I can’t emphasize enough what Star Wars means to our current society—and specifically how important this next film, Solo: A Star Wars Story is to the continuation of the great mythology that is now set to take on a life well beyond anything planet earth has ever seen. As I say often the most important topic to me out of all the things that I discuss is the realm of mythology and how it captures the minds of mankind and propels it forward at each juncture of history. I am specifically thinking right now about the great legends of King Arthur, or the early works of the Iliad where Odysseus propelled modern society to its current form to the point where our civilization has outgrown those great stories. Our modern society is very complex, and we know so much about so many things that were not known at the time that the great classics were written, and we are and have been in desperate need for stories that can take us all into the future—because that’s how human beings work. They need conceptual devices in story form to put into context their observed reality—and even though Star Wars is intended for kids, it works on so many levels to get the imaginations of the human race moving that I think it’s currently the most important thing in the world happening right now, and I understand very well what is happening from North Korea to the taxation of Amazon in Seattle—to the teacher union strikes, to the corruption of our own FBI becoming weaponized against us all. Even in that context I think this new Star Wars movie is a tremendous opportunity for mythmaking to expand dramatically into the lives of all thinking beings on planet earth for the better, and it would all come down to the presentation of the film at the Cannes Film Festival in France. It’s not just because I love the character of Han Solo, but it’s why the movie was made in the first place that I think it’s so important and I was very happy to see a standing ovation for the film after its screening. This is going to be a big one.
I read the critics opinions of the film and most of them were positive, many very positive with about 23% less than enthusiastic. What those lukewarm reviews had in common was that they missed the epic scale of life and death situations that have been present in Star Wars up to this point—the save the whole galaxy or else type of storylines. If Star Wars is going to work in future, they need to become much more individualized, personal stories which we all know culminate into the three trilogies of nine films we have mostly been familiar with. And once Lucasfilm accomplished that, mythology by way of the vehicle of Star Wars will be unleased in a very dramatic way and I don’t think those people trained into their institutional professions, and are making good livings in those comfortable places, are open to these big changes. Their comments about nobody asking for a movie about Han Solo and that the movie is just capitalizing off the Star Wars name and is an entirely different kind of film altogether are missing the point. This movie was always intended to expand the Star Wars mythology in ways that I would argue it always needed to go—since the Empire Strikes Back way back in 1980 and I think everyone watching this movie is going to be in for a surprise.
I know enough about this movie to be happy with the decisions that Kathy Kennedy has made over the last two years. A lot of people do not understand how hard it is to make a movie, and to negotiate contracts with expensive actors and to hold those contacts over many films. I continue to be amazed how the Marvel team does it with all their big-name actors now and how they can put them all in a film like Infinity War. That would be an astonishing payroll to put all those stars into one movie, but Marvel has figured it out and that Disney polish is now coming to Star Wars with these Han Solo movies serving as a test bed of creative entanglement. I will be the first to say I was not happy with the Lucasfilm abandonment of the original books which they now call legends, and I was not at all happy with The Force Awakens when they killed Han Solo in that movie. Long time readers here know very well how angry I was at the way they dealt with Han Solo’s character in that film and I did several radio shows discussing the issue in detail. However, and I know I wasn’t the only one, I think Lucasfilm to a reasonable extent has listened to the fans—and they have made some adjustments with this Solo movie which is why it needed to stay on schedule even after the previous directors were fired and Ron Howard was brought on to fix things. It’s also why I believe that the last movie of the modern trilogy, Episode 9 now directed by J.J. Abrams was pushed out into 2019—because Lucasflim needed to see how audiences reacted to new story elements in this new Solo movie.
I don’t think Kathy Kennedy or Bob Iger are all that happy with the direction of Solo: A Star Wars Story, I think they’d love to have a much more progressive film with less male characters acting so strongly. That’s a very educated guess on my part, but business is business. If you are running a movie company that makes Star Wars movies and you intend for them to transcend modern politics, then they need to be timeless stories, and this new Han Solo movie needed to be more of a classic western than a modern progressive version of Guardians of the Galaxy. I watched Kathy Kennedy at the Cannes press events and I think she is breathing a bit better now—she really needs to pull in at least a billion dollars off this Han Solo movie to justify everything they’ve done with Star Wars since Disney bought it in 2012. She made serious mistakes putting top-heavy female characters into Star Wars and making really stupid comments like she did to the New York Times where she said she didn’t care about male Stars Wars fans—which traditionally have been the primary support of the franchise for over four decades now. There was always room for women in Star Wars, but they couldn’t just take everything over and get away with it. The backlash against Kathy Kennedy in general has been harsh. And Bob Iger is an anti-gun liberal, so it’s probably tough for him to see all these posters of Han Solo pointing a gun out into the horizon, but that’s the character and that’s what people want to see in movies, and putting politics aside, Lucasfilm and Disney have given fans what they want—which is a very good thing.
I will likely give a very long and detailed review on the 24th of May which will articulate many, many things that I think are superb about this new kid’s movie which I think will capture the hearts of so many people in a very positive way. It’s not just the movie that I’m happy about, but what will come out of it creatively. Mythology has always been the center of any advanced culture and when a story works—it advances everything from arts and sciences, to politics and philosophy. And after watching that standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, I am quite sure that we are all about to see something very special.
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