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SOLO - A STAR WARS STORY

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a 2018 American Sci-Fi-Western based around the Star Wars character Han Solo, though also featuring his original trilogy co-protagonists Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. Directed by Ron Howard, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the second Star Wars anthology film following Rogue One (2016). Alden Ehrenreich stars as Han Solo alongside Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany. The film explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca, who join a heist within the criminal underworld ten years prior to the events of A New Hope.

At one time Star Wars creator George Lucas planned live-action TV series titled Star Wars: Underworld that would have depicted Han Solo's first meeting with Chewbacca and his winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian. In 2012 Lucas began developing a Han Solo prequel film and commissioned Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay. After Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, Kasdan was hired to write Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), leaving his son Jonathan to complete the Solo script. Principal photography began in January 2017 at Pinewood Studios, directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The duo were fired in June 2017 following "creative differences" with Lucasfilm, and Howard was hired as their replacement. With an estimated production budget of at least $275 million, Solo is one of the most expensive films ever made to date.

CAST

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo

A cynical smuggler who joins Beckett's crew. When asked how Solo differs from his appearance in other Star Wars films, Ehrenreich stated, "I think the main thing that's different is that the Han we meet in this film is more of an idealist. He has certain dreams that he follows, and we watch how it affects him as those dreams meet new realities - realities that are harder and more challenging than he'd expected." Harrison Ford, who portrayed the character in previous films, met with Ehrenreich, giving him some insight and words of advice.

Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian

A smuggler, gambler, and self-proclaimed sportsman on the rise in the galaxy's underworld. Billy Dee Williams, who previously portrayed the character in the previous films, met with Glover, giving him some insight and words of advice about the character.

Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra

Han's former lover. Describing her character, Clarke said: "She has a couple of guises, but essentially she is just fighting to stay alive. If you've got a really glamorous lady in a really sordid environment, you kind of know the glamor is hiding a few rough roads." With regard to her character's relationship with Solo, Clarke offered that "They grew up as comrades, essentially. They grew up as pals, as partners in crime. There is obviously the romantic side of things. But they grew up together. So they were kids together."

Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett

A criminal and Han's mentor. The character of Beckett was based on Long John Silver from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Thandie Newton as Val: Beckett's wife

Val is Beckett's wife, a fellow criminal and member of her husband's crew

Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37

Lando's droid companion and navigator.

Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca

Han's Wookiee sidekick and best friend, who also serves as his first mate.

Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos

A ruthless crime lord who has a history with Beckett. Michael K. Williams had originally been cast, but he was removed from the final film after being unable to return to set during the film's reshoots. Bettany was cast in his place, with the character being reworked from a motion-capture alien (described by Williams as half-mountain lion, half-human) to a scarred near-human alien lifeform.

Erin Kellyman appears as Enfys Nest (above left), the leader of a gang of pirates called Cloud Riders. Jon Favreau voices Rio Durant (above center), "a very cool and important alien character" and member of Beckett's crew, and Linda Hunt voices Lady Proxima, the serpent-like leader of the gang to which teenage Han and Qi'ra belong. Ian Kenny portrays Rebolt while Clint Howard portrays Ralakili. Additionally, Anthony Daniels cameos as Tak, enslaved alongside Chewbacca, Kiran Shah plays Karjj and Warwick Davis briefly reprises his role from The Phantom Menace as Weazel, a Cloud Rider. Ray Park reprises his role as Maul (above right), with Sam Witwer providing the voice, reprising the role from The Clone Wars and Rebels animated TV series. Peter Serafinowicz, Maul's original voice actor in The Phantom Menace, was initially brought to record Maul's dialogue, but his vocal performance was ultimately dropped in favor of Witwer's. Dee Tails appears as Quay Tolsite, the director of the Pyke Syndicate's operations on Kessel.

Screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan and first assistant director Toby Hefferman portrayed Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna, respectively, two characters that first appeared in the Star Wars Legends comics published by Dark Horse Comics. The scene was not included in the finished film.

In February 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed the development of two Star Wars standalone films. Disney CFO Jay Rasulo described the standalone films as origin stories. In July, Lucasfilm announced that an anthology film focusing "on how [a] young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley" would be released on May 25th, 2018. The project was to be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from a script by Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan. Kathleen Kennedy would serve as a producer, with Lawrence Kasdan and Jason McGatlin as executive producers; Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel also produce. It was also announced Solo's Wookiee friend Chewbacca would appear in the film. In May 2016, Lawrence Kasdan stated that filming would start in January 2017.

