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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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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