Angry White Males are Sinking Disney: A bad decision to go to war with half the population over politically progressive ideas

Even if it doesn’t impact you directly dear reader, the civil war at the middle of the Star Wars debate is at the center of the most important aspects of all our lives. As everyone knows by now, the latest Star Wars movie did dreadfully bad at the box office. Solo: A Star Wars Story I thought was one of the best Star Wars movies, if not the very best one, but the fan base was and remains impossibly split on the topic and the brand has taken a hit that I don’t think it will ever recover from. That is very sad, because of all the good potential that there has been over Star Wars. I of course still enjoy it, likely for me that is mostly because of my grandchildren. I have been willing to overlook a lot of the progressive stuff that are now in the films because I wanted to be able to share those stories with my grandchildren. But with Solo: A Star Wars Story being out in the theaters for almost a month now, and its global box office hasn’t even hit $400 million yet, it’s quite obvious that the battle lines have been drawn and the brand of Star Wars has lost its power and that is really bad for retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Hasbro who have invested heavily in the franchise, but it’s ultimately a killer for Disney who bought Lucasfilm in 2012 only to do what many fans feared would happen, and that was to ruin it for everyone.

Long time readers here might recall the radio broadcasts I did back in 2015 where all this was predicted. Star Wars was never supposed to be a vehicle of progressive ideas, it was always a hot rod version of the space cowboy values of Flash Gordon. There were a lot of white male characters in the story because those were the types of actors who were easy to get on a shoe string budget and everyone made the most of it. While the original films were about ultimately the tyranny of government over individuals which is something all political sides could agree on, the scope of the entertainment enterprise was haughty enough to avoid getting too complicated with details. The target audience was young males 6-12 years of age and the formula worked. It was popular because dads could share the experience with sons and there was enough fun there for the girls if they wanted to come along and make the whole thing a good family event. But Disney and Lucasfilm together sought from the very beginning to change Star Wars into the very toxic realm of identity politics where girls took over the role of males and people of color were purposely inserted into the storylines with an activist intention directed to Star Wars fans that they would accept those types of things or they simply wouldn’t get anymore Star Wars, almost like a parental figure bribing a kid to be quiet or they wouldn’t get any chicken nuggets from a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

The big mistake Star Wars made under the Disney ownership was that they joined in the progressive attack against angry white males and specifically the value that males bring to the world. We are living in an age where boys and men are literally attacked all the time over everything, and many of them are sick of it. The election of Donald Trump has been a boomerang effect that many never counted on, but guess what, men make up half of the global population. Attacking them is probably going to have an impact on the bottom line of any business because once men get the idea that they are being punished for something, they are going to take it personally, and that is exactly what has happened to Star Wars. Girls are girls, they really don’t care about fighting and wars, they have concerns about procreation and being nurturing figures. They aren’t the people who supported Star Wars, they often went along because they were interested in the boys who were interested in Star Wars. Disney’s biggest mistake was in thinking that if they centered the Star Wars films on women that the boys would stick around for the space ships, and that is not what happened at all. The boys and men have just rejected it all together, and by the time that Lucasfilm realized the error and tried to correct it with Solo: A Star Wars Story, it was too late.

I feel bad for Kelly Marie Tran who played the most divisive role in any Star Wars film with Rose in The Last Jedi. (See my article titled, Blame Fat Asian Chicks) for my take on her role in killing Star Wars. It’s not her fault personally, she was put into that role by the producers and the effect was just explosively negative. This past week she has had to remove herself from social media because of all the harassment she is getting which has then led to many of the Star Wars alums defending her which really has only made the situation worse because it keeps feeding the narrative. And now that Solo: A Star Wars Story has lost so much money, there is even more anger at those “angry white men” who simply didn’t go to the theater to see the Disney product—the potential loses here are in the billions of dollars, which is exactly where I warned Disney they didn’t want to be if they stayed on their progressive path as indicated way back in 2012 and 2013. People would not support Star Wars if it went from a story of hope for anyone no matter what sex or color and turned into an “anybody but white males” extravaganza of pointless resistance. The metaphor for The Last Jedi couldn’t be more girlish—all the great men are dead, Han Solo and Luke specifically, and the whole movie is about women in charge running out of gas only to turn the ship around at the end and kill themselves with a big human sacrifice. At least three of the main female characters in the movie sacrificed themselves in the movie for really no other reason than they were being outmatched and dominated by their male counterparts and that was not an exciting message to inspire audiences to spend vast amounts of money on the experience. The Rose character was dropped into the Star Wars story to obviously appeal to people who weren’t Barbie doll beautiful, which is always a concern with square hipped middle-aged women on their last few eggs who feel like their best years of attracting the pollen of a hungry young bee are behind them, so they become angry political activists who start hating men not for what they are, but because those men are no longer interested in them sexually. This progressive radicalism starts to become all they see in everything, and that’s why The Last Jedi happened, and completely divided up the fan base. It’s one thing to allow those emotions to govern your life, it’s quite another when they get mixed up in a multibillion dollar franchise that has the lives of lots of people attached to it. People like Kelly Marie Tran get caught in the crossfire which really wasn’t fair to them, but it is what it is.

This is important because it’s the most obvious sign of things to come in the war between progressivism and traditional white men—and males in general. The desire to turn men into something other than what they are has backfired in the worst way for Disney and they’ve taken something that could have been really wonderful and turned it into a mess. While Bob Iger did a great job setting the table for his company of Disney and the shareholders assumed that he and everyone else knew what they were doing, they made a fatal mistake—they assumed that Star Wars could hold all these progressive messages and that the franchise would still make a billion dollars a picture. Instead they have put themselves on the front end of the down turning progressive movement, and I say down turning because the Donald Trump presidency is changing the nature of politics and the Disney Company is on the outside of that change. Disney instead of truly being an all-inclusive company has chosen to go after the Starbucks type of crowd believing they were the future and they did so at the expense of the Chick-fil-A crowd who are filled with those crazy religious angry white males. But those are also the same people who grow up and have families with expendable income who will spend $10,000 on a Disney vacation in one of their theme parks. And now that doesn’t look to be the case. The Starbucks people are bums, people who loaf around and want things for free, they won’t be dropping millions of dollars on the new Star Wars Land at Disney World. And now because of their actions at putting progressive activism into the new Star Wars movies, the angry white guys who do like to eat at Chick-fil-A, who voted for Donald Trump, and who are typically the type of people who get and hold jobs won’t be participating, and that is bad, bad news for Disney. A terrible miscalculation on their part, which I tried to warn them against. But they didn’t listen, until it was too late.