In January 2016, a list of actors was revealed for the role of young Han Solo, including Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, Emory Cohen and Blake Jenner. In March 2016, it was reported that Alden Ehrenreich, Reynor and Taron Egerton were on a shortlist for the role. Miller called casting the role one of "the hardest casting challenges of all time", adding that they "saw over 3,000 people for the part". That July at the Star Wars Celebration Europe III Ehrenreich was revealed as Han Solo.

By the following October, Tessa Thompson, Naomi Scott, Zoë Kravitz, Emilia Clarke, Kiersey Clemons, Jessica Henwick and Adria Arjona were being considered for the female lead, while Donald Glover was being considered to play a young Lando Calrissian. Glover was confirmed for Calrissian shortly after, with Clarke cast as the female lead the following month. Shameik Moore also auditioned for the role of Calrissian.

In early January 2017, Woody Harrelson was revealed to be in negotiations to portray Han Solo's mentor, and was confirmed to be appearing in the film shortly after. Christian Bale had previously been in discussions for the role. A subsequent interview with Harrelson bolstered speculation that he may be specifically playing Legends character Garris Shrike, but Harrelson revealed the character's name as Beckett in March 2017. In February 2017, Phoebe Waller-Bridge joined the cast in an undisclosed role, said to be "a CGI-driven performance" similar to Alan Tudyk in Rogue One as the droid K-2SO. Waller-Bridge and Thandie Newton were confirmed as being cast by the end of February, alongside the announcement that Joonas Suotamo would appear as Chewbacca, reprising the role from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, where he shared it with original Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew. Michael K. Williams entered talks to join the film in early March 2017, and was confirmed shortly after, portraying a half-human, half-animal creature. By the end of the month, Ian Kenny had joined the cast. Warwick Davis was confirmed as part of the cast by the end of July 2017.

Peter Serafinowicz was set to reprise his voice role as Darth Maul and had recorded dialogue during production at Pinewood Studios. He was later informed by Lucasfilm after the film's premiere that he had been replaced by Sam Witwer in order to maintain continuity with The Clone Wars and Rebels animated TV series, in which Witwer voiced the character.

Filming began on January 30th, 2017, at Pinewood Studios, under the working title Star Wars: Red Cup. By February 10th, the film had spent $54.5 million on production. Lucasfilm announced that principal photography started on February 20th, 2017. Bradford Young serves as the cinematographer for the film. In May 2017, filming moved to Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Monte Piana in the Dolomites in Veneto, Italy, to the Fassa Dolomites in Trentino, Italy, and to the Canary Islands. Lucasfilm replaced editor Chris Dickens with Pietro Scalia.

On June 20th, 2017, citing "creative differences", Lucasfilm announced that the directors had left the project with a new director "to be announced soon". It was reported that the directors were fired after Kennedy and Kasdan disagreed with their shooting style; Lord and Miller believed they were hired to make a comedy film, while Lucasfilm was looking for the duo only to add "a comedic touch". Lucasfilm also felt the directors were encouraging too much improvisation from the actors, which was believed to be "shifting the story off-course" from the Kasdans' script. To appease Kasdan, who was unhappy with scenes not being filmed "word for word", Lord and Miller shot several takes exactly as written, then shot additional takes. Lord and Miller refused to compromise on certain scenes, such as filming a scene from fewer angles than Lucasfilm expected, thereby reducing the options available in editing. The duo were also unhappy when Kasdan was brought to the London set, feeling he became a "shadow director". The decision to remove Lord and Miller was made after a short hiatus in filming taken to review the footage so far.

It was reported that Ron Howard, who had previously collaborated with Lucas as an actor in American Graffiti (1973) and the director of Willow (1988), was a frontrunner to step in as director. Howard had turned down an offer to direct Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Joe Johnston and Kasdan were also considered, though Directors Guild of America rules state that a replacement for a director may not be someone already involved in the production. Two days later, it was announced that Howard would take over directing for the remaining three-and-a-half weeks of scheduled principal photography as well as the scheduled five weeks of reshoots. Howard wrote, "I'm beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars universe... I hope to honor the great work already done and help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film." Howard was expected to arrive in London on June 26th to complete filming. During the reshoots, actor Michael K. Williams was unable to return to the production, due to a schedule conflict with filming The Red Sea Diving Resort, resulting in his part being cut. Williams stated the reshoots for his character were "to match the new direction which the producers wanted Ron to carry the film in", and that he would not have been available again until November 2017; the production did not want to wait for his availability to make a release in May 2018.

