Solo Proves Lucasfilm Is Listening To Fans

Solo Proves Lucasfilm Is Listening To Fans

Though they might not know it, Solo is exactly what fans wanted for the film.

This contains spoilers, just a warning. If you haven't seen Solo, just turn back now, go see it, and come back to read this. Seriously – spoilers from here on out. As I said last time, there is a division among the Star Wars fandom. Some say it's because of the Disney sale, others say it's more because of the rebooting of the Expanded Universe. And others, the most annoying ones, are pushing a boycott of Solo because they claim Disney/Lucasfilm doesn't listen to the fans. And they shouldn't – sometimes a fan theory can be fun, like saying the Mandalorian armor in Dryden Vos' private room could be a reference to his past, because that can be developed over time in other media, whereas the theories like Snoke being Darth Plagueis are just wild dreams that would alienate non-hardcore fans. Yet, despite the movies being their own projects that have little-to-nothing of fan input, Solo is more like a fan-designed movie than anything else. Final warning for spoilers, by the way.

In the EU, Han Solo began his smuggling career after rescuing Chewbacca from slavery while serving in the Empire, showing he had some heart despite his gruff exterior. Now this was pretty much taken as irrefutable fact, and made sense – Han seemed to know his way around the Death Star and knew how to “outrun Imperial starships.” In Solo, this story is pretty much the same – only instead, Han saves Chewbacca from imprisonment to get them off of Mimban so that Han can get the money to return home and help Qi'ra. That is much more in character with the Han Solo we all know and love from the Original Trilogy, while also being inspired by the story established in the Expanded Universe. In addition, the concept of Wookiee slavery under the Empire was a major aspect of the old lore, and made a reappearance in Star Wars: Rebels. Of course there was the rumors that Chewbacca's wife Malla would be in the film, but this was proven incorrect, the Wookiee in question was an old friend of his before the war. Lando Calrissian's journal has references to the Lando Calrissian Adventures trilogy of books from the 1980s, indicating that some aspects of those stories may have happened. Now that's not to say the movie is a perfect adaptation of the classic EU stories, but it does take the basic ideas and rework them to fit the canon and the saga as a whole.

Of course, it's not just Han's origins fans wanted to see. Before the trailers came out, before the changing of directors, even before casting took place, people all over the Internet and convention lines were discussing what they wanted to see in such a film. Events such as Han meeting Chewbacca, Han meeting Lando and winning the Millennium Falcon in a game of Sabacc, and the infamous 12-parsec Kessel Run. And guess what, every single one of those events was in the movie. Yeah, maybe the Kessel Run could have been the plot for a sequel, but at the same time, it didn't feel forced in at all. Even the golden dice, which were a major plot point in The Last Jedi, were explained, though the movie presents a different story than what was established in the recent reference books. And while not stated outright, the life debt Chewbacca owes Han is made, thus creating one of film's most iconic duos. The fan ideas and hopes for the film were all there. Of course they didn't just digitally de-age Harrison Ford, but Alden Ehrenreich was a great young Han Solo, getting the mannerisms that people demanded (including the famous pointing) in. Even the tone is exactly what the internet wanted to see in a Han Solo origin story. It's a heist movie, a Western, and a crime story all in one, not unlike the Joss Whedon show Firefly, right down to the ragtag group of smugglers and outlaws the movie follows. It isn't a comedy/action like Guardians of the Galaxy, it is a very dark, serious film that takes a character we've known for over forty years and gives him an origin story.

An unexpected choice made in the film was to make some deep, deep cuts into the canon and the EU lore. Throughout the film, Dryden Vos is said to have a boss himself, implying the true leader of Crimson Dawn is even more powerful. And at the end, that is revealed to be the case, with none other than Darth Maul being the man at the top. Ray Park and Sam Witwer reprise their shared role, Park, who portrayed Maul in The Phantom Menace playing the phyisical body, Witwer providing the voice from The Clone Wars and Rebels television shows. To a casual fan, this would be a surprise – Darth Maul survived? And it was to the majority of the audience I saw Solo with. But to the fans who have watched these shows and followed the story to the letter, this is where we found out just how much Lucasfilm follows the canon. A rather obscure reference to the EU is Qi'ra's mention of learning “teras kasi” from Dryden. This was the name of a Star Wars fighting game from the 1990s, usually considered one of the worst video games ever made – a lightsaber has less damage than a blaster, and even then the lightsaber is more like a baseball bat than a sword. Tobias Beckett is mentioned to have killed Aurra Sing, a bounty hunter from The Phantom Mernace and The Clone Wars, and Warwick Davis reprises his Phantom Menace role of Weasel, who is now working with Enfys Nest's Cloud Riders. There's been some discussion on how the new movies seem to ignore the prequels, but Solo embraces them, making characters that were background roles or developed across other media a major focus of the film. It's what the fans wanted, but as we know, this will probably cause some more division in the community, but hey, at least The Phantom Menace is getting some acknowledgment.

It's not that Disney isn't listening to fans. They are, but they're also the ones in charge of the production. If the fans got to make the movies, they wouldn't catch on with the mainstream audience. Solo is a good medium between what is profitable and what the hardcore fanbase wanted to see. For the typical moviegoer, Darth Maul being alive is a huge twist, but the fans know there's a whole other story building up to his cameo, and perhaps there will be a Maul-focused film. Meanwhile, you have the boycotting, the complaining, the fans who claim Disney has “ruined” the brand. If the Ewok movies didn't ruin them, then Solo won't. As it stands, Solo is the movie fans wanted to see, making sure to hit all the points they asked for. Of course some will turn around and say we didn't need to see all of that, but they'd complain if we didn't. There is no pleasing some people, and “listening to the fans” only causes productions to be more troubled and less risk-taking. And we need to have risks taken in the franchise, otherwise it gets stale. Star Wars movies aren't just for the people who have read all the books and seen all the TV shows, they're for a mainstream market, especially now. You can have a good medium between fan and audience targets, and if any of the Disney-era movies have done that, it's Solo. Now let's just wait and see how that Obi-Wan Kenobi movie turns out.

Cover Image Credit: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...


"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"


Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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