The Han Solo movie has sounded like a pretty bad idea for a while, long before rumors of a Darth Vader cameo began to surface.
It’s just very hard to get excited about this movie, especially as it gets progressively less appealing with every new thing we learn about the project.
Of all the characters in the Star Wars mythos, Han Solo is the one that seemed impossible to recast. The merest suggestion of some new actor stepping into Harrison Ford’s iconic shoes feels like the kind of corporate decision that exists only to make money, without any thought for the kind of cinematic experience it creates.
This isn’t to say that Star Wars movies shouldn’t be designed to make money, but there are a lot of stories that people have been calling out for within the Galaxy Far Far Away, and the origin of Baby Han Solo is not one of them.
First glimpses at the movie looked pretty terrible, although admittedly they were mostly seen through the blurry lens of paparazzi stealth photography. This movie was looking more and more like a bad idea the more we got to see of it.
Then, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired, reportedly for trying too much to make the movie unique and entertaining through the use of off-script improv. Clearly, Disney weren’t interested in innovation or originality – they wanted a simple, easy Paint By Numbers Star Wars prequel story, and if part of the creative team was straying too far from established practices, they needed to be removed in order to maintain the film’s trite purity.
Now, apparently, Darth Vader has been added to the mix. Having turned up (inexplicably) in both The Force Awakens (as a melted head) and Rogue One (as a dispenser of Dad Jokes), Vader is everywhere in this new branch of the franchise.
Throwing him into the Han Solo movie somewhat undermines the point not just of this film, but of Han’s story arc in A New Hope. The whole point of this character is that he’s never really had any big run-ins with the galaxy’s movers and shakers. He’s not affiliated with the heroes, and he’s never been anywhere near the villains, save for being boarded by the occasional Imperial starship.
If we are to endure a Han Solo origin story, it needs to be as far removed from the big, galactic battle of Good and Evil as possible. Han exists on the Outer Rim, where morals are murky and nobody really believes in any of that hokey Jedi nonsense anyway.
In Rogue One, Vader’s presence definitely felt like a big budget fanfilm. Sure, his hallway scene was awesome, but otherwise his role is identical to that of any cosplayer who’s ever helped out with their friend’s attempt to make their own low budget movie.
Now, this same cosplayer is going to show up in Han Solo, if only to dance around, do jazzhands, and wave at the camera.
Hey, look, it’s Darth Vader! Here for a brief and pointless scene just so that Disney can keep the character relevant as its merchandizing empire continues to churn out lunchboxes and pajamas!
No thanks. As much as this may sound like heresy, there are some movies that can’t be improved by getting James Earl Jones to do his scary voice.