Lucas, Howard's friend, mentor and collaborator, made a surprise visit to the set to encourage Howard on his first day shooting. Intended as a short meeting, Lucas spent the whole day with the crew. While Lucas had not meant to interfere, at some point he forgot and asked "Why doesn't Han just do this?"; Howard included his suggestion.

On October 17th, 2017, Howard announced that principal photography had been completed, and revealed the title of the film. Howard used rear-projection visual effects for the Millennium Falcon cockpit scenes, an updated version of the technique used in the original trilogy.

In March 2018, after it was reported Howard had reshot around 70% of the film, it was announced that Lord and Miller would not challenge for director credit and instead agreed to executive producer credits. The duo saw an early cut of Howard's film and provided him with their feedback. Post-production wrapped on April 22nd, 2018.

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LEGOŽ DUPLOŽ: So Many Ways to Play

The visual effects were provided by Industrial Light & Magic, Hybride and Blind LTD and Supervised by Nigel Sumner, Julian Foddy, Greg Kegel, Joseph Kasparian, Francois Lambert, Andrew Booth, Rob Bredow and Patrick Tubach with the help of Jellyfish Pictures, Raynault VFX, Lola VFX and Nzviage.

In July 2017, John Powell was announced as the main composer of the score. Longtime Star Wars composer John Williams composed and conducted the Han Solo theme, "The Adventures of Han", for the film. Powell began writing the music in late 2017 after finishing his work on Ferdinand. In December 2017, Williams wrote two musical pieces and combined them to create Han's theme. The following month, Williams recorded the demos with the Recording Arts Orchestra of Los Angeles at the Newman Scoring Stage. Powell interpolated Williams' new theme into his score, as well as incorporating music by Williams from previous Star Wars films, including the Star Wars main title, and several motifs and cues from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Phantom Menace. Said Powell, "John Williams' involvement was actually a huge factor in my wanting to take this gig. I have such respect - perhaps awe is a better term - for the musical history of this series that being able to have the film-scoring equivalent of Yoda be part of it was a massive incentive, and an obvious advantage that I could not let pass. The actual experience of being allowed to see into John's process? I couldn’t imagine a greater gift."

A "sneak peek" TV spot was released during Super Bowl LII on February 4th, 2018. It became the most popular Super Bowl trailer on YouTube with 8 million views. It also had 5.9 million views on Facebook. The first official teaser trailer was released on February 5th, 2018.

In early March 2018, French artist Hachim Bahous asserted that Disney had plagiarized a series of album covers he designed for Sony Music's label Legacy Recordings in France with character posters for the film. Disney stated they were investigating the alleged plagiarism and that the Solo posters had been produced by an outside vendor.

In the weeks leading up to the film, EA Capital Games announced that new characters based on the film will eventually be collectible and playable in the mobile game Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, including a younger Han Solo and Chewbacca as they appeared in the film. Both characters became unlockable on May 17th, 2018, via a two-day limited-time event titled "Preparation Perfection".

Solo had its world premiere in Los Angeles on May 10th, 2018, and was screened at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival on May 15th, 2018. It was released in the United States on May 25th, 2018, in RealD 3D, IMAX, and IMAX 3D. Solo received generally favorable reviews from critics who praised the film's acting performances (particularly Ehrenreich and Glover), visuals, musical score, and action sequences, while some felt its storyline was predictable. The film is the first in the Star Wars franchise to be considered a "box office bomb", grossing only $392 million worldwide, thus becoming the lowest-grossing live-action film in the franchise. With an estimated production budget of $275 million, the film needed to gross at least $500 million worldwide to break even.

In the United States and Canada initial projections three weeks before its release had the film grossing around $170 million over its four-day Memorial Day opening weekend. Deadline Hollywood noted that it was tracking higher than the previous Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One (which debuted to $155 million). After its first day of pre-sales, Fandango announced the film was the second-best seller of advance tickets in 2018, after Avengers: Infinity War.

The film opened in 4,381 theaters, the ninth-highest total ever, including 3,300 3D locations and 400 IMAX screens. It grossed $14.1 million from Thursday night previews, the lowest of the Disney Star Wars films but the best-ever for Memorial Day weekend, besting the $13.2 million made by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End in 2007. Including Thursday previews, the film made $103 million over the four–day weekend, far below projections and marking the lowest Star Wars debut since Attack of the Clones in 2002, although it did set a new career-high opening for director Ron Howard.