Rich Hoffman
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The Box Office Trouble for ‘Solo’ is Not the Movie’s Fault: Free advice to Disney on how to proceed forward–I just want it to work

I’d like to thank Disney and Lucasfilm for making the new Star Wars film Solo: A Star Wars Story. I am very sorry that financially it didn’t work out the way they needed it to. It was a bold film for them to make in these highly politically charged times and I’m amazed by the product that ended up on the screen. I’ve seen it many times now and after taking some of the emotion out of it, I think it’s the best Star Wars movie to date. It’s certainly in my top ten movies of all time. Part of that is that Han Solo is my favorite character but a lot of it is that it is a wonderful anthology film put together at a breakneck pace that was very positive. The characters are fun, the scenarios entertaining and the scope of it is just jaw dropping. Its science fiction and adventure on a top-tier level and is on par with the first two Indiana Jones films from back in the 1980s. I think the movie will go a long way to repairing the Star Wars brand which was severely damaged by The Last Jedi which came out just 5 months prior. I hope that Disney still gives Lucasfilm the latitude to continue making Star Wars films—because they are valuable. Solo: A Star Wars Story may have fallen short of expectations financially, but I think in the long run will prove to be one of the most important. It may have taken everyone three prior films to find their footing, but they certainly did—unfortunately the fan base was already damaged which played a major part in the poor financial outing of this latest movie.

The hatred and rebellion that many fans showed toward Disney and Lucasfilm prior to the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story is complicated and filled with many contemporary minefields that are specific to our times. I knew what was going on during the second weekend of the film’s release when Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair all did hit pieces on Solo: A Star Wars Story about the weekend box office take before anybody really had a chance to get to the theater. Clearly, they were trying to shape the story as the media picked up and created a narrative that actually contributed to low ticket sales. Many people who I talked to on Saturday June 2nd who had not yet seen the film told me they hadn’t gone because they heard the movie wasn’t very good and was struggling financially, so they were holding out for Jurassic World or seeing The Avengers again. I was thinking that this situation was very much an Ellsworth Toohey moment from the great American novel, The Fountainhead. It didn’t matter how good Solo: A Star Wars Story was, critics intended to torpedo the film due to their own political activism and it was having an impact. People who might otherwise want to see the film weren’t going because they got caught up in the narrative created by the entertainment press that was using the power of their media to instigate more Star Wars films without “white” heroes in them and more gay characters focused on diversity, not unrealistic adolescent popcorn action sequences.

Even with all that against it, a movie like this can still make a billion dollars at the box office, but Solo: A Star Wars Story unfortunately was the victim of a massive rebellion of fan wrath that I was afraid was going to happen. If Solo: A Star Wars Story had come out in December of 2017 and The Last Jedi had come out this past May 25th, the fan base might have been aligned more than it was. But as it stood, the fan base for Star Wars was split and a percentage of fans just were not going to see Solo no matter how much they wanted to. That in itself was complicated as there are many cultural trends locked up in that protest intention—for instance the belief that big companies like Disney should not be in the movie making business to make a profit. But if the real roots of the narrative were explored there was a very legitimate fan complaint that Disney had ejected the previous expanded universe of Star Wars and had stuffed the new era films with political activism that just didn’t fit.

Politics has always been a part of Star Wars, but the vantage point has always been on the big scale. For instance, the Empire was always reminiscent of Nazi Germany and most everyone going to the movies could agree that Hitler and the Nazis were evil. However, these days not even the filmmakers at Disney and Lucasfilm can agree on what a Nazi is. To liberal filmmakers like Jon Kasden and the director Ron Howard, Nazis are Trump Republicans while Republicans from the flyover states see the Empire as the tenants of liberalism. George Soros is the ultimate Emperor in the eyes of the Midwest so there is already a divide in the fan base that was exacerbated by the filmmakers due to their liberal activism, such as Jon Kasden, the writer of Solo: A Star Wars Story letting it leak ahead of the film’s release that the character of Lando was pansexual. I understand why he said what he did—he was looking for a way to appeal to the liberal critics and get better reviews on the Rotten Tomato meter—which didn’t work. But it was worth a shot, I can’t blame him. Then Ron Howard Tweeted nearly the same day a bunch of anti-Trump information that fed into the story of Solo: A Star Wars Story, that the Empire was like the United States and taking over domestic planets against their will. In the Han Solo film, the political activism wasn’t nearly as bad as it was in The Last Jedi, but it was there certainly as a distraction, something that just wasn’t done back in the days of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Once the makers of Star Wars allowed it to be known that they were all liberals, they turned off half the American nation to their product and if the Americans weren’t going to support such a movie then the oversea markets certainly weren’t going to give it a chance.

Then there are the fans who just wanted to protest this film by denying it support. They are angry, and I understand it. I was one of those guys after The Force Awakens. I took a whole year off Star Wars and it was only about a month before Rogue One was released that I decided to give the movie a chance, and it was good and did win my approval. So I decided to give The Last Jedi a chance, which I thought was good enough to enjoy. It’s my least favorite Star Wars movie by far, but it was worth the attention. Solo: A Star Wars Story however won me back. I felt that Lucasfilm and Disney went well out of their way to win back fans, but for many it came too late. So Disney is going to have to keep listening and work hard to build back the fan base. They did for me with Solo, hopefully they stick with it and give people the films they want, not the political activism that they think the fans will just take so they can get a Star Wars fix—which is what I think Kathy Kennedy got caught doing. She and many of the top executives at Disney thought that Star Wars fans would put up with gay characters, progressive plot points, and the complete eradication of 30 years of books and comics just so they could get another Star Wars movie and that turned out not to be the case. Many people just didn’t even give Solo: A Star Wars Story a chance, they were intent from the beginning to protest the film to force Disney to make executive level decisions about the entire franchise.

