Cultural Junkdrawer – The 100 (000)th Han Solo Movie Column

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The 100(000)th article about the Han Solo movie shake-up!
Is the Han Solo movie ruined forever?!?!?
Terrible trouble plagues the set of Han Solo film!
I put Han Solo in the title of this article in a shameless play for clicks.
My wild speculation about the future of the entire Star Wars property because of this one thing!
But actually it’s
(My analysis of the analysis of what went wrong with the Han Solo movie)

If you follow internet based geek ramblings or are a Star Wars fan you’ve no doubt heard about the momentous and unprecedented firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the Han Solo movie. This info has, no doubt, challenged the very underpinnings of the way you perceive the world, indeed the universe, at large. “The Star Wars brand is doomed!” you shriek whilst rending your body garments in two. “The world has become chaos with these terrible tidings I have beheld!” said nobody outside of a Ren-fair. “But the Lego Movie was freaking great and the Jump Street movies were funnier than they had any right to be!” you silently sob to yourself alone in a dark seedy bar located in downtown Waynesport, Indiana at nine in the morning after the announcement dropped right in the middle of The Price is Right.

But there were other exclamations made at the announcement. The deafening roar of thousands of computer keyboards being pounded, of video editing machines being fired up, of podcast microphones having “check check” said into them for volume levels. Well, none of those things really make a lot of noise (not even the “check check” really; you don’t want to bury the needle, it’ll distort) but you get the picture I’m painting…

This is the shit that the geekboys (and girls, possibly) live for! In an endless hunt for clicks, eyeballs, catchy titles, and completely biased and uninformed opinions and analysis this was internet gold! What self respecting hack with a toe in the savage competitive waters of the internet based opinion swamp wouldn’t weigh in? Armchair quaterbacking is a favorite pastime and subject matter for geek content providers. Just look at youtube for countless videos on why The new Mummy film is a bust, why Wonder Woman succeeded, the fate of the Batman movie etc. So, being a hack myself and having never shied away from a mercenary attempt to drive traffic I feel obliged, nay, OBLIGATED, to pitch in my two cents worth about what went wrong even though I have no inside info, zero on set scutlebutt, zilch about the inner machinations of Lucasfilm and/or Lord/Miller productions and haven’t viewed a second of filmed footage. In fact the only advantage I have over you, the reader, is years of barely paying attention to my job as a set electrician between craft service visits and knowing that “Red Cup” was the codename for the project a few months ago. Oh and probably having seen Alden Ehrenreich in that Coen Brothers movie last year. In an attempt to be somewhat ethical I’ll take any hard facts or quotes from more respectable news outlets like The Hollywood Reporter and… well it looks like even Vanity Fair is basically copy-pasting THR so I probably don’t have to go much further unless Esquire Latin America scoops everybody as usual.

I’ll start with some tangential analysis about the culture surrounding this potentially limitless windfall for geek podcasters everywhere. Basically it can be summed up with 2 points: 1 – we still feel burned. I think we can all agree that the Star Wars prequel trilogy was pretty bad. It started with “Holy crap was that a stinker and what the fuck was up with that duck lizard thing with obvious brain damage?” of Phantom Menace to the ‘Well at least this one has that Boba Fett-esque Jango guy, Samuel Jackson has a purple lightsaber, and those long necked blue aliens are strangely arousing but it’s still pretty awful” of Attack of the Clones to “Compared to the others this one is marginally competent but that ain’t sayin much” of Revenge of the Sith. Face it; our faith in the franchise was deeply, deeply shaken. So deep in fact that some fans were expecting The Force Awakens to bomb out and when it didn’t were not about to give any leeway over its success. There were less grumblings about Rogue One but even then people were pointing at the reshoots as a clear sign that the franchise was creatively bankrupt. Now with the firing of Lord/Miller from the Han Solo solo movie a lot of burned fans can point and say “Look, look I was right all along this franchise is building up suck!” Now your love or hate of of the last two Star Wars movies is up for debate and (probably not Phil) lord knows plenty of digital ink has been spilled over such conversations but essentially we (the royal we, that is) haven’t forgiven Lucasfilm for Eps 1-3 and just like dad’s admission that he voted for Trump or some network putting a new Kevin James show on-air we expect to be disappointed sooner than later.

2 – It’s no fun if something big isn’t coming apart. This may come as a surprise to you but Star Wars is big. You don’t get your own Campbell’s chicken noodle soup with stormtrooper and BB-8 shapes if you’re not Star Wars big. You don’t get a whole futureland remodel into your own land at Disney parks unless you’re Star Wars big. You don’t get your own baseball stadium night unless you were a sports figure who died of some shit like polio or Star Wars big.

Han Solo

This whole not shaving during playoffs is getting out of hand.

Big, get it! And when something is as big as Star Wars there are many many people who have made careers out of taking chunks out of said big thing. If problems arise during a production, like in the Han Solo movie, it is the entertainment reporting equivalent of blood in the water. A whole bunch of metaphorical sharks in the metaphorical water just got huge metaphorical shark chubbies over the fact that not everything has gone smoothly. This is by no means exclusive to entertainment reportage but that’s a whole different column unto itself. Basically “if it bleeds it leads”! There is nothing to talk about when things go as smoothly. There are no twenty minute youtube analysis with cute animatics for “We got twenty set-ups done today and a PA sprained her ankle” news. Even if twenty set-ups is impressive, it’s not the right kind of impressive. “Film crew applauds when Ron Howard is announced as replacement for Lord and Miller” is the kind of copy that’s juicy enough to click through to. This is the way news has always been; you never saw a film clip with a old timey newsie kid proclaiming “Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Everything is A-OK!” No, some mobster had to be machine gunned down on like, groundhog day, to get that “Stop the presses!” thing happening. The only difference is now there is a twenty four hour news cycle so the volume is turned up. Lord and Miller getting fired in late production is newsworthy but the signal to noise ratio is way disproportionate. Remember the bad buzz that started because of Edgar Wright leaving Ant Man. The Ant Man movie came out of it ok but lo, there was a lot of “Marvel will finally fail in a movie” talk when that happened. I have even seen articles bringing up Josh Trank’s failed Star Wars movie and Gareth Edwards having reshoots for Rogue One mentioned in several articles. Like Trank wasn’t booted over Fant4stic Four and his erratic behaviour on set and Rogue One didn’t make over a billion dineros worldwide. Granted some signs do point to a production culture championing house style and not (as touted by Kathleen Kennedy a few years ago) singular visions from up and coming talents but there seems to be a skew towards bleaker-than-things-really-are in the press.

