It's somewhat fitting that Chris Miller and Phil Lord are working on an animated “Spider-Man” film as one of the 900 things they have in development at the moment. They're being entrusted with some of the biggest projects in town, and little wonder. They have demonstrated time and again that they can take even the most unappealing concept (a big-screen version of “21 Jump Street,” for example, or an entire movie about LEGOs) and turn out something that is smart and entertaining and that treats the audience with respect.
With all of this power, though, there is a responsibility, and I would imagine their most recently-announced project comes with the single most crushing set of pressures I can imagine. After all, it's one thing to make a “Star Wars” movie. It's something else entirely to make a Han Solo anthology film, giving Solo a backstory for the first time in an official capacity.
I say that because I don't really know what his history was in the Expanded Universe, and I really don't care. Whatever it was, it's gone now, and considering the screenwriters here are Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan, I think this is terrific news. After all, as much as Han Solo swaggers his way through “A New Hope,” I would argue that “Empire” is where the character snapped completely into focus. The official synopsis says “[t]he story focuses on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina as Mos Eisley.”
It's interesting to see just how much this new era of “Star Wars” is leaning on Kasdan, and I would imagine that for Kasdan, this must be a lovely and surreal return to something that was long since finished. I love the quote from Miller and Lord about what it feels like to be tapped for this job. “This is the first film we've worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with. We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you're late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you've loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”
Sounds like they're up for the challenge. Now… can you guys stop reporting that the second anthology film is a “Boba Fett” movie?
“Star Wars Anthology: Han Solo” will be in theaters May 25, 2018, just in time for my 48th birthday. Consider me excited.