If I were Disney I would let Lucasfilm make more films like Solo: A Star Wars Story. I’d set a budget cap at a $150 million and force the filmmakers to stay under it. I wouldn’t let any Star Wars film go up over $200 million assuming that the movies will make over a billion dollars each. That may not be the case even when the fans come back to Star Wars, I’d keep the projects down to something reasonable and focus on rebuilding the franchise, because the nostalgia factor is no longer there. It’s time to make movies that make history not ones that remember it. Solo: A Star Wars Story had both elements in it, and if Disney made more movies like it, the fan base would expand, not contract. But its going to take time, I just hope they have the patience to follow through on it. Three Star Wars movies a year with budgets of $150 million each and a box office take of $500 million each globally would do a lot more for the franchise than one movie a year that makes a billion. It’s just simple math, but the fans need to be fed. If Disney is smart, they’ll give the fans what they want, and then everyone can be happy. Solo: A Star Wars Story was certainly a step in the right direction. The fans will agree once the politics of the moment drift into history. But not until then.

Rich Hoffman

“Chicken in the Pot”: A brilliant ‘Solo’ soundtrack by John Powell

I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story two times in the first 24 hours of its release–it was a day that I’ve long looked forward to. (SEE MY REVIEW HERE)  As I’ve established many times Star Wars for me is an intellectual vacation destination. Some people like to go to the beach and lay out on the sand under a powerful sun to relax, others like to visit other countries and sip mixed drinks from their hotel bar. Personally, I enjoy visiting that galaxy far far away in the movies, music and video games that have sprung from the mythology of Star Wars. There is so much imagination in that vast entertainment option that I find my mind can rest there and enjoy the world they have created. Real life has plenty of challenges and as readers know who read here often, I have a grip on reality that is far more intense than what the average person cares to endure, so I don’t mind sharing some of my little secrets for dealing with excessive amounts of stress, and Star Wars does it for me, especially on the creative side of things. When a new movie comes out on Blu-Ray I enjoy the making of the movies far more than the actual stories because that’s what I most enjoy in Star Wars is the vast creativity those projects generate. And among all the elements that are positive from Star Wars movies is the music, so when a new film hits that I like a lot I usually get the soundtrack at the very first opportunity. It is my favorite part of any good movie I enjoy is listing to the soundtrack of the film, and that is certainly no exception with Solo: A Star Wars Story. John Powell did a great job with it and I have found myself particularly obsessed with one particular part of that musical track, a song called “Chicken in the Pot.” It is the weirdest bit of music that I’ve heard in many years and I just love it.

I loved Solo: A Star Wars Story the first time, but I found the second time even more enjoyable. On that second time I was listening to the soundtrack in the car on the way to the theater and that track 8 song came on and it reminded me of the original cantina song from the original A New Hope soundtrack that has been used so many times over the years for everything that exhibits weirdness in these films. But this was different even for a Star Wars movie, the sound is clearly classic almost Frank Sinatraish only with an eerie female chorus of varying pitches singing in an alien language. Further, in the actual movie when that scene is up our heroes are about to meet the gangster Dryden Vos at his luxury barge and there are lots of exotic people at the bar where these singers are performing. One is a woman of some alien species singing with this strange little guy providing base in a jar of liquid. It was a really unique scene I thought that was spectacularly environmental. It was so weird that it took me a couple of viewings to register it, and I was so happy it ended up on the soundtrack. That is just the kind of music that a place like the new Disney World Galaxy’s Edge is going to need for the fans who participate in their new Star Wars experience next year. John Powell pulled that one out of somewhere to create a new level of creative brilliance.

What makes music like that work is the context, its rooted in our classic Hollywood musicals, but it is certainly distinctly alien. It also nearly sounds like the music is being played backwards which is a hint into the character of the main villain Dryden Vos who appears quite pleasant when he first meets people but if you peel back just a few layers of his behavior he is absolutely brutal—in the calmest fashion possible—a strange mix of contrasts. What’s bold about this new Solo: A Star Wars story is that they are exploring how all these crime syndicates function in the great mythology of the greater Star Wars galaxy, such as the Crimson Dawn and the Pike Syndicate. Its like stepping away from the politics of a film like All the President’s Men and getting to know the details of The Godfather, or even Scarface, which gets into the details of the boots on the ground thugs that are often used for the greater advantages of the top-level politics. The plots are compelling because they are rooted in reality. In the case of Star Wars Dryden Vos is kind of regional player. Everyone is afraid of him, but he’s very quick to suggest that he’s just another small fish in a very big pond. In that scene where we meet Dryden for the first time it’s that music that introduces him. Nothing is as it seems, but yet it’s all right there in front of you.

This is now the second Star Wars film that does not have John Williams scoring it, although he did play a part of the John Powell soundtrack, which is obvious. I was worried about this part of the Solo film experience, but now that I’ve had a chance to listen to the soundtrack a few hundred times over the last 48 hours I am quite happy with it. Music is what sells these stories to our subconscious and we are truly in new territory here with these movies. Very few people really think about what it takes to make a film but it’s always on my mind with regard to projects like this. Hollywood as a whole is a dying culture yet there are people working in it that are brilliant in what they do, like the people who work at Industrial Light and Magic, all the musicians that score all these big movies—people like John Powell out there who are bringing the classics of tomorrow alive today within the context of the film industry. I admire filmmakers in how they employ thousands of people who on something like a Star Wars movie are the best in the business, from the unsung producers who set up everything on these complicated shoots to the people like Powell who get to put their name on a major part of the creative process. I look at each one of these as a small miracle of capitalism that they even happen. If they are financially successful, then more people get to work on a new movie, and I really hope Solo: A Star Wars Story is successful financially so that our culture can get more of these movies. If we get more movies than I get more soundtracks that make daring music like John Powell did in Solo: A Star Wars Story, specifically the track “Chicken in the Pot.” I could listen to that all day long, and if there are many more of these Star Wars movies, there will be quite a collection of unusual music that will emerge from them.

