The best part about Solo: A Star Wars Story, opening May 25, isn’t the romance between Han (played by Alden Ehrenreich) and Qi’ra (played by Emilia Clarke) or the cool action sequences, or the classic bar scene with quirky alien creatures. It’s the side story of how Han and his beloved sidekick Wookiee Chewbacca (voiced by Joonas Suotamo) first meet and develop their bromance.
Sorry if I’m offending legions of Game of Thrones/Khaleesi fans by giving the Emilia and Alden duo second billing. But the Han/Qi’ra love story is nothing compared to the bond between the cocky space cowboy and his furry friend. And who doesn’t love a good bromance? Woody and Buzz, Chandler and Joey, Wayne and Garth, Butch and Sundance (or Redford and Newman for that matter!). We thrive on the witty repartee, how they give each other crap, the constant one-upping, and the loyalty. Oh how we love the loyalty. And it’s here in spades.
Fans were worried about whether or not Ehrenreich had enough grit to fill Harrison Ford’s famous dusty boots as a young Han Solo in this latest Star Wars spin off tale. But even without Ford’s sideways grin and whiskey edged roughness, Ehrenreich’s got enough swagger and bravado, cool cockiness, and sex appeal to pull it off. And he’s fun to watch.
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The gist of the story is that Han and his love, Qi’ra, are stuck on the gloomy planet Corellia run by an oppressive government (including a giant, tyrannical “centipede” named Lady Proxima voiced by Linda Hunt). They try to escape the planet by bribing an official with a vial of crystal coaxium—a valuable fuel. Han makes it, but the guards grab Qi’ra just before she slips through the gates, and Han vows to become a pilot to return to save her.
Cut to a few years later when we find out our hero has been kicked out of the Imperial Fleet for being, well, a smart ass. All he wants to do is commandeer a spaceship so he can rescue Qi’ra. So when he meets a conniving duo—Tobias Beckett (played by Woody Harrelson) and his gal pal Val (played by Thandie Newton)—who are planning a big money heist, he figures that’s his ticket.
Along the way, fights ensue, plans go awry, Han discovers Qi’ra is now partnering up with bad guy Dryden Vos (a scar faced Paul Bettany), and Han wins his beloved Millennium Falcon spaceship in a card game with slick frenemy Lando Calrissian (a scene stealing Donald Glover, reprising the role made famous by Billy Dee Williams). There are enough battles and weird creatures and chase scenes and cool characters—such as the feminist droid L3-37 (played by Phoebe Waller Bridge) to satisfy hard core Star Wars Fans, and well, I won’t spoil the ending.
But suffice it to say that the stand out in all this is Solo and Chewy.
The two meet when Solo gets thrown into a muddy pit where he is chained and doomed to be eaten by a monster—aka Chewbacca. But the wily Solo actually speaks Wookiee (How? We don’t know.) and with a few guttural drawls, he convinces his would-be predator that the two of them can escape. Miraculously, Chewbacca agrees, and they stage a fight to fool the guards, and an unbreakable interspecies relationship is formed.
There are plenty of funs scenes between these two: They share a shower. Solo tells his furry new friend that his name is too long and he’s going to call him Chewy instead. Solo says stuff like “Well what do you know?” when Chewbacca shakes his giant head about a crazy Solo idea. In one scene, Chewy surprises Solo by knowing how to pilot a spaceship. When Solo asks how he learned to fly, Chewbacca explains in Wookiee speak that he’s 190 years old. Solo quips “You look good.”
After one fierce battle, Chewbacca even leaves behind some of his own kind in order to help Solo and his motley crew to safety. It’s true love.
I guarantee you if there had been a scene in which Solo had to choose between saving Qi’ra or Chewy—the audience would have been cheering for the Wookiee all the way.