Concerns began to spin like a maneuvering Millennium Falcon last summer when the directors of the Han Solo spinoff film ("Lego Movie" masterminds Phil Lord and Chris Miller) were unceremoniously dumped well into shooting, and old pro Ron Howard was brought aboard to close those "creative differences" with Lucasfilm.
Was the "Solo" anthology film, which lands May 25, going to look like a Frankenstein's monster of stitched stories -- or could the Oscar-winning director of "A Beautiful Mind" fly in to save the day?
Now, Howard has helped assuage our fears.
On Sunday night during the Super Bowl, the first teaser finally landed, followed up Monday by the full "Solo" trailer, which was aired on fellow Disney property "Good Morning America."
The collective fanboy Internet can breathe easier over George Lucas's favorite flyboy.
What Howard and Lucasfilm have shown so far is a young Han Solo who -- with his frisky sense of derring-do and parsec-galloping panache - -registers as part "American Graffiti" racer and part "Top Gun" pilot, with just enough uncertainty beneath the green bravado.
Should we really have been too concerned, what with Star Wars veteran scribe Lawrence Kasdan back in the space saddle, alongside son Jon Kasdan?
"I was kicked out of flight academy for having a mind of my own," Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) says early in the teaser for "Solo: A Star Wars Story," as if cribbing from Tom Cruise's Maverick, the Everymanboy as bad boy.
"I'm putting together a crew. You in?" Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) asks Han and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), nodding to the building-a-team premise that has powered everything from Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" (which influenced Lucas) to "Ocean's 11″ to almost every DC and Marvel cinematic team-up.
We even get the foregrounded gunfighter's pose, as Han's hand hovers near his holstered blaster. This space Western is even nodding to classic poses from "High Noon" and Sergio Leone's "Man With No Name" trilogy - and even reminds us of Lawrence Kasdan's love letter to Westerns in his 1985 film "Silverado."
The teaser lets us glimpse deeper, too. "I might be the only person who knows what you really are," Qi'Ra (Emilia Clarke) says to Han, revealing him to be still unsure beneath that trademark cocksure grin.
"I'm going to be a pilot. The best in the galaxy," says Han, and with that, Howard signals that his Solo -- before he was seemingly out for just himself and a quick buck in the Lucas films -- actually had a spirit of optimistic mission.
The line even harks back to young George Lucas, the one who raced cars in central California with an aim at being the best he could be, before a brutal crash spun him toward cinema. His "American Graffiti" -- starring young Ron Howard and Harrison Ford -- pays tribute to his love of speed and his understanding of young, testosterone-fueled adventure.
With "Solo," master Howard and the Jedi Kasdan show that they understand Lucas's vision still.
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