Reviews: the Art of Solo, a Star Wars Story

Published On July 25, 2018 | By | Books, Film TV & Theatre, Reviews

The Art of Solo, a Star Wars Story,
Phil Szostak,
Abrams Books

I think it is fair to say that the Solo movie underperformed dreadfully at the box office (relative to other Star Wars films, at least). There were a lot of factors involved – closeness to the release of The Last Jedi and Infinity War for example – and I’m sure we’ll be picking over the reasons for years to come. And this is a pity, because as far as I could see, everyone who bothered to turn up and watch it had a good time. And like all of these movies, the production design was second to none (how’s that for a smooth segue?).

As with the previous Art Of books from Abrams, this one is another exhaustive and fascinating delve into the movie making process. This is doubly interesting in the case of this movie, with it’s famously ‘troubled’ production and the extensive reshoots that made the budget soar. There’s a game to be playing in guessing which parts of the design work and story were from the original Miller and Lord movie and which from the Ron Howard version. There are a number of story beats and characters that are not mentioned at all in the book. Michael K Williams’ villain, for example, doesn’t get a mention. It would have been nice to have seen some images of his character. That said, Paul Bettany’s Dryden Vos was utterly terrifying.

The other sad thing about this movie underperforming was that not enough people got to see Enfys Nest, who, if there was any justice in this universe, would right now be lauded with the very best of Star Wars character designs. Nest should be held up to the same iconic standards as Boba Fett, Vader and Kylo Renn. So it was great to see an entire chapter here devoted to the evolution of the character’s design.

Also worthy of note, is the section on redesigning that most iconic of spaceships – the Millennium Falcon. I would imagine this to be the most daunting task in the whole production, keeping it in line with the established hitory but also making the Falcon look as it did when shiny and new, and the iterations and many designs are a wonderful thing to behold.

I could go an and on… about mudtroopers and trains. But I’ll just end by saying that if you’re a Star Wars fan, or an artist, this is essential reading.

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