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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

As for ‘Solo,’ let’s just ‘Hope’ for the best


Friday will see the latest chapter in the ongoing "Star Wars" saga that George Lucas began way back in the late '70s. Since the premiere of that first film, which now goes by the overly long and involved title of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope," the franchise has permeated pretty much every part of the entertainment empire — movie, book, comics, TV shows, toys, video games, etc.

But as anyone who has been watching knows, it hasn't always been an easy venture. The first three films (which are now the second part of the overall nine-film series) were, and remain, the gold standard by which all the others are compared. The second three, the "prequel" series, are less admired — mostly because of casting choices that Lucas himself made (Jake Lloyd as the young Anakin Skywalker in particular).

We're still in the midst of the final three, and the reviews while mostly positive among critics have been mixed among fans. And as they begin filming on the third entry in the "sequel," some serious plot problems have had to be resolved — the death of Carrie Fisher chief among them.

Apart from the main franchise, the movie spinoffs — the so-called "anthology" films — have had their own problems. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," which opened in 2016, was a whole film based on a few lines of dialogue from "Episode IV." And while many moviegoers, and critics, liked the idea of a "Star Wars" story offering something different, many others did not.

Now we are on the eve of "Solo: A Star Wars Story," which outlines more or less the origins of Han Solo and how he became a space pirate (or smuggler or whatever). It, too, has been a troubled production, mostly because of a well-publicized and controversial change in directors but also because of problems with the casting of Alden Ehrenreich as the title character.

The embed below — which offers an opinionated viewpoint — outlines the problems, dating back to when the Disney company purchased Lucasfilm and took over the franchise. Whatever you might think of the final product, the path the project took to get there is an interesting tale, almost as twisted as something the Emperor Palpatine might have dreamed up.

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