I’ll also add the addendum that making movies is pretty f’n HARD; just getting all the moving parts to work on a regular basis is somewhat of a miraculous feat. Tons of equipment, miles of sets and locations, hundreds of crew in dozens of departments, flocks of executives all trying to be noticed and take credit (mostly interfering), countless variables all need to gel together to create something from nothing. Hard enough on a regular show but add in the weight of expectations coming with a STAR WARS movie and all the attendant scrutiny from outside forces makes the act of creating doubly hard. That’s not even mentioning that every director’s process is different (like all other art forms). Lord/Miller’s process grated, heavily, against Kennedy and Co process. These things happen.

When friends have asked me what I think about Ron Howard taking the helm my response is “Ron is a pro; he’ll have things back on track and the production will be completed in a timely and competent manner.” Even the press, begrudgingly, have reported that most of the Lord/Miller material is “Highly useable”. So, it’s not like production has to scrap the whole thing and start over. Howard has years and dozens of films under his belt plus a stunning array of baseball caps. Reshoots are a given but considering that the director spun gold out of the dross of The Davinci Code odds are good that Han Solo will be a great movie though somewhat muted stylistically. Also this opens up the opportunity for a hella lotta Arrested Developement narration for Han Solo memes.

Han Solo

Ron in Narration voice: “Yes, Han agreed, Luke and Leia were close.”

I could recount the boring details of this little drama but the truth is it’s not that dramatic. All the hand wringing is coming from outside the circle of production. Larry Kasdan was understandably upset about his script being improvised around, since he did go through the trouble of writing the thing. Consider this though; when you have the likes of Donald Glover and Woody Harrelson on set isn’t it kinda worth letting them play around for a take or two? But hey, nobody asked me and as well they shouldn’t. I’ll be seeing the movie opening weekend regardless.

When I first heard that Lord/Miller were doing Han Solo I was excited; Lego Movie was amazing and I laughed like crazy at the Jump Street movies. Hell, I even watched Son of Zorn to the bitter end (in truth it was really finding its groove in the second half of the season, oh well). If the sensibilities had blended better this would be a pretty unique movie. Sadly that’s not to be. Maybe they’ll jump back on… then walk back off… the perpetually stalled Flash movie again. It’ll give all of us armchair quarterback geeks something to gnash our teeth about in the future.

So, finally, here’s what I think about this whole drama surrounding the Han Solo movie; Doo doo happens!

What went down might be unprecedented in some respects, especially for a property as overwhelmingly loved as Star Wars, but there hasn’t been any blood spilled, worse things happen at sea, and in the White House nowadays. The show will go on.

All of this will be a footnote when the first trailer drops (probably before The Last Jedi). Then we get twenty minute youtube breakdowns on two minutes of out of context clips, heaps of praise on Donald Glover, and Chewbacca dick jokes. Gotta keep this geek content hamster wheel going for a few more turns.

I can’t wait.


God, Phantom Menace really did suck!

Sure Force Awakens is a soft reboot of A New Hope but I can’t blame Disney for hedging their bets when Billions were spent and future Billions were on the line.

I wonder if this movie is going to address the popularity of vests among the Corellian ship captains.

The movie is still the Untitled Han Solo Movie because I figure Star Wars: The Han Solo… solo movie doesn’t quite flow.

I really would’ve loved to see Edgar Wright’s take on Ant Man but then again I’d love to see Wright’s take on just about anything.

For a restrained, all points considered review check out our own Sean Mulvihill’s review of Edgar Wright’s new F’n AWESOME flick Baby Driver HERE.

Wookies were one of the few civilizations that, because of so much hair, developed drain clog removal technology before the wheel.

Josh Trank troubles with Star Wars sprang from a totally different problem. If you didn’t follow the tumultuous timeline of last year’s doomed (ha ha) Fantastic Four movie check out both PT1 & PT2 pt two has a completely documented, factual conversation that took place at Lucasfilm that indirectly affected Josh Trank’s hopes of a Boba Fett movie.

When I say “factual” I mean “alternative facts” factual or as the biased liberal media would label it “Totally untrue”.

Here’s another Arrested Development narration/Star Wars meme:

Han Solo

Han: “Jabba, I’m gonna pay you back!”
Narrator: “He never paid him back.”

Lord and Miller should watch “Lost Soul: The doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Doctor Moreau” for some meta jokes about this whole affair.

Everyone else should watch this doc for perspective on how shit can REALLY go south on a film production.

I really did like Son of Zorn too bad about the cancellation. But at least when my Funko pops of Zorn get vaulted they might be worth something.

Speaking of Funko Pops here’s my wish list for SDCC exclusives: Doctor Who – Clara, The Tick, Rick and Morty – Tinkles (with ghost in a jar), Harry Potter – Luna Lovegood and Harry playing quidditch. HMU at [email protected] if you want to sell me these pops for a reasonable price.

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