Many analysts and publications attributed the below-expectations opening box office numbers to the behind-the-scenes problems and to a case of "Star Wars fatigue", since Solo was the fourth film of the series released in 29 months, and came just five months after The Last Jedi.

Other analysts attributed the film's underperformance to lackluster marketing, as well as the divided fan reception to The Last Jedi. Solo dropped 65% in its second weekend to $29.4 million, the worst sophomore frame for any Star Wars film since the original trilogy. It dropped another 46% in its third weekend to $15.7 million, finishing second behind newcomer Ocean's 8, and $10 million in its fourth week, finishing fourth.

The international box office was also less than expected and a week after its worldwide debut of just $147.5 million, critics began to write about how much the film would lose for Disney. In June 2018, in response to the film's poor commercial performance, director Ron Howard tweeted he was proud of the film, and sorry that fans were not turning out to see it, but was happy for those who had enjoyed it. The following year, Howard stated that online trolls were partially to blame for the film's underwhelming box-office performance.

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, Solo has an approval rating of 70%. The website's critical consensus reads, "A flawed yet fun and fast-paced space adventure, Solo: A Star Wars Story should satisfy newcomers to the saga as well as longtime fans who check their expectations at the theater door." Metacritic gave the film a score of 62 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 89% overall positive score and a 73% "definite recommend".

Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, complimenting the cast but criticizing the lack of creativity, saying, "somehow Han Solo - the roguish Star Wars hellion famous for breaking all the rules - finds himself in a feel-good movie that doesn't break any."

Bernard Boo of PopMatters wrote, "If what you want from a Star Wars movie is an action-adventure romp, and the last two movies in the franchise (The Last Jedi and Rogue One) felt a little too dreary and heavy on pathos, Solo is sure to lift your spirits and give you more thrills than you can handle. Some of the action sequences are seriously breathtaking and will keep you teetering on the edge of your seat."

Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter praised the cast and production values but felt the film as a whole felt too safe and predictable.

For the New York Post, Johnny Oleksinski gave the film one star out of a possible four, writing that while Glover was "amusing" in his role, Ehrenreich was "given an impossible task: to make us forget about Harrison Ford, easily the most iconic action hero in modern cinema." Ron Howard said that original Han Solo actor Harrison Ford saw the film twice and spoke positively about it and Ehrenreich's performance. Solo would receive a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 91st Academy Awards.

A novelization by Mur Lafferty, Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition was published on September 4th, 2018 by Del Rey Books and included scenes from alternate versions of the film's script. Also, a seven-issue comic book adaptation of the film was published by Marvel Comics starting in October 2018.

Alden Ehrenreich confirmed his contract deal to appear as Han Solo extended for two additional films, giving the studio the option to pursue a sequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story, or feature him in other anthology films in a supporting capacity. Ehrenreich said he would like any sequels to differentiate themselves from the previous Star Wars trilogies by being standalone, in the vein of the Indiana Jones films, rather than direct follow-ups. Emilia Clarke, who played Qi'ra, also signed on for future installments.

Ron Howard said that while no sequel was in development, it was up to the fans to decide and the film intentionally left room open for sequels. Solo writer Jon Kasdan said that he would include bounty hunter Bossk (who briefly appears in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and is mentioned in Solo) if he were to write a sequel for the film. Kennedy also said that a film focusing on Lando Calrissian could happen, but was not a priority. Donald Glover also expressed interest in a spin-off film, saying he would imagine it as Catch Me If You Can in space.

On June 20th, 2018, Collider claimed that all future anthology films were on hold due to the financial performance of Solo. A day later, Lucasfilm denied the rumors as "inaccurate" and confirmed that there are multiple unannounced films in development. Bob Iger has said that the production of new films would go on hiatus after 2019's The Rise of Skywalker, though none were cancelled.

On May 23rd, 2019, the hosts of "The Resistance Broadcast" encouraged fans on social media to use the hashtag #MakeSolo2Happen. The campaign was a mixture of celebrating the first movie and to spread awareness that a sequel is indeed wanted. The campaign reached multiple people involved with the film, including director Ron Howard. To express his gratitude, Jon Kasdan tweeted an image of three crime syndicate logos, hinting that future stories could still be in the works. Kasdan has hinted that a sequel could potentially feature Jabba the Hutt, possibly being an origin story of Solo partnering up with the character.

What character did In Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the growls and sounds of the Rancor in Jabba's Palace were actually made by what animal?

Panther
Tiger
Dachsund
Wolverine

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