The original inspiration for a screenplay can come from many different things. For some it might be a vague image, such as James Cameron’s fevered dream of nuclear devastation, leading to the creation of The Terminator.
Or maybe there’s a desire to exploit a new type of film-making, which would result in films such as The Blair Witch Project or Avatar.
Or perhaps it could even be as weird as what Spielberg did and base a film on an imaginary friend! (a la E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial)
But what interests me about the upcoming 2019 Han Solo film is not just its original inspiration, but what that could mean for the plot of said film.
Unlike say, Rogue One, which was based around the specific story of showing the theft of the Death Star plans; the Han Solo movie seems to have willed its way into existence based purely on the popularity of a pre-existing character.
This in itself isn’t that unusual as they have been many films that spin off popular characters. The Pink Panther sequels are a good example as Inspector Clouseau wasn’t the main character in the original film.
The problem is character spin-offs are rarely well developed. Mainly this is because the story has to be written around a character, as opposed to creating characters in order to bring a story to life.
Just look at films such as 2010’s Get em to the Geek or that ridiculous 2002 extravaganza known as The Scorpion King. Regardless of which character you follow, the need for a strong singular story-line is paramount. While it still may be nearly two years away from the silver screen, is the second Star Wars spin-off in danger of falling into the same trap?
According to a recent article by Deadline, Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, has revealed a few interesting tidbits about the film. Namely the spin-off will have Han Solo:
“acquiring a certain vehicle and meeting a certain Wookie…You’ll also discover how he got his name.”
So not only will Han Solo (or whatever he’s called) become the new owner of the Millennium Falcon and meet his new BFF Chewbacca; but we also know from previous interviews that he’ll also be meeting Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) for the first time.
While I’m sure many Star Wars fans would love to see these moments realised on the big screen, they are exactly that: moments. Small ideas that are fun to think about, but not really a unique story or driving force. As disjointed as Rogue One was, at least there was a singular goal to its name.
Now, to be fair, this film is being directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. That alone is enough to give them the benefit of the doubt in my book. After all, if you can make a successful film out of raining hamburgers, Lego toys and an 80s police procedural, you’ve pretty much got this film-making thing down, haven’t you?