A long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
When I first saw those words crawling across a screen back in May of 1977, I didn’t realize that the film, Star Wars, would have such an impact on my life for years and years to come. That first viewing cemented my relationship with the characters, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Obi-wan, and Darth Vader. I would come to know more about them and the Star Wars universe than I could ever have imagined.
Speaking of imagining, imagine me a couple of weeks ago on my way to the junket for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Held in a super-secret-double-probation venue because there’s probably not a soul on earth who hasn’t heard about Star Wars. Am I right?
The junket usually consists of a Q & A panel with the stars and film makers. In this case, this is the group that we were interviewing:
- Alden Ehrenreich (“Han Solo”)
- Donald Glover (“Lando Calrissian”)
- Emilia Clarke (“Qi’ra”)
- Paul Bettany (“Dryden Vos”)
- Woody Harrelson (“Tobias Beckett”)
- Thandie Newton (“Val”)
- Joonas Suotamo (“Chewbacca”)
- Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“L3-37”)
- Director Ron Howard
- Jon Kasdan / Screenplay
- Lawrence Kasdan / Screenplay
Director Ron Howard led off by explaining how he felt taking over the project after it was already underway.
RON HOWARD: “Well, Solo: A Star Wars Story is its own thing. It’s the galaxy far, far away and the level of anticipation is really unlike anything I’ve ever done. You fall into it and it’s amazing. It was a little bit similar to the Beatles documentary that I took on.
I’m at a point in my life where I like experimenting, I like to take some chances. I’m not too worried about the outcome. I wanted to have the creative experience. I sort of felt that way about jumping into a Star Wars movie.
But I also felt that way about jumping into the Beatles documentary and then I could tell from the moment it was announced, “Ron, don’t f*** this up.” So I immediately felt the same thing as related to this project. You know, the fans care. And they should care.”
Yep. I’m a fan and I care.
The young Han Solo is portrayed by Alden Ehrenreich, who was asked, “Alden, what did it feel like for you to kind of step into that and sit down in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon?”
Alden Ehrenreich: “Yeah, it’s really wild and it’s really exciting. It’s kind of bigger than you can even wrap your head around. Particularly being in the Millennium Falcon is very, very cool.
And once you get into the cockpit you can’t believe you’re in it and it’s so surreal and that’s what everybody you bring to the set wants to see and they have that experience, too.
And then, you know, a couple months into shooting in it, you’re inside of it and you’re flying it. You know where the buttons are. You know how the chair feels, you know the yoke and you feel like, okay, this is kind of like my ship now. And that is deeply gratifying.”
I’m kind of in love with that kid. I loved him as Han Solo. I’ll tell you more about that in a few days. But let me tell you what happened on the day of the junket…
As Alden was wrapping up his interview with Entertainment Tonight, he had an unexpected visitor who stopped by to congratulate him.
That’s so fun to watch. I have seen it a dozen times. It never gets old.
The brilliant pairing of Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover as Han Solo and Lando Calrissian is delightful on the big screen, but what does Lando think of Han?
DONALD GLOVER: “You get to see why Han is complicated. Even by the end, maybe he did the wrong thing but for the right reasons. Or maybe the right thing was for the wrong reasons.”
While the press junket itself was both fun and interesting, I’d like to share some of my own personal experiences from that day, which may or may not involve a few selfies with the stars – If you’ve been following me on social media, I know that’s the real reason you’re reading this, but that’s not important right now – I know. Shut up.
I was a little lost and roaming the halls when I met Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian) and took a moment to congratulate him on his success. He was a total trooper and jumped right into my frame without hesitation. This pleased me greatly. He is smart, talented, and hilariously articulate. Also, you will love him as Lando. Be still my heart.
In fact, I think the character of Lando will bring capes back in style. You heard it here first!
And just when I thought my charmed life couldn’t get more charmed, I ran straight into Ron Howard and asked if he we could take a photo. “Of course.” At which point, I asked if he could make a kissy face, he hesitated for a moment, but Alden Ehrenreich (who happened to be standing right there) said he totally knew how and jumped in the photo. That’s when I completely lost my train of thought and why I cut half of Ron Howard’s face from this photo and why I look a little dazed. I WAS A LITTLE FLUSTERED. OKAY??
Everything was so much fun but this day went from good to great when we were directed to go into another hall that held, not just lunch (but yay!).
The costumes from the film were beautifully on display.
And a fun green screen set up. Wait. Isn’t that Marta walking with the Solo gang? Yeah. I know. Sooo accidentally cool.
While I’m at it, let me just add that they had the cockpit from the Millennium Falcon all set up with Chewie waiting to share the photo op.
I totally bonded with Chewie. I think he related to my hair. I like to call this one: “Deep Thoughts of Wookies.”
And, as if that all wasn’t enough, we were invited to tour the interior of the Millennium Falcon. I was totally dying.
That’s me, deep in Star Wars Heaven.
And there was the merchandise! All these fabulous toys, shoes, garments, and backpacks. ALL the Star Wars things!
Full disclosure: I’m eyeing a lot of this stuff, not just for my grandsons, but for me. I know. Shut up.
In conclusion, this was probably the most fun I’ve had at a press junket. I can’t wait for you to see the film: Solo: A Star Wars Story. I’ll tell you all my deep thoughts about it on Friday. But right now let me leave you with this.
Solo: A Star Wars Story will be in theaters everywhere on Friday, May 25th. Speaking of May…May the Force Be With You.