Decoding Solo: A frame-by-frame breakdown of the new Star Wars trailer
Rebel Without a Cause
There’s no better way to describe the young scoundrel we meet in the new expanded trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Just months before the film’s May 25 release, we’re getting the one-two punch of Sunday’s Super Bowl teaser and Monday morning’s new footage. (With more detail to come later this week. Shh!) For now, let’s take a closer look …
Take It on the Run
It starts at a breakaway pace: a speeder chase. Solo and Qi’Ra, the character played by Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, are on the run from the Empire. Note the gold dice hanging by a chain, the same ones Leia receives at the end of The Last Jedi.
Hero With Many Faces
Yesterday, we got very little Solo in our Solo teaser. Just a single shadowy shot. But this one gives us a clear look at Alden Ehrenreich as he takes over one of the most iconic roles in movie history from Harrison Ford.
We seldom see Star Wars cityscapes like this. Gritty. Industrial. Even the speeder bike is blockier and less elegant than the ones we've seen in previous films.
Some car aficianado viewers point out that the engines of Han's speeder resemble the rear tail lights of a Ford Falcon — perhaps a nod to the man who originated the character, and the ship he captained.
**Insert Wilhelm Scream**
Stormtrooper flies through the air with the greatest of unease. He survives, though. Miraculously.
Hive of Villainy
Han Solo has come from nothing. “I’ve been running scams since I was 10. Kicked out of the Flight Academy for having a mind of my own.” This was the same Imperial training school that Luke Skywalker told his aunt and uncle he wanted to attend. Many Imperial pilots defected to join the Rebellion.
Not in the Cards
“Hey kid, I’m putting together a crew.” This is Woody Harrelson’s mentor character, standing with Solo amid some ancient looking cenotaphs. The loner has found his family — but, of course, it’s a crime family.
“You in?” He's going to need his answer right away. (We'll have more this week on Harrelson's father-figure mentor.)
The "Aaaarrghs!" Have It
The Wookiee roars, and Han tells the leader of this heist: “That’s yes.” Already, Han and Chewie are speaking the same language.
We catch another look at Qi’ra (pronounced "Keera"). This time she is draped in a scarlet cape, descending the Falcon’s ramp with a droid. She’s looking more glamorous and well-off than ever. Some time has surely passed since their speeder getaway.
Droid Is My Co-Pilot
The droid is L3-37, the motion-capture character played by Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, seen here sharing a secret handshake with Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian as they launch the Falcon into hyperspace. (Again, more to come this week on her.)
The Lando System
Convincing fans to accept new actors as beloved characters will be a challenge for Solo, but there's no question: Glover shares Billy Dee Williams’ megawatt charisma.
If Looks Could Kill
We get just flashes of the rest of Harrelson’s “crew.” Thandie Newton totes a gargantuan blaster that looks only slightly less intimidating than her expression.
This creature looks very Maz-like at first glance, but it’s a different creature. Note the four hands. The only question is who is voicing this alien. (We’ll find out soon.)
The desert meets the sea on this alien wasteland. That's Han Solo and Qi'ra walking toward the mysterious tower on the bluff.
Even more mysterious is this horde. All we know is that the leader of this group will battle with Harrelson atop a speeding mountain train. But here, they face down Solo himself.
This is the harrowing vehicle where the horde and our heroes (is that the right word?) will do battle.
Getting Out of Dodge
Here we see Solo piloting a ship away from the blossom of a cataclysmic blast, deep in the snowy mountains where we saw that freight train.
After the train, Howard conjures another Western vibe with this gunslinger showdown.
A Masked Marauder
There's no name or motivation given to this figure, and his mask has similarities to other Star Wars characters we've seen while still standing as something else entirely. There's a little bit of Boba Fett, a little Kylo Ren. But also something primitive.
Of All the Gin Joints …
Qi'ra has found more success after their early times together than Han. One thing they share: both are survivors. She appears to be thriving, however, while he's barely scraping by.
"I may be the only person who knows what you really are," Qi'ra tells him. She doesn't say "who," she says "what." For a man searching for meaning, for identity, that's intriguing. Han's not sure he gets what she means either. "What's that?"
Star Destroyer Escape
Here we see the Millennium Falcon, with a narrower design, racing away from a Star Destroyer emerging from a vortex. Remember the Falcon's big claim to fame, making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? In expanded universe stories, the Kessel Run is clustered with black holes. We may be seeing it right here.
New TIE attackers
The Empire has no end to its variations on the TIE Fighter. The ones that drop out of the Star Destroyer to chase the Falcon have an extra pod housing more powerful cannons.
Here we see a clever manuever. The Falcon flips up and batters a TIE into oblivion.
Panic in the Cockpit
With Han at the command, he plays much rougher with this ship than Lando.
Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind
That may explain why we see a very different front end on the Falcon in the future. "Special modifications." As the trailer's second chase ends, we venture into the Star Wars version of Lovecraft country, with colossal, electrified tentacles swiping at the ship.
Wink and Nod
There even seems to be a veiled reference to the upheaval during Solo's production, when Ron Howard took over from original directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord amid creative clashes with Lucasfilm. “Thought we were in trouble there for a second. But it’s fine. We’re fine.” Star Wars fans will find out how prophetic that is on May 25.