I think we all benefit from these explosions of creativity. As I was watching this latest Star Wars movie on the two occasions within 24 hours of each other on opening day, I saw a lot of happy people buying Star Wars merchandise and enjoying themselves with their families. If that is all that came out of Star Wars, I think that would be enough. But there is more, a lot more and the platform of Star Wars gives some of our most creative people a place to experiment and sometimes those results produce something so unique, like “Chicken in the Pot.” That takes life and elevates its potential by expanding our imaginations in positive ways which advance our species in ways that are so far, immeasurable.

Rich Hoffman
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Solo: A Star Wars Story Review—What a GREAT movie!

Well, that was a lot of fun—a whole lot of fun. I need to see it again, but I think the new Star Wars movie Solo: A Star Wars Story is my favorite film from the franchise and is in my top ten of all time. It reminded me a lot of Raiders of the Lost Ark. In many ways it also reminded me of a kid’s version of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. And it reminded me a lot of Pirates of the Caribbean and likely that was what Disney was thinking by going with this part of the Star Wars franchise. Solo: A Star Wars Story was just pure fun technically executed to perfection. If this was the most expensive Star Wars film ever made requiring something like nine months of shooting to get right—it showed on the screen. I enjoyed the movie as an adult, but really it’s the kids who see this that are in for the biggest treat. In so many ways I thought the film was brilliant. It started with a car chase on Han Solo’s home planet of Corellia and ended with a card game where Han wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando—but what happened in between was pretty magnificent on the scale of adventurous fun and special effects achievement. Solo: A Star Wars Story is one of those movies that you come out of the theater feeling good about seeing, and it’s certainly one that will be the most fun to watch over and over again once it hits the home theater market. This for me personally is the Star Wars film that I’ve always wanted to see and it actually went a few steps further—which was refreshing.

There are movies over the years that were defined by just a few scenes, such as in Jurassic Park in 1993 where we first saw a T-Rex eat its way through the fence of its holding cell during a thick downpour of rain. Or in 1981 in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones climbs under the truck that is trying to run over him—Solo: A Star Wars Story has several moments like that in it. The two that most come to my mind is when the Millennium Falcon was caught in the gravity well of the Maul during the Kessel Run and a giant monster was trying to eat them in space. The effects and story elements were just jaw dropping beautiful. Then the second is the stand-off between Han Solo and Tobias Beckett near the end where it is recorded for all time, “Han Shot First,” without question. Put that controversy to rest forever, and I thought it was a very powerful moment in these very political times where PC seems to ruin everything. With Han Solo being such a practical, no-nonsense guy, shooting first is a logical thing to do, and it was very satisfying to see him unflinchingly do so. I think it was on par with the time that Indiana Jones shot the swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark, also written by this Solo screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

When George Lucas decided to re-edit the Han Solo scene shooting Greedo in A New Hope he was giving in to political pressure that was coming from the anti-gun crowd. Lucas wanted to make sure that Han Solo wasn’t considered a blood thirsty murderer which can sometimes be a very fine line between a sparkling hero who just shoots a villain. If everyone can’t agree that a villain is a villain one person’s hero is another person’s murderer, so George Lucas made sure that Greedo shot first in the 1997 Special Editions of his original Star Wars Trilogy. Making the decision to have Han shoot first in this film to end the life of a main character was quite a statement and now an issue that as been bouncing around among Star Wars fans for many years is settled. Han Solo will have forever be known to have shot first—which is consistent with his character. As a person who has seen hundreds of westerns over the years, I thought it was an extremely well-done scene that felt oddly good. I would go see this movie another 20 times at the theater just to watch that one scene. I put it on my scale of fantastic cinematic events in the top ten—perhaps the top five. This movie would have been good if that’s all that happened in it.

But that was only one small scene. For me the best of the Star Wars movies were sections of A New Hope and the first two-thirds of The Empire Strikes Back. I think I would put this Solo: A Star Wars Story just ahead of those two films because it gives audiences all the fun things without the emotional weight that happened at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, or even The Force Awakens. With Han Solo being one of the best characters it’s no fun to have him frozen like what happened in Empire, or to be killed like he was in Force Awakens. I understand those artistic needs in a film but what makes a prequel like Solo: A Star Wars Story fun is that you know Han is going to live and come out on top, so you can just enjoy the ride. In that way I think this is the best Star Wars film made to date because it is lacking the emotional weight of any heavy subject matter—just like the Pirate of the Caribbean movies. Star Wars has certainly contributed to heavy story telling with difficult subject matter, but the roots of the franchise were always well-set in B-movies and Saturday Morning Matinees where viewers knew the hero would live from one cliffhanger to another, but the thing they wanted to really know was how.

In that way this Solo: A Star Wars Story was more like an Indiana Jones film where we knew the hero would find some way out of whatever mess they found themselves in but learning how they’d escape was the real fun. It’s like a fun amusement park ride where it all looks dangerous and you know that when the ride ends, you’ll safely put your feet back on the ground. But during the experience, you are experiencing thrills and chills that you couldn’t get anywhere else. In a lot of ways if we as the audience didn’t know that Han Solo would survive this movie we’d not be able to deal with the suspense of going through so much in such a short period of time. The young life of Han Solo was pretty intense and for lots of emotional reasons, is best viewed in hindsight—as a prequel film. Pretty stunning stuff.

