Solo: Saving the cat
A while ago, I was chatting to some friends about Solo: A Star Wars Story, along with more Star Wars nerdery. What we liked, what we didn't like etc. Overall, I didn't hate Solo, but there are a few things that didn't quite sit right and one thing occurred to me during this chat.
!! Spoiler alert !! - If you haven't seen Solo and don't want to hear anything about it, stop reading now.
Have they gone?
Ok, I'll crack on.
So, in the film we get to see how Han meets Chewie. Chewie is a prisoner to whom Imperials feed other prisoners. Han is tossed into the cage but before Chewie gets a chance to chew, Han speaks with him and convinces him to work together to escape. On the whole, nothing really wrong with this but there's a missed opportunity for character growth for Han.
The way it plays out, Han's plan is very self-serving. He comes up with it because the alternative is getting eaten alive. Sure it shows off his resourcefulness and even his gift of talking his way out of situations but to me, they're surface level character traits. What if..?
Saving the cat... or the wookie?
There's a book on screenwriting called Save the cat. It covers all sorts of ideas and approaches to screenwriting and one of them is this concept of saving a cat. The idea is that fairly early in your story, your protagonist is given a chance to save a cat from a tree (or some other dangerous situation). The protagonist doesn't have to do it, but they choose to. It gives the audience a clue that this character will do the right thing in a situation or go out of their way to help. It's a good, likeable character trait.
What if we applied this to Solo?
Chewie is still a prisoner of some kind, but instead of Han being locked in there with him, what if Han found out about these prisoner wookies and chose to help?
This idea plays into Han Solo's character that on the surface, he can be a bit self-serving, but ultimately, he'll do the right thing. In A New Hope, he takes his reward and leaves to pay off his debt to Jabba the Hutt before the attack on the Death Star, only to come back and help save the day, knowing not paying Jabba will paint a target on his back.
Now, I'm not one of these people petitioning to Disney to remake films. I'm really just spit-balling an idea that's been bouncing around my head. This post is really just a bit of fun so if you don't agree, write a blog post and let me know so I can explore other ideas.