This is going to be a significant test of how much of a character belongs to the writing and how much is about the performance. If Disney wants to make a young Han Solo movie, I’m willing to watch that. Sure. Absolutely. Part of me hopes someone completely insane decides to spend $100 million on technology to let Harrison Ford give a motion captured performance as young Han Solo because I think that would be “Hellraiser”-level creepy, but accidentally, and I’d have to watch it every day because it would be totally deranged.
Obviously, no one is going to make that movie, and so they’re going to end up casting someone to play young Han Solo, and no offense, Hypothetical Young Actor they haven’t found yet, but those are some mighty big shoes to fill, and pretty much everything you do is going to get hyperscrutinized. You are always going to be compared to Harrison Ford in his prime, and even Harrison Ford can’t win when that comparison is being made. It is a losing proposition because of the nature of fandom, and I contend that the moment you give the fans what you think they want, they will turn on you and tell you that they never wanted it after all.
I suspect we’re going to hear all sorts of things mentioned as “in development,” and I also suspect that no one knows which one is getting made first and no one will know until they’ve developed some of these ideas further and actually nailed down the scripts and the cast and the directors, and we’re a long way from that. As I said yesterday when posting the article about Bob Iger confirming that these stand-alone films are in development, we can all probably come up with the same short list of immediately obvious possibilities here. “Yoda.” “Boba Fett.” “Han Solo.” Pardon me if I suspect that stories about these being developed should be on the cover of “Big Duh” magazine. Of course they are. These are some of the most iconic characters from the films, and beyond that, they’ve all successfully driven marketing and merchandise lines in the past.
So far, we’re hearing a lot of choices that are going to make adult fans of “Star Wars” happy most likely, but I guarantee there are decisions being made for young fans, too, decisions that revolve around “Clone Wars” era characters who are beloved by an entire demographic that has not yet weighed in on these stand-alone movies. Some guy yesterday groaned in our comments about how scared he was that my kids might get the films they want out of this deal, and that strikes me as an excellent summation of the state of “Star Wars” fandom. My kids don’t begrudge older “Star Wars” fans any of the things they like or that they want, but older fans have such contempt for the “Clone Wars” era stuff that they basically discount a whole generation of fandom and the things they like. “Star Wars” means different things to different age groups and not ever decision is going to play right to the original trilogy nostalgia that is being so cleverly serviced with the decisions so far. That’s the crowd that feels most wronged by “Star Wars” right now, and it’s also the crowd that will end up spending the most money on this new trilogy, so it makes sense to try to placate them first. It’s time to convince them that this time will be different. This time, you’ll get what you want. That should be the tag line for the new trilogy. “Because the prequels sucked and you want more anyway.”
Like everyone else, I’m sure we’ll have some fun with the idea of casting a young Han Solo, but I think it’s more about the types of stories that are told. In a stand-alone, when you don’t have the weight of the saga in the balance, all I want from “Star Wars” movies is fun. As much fun as you can pack into two hours.
In the end, it doesn’t matter which characters you pick as long as the films are fun. Fingers crossed, and I guess we’ll start finding out sometime after 2015.