Another movie I kept thinking about during Solo: A Star Wars Story was James Cameron’s Titanic from 1997. Like Solo, it had a troubled production, cost overruns and all types of controversy, but Cameron kept his nose down and plowed through the production to what became one of the biggest box office sensations in the history of cinema. On the day of its release which I took a day off work back then to see with advanced tickets that my wife was bewildered that I wanted to see so bad, the critics were all over the picture slamming it for every little thing they could think of. When the film opened, and the word of mouth got out about it, the business exploded for the next six months which was unheard of for films even back then. People wanted that type of optimistic story set against a tragic backdrop and the big downer of course was that Jack had died. The critical appraisal and industry backlash against Lucasfilm for inserting Ron Howard into a movie that was almost done and reshooting 80% of the film with an additional 4 month schedule has all those naysayers smelling blood in the water and the real sharks out there love to take bites out of careers and torpedo films that find themselves in such a situation. But I was just a little stunned at how good Solo was even down to the musical score by John Powell in using vuvuzelas to provide emphasis and some heightened emotion. Vevuzelas are those insect sounding horns that you hear in European soccer stadiums that are constantly buzzing—those horns were used in this movie to a very stunning effect in the background that I thought was very gutsy. The entire production takes those kinds of unique risks that will go down in film history as some of the boldest by a supposedly big commercial company like Lucasfilm and distributer Disney.

One thing that really benefits Solo is the presence of some big names in the business of acting, such as Donald Glover who is presently nearly like Michael Jackson in his popularity. The kid has the number one song in the country and here he is playing Lando Calrissian in the latest Star Wars movie—and he’s having fun with it. Glover isn’t the star, Alden Ehrenreich is. Without question, this is Alden Ehrenreich’s movie and that’s big shoes to fill considering that Emilia Clark is starring in the last season of Game of Thrones filming presently and she is the star of that series which is also filled with fantastic actors—the best of the best. Talk about a tough job not just to overcome the Hollywood legend of Harrison Ford which Ehrenreich did I think quite spectacularly, but in holding his own against some really big stars sharing the screen with him. As much as people want to make this movie about Lando, as it turned out, Lando as played by Glover was the same Lando from The Empire Strikes Back, a swindler, a con artist, and a person of questionable moral authority who is on the check list of revenge for a raging Han Solo at the end of this film. It says a lot about a movie that for a change doesn’t end with a big action sequence that saves the universe from immaculate destruction, but with a card game that in its own subtle ways does save the galaxy. What if Han had not run down Lando at the end of the film to play one last time that game of sabacc. The first Death Star would have killed all the rebels in A New Hope. Princess Leia would have never have gotten away from her raging father in The Empire Strikes Back. The second Death Star from The Return of the Jedi wouldn’t have been destroyed by Lando Calrissian many years after these events in Solo. Rey would have died on Star Killer Base in The Force Awakens and she never would have found Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. In so many ways this sabacc game at the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story was a huge climax, but for a film like this in this day and age where bigger and bigger explosions leave audiences gasping just prior to exiting the theater, this movie slowed down long enough to get to the real heart of the movie, the treasure that Han Solo wanted more than anything else in life—his own starship so that he could earn his freedom finally to live life on the terms he always wanted to live it.

The tragedy of the film is that Han Solo doesn’t get to live happily ever after with his childhood love who turns out to be an agent of evil—sort of. But this isn’t the kind of heart wrenching let down that we see in Titanic and it remains to be seen if a film like Solo can drive big billion-dollar numbers without essentially being a tragedy. I think the answer is a big yes, but producers are following formulas of what has worked in the past basically starting with films like Casablanca and Citizen Kane. To end a movie on a high note is what film schools are teaching their students who then work in the industry as “paying fan service.” Well, yeah, duh. Aren’t these movies made for the fans? Who says that Han Solo has to become a mess because he has lost his girlfriend in this movie to the ambitious revenge plans of Darth Maul? Hey, Han won the ship of his dreams—who needs a woman? And that is pretty much the attitude which is very refreshing in these kinds of movies where Anakin Skywalker was drawn to become Darth Vader because of his love for his secret wife. The ability to shrug off trouble is exactly what makes Han Solo a great character and why these types of Star Wars movies are needed for the franchise. The emotions over the last three films have been too heavy-handed, Luke has died, Han Solo as an elderly figure has died, and all the members of Rogue One died. It’s nice to see a film mostly without heartache for a change that is full of fun and adventure—because most of us have enough of all that in our lives, who wants to pay money to see more of it?

As I said the best parts of Solo: A Star Wars Story are the scenes it recreates from the best parts of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back—the scenes in the cantina in the very first film, the heroics on Hoth in Empire and into the asteroid field which has never been recreated in any film since—in forty years of trying. The price of the entire movie would be worth just watching the Kessel Run, a desperate journey into the Maw of Star Wars legend where a black hole makes passage very dangerous—impossible really. To watch a bold young Han Solo cut off from an exit into the Maw by an Imperial Star Destroyer turn the Millennium Falcon around within a gravity well and to fly back into the worst part of it in order to escape is something that no modern movie can duplicate. It’s not just that there has been a 40 year build up into creating an elaborate mythology about what constitutes a “Kessel Run” but the execution of it on a movie screen is something that has just recently become technically possible—its quite something to see. Why would anybody wait to see a big firework display on the Fourth of July? Because its cool. That’s also why everyone should see Solo: A Star Wars Story at least once, because this one scene of the Kessel Run is just that cool. Luckily, that’s not the only thing worth watching but if you had to pick one thing, that would be it.

