I liked Solo. Others did not. And that divisive nature continues now that the film is available for home viewing. To celebrate the digital release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, co-writer Jon Kasdan took to Twitter to reveal 52 notes he had on the film. They offer a fascinating, yet problematic, view of the film.
Kasdan announced there were 53, but there are actually only 52 on his list. They run the gamut from interesting and insightful, to curious and disappointing. Here they all are if you care to read them on their own, and we’ll discuss below.
Again, the majority of these notes are really interesting and cool. Take number 14, for example: Kasdan explains that originally, Beckett and his crew left Han and Chewie on Mimban, so the duo had to steal a ship and go after them. That sounds like a super fun idea, but the scene was never shot because it would have been too expensive. In the movie, it’s one of those moments where Beckett almost caves too easily—so here, Kasdan’s note explains why that’s so.
Another interesting one is 18, which explains that at certain points in the writing, Dryden Vos’ base wasn’t a ship, but more like a castle, complete with canals and moats. There was going to be an action scene featuring Lando racing a boat through it. But, much like 14, the idea was deemed too expensive and time-consuming.
Number 47 is also super cool. Kasdan says that in several drafts of the script, Enfys Nest’s number two was none other than the bounty hunter Bossk! Kasdan loves Bossk and fought for it, but it got overruled.
However, while those points give us some intriguing background on the making of the film, there are a few on the opposite side of the spectrum. Number 4 explains that Han faking out Lady Proxima with the “thermal detonator” was a story he later told Leia, which is why she did it for real in Return of the Jedi. Cute connection? Not really. This is a great example of something many felt was a huge problem with Solo: that the film didn’t need to have scenes explaining things that didn’t need explaining. Arguments like “We didn’t need to know why he calls him Chewie, how he got his blaster, or why his last name is Solo,” etc. This, however, feels even more egregious because it’s retroactively giving Han, a man, credit for Leia’s great idea. An idea she’s been credited with for almost 40 years.
Number 17 is also very odd. In it, Kasdan says that “Thandie Newton may actually have been too good and too interesting as Val” and that, because of that, her dying so early in the film felt like a “cheat.” Now, both of those points are absolutely true but they ignore one simple fact: She’s Thandie Fucking Newton! Of course she was “too good and too interesting” for that role. Even though the character’s death was planned very early on, and keeping her alive would have radically changed the film, these notes make it clear Solo was very much in flux through all stages of production. One has to think maybe there could have been a way to create a better balance.
I could keep going, dissecting all of Kasdan’s notes one by one, but I’ll stop there. Ultimately, there are a few bad apples on the list, but it still offers some very interesting, very honest, occasionally problematic insights into the making of one of the biggest movies of the year. We learn more about seeds for a sequel, historical influences on the film, and the dynamic between Chris Miller and Phil Lord as well as Ron Howard. It really is a great read if you’ve got some time.
It’s rare that fans get to learn so much about the inner workings of a Star Wars movie, and Kasdan has revealed that to us. Inadvertently, though, he may have also provided a little more context as to why Solo didn’t reach the heights of its fellow Star Wars films.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is now available for download. The Blu-ray is out September 25.