Though the path of production for the Han Solo origin movie has not been smooth (what with changing directors, etc.), trailers and initial reports seem to say it is at least entertaining.
I have never been truly excited about Solo: A Star Wars Story simply because the stories I want to hear about young Han have already been told…in the EU. The Star Wars Expanded Universe (now Legends) has several great novels featuring Han before the OT.
The Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin contains many of the expected plot points: Han meeting Chewbacca, winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando in a game of cards, losing a shipment of spice he was smuggling for Jabba, and eventually betraying Lando in such a way that Han anticipates a chilly reception later on Cloud City. I’m sure Solo will contain all these elements as well, but the details may be slightly different.
A recent clip from the movie shows that one detail seems to align with Han’s EU backstory: his time in the Empire. In The Paradise Snare, Han eventually achieves his youthful goal of entering the Imperial Academy to become a Navy pilot. It seems that in Solo, Han also begins his career with the Imperial military, though it appears to be the army instead of the navy. Check out io9’s article for further information.
Another hint comes from the soundtrack titles. Check out track 16: “Into the Maw.” This could potentially be a reference to Han’s famous record-setting Kessel Run. The Han Solo Trilogy was used to retcon Han’s claim that he had made the Kessel Run in “less than twelve parsecs,” a parsec being a unit of distance, not time. Oops.
But in the EU stories, Han was actually able to shave some distance off the Run by flying close to a cluster of black holes called the Maw, thereby warping time-space. (The Maw was also the site for the initial construction of the Death Star–what better place to hide your giant planet-killing weapon prototype than a cluster of black holes?) So, the famous gaffe actually is correct, based on that explanation (sort of…don’t think about it too hard). It seems possible that this is the explanation they are sticking with in Solo, and we’ll see a Kessel Run up against some black holes.
Also, how cool is it that John Williams got to compose a track for the movie?!
One last minor bit of convergence. Before the Han Solo Trilogy was written, Han and Lando each had a trio of novellas about their adventures prior to the OT (which were incorporated in the later trilogy); I’ve never gotten all the way through them because, honestly, the books are a bit weird. But in The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Lando’s co-pilot of the Falcon is a droid named Vuffi Raa. It seems like this role will be filled in Solo by a droid named L3-37. Although Vuffi Raa was not humanoid, so the two look nothing alike, there could still be some similarity of function or personality.
What parts of Han’s EU backstory are you hoping they keep? What are you hoping they get rid of? How many different ways can Han betray Lando? (I think the EU has at least three…)