The character of Han Solo is something that is very unique, and precious to human creation, there really has never been another character in film or literature like him. You won’t find a comparable character in any Shakespeare literature or within the music of Mozart. The Greeks and Romans never came close in any of their work in creating a foundation for the kind of fearless character that Han Solo is—the boldness and self-confidence that made the character something so many people have loved now for half a century. The only literary reference out of all creative efforts by mankind over our entire history has been the work of Wofram Von Eschenbach’s Parzival in the Middle Ages with a little bit of Lancelot sprinkled in for good measure. George Lucas literally created the character of Han Solo during his racing days where souped-up cars and cruise music filled his mind. After nearly dying in a car crash and deciding to get serious with his life he ran into the work of Joseph Campbell and these stories by Eschenbach and Han Solo was born. The spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone were popular during this period so Lucas put all those strong images of maleness into the character of Han Solo from A New Hope and something really new was born which certainly does deserve its own movie—or series of movies. The character of Han Solo is beyond review for most studied people, because there is no reference for which to place context in the traditional way. Han Solo really isn’t afraid of anything. He is like Parzival in Eschenbach’s epic Arthurian legends in that he knows how to get to the Grail Castle with his hands limp against his horse trusting fate and his raw talent to take him anywhere he needs to go. Getting “there” is never the goal for Han Solo, which is why he always finds himself exactly where he needs to be where heroics are needed. Solo always trusts that he can get out of whatever trouble he finds himself in which makes seeing a movie starring a character like that extremely unusual. Usually what drives a dramatic narrative is the hopes and fears of the protagonists—but in the case of Han Solo he’s really not afraid of anything and he believes anything is possible and it is on that boundless optimism that we as viewers are transported to possibilities that are best experienced in a great movie. That puts Han Solo into a category all his own and makes a movie like this so much more special.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a movie that is special. You don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy it, but if you are, then we are seeing the start of something really positive emerging creatively from the Lucasfilm group. I would place Solo as one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s up there with Raiders of the Lost Ark and even Scarface. It’s a reflection into the way movies used to be made with themes that simply have not been part of the modern theatrical experience. It’s a movie you will want to watch in the future on a home system just to feel good about something. When you are having a bad day, this is the movie you will want to put in and watch for a few hours—its fun, its optimistic and is full of adventure. Additionally, it takes the mythology of Star Wars and really begins the expansion of it in ways that build the brand under the Disney tent like nothing else could. We go places in this film that unlocks thousands of potential stories for the future. If everything we know about Star Wars came out of the first three films done forty years back in the eighties, then this film takes a step into that world to unlock more potential on a scale of 100 times what we’ve known. Simply put, there is a creative impulse to this movie that is so bold and audacious that it is formulative into everything that comes after it, even if those creative endeavors are not Star Wars related. Solo: A Star Wars Story is in a place of its own and shows theatrical leadership in ways that are not only necessary, but excessively refreshing. It is the movie to see if you are going to see one, not just once, but as many times as possible. It’s that good.

Rich Hoffman

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‘Solo’: Making ‘Star Wars’ Great Again

A lot of my readers are millionaires and are people used to having net assets due to long time investment portfolios, so they are rather perplexed why I am making so much over this new Han Solo movie titled Solo: A Star Wars Story. I think it’s one of the most important things going on today in the world, not just because I love Star Wars, and the character of Han Solo—but because culturally it says a lot about our society in general. I think there are many things that are very important about this upcoming movie that are epic not just in the film itself but in the reaction to it that so many sectors of society have invested. With that said, the film is for children. It’s intended to inspire kids from the ages of 5 to 12 and make it so that their families can go see the movie with them. It’s a family film that expands generations, adults who loved these movies as kids can now take their own kids to see a movie that they can all relate to, and that is the miracle of Star Wars in its purest form. As of this writing I haven’t yet seen the picture, but I know what I’m getting in to. I am delighted that Kathy Kennedy and Bob Iger at Disney greenlit this movie and that all those San Francisco progressives that work at Lucasfilm went against their modern political instincts to make a movie about a white guy who is a strong alpha male who shoots guns, has no reverence for the law and likes to fly starships insanely fast. Han Solo is everything that progressive society is trying to eliminate culturally, so I think it says a lot that Lucasfilm and Disney decided to make this particular movie because it’s what the fans have always wanted—its what the story of Star Wars demands and they went with it, and it took a lot of guts. The fact that these filmmakers made this movie about this kind of character goes a long way to fixing problems I had with both Lucasfilm and Disney—and I admire them for extending that branch. I could easily think that based on what I know about the movie that they made it just for me. But that would be a bridge too far—they made it for kids—a new generation of fans that they want to appeal to the Star Wars brand, and they fully intend to make a lot of money while they do it—which is the name of the game. Personally, I am delighted about this movie in every way possible from the money it will make to the product it delivers.

But I warned about this a long time ago on a radio show I did for 1600 WAAM in Ann Arbor, Michigan when after The Force Awakens came out where I was concerned that Bob Iger and Kathy Kennedy were going to divide the Star Wars fan base by eliminating the extended universe, the many books and comics that had been made to continue the storyline over the last thirty years. Then there was the incident where Kathy Kennedy said she didn’t care about the male fans of the Star Wars fan base to a New York Times reporter, which didn’t go over well. Additionally, she allowed The Last Jedi to be a very progressive film that was bordering on Cloud Atlas in sentiment which was only saved by the score of John Williams and the great visual effects of Industrial Light and Magic. The fans were mad at Kathy Kennedy after The Last Jedi because she had betrayed them and now they are on a mission to destroy her at Lucasfilm, wanting to boycott this new Star Wars film, Solo: A Star Wars Story to force Disney to fire her.

I am rather shocked at the vitriol over this film—the activists are really the same type of people who make up the Antifa protestors in politics, they have hit the Rotten Tomatoes site trying very hard to put up bad scores to hurt the film financially at the box office. Right before the release of the film the “want to see it” score was hovering at around 40% which is really low for any film, especially a Star Wars movie. That says there are enough activists out there mad that their ideas for Star Wars have been destroyed and they are throwing a fit about it. They think if they hurt the Solo film financially that it will force Disney to listen and they will get the kind of movies they want. But of course, most of these people are idiots and they have no idea how business actually works. They forget that these movies are not made to make them happy intellectually or to provide them with the voids for religion that they are seeking. In some cases Star Wars does all those things, but only on an infantile level. Most of the complaints I have been hearing about not just for The Last Jedi but Solo: A Star Wars Story is that its fans want new material to carry them deeper into the mythology. However, that’s not what Disney needs, they require a new fan base to take this whole franchise into the future and if they piss off the long-time fans, they rationalize that they are willing to do that because they need to reach the children. If the adults don’t come along for the ride, then so be it.

