Tough Pick Between Donald Trump and Han Solo: Thoughts on the new movie and the context of historical perspective

Who could blame me, after all it has been a busy week, with a presidential visit to Cincinnati, the FBI getting caught in the biggest scandal in American history, a Super Bowl, a stock market plunge and a snow storm with frigid temperatures that have rocked North America into a perilous freeze. Not to mention a brutal week in the business world where next to nothing came easy and everything was at stake, I have taken a few days to talk about my thoughts about the new Han Solo movie which unleashed its first movie preview Monday morning on Good Morning America, just hours after a 45 second preview of the preview during the Super Bowl the night before. I was in fact on my way to meet President Trump at Lunken Airport when I watched the Solo preview while in the car waiting to get through security. My lack of comments on the movie were not because I didn’t like it, it was just due to the enormous number of other things going on.

I normally talk about lofty topics that range in subject matter but generally contain thematic elements that are more philosophical in nature. And my readers don’t typically like it when I stray away and talk about Star Wars. But as I see in it the greatest modern mythology we have as a human race even though the film series these days is largely made by progressive liberals from the San Francisco region, there is a core of tradition that sets Star Wars apart from all other forms of entertainment that makes it an important subject—and I find it very fascinating. I was even thinking about the new Solo movie as the hand of the president of the United States was right in front of me extending a greeting—and anybody who reads here often knows how much I think of President Trump and his wife—who was with him.

Han Solo is my favorite Star Wars character without a close second. Without Han Solo, there really isn’t a Star Wars in my option. I like Star Wars without Han Solo, but I don’t love it. But when Solo is part of a story, I’m much more interested—so a movie about the freedom fighting smuggler as a young man is something I am very interested in—and have been for a long time. Because of The Last Jedi, I have had low expectations for this movie called Solo: A Star Wars Story—but as the release date gets closer, I am getting more excited. And now with this preview, I am actually intrigued because this may actually be the best “western” to come out of Hollywood in decades.

Han Solo is all about living free, hot rod star ships, and guns. He is a character taken out of 1950s American values when westerns were almost all there was on television and at the movie theaters, and people drove in fixed up cars overcharged with horsepower to get to them. In the context of the saga which over the years has filled more and more with progressive political values as the franchise increased in popularity, Han Solo was the Ayn Rand contribution of the times who was living in a bad world and was just too good to be good at living life as a pirate, but too bad to join an organized effort—unless he fell in love with some girl. The values of Han Solo are essentially the values of Americana, so it is interesting that Lucasfilm made the decision to make a young Han Solo movie even as they have flooded their recent films with progressive inclusiveness even to the point of being uncomfortable because it often feels forced on the viewer—such as in The Last Jedi.

In the preview the Millennium Falcon is a new ship, which any Star Wars fan knows only as a beat-up wreck that is the fastest hung of junk in the galaxy. Only now the famous ship has a long point at the front instead of the mandibles that everyone has come to associate with it. Also the interior is a bright white instead of a grungy offering that we saw from an older Han Solo who had spent much of his life running from everyone who wanted to throw restraints on him. It is a strange thing to see how something we all know so well can be taken back in time and presented as a younger version of itself—its an interesting study about behavior. Obviously like most of us, Han Solo loves his ship and as an older man he sees only the beauty of it while everyone else sees junk. Solo obviously is hanging on to a period of his life where the ship was new and him acquiring it was one of the most important accomplishments he had undertaken. In this new movie we get to see why, which goes a long way to explaining the character.

Lucasfilm has foolishly played along with the national divide going on presently and have picked a more liberal political stance. Many of their actors are anti-Trumpers, even the original directors of Solo before Ron Howard came along to save the production a few weeks before the end of filming. I was in London while Lucasfilm was shooting Solo and I could see in the news reports there that members of the cast and crew where cheering on anti-Trump protests in the streets of the famous English city. That has led to a strong rebuke from conservatives about anything involving Star Wars—especially young people like Ben Shapiro who were pretty hard on this Han Solo proposal. But I think this film can go a long way to repairing that relationship and I sincerely hope it does. There is a lot of good that Star Wars can do in the world and I’d hate to see it wasted on partisan events that will dissipate completely 40 years from now when these stories will still have value to people.

It was just announced this week that there will be yet another Star Wars trilogy produced by Lucasfilm, this time by the makers of Game of Thrones. That is exciting news to me, and I think there really can’t be enough Star Wars for our modern culture. MANKIND—not Justin’s “peoplekind” is on the precipice of a very evolutionary period. Things are happening very fast these days, even in the context of the news announced at the start of this article, Elon Musk launched a luxury sports car into space as a display of audacious technical undertaking of excess bringing many people into a space age not built on Cold War hostilities but sheer curiosity and adventure. And to bridge that gulf we need a mythology that helps us through these times of very complicated technical innovation that needs a religious grounding not set in a Middle East desert—but in space where our future resides. For all of us Han Solo is a way to bring our traditional values into the context of anything that can happen and through that character we can project ourselves into the yet undiscovered worlds that are before us. That is a curious case indeed that eclipses the moments of our immediate consciousness placing our concerns into the ever after which is coming at us at a speed faster than light.

Rich Hoffman
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