Stop the presses! There’s a new poster for “Solo: A Star Wars Story”!
Okay, so maybe this isn’t all that big of a deal in the general scheme of things, but it’s brought something important to my attention. An article over at Screen Rant has noted that this is one of the first times that the movie’s villain has appeared in any of the marketing materials.
See? There he is – hanging out right down at the bottom of the poster, just below Thandie Newton, popping out from behind Donald Glover’s fabulous cape.
This guy is Dryden Vos, played by Paul Bettany, who according to some previous promotional blurb is some kind of “big shot gangster”. At this point, that’s pretty much all we know about him.
Does that seem strange to you? We’re less than a month away from the release of a “Star Wars” movie, but we haven’t even seen much of the film’s bad guy.
“Star Wars” has always previously been defined by its villains – Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, Darth Maul, Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren – all pretty much the coolest, most engaging character in any given film.
It’s clear that “Solo” is a very different kind of movie. For better or worse, the focus is less on a galactic struggle between the forces of good and evil, and more on the wheelings and dealings of a bunch of outlaw.
This lack of an iconic bad guy might well be part of the reason why “Solo” looks so lackluster in trailers. There’s the vague threat of either Imperial entanglement or crime lord retribution, but aside from that, the film’s sense of peril is all but lacking.
I’m not saying that the film should feature Baby Han Solo fighting against a Sith Lord, but considering the cool bounty hunters we’ve seen in the saga before this, and considering that Jabba the Hutt has beef with Han for some poorly handled jobs in the past, I can’t help but feel like the movie could do with a more stand-out bad guy.
I suspect that this is a consequence of best laid Lucasfilm plans that fell through. The obvious choice for a villain in this movie would be Boba Fett, but at the time that the script for “Solo” was being written, Josh Trank was working on a movie about everyone’s second favorite Mandalorian (Sabine is the coolest, fight me if you disagree).
When Trank’s career was abruptly disintegrated by “Fant4stic”, the Boba Fett flick went up in smoke, leaving a notable hole in “Solo”.
I also suspect that someone at the Lucasfilm story group optimistically suggested that Boba and Jabba be kept back for a sequel to “Solo”, before it became apparent that these anthology story movies aren’t actually holding people’s attention in the way the studio hoped they would.
So are we really stuck with a single, boring looking villain in “Solo”?
Probably not. I have the sneaking suspicion that Paul Bettany is a decoy, which is why he’s not shown up too much in the promotional material for this movie. Instead, I suspect he’ll be presented as the villain, but he’ll be dead by the half-way point in the story.
I think the real villain is Lando.
Picture this: Han, Chewie and pals team up with Lando for some crazy scheme because he’s got the fastest ship and they need the fire power. Then, part-way through the movie, Han manages to help himself to the Millennium Falcon. Enraged at this betrayal, Lando ends up providing the primary antagonist for the final chapter of the story.
Also, I’m going to guess that Lando’s robot buddy L3-37 gets destroyed, and her brain is put into Lobot. Its just makes sense.
Alternatively, Woody Harrelson’s character could end up being a bad guy, in a last-minute plot twist that exists so that Alden Ehrenreich has somebody to shoot at the movie’s climax.
We’re a month away from seeing how this all shakes out, but bearing in mind that we haven’t even seen anything more than a brief glimpse of the most publicized “Solo” villain, I’m going to assume that this might be an underwhelming experience.
If the best Lucasfilm can do to try and sell people on this movie is show us Alden Ehrenreich’s entirely out of character Han Solo performance, the stuff they think shouldn’t be in the trailers must be pretty awful.