‘SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY’ is being released on Blu-ray later this month and it’s loaded with a ton of bonus-content. Before covering the additional features, let’s talk quickly about the film itself. If you’re interested I will leave the link to my full review below. I enjoyed the film for what it was. I thought the direction from Ron Howard was loaded with immersive visual appeal. I thought Alden Ehrenreich was a solid Han Solo and I felt Donald Glover added plenty of charm to a younger Lando. I also felt that Harrelson, Newton, Clarke, Bettany, Suotamo and Waller-Bridge all rounded out the cast with a collection of appealing characters.
There were some awesome action-sequences, and the film created an interesting western-vibe at times that showed imagination in the way it was blended into the sci-fi settings. But it also felt a little formulaic, and for me at least failed to capture a backdrop to Solo that was superior to what I had always imagined. It also failed to capture the history between Solo and Lando as it felt like a script that too often followed a routine structure. With a such quick progression it felt like a remake of Han Solo with an added prologue. Rather than a truly fresh story following the younger life of the iconic character. The film overall wasn’t bad and had more than its share of entertainment, despite some over-reliance on nostalgia and a few questionable story choices. Now let’s get into all the bonus-content.
Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable
I enjoyed this sit-down with the cast and Ron Howard. It was able to capture the chemistry between them all and it was interesting to hear their thoughts on being part of the franchise. It was down-to-earth and comfortable as they talk about their nostalgia for Star Wars. What they thought then they first heard the casting news, as well as some of their favorite moments in the film. They also talk more on what it was like being on the massive sets and shooting locations and being a part of such a historic franchise.
The Train Heist
This was a detailed looking inside one of the more action-packed scenes in the film. It explores the development of the entire sequence from the design of the train, how it would move, and sound. With added commentary the explores the intent on wanting a western train heist tone. The segment also goes more in-depth on the technical side of the scenes creation with the emphasis being on fusing practical and digital-effects together to truly capture the weight of the first crime in Solo’s life.
Remaking the Millennium Falcon
This vignette was loaded with behind-the-scenes footage that showcases the practical creation of the ship throughout all the various interior sets. In this one “The Falcon” is under Lando’s ownership and the filmmakers discuss how they wanted it to look under his vibrant personality. It also goes more in-depth on the intent of adding new shooting locations inside the ship that audiences have never seen and implementing small bits of nostalgia that I found to be very fascinating.
Becoming a Droid: L3-37
I enjoyed this short look at Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s portrayal of L3-37. Footage from various stages of development are edited together to show the detail taken into creating this droid. Using a blend of practical and digital-effects this featurette expands on the desire for a more authentic and physically animated performance which I enjoyed seeing the construction because in my opinion it was noticeable in the film.
Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso
One of my favorite scenes was the meeting of Solo and Lando at the lodge and this segment dives deeply into the construction of it. Filmmakers speak on the creation of the 100% practical-set as well as the historical inspirations behind the design, layouts, and background characters. This short clip was loaded with fantastic footage that once again captures the intricacies of making a film of this scale. There are many moving pieces in this sequences and this feature explored the meaning behind small things we as viewers often never notice.
Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run
Everyone knows Han Solo is famous for making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. This movie gave it to us, and this feature dives into the construction of the sequence from the ground up. It was very fun to see how a fully movable cockpit was created for the actors and with behind-the-scene footage, seeing their reactions to it while film was amusing at times. From concept-design and sound-effects, to various stages of pre-res footage, another aspect of film-making is delivered in this well-crafted segment.
This edition gives us eight of them in all. Five scenes, and a few extended sequences. ‘Proxima’s Den’ was a short back-and-forth between Qi’ra and Solo that didn’t convey anything we didn’t already know. Another was called ‘Showball Fight’ it was a cute scene with Han and Chewie that captured some of their connection but it was something that felt better fit for gag-reel material. Another much shorter scene called ‘Coaxium Double-Cross’ was much like the first scene, it didn’t add anything and was not really needed in the final-cut.
Another scene called ‘Corellian Foot Chase’ I actually enjoyed as it provided some solid intensity in a short period of time. It also captured more of the natural charm that I remember from Han Solo and it would’ve been fun to have this one left in the story. I did enjoy the next scene called ‘Han Solo: Imperial Cadet’ it again captures more of his charisma and some depth to his overall outlook. But on the other hand, these were elements already captured in other scenes.
The final three were extended scenes, the first being ‘The Battle of Mimban’ which did have some intensity. However I can see why the sequence was trimmed back for pacing. Same goes with the next one called ‘Meet Dryden’ which provided a few more lines from Bettany, but also more forced Solo charm that felt slightly out-of-place.
The final scene was an extended version of the ‘Han Versus Chewie’ scene down in the mud-pit. I had a great time with this extended look. This was one of my favorite scenes in the film like I said earlier. Therefore getting a slightly longer look at how these two characters met was enjoyable and should have been worked in somehow.
And that’s it for all the bonus-material on this Multi-Screen Edition of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story.’ The film was not perfect, but it was an entertaining adventure. And like they consistently do, this Star Wars home entertainment release comes packed full of additional footage to round out adding this film to your home video library.