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Origin stories are fun, especially when they are done well, and when they are presented with context.
Thankfully, most everyone – by virtue of being alive on the planet – has context for Star Wars: what it is, a loose knowledge of the characters, and maybe even why Jar Jar Binks is so reviled.
Star Wars is back with a new film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, which had its French premiere at Cannes (complete with Stormtroopers lining the steps of the Grand Lumiere Theater). It was arguably the most hotly anticipated movie at Cannes for many movie lovers and members of the press.
The film tells the origin story of young, rebellious, debonair pilot, Han Solo (and his faithful sidekick, Chewbacca; the two meet in a surprising and, ultimately funny, way). Han (played with humor and ease by Alden Ehrenreich) is driven by one thing and one thing only: getting back a love he lost years ago.
The object of his affection is Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke). But along the way, as surprising twists and turns pelt at him like Force blasts, he discovers that she has changed when they reunite under unexpected circumstances.
Fans of Star Wars will delight in this movie, as new characters are introduced, and long-familiar ones are re-introduced, as their younger selves.
Donald Glover, who has been at the media forefront lately with his powerful song “This is America,” is again in the forefront being a part of a huge blockbuster franchise like Star Wars. Glover plays Han’s friend Lando Calrissian. It’s from a card game with Calrissian that we see how Han first gets the Millennium Falcon – an iconic starship in the Star Wars fan-verse.
When the film premiered at Cannes, it received a three-minute-long standing ovation. Director Ron Howard was on-hand to receive the applause, along with the cast of the film, including Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, and Thandie Newton. Of note, Newton is the first black actress to have a starring role in a Star Wars film. (And her gorgeous, custom-made Vivienne Westwood dress she wore to the Cannes premiere created some excited buzz on le tapis rouge.
The night of the film was fete-ed with a glorious, booming fireworks display by Disney (which owns the Star Wars franchise) high above La Croisette. The stars – and the stars – were celebrated in appropriate form.
Bonjour Paris correspondent Anne McCarthy is on location in Cannes. Read her dispatches here.
Lead photo credit : Solo: A Star Wars Story. Credit: Lucasfilm
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