“Solo: A Star Wars Story,” opening Friday is a prequel, as you might have heard. The tale centers on a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) years before audiences first meet him in 1977’s “Star Wars.”
And like most prequels, it aims to flesh out a character’s backstory at which has previously only been hinted. It’s a tried and true Hollywood strategy that has been deployed with everyone from deranged killer Hannibal Lecter to, er, deranged killer Norman Bates.
Precious little about Han Solo’s history is revealed in the original “Star Wars” and its sequels, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” More details were given in spin-off novels and comic books, but Lucasfilm declared those non-canon in 2014.
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As a result, father-and-son “Solo” screenwriters Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan had to make do with what they had. Here are four lines from the original three films that were mined for “Solo” and look to finally be explained some four decades later.
“You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon? It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs.” - Han in “Star Wars”
Never mind that this line was such a throwaway that “Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas mistakenly used parsec, a measure of distance instead of time. “Solo” explains just what the hell that Kessel run is and why Solo was bragging about it.
“Your ship? Hey, remember, you lost her to me fair and square.” - Han to Lando in “The Empire Strikes Back”
It came as a shock that Lando was the Falcon’s original owner. Now “Solo” shows exactly how the craft changed hands over a not-so-friendly game of Sabacc - a made-up card game that “Star Wars” owner Disney failed to register and the studio is now being sued by an unrelated gaming company that snatched up the trademark.
“You know, that ship saved my life quite a few times.” - Lando in “The Empire Strikes Back”
Now we get to see some of those times, as a young Calrissian (Donald Glover) evades the evil Empire, pirates and Lovecraftian space squids.
“Han Solo. I'm captain of the Millennium Falcon.” - Ha in “Star Wars”
Simple line. But as Disney CEO Bob Iger promised last year, “Solo” does indeed explain how the title character “got his name.” Now if someone could explain where "Mon Mothma" comes from.