Rogue One isn’t the only solo Star Wars Story anymore. The young Han Solo feature — called, simply, Solo: A Star Wars Story (except in China) — released its first full-length trailer on Good Morning America this morning, giving us our longest glimpse yet at a movie that has endured a rough-and-tumble journey to the big screen. As has been widely reported, Star Wars franchise keeper Kathleen Kennedy dropped Ron Howard into the cockpit after original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were ejected over “creative differences.” Of course, Rogue One had its own turbulent origin story and went on to be warmly received by audiences; Solo is clearly hoping to chart a similar course en route to its May 25 premiere. While last night’s Super Bowl teaser was a little underwhelming, the full trailer offers some exciting glimpses at what Howard has in store, along with some fan-friendly callbacks to Star Wars lore. Here’s our deep dive into the minute-and-a-half long Solo spot. —Gwynne Watkins, Ethan Alter and Adam Lance Garcia
Han Solo used to fly for the Empire
Yesterday’s Super Bowl teaser showed young Han enlisting in what appeared to be the Imperial Army — and sure enough, the trailer opens with Han explaining via voice-over that he was “kicked out of the flight academy for having a mind of my own.” That detail of Han’s backstory, along with the idea that he was “running scams on the streets” as a child, seems to have been borrowed from the Star Wars Legends (a.k.a. the Expanded Universe) novels, specifically A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo Trilogy, originally published in the late ’90s. In those stories, Han rebelled against the Empire because of its involvement in slave trading — and one of the slaves he freed was a certain Wookiee we all know and love. We’ll have to see whether the film borrows that idea as well, or invents a new origin for Han’s Life Day-celebrating friend.
The Mother of Dragons is Han’s original bestie
Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke is playing Qi’ra, a name that has a long history, and a multitude of spellings, in the Star Wars universe. (For example, Kira was Rey’s original name in The Force Awakens.) We still have much to learn about this Qi’ra, but judging from this sneak peek, it’s she — rather than Lando or Chewie — who is Han’s closest confidante at this point in his life. We see her flying in his speeder, riding in the Falcon, and hanging out (or working?) in a space-age nightclub. “I might be the only person who knows what you really are,” she tells Han. The trailer audience could say the same.
Rogue One put a Dirty Dozen spin on the usual Star Wars shenanigans, bringing together a tough-minded team to complete an impossible mission. Woody Harrelson’s Beckett appears to have similar ambitions, telling Solo, “I’m putting together a crew” for an as-yet unspecified heist. That crew unites Original Trilogy colleagues Han, Chewie, and Lando (Donald Glover) — who we see piloting the Falcon — with newcomers Qi’ra, the droid L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), a mystery alien who isn’t Maz Kanata, and Westworld star Thandie Newton as a still-unnamed character. Our guess? Newton may be playing Sana Starros, who pretended to be Han’s wife for a robbery, then refused to move on.
The Millennium Falcon used to be clean
So clean! Just look at those shiny white hallways. It’s like the inside of a refrigerator… if refrigerators had smuggling compartments and holographic chess boards.
New planets, new ships
As Star Wars Legends has it, the Imperial Academy had multiple campuses on multiple planets from Eriadu to Uyter, so we’ll have to wait and see which planet Han got drummed off of. But the Solo trailer does indicate that we’ll be visiting new environments, from the beachside world where Han chats with Beckett to a glamorous-looking cantina where Qi’ra slips into ritzier clothes to the icy mountain ranges where a major action sequence appears to go down. And while the Falcon is front and center, there are some new ships as well, including an early version of the classic TIE Fighter design and the two-person speeder that Han and Qi’ra take on their joyride, with an Imperial Stormtrooper — who is sporting a slightly different version of the classic armor — in hot pursuit.
A storm is a-coming
At the end of the teaser, we see an Imperial cruiser chasing the Falcon through a dramatic space-scape. Could it be a plasma storm? A wormhole? Fans are speculating that it’s the Maw, a cluster of black holes located near the planet Kessel, as in the Kessel Run, which Howard himself seemed to suggest plays a major role in the film.
Games of chance
Beyond its record-setting Kessel Run flight, another part of Falcon lore involves Han winning the ship away from Lando in a game of Sabacc, using a pair of golden dice that recently reappeared in The Last Jedi and can also be seen hanging over the dashboard in Han and Qi’ra’s jalopy. Midway through the trailer, there’s a shot of Solo entering a room where Lando appears to be in the midst of a Sabacc session, perhaps the pivotal one where he wrests control of the ship away from its original owner. Speaking of Lando, at one point it appears that Glover puts on the Tantel armor that Billy Dee Williams wore in Return of the Jedi on the Rebels’ “Rescue Han from Jabba” mission. Is this yet another case where Solo needs to be bailed out of trouble?
Alden Ehrenreich is not doing a Harrison Ford impression
The actor who won the ultra-competitive role isn’t trying to do a note-for-note Ford impersonation — and thank goodness for that. Ehrenreich needs to make the role his, and he has just enough of that swagger, sly grin, and deadpan delivery to make us believe that he’s Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herder 1.0.
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on May 25.
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