Solo: the reluctant hero

By on July 3, 2018


Arriving at the May 24 premiere of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” I got to take a picture with some of the Tusken Raiders that also showed up to watch the film. (Photos courtesy of Paul Whitman)

It all begins with one line; “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

And when that ever-so-familiar theme music begins to play on cue and you see that opening text crawl across the big screen  —  it’s enough to truly get the adrenaline pumping as you mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare for another Star Wars film.

Although, I was not among the lucky ones who were able to actually witness each film sitting in a theater seat as it debuted for the first time. To be honest, I was a little late in the game of life before I finally understood what it meant to be “one with the Force.”

But as the cliche phrase goes, “it’s better late than never.”

As I watched “Episode IV: A New Hope” for the very first time, I took notice of Han Solo, the reckless smuggler with a sarcastic attitude  —  and a dash of compassion.

He wasn’t a Jedi. At the time, he didn’t believe the Force existed. He was seemingly a regular guy that just knew how to con his way out of certain death, or some might say he got lucky, but he ended up becoming the reluctant hero that everyone needed.

Also, I would be lying if I said that young Harrison Ford wasn’t nice to look at as well, sporting his familiar black pocketed vest, a white v-neck collared shirt, and a blaster at his side.

Han Solo’s fearlessness was a “force” to be reckoned with  —  just without the actual use of the Force. He knew how to outsmart his way through seemingly impossible situations, confident it would work out in his favor in the end.

“There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny! It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense,” Solo stated in “A New Hope.”

And it was true. Han Solo was a leader of his own future  —  with a trusty 200-year-old wookiee sidekick. Although he became someone who realized what it meant to fight for the common good of the galaxy.

With the recent release of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” I was excited for the chance to watch yet another Star Wars film on the big screen and learn more about the character of Han Solo. Also, I would finally get to see how they would portray that famous Kessel Run scene.

Arriving at Penn Cinema’s IMAX theater in Lititz, my hopes were high, as they always are when it comes to Star Wars.

Darth Vader gave permission to nab his photo standing in front of the “Solo” movie poster in the Penn Cinema lobby.

I was happily sporting my classic grey Han Solo t-shirt and striped Millenium Falcon shorts, and after purchasing my much needed Solo souvenir cup  —  I noticed the Tusken Raiders.

One of the most exciting things about Star Wars movie premieres are the people that dress up as their favorite characters and walk around the lobby and theater, allowing people to take pictures of them.

It feels like another Zenkaikon experience, except people will go dressed as a Star Wars character instead of portraying something from an anime, although it’s just as invigorating. Those not in costume were showing off their Star Wars pride by wearing their favorite t-shirt, regardless of whether they side with the Rebellion or the Empire.

After snapping a photo with the Tusken Raiders, it felt as though I took a picture with a few celebrities, although Tuskens are actually considered nomadic and hostile towards locals  —  I just like to think maybe I caught them on a good day.

I knew Darth Vader was having a great time when he actually posed in front of the Solo movie poster for a photo.

And after finally watching “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” I was giving it a big thumbs up.

Box office ratings aside, I enjoyed the film, and although Alden Ehrenreich is no Harrison Ford, of course, he did a decent job at playing the part of the relatable and quick-witted Han Solo.

Finally being able to view how the friendship between Han Solo and Chewbacca formed into what it became in the classic films was also humorous and oddly heartwarming, considering Han Solo is nowhere close to heartwarming.

An amazing thing about this franchise I have discovered is that even though some fans may not care for the film, they will always remain loyal to the culture that Star Wars has become, since this film in particular did receive a pretty bad rap in the terms of ratings.

Although Solo’s character is viewed more as a criminal than a hero throughout the series, he is a constant reminder that there is always hope within those impossiblities. For Han Solo, there is no situation so menacing that can’t be won with a little bit of optimism and a keen sense of humor.

Even as I continue to go through the many different cycles of life, I still find myself in seemingly difficult times where an answer appears to be unreachable, but in all of those instances, Han Solo’s words always seem to echo in the back of my mind: “Never tell me the odds!”

And as funny as that seems, it works every time.

Emily Jacoby is a staff writer for the Ephrata Review and indulges in the world of pop culture. She welcomes your comments and feedback at


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