Few activities are more contentious than talking about Star Wars on the internet. Defenders and detractors seem equally driven to relitigate the merits of every entry, from blockbusters like The Last Jedi to deep cuts like The Battle for Endor. But the most surprising Star Wars critic might be Jonathan Kasdan, co-writer of the divisive Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Teaming with his legendary screenwriter father Lawrence — writer of several Star Wars entries, including Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens — Kasdan seemed like the perfect choice to take on the origin story of Han Solo. And yet, the movie generated constant criticism, beginning with the very idea of casting anyone else as Harrison Ford’s iconic character. Between an arduous production that saw original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller replaced by Ron Howard and the movie’s underlit visuals, Solo remains one of the franchise’s least popular entries, particularly in terms of the film’s tepid box office performance.
But for Kasdan, the movie’s biggest issue is not the need to explain Han’s surname nor a questionable revelation about the Millennium Falcon’s sentience. Rather, it has to do with the film’s villain.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the Disney+ series Willow, Kasdan admitted “the biggest problem that has always haunted me about Solo“: the logistics of the heist that serves as the movie’s central plot, in which crime lord Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) forces Han and Chewie’s newfound gang to steal an element called coaxium. Apropos of an old-time caper, twists and double-crosses ensue. Most importantly, Vos plans to pin the crime on Han’s crew alone.
But not even Kasdan is convinced by this plan. “If Dryden Vos is so concerned about exposing his gang in the heist, why does he send his most trusted aid to be the most visible member of the team that steals the coaxium?” asked Kasdan. He refers to Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), Han’s childhood friend who becomes an aid to Dryden. “It seems to me that he’s going to have to kill her almost immediately just to separate himself from that job,” Kasdan explained, calling the problem “the writer’s nightmare.”
Fortunately, Kasdan does see a way to wake from this nightmare: Disney+. Not in the form of a series such as Andor or Obi-Wan Kenobi. Rather, he looks to Marvel as a model. “[I]n recent months, I have been intrigued by the wonderful Werewolf by Night as a potential form of storytelling on Disney+,” he said. “So I would love to see Lucasfilm embrace a short-form novella version for telling some of their stories.”
Kasdan explained a special that would revisit the relationship between Han and Qi’ra, one that fully explored the “fun and complexity” they share. But given the fact that Dryden’s plot “always drove me crazy,” it’s the chance to iron out that wrinkle in the plan that compels Kasdan the most. It remains to be seen if he’ll ever actually get the opportunity to make things right.