You can tell that most of these protestors are of the millennial age because they say all those dumb things they learned in public schools—that money, or making money is some kind of evil enterprise and that Disney should be making these movies out of the kindness of their hearts—sacrificing profit for the greater good. No, that’s not how things work in the real-world people, Star Wars movies are and have always been about making money—lots of money. They sell ideas and images in exchange for profit which they then use to expand the reach of those things. If people want to see an art film, as many critics think they do, then go to Sundance and watch all those art movies. But Star Wars is a huge commercial enterprise designed to drive many other commercial enterprises and that’s part of the fun of it. Let me explain this to everyone, even though Disney leans to the political left these days, they are not evil. They are a company designed to make money and from what I have witnessed with them, they listen to what fans want and they try to give it to them—because they want to make money. They aren’t trying to make a bunch of 30-year-olds who still live with their parents happy because their mothers over coddled them all their lives and the people they talk to at GameStop agree with them. Money and the making of it is not “evil,” as they taught you in public school. Let’s get that straight right now.

As to the industry news, many of the critics out there and newspapers they work for are all into the kind of fake news that has led a campaign against the Donald Trump presidency. In many ways if Solo: A Star Wars Story breaks the $300 million mark globally over this Memorial Day weekend in spite of all the efforts the protestors have attempted to stop it, it will truly be a moment where the Star Wars franchise will be made great again, just as Donald Trump has made it his effort to “Make America Great Again.” On election night in 2016 people elected a person that all the industry analysts projected would lose terribly to Hillary Clinton. The labor unions in the entertainment industry have their hands in everything which is why movies these days have moved in such a progressive direction. If the fans are mad at Kathy Kennedy for screwing around politically with Star Wars, the labor unions are mad at her as an executive at Lucasfilm who fired the original two directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. There is a very interesting article in Indiewire linked below that goes into more detail, but the gist is this, labor unions don’t like to see people getting fired, and when Ron Howard was brought in to fix Solo, so that it would be a profitable film, and not some comic art piece, the battle lines were drawn and Kennedy couldn’t make anybody happy. But I give her credit for putting the effort into making a profitable film that would be loved for years instead of a film critics enjoy.

http://www.indiewire.com/2018/05/solo-a-star-wars-story-phil-lord-chris-miller-original-film-1201967484/

With hindsight being 20/20 it would have been smart for Kathy Kennedy to keep the fans to her back. I think the power of her position and her feminist nature got Star Wars off to a rough start through the first three films under her control, The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi. But I’ll give her credit, she put her finger to the wind and made adjustments and this movie Solo: A Star Wars Story is the result, and I think its going to be great. Like I said, I feel like she made the movie just for me. But I know better than that—she made it for lots of kids around the world that want to see and live through this character a very exciting life. And I think it will be so good that it will overcome all the protests and negative press that is highly politically motivated. I remember what it was like to see movies like this back in the late 70s and early 80s. There is a good reason that nobody makes movies like this anymore—because there are parasitic fan bases that want movies to mean more to them then they really do—and they are always disappointed. It’s hard for filmmakers to sit down in a concept meeting and quiet all that noise and to make a movie like Solo: A Star Wars Story—a fun movie that doesn’t deal with changing character arcs and relish in a bunch of progressive themes such as whether or not Lando is pansexual. This movie and all movies are about the joys of capitalism and the fun that can be found in a good character that takes everyone for a nice ride for a couple of hours—and that’s what Solo is. And that excitement sells toys, amusement park experiences, and an expansion into more mythology such as books, comics and even more movies. When people ask why anybody needed a movie about Han Solo the answer is because at the heart of all Star Wars movies is Han Solo. He’s the only character who ever really had his head on straight and if Lucasfilm wanted in their wildest fantasies to make Star Wars great again—they needed to turn to Han Solo—in his pure, overly optimistic form, even if it meant pissing off everyone so that it could win everyone’s hearts all over again much to their eventual benefit.

Rich Hoffman
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Why I’m So Excited for Han Solo’s Movie: A brief history of cinema and the progressive attempts to control the messaging of American values


If you study any ancient society—or any society at all for that matter, scientists and historians always find a way to rationalize their successes or failures on a few key elements. They will proclaim a civilization may have been successful because of their proximity to water, or key trade routes. Or fertile soil, access to natural resources, abundance of food—those types of things. The truly great societies are often judged by the artists they produced and the literature they performed. In a lot of ways entire societies are judged based on the written works produced by their cultures, such as in England with William Shakespeare, or Ireland’s James Joyce. But we don’t really have enough history yet to properly understand how our modern age of great art and entertainment will recoil through the ages, because most of it is so new. American movies for instance are underplayed in their importance to how they shape world culture—because they essentially have only been around for a century, so the effects on people as a whole are still being determined. But I have a pretty good idea how those results will be determined as judged by time and it is for that reason that I am so excited when a new film comes out that I know will be a game changer in the way that art shapes society. That is why I am so excited for this new Solo: A Star Wars Story as it is being produced by Disney. Something very different is going on with this one and if it turns out the way I’m thinking, there will be shock waves percolating through the industry as a whole that will favor the political trajectory of the modern Donald Trump age—and that’s a really good thing.  To get a good idea of what I’m talking about read this fine movie review about Solo: A Star Wars Story in Forbes.  I don’t think I could have written a better one.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2018/05/18/review-solo-a-star-wars-story/#48a5365b7dd8

Over that same century that movies came to be as a form of new art and entertainment liberals under the umbrella of progressivism made their move to spread tyrannical socialism to every corner of the world. Movies didn’t always reflect this socialism because the cultures they were speaking to had emerged before the progressive move to take over the world essentially. Westerns specifically were a group of movies that told stories of Americans yearning for freedom at any cost and the values that could be inflicted on large tracts of unpopulated land with the barrel of a gun pointed at a bad guy, and on the backs of that concept, Hollywood was essentially born. It was westerns that propelled the film industry into being such an important artistic endeavor that became the envy of the world. Not only had America created this interesting artistic machine known as Hollywood that mass-produced art and entertainment in such an excessive capitalist fashion. But it could do so in seemingly infinite quantities quickly spreading the culture of a free North America to every part of the world that had electricity.

