Han Solo: Podracing done right?

Details regarding the speeder race for the (still!) untitled Han Solo film have accumulated. Let’s do a rundown of what we know, and what this scene needs to be a hit.

Let’s first consider the look and feel. This is very much the lived-in star wars with hunks of junk saving the day. Speeders that you probably have to pound the dashboard to get the to start.

TMZ first leaked some photos of the speeders in the Han Solo film. Making Star Wars still has some more of them up, but TMZ seems down at least currently. This is roughly what Han’s speeder looks like on the outside:


So one side is open an the other has a rounded surface. Very unique  design, but still has that hunk-o-junk feel for sure. Here’s a shot from the other side of this speeder that emerged on reddit:

One tweet from Ron Howard gives a detailed shot of one of the speeder’s cockpit. Somehow I’m thinking this is Solo’s, but that is speculation. The glove below kind of matches the glove in the image above, and the steering wheel above kind of matches:

Ron Howard twitter  

The steering wheel looks kind of 80s Atari or something. Note the loose wires further reinforcing the cobbled-together look. Imagine Han needing to reconnect some wires while driving kind of like Anakin fixing his podracer engines while racing.

Another set of leaks from making star was have a video of the car, along with this image of what the car could look like on screen with the wheels edited out. According to Making Star Wars just now, the race will take place on Corellia, where Han is from. Given the concept art we have for Corellia, we might expect to see this place amped up to look more industrial with CGI:

The Daily Echo leaked a bunch of set photos (found via SWU), including this wide view of the Fawley Powerstation, where it looks like the race will take place. This old power plant has a lot of cooling pipes and some old electrical equipment. When you look at this, keep in mind that a lot of it will be embellished with CGI, and could look very different.

Daily Echo

Take a look at this round structure that could be where an audience sits?

Daily Echo

Also take a look at this “thick speeder”. Something about this one makes it look like Griff Tanen would drive it, and be the antagonist in the race:

Daily Echo

From these images, we can get a sense of what this car will look like on screen. Although a lot of the videos show the cars moving pretty slowly, you can imagine that on-screen the cars will be sped up, and supplemented with CGI shots. This is going to be fast paced with a feeling of real danger and risk. Very fast. Very dangerous.

Definitely reminds me of the podracing scene from The Phantom Menace, but hopefully more adult. Keep things like cameos from characters like Aurra Sing–come to think of it, wouldn’t it be cool if she was watching this race too, showing that she likes to watch races, and further connect it to a scene with Boba Fett or other bounty hunters to be seen in a future spin-off film? You can keep the aliens like Sebulba, but maybe less slapstick silliness like Ody Mandrell’s pit droids. Some amount of humor and levity is OK, but there is a limit. Let me explain.

The podracing scene from TPM was one of my favorites back in 1999 when it came out. Admittedly, that was 18 years ago, and while the action and special effects have held up, some of the comedy didn’t. Probably the most jarring part of the podracing scene of TPM was the two-headed announcer voiced by comedian Greg Proops, and some of his quips:

I don’t care what universe you’re from, that’s gotta hurt!

Something about this line seems improvisational, because it doesn’t make sense. You can’t be from another universe, because there is only one. Unless of course we’re talking multiverses here…Did he mean galaxy? In a way, this announcer character seems out of place in that it represents a kind of irreverent humor that doesn’t take itself seriously and almost winks at the audience. While this kind of humor can sometimes be a refreshing change, it doesn’t seem to fit with what a lot of fans considered Star Wars.

The Phantom Menace, Lucasfilm

In fact, it may have been this kind of comedy that led to a creative clash between Directors Lord and Miller, and Lucasfilm. While their comedy works for 21 Jumpstreet and The Lego Movie, it may have not have worked for Star Wars–assuming these rumors are correct. I’m speculating that this was part of the reason, but if I’m right it is sort of ironic. Current Lucasfilm execs may have rejected the brand of comedy that Lucas himself may have tried almost two decades before in Star Wars. Perhaps rightly so considering this was precisely the same objection that many fans had about the prequels. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the prequels, but I’m willing to recognize that Han Solo will succeed with a broader audience if they avoid this kind of humor.

This racing scene has so much potential. It has the potential to represent some of the best parts of Star Wars. Everyone loves a good race, and with floating speeders and aliens from a galaxy far far away, this scene could be amazing. All things considered, and thinking of the choices that Lucasfilm has made dealing with the comedic tone of the film, it sounds like they are thinking along these lines.

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