blaster.
Elegant as they may be, light sabers do not work from long range. Blasters do. They pierce through storm trooper armor like it was nothing (and come to think of it, maybe it is) and are clearly superior to any hokey religion and ancient weapon you can come up with, kid.
And if you’re wondering what this has to do with sports, let along local sports, well, Joonas Suotamo, the actor who played Chewbacca in Solo, played basketball for Ed DeChellis.
And you wanted George Pitts to be the ETSU head basketball coach . . . . .
Marky Billson went trick-or-treating dressed as Han Solo in 1980. Vest, blaster, everything. His first two pets were two litter mate cats. The tuxedo male was Han. The white and grey female was Leia. They even fought like their namesakes, too. Marky also hosts Tri-Cities Sports NOW on 1420 NBC Sports Radio Tri-Cities from 12–2 p.m. ET weekdays and you can see him rant about this here or watch his interviews, live and archived, here.