Progressives saw this power and sought to take it over starting before World War II but really beginning to succeed in the late 1960s. But some of the best films of that time still came from filmmakers who made movies in the traditional way of Hollywood before the liberal invasion and it was those films that carried Hollywood into the modern age financially. Star Wars is a great example of the type of America that used to show up in the movies of its culture—B movies made quickly and cheaply for Saturday Morning Matinee entertainment. George Lucas was often derided by his peers in the film industry for wanting to make such old-fashioned throwbacks to the old westerns and science fiction films of his own youth—yet the Hollywood liberals built and industry around the commercial success of those movies and the history of all that is well-known.

Fast forward to my excitement in 2012 when I found out that there were going to be more Star Wars movies because Disney had bought the franchise from George Lucas for $4 billion dollars and I had high hopes. I also had my concerns which I expressed to everyone who would listen, including the key people at Lucasfilm. I did not like The Force Awakens not just because they had killed the character of Han Solo, but because they had cheapened that very popular fan favorite into a much weaker progressive character as was reflective of the attempt by Hollywood to follow a more progressive political agenda for which they sought to take over the entertainment industry in the first place. But I kept my mind open because I knew they were planning to make a Han Solo movie in the future so I stayed on the ship awaiting the results of that to figure out if I would continue to support the artistic efforts of Star Wars in the future—or relegate that it had died with the Disney acquisition. Thankfully I am quite happy to say, the financial viability of Star Wars as a business has won out and the filmmakers at Lucasfilm and Disney have come to terms with what works and what doesn’t in that particular universe of storytelling—which is essentially the values of the traditional westerns in America, and they have unleashed all that into this new Han Solo movie.

That’s important because Solo: A Star Wars Story is not about social justice, or the mysticism of religions—its not about altruism and all that garbage—its much more of an Ayn Rand type of story which is what I have always said was the core value system of Star Wars. Han Solo has always been and will always be best when he reflects more a character that would be written by Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged than from Les Misérables. Star Wars fails when it tries to be reflective of European literature more than American bravado and that lesson has been reluctantly unleashed in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is all about guns, getting rich and taking care of the character’s self-interests.

Of course, the liberal aspects of Hollywood are hoping that this Solo: A Star Wars Story will fail at the box office, and for that to happen the industry will pounce on any numbers that don’t reach a billion dollars globally, or under $600 million domestically. Anything short of that and this Solo movie will be destroyed in the press much the way Donald Trump’s presidency is under constant attack because it threatens the status quo. But as I have been saying for many, many years—Star Wars is best when it is about all the things I described this upcoming movie to be as opposed to the self-sacrifice and general altruism of the Jedi and the Skywalker portions of the saga. Without Han Solo, I’d say there is no Star Wars. So to their credit, they listened at Lucasfilm and Disney has not been shy with the money and has thrown their full weight behind this movie knowing that it goes against the general strategies of the progressive community. And they had to do it because economic necessity dictated that they protect the property of Star Wars from the politics of the modern age. The last time I saw Disney market this hard for something like a western was The Lone Ranger in 2013, which was financially successful, but was considered a big bomb at the box office. If I had to bet, I’d say that is why Bob Iger has been nowhere near the early previews of Solo: A Star Wars Story. He is keeping one foot in the world of deniability. But I don’t think he’ll have to throw anybody under the bus. I think this new Star Wars movie will make everyone happy at Disney, even if it does give them a political paradox to deal with.

Progressives would love to assume that they can shape culture—which is why they wanted to take over the movie business. Films were to reflect the cultures they came from and the values expressed which is what other nations wanted to see in American movies. People get excited to see things they can’t get at home or yearn to become themselves, so they enjoyed the lofty characters of the American westerns who shot first and asked questions later, who did whatever they had to do to get rich so they could live free of the rest of the tyrannical world. Thinking of the great Sergio Leone movies from the late 1960s, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and For A Few Dollars More, the filmmakers were from Italy making westerns as they interpreted them, as a way out of the fascism that their country had just emerged from and the character emphasis wasn’t on saving the world or even a damsel in distress, it was in using a gun to get rich and live happily ever after alone and disconnected from the rules of society. That was always the allure of the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies, that is why the Fast and Furious movies make so much money, and that is the commitment behind Solo: A Star Wars Story.

With this being the fourth Star Wars story produced by Kathy Kennedy as the new head of Lucasfilm economic necessity has dictated a more traditional approach to their films. That is a great thing because it informs what the true values of our culture are which addresses at the most epistemological level values that are conducive to a successful modern culture reflective in movies, and not where Hollywood shapes culture. The values of people are inherit and they need to form their lives around those values—that is self-interest, acceptance of capitalism as the primary driver for success and improved lives. What could be a better message in Star Wars than a black character called Lando Calrissian who loves wealth and the fine things in life and became an extraordinarily successful businessman? Solo: A Star Wars Story may be the first movie in several decades that doesn’t demonize the acquisition of wealth. I doubt the movie will do well in China for that very reason, but that’s OK. Lucasfilm made this movie and hopefully people support it the way I’ve always said they would. I can say this, I am excited for it—for all these reasons and more. I think it’s a game changer that could very well alter the way Hollywood produces films, and that is not good for the progressive elements which have taken over. Like the presidency of Donald Trump, Star Wars is rooted in old-fashioned values, and that was something that Hollywood has wanted to destroy but find that they must reconcile with if they want to live into the future. I never honestly thought I’d ever see a Hollywood product like this movie, where guns are as much of the plot as the pursuit of personal wealth and freedom. But here it is, and my hope is that people show up and support it, because it took a lot of guts to make it—and for Lucasfilm and Disney—it’s a tremendous gamble that could pay off big for them—and the rest of us.

Rich Hoffman
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‘Solo’ Gets a Standing Ovation at Cannes: Mythology and culture are on expanding in a very positive way

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.

Rich Hoffman
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