Following the departure of Lord & Miller (mere weeks away from wrapping principal photography), and the subsequent hiring of Ron Howard - who reshot pretty much all of the upcoming Han Solo spin-off Solo: A Star Wars Story - many fans have been understandably concerned regarding the Rogue One follow-up. What the hell will Solo look like? What will Solo sound like? Will they still sell popcorn at the concession stand? Will I still be married by the time it comes out, or will my wife leave me?
Well, this article can't answer all of those questions (and seriously, you and your wife should probably see a counselor), but it can tell you that composer John Williams (of Star Wars and other great franchises that are not Star Wars) will be writing the theme for Solo, so you will at least have some of that old school bombast and brass to look forward to during the opening crawl (if there even is an opening crawl, as Rogue One proved that element isn't a given anymore, either). Speaking with Variety over the weekend, Williams said:
“The present plan is that I’m writing a theme for [Solo], and John Powell is going to write the score, which he’ll do brilliantly.”
Now, in case you're unfamiliar with his name, John Powell's penned a number of scores throughout the years (including The Bourne Identity and Joe Wright's Pan). He's an animation mainstay - earning himself an Oscar Nomination for How to Drain Your Dragon - lending his music to the Kung Fu Panda and Rio pictures. So, while nothing on his CV really screams Star Wars, he's got some solid credits to his name. Also, bringing in a guy mostly known for poppy, colorful cartoon work may clue us in to the sort of tone they're going for, at least sonically.
If you'll alow me a moment to play armchair quarterback: we might want to take a second and breathe easy about Solo. While it's simple to comprehend why folks are panicking a little bit regarding the potential quality of the picture - not to mention the fact that we haven't seen a single still or trailer from the actual production yet and we're five months away from release (May 25th) - but with the troubles behind the scenes, it's a pretty easy thing to write off as Disney trying to get all their ducks in order to combat any sort of bad press (as it's certain folks will be sharpening their knives to try and take a chunk out of whatever's presented).
Furthermore, while the first Rogue One trailer was released in April 2016 (almost eight months before it opened), once the movie dropped, folks spent a ton of time analyzing those clips to see what actually made it into the movie, as opposed to the cutting room floor (thanks to that production's own BTS troubles and re-shoots). It's not difficult to guess that Disney wants us all to focus on the movie instead of the marketing (what a novel idea!), and deliver a tease based on what Howard's actual vision for Solo is, as opposed to what we may be expecting from the Frankenstein product. The man's probably still finessing the movie in the editing bay, so let's give him a moment to get the tone of the actual sales pitch 100% right.
If this writer had to guess, Solo is probably going to end up being the Star Wars equivalent of Ant-Man (which, admittedly, never made it as far as this movie did into production before Edgar Wright was replaced with Peyton Reed). That movie turned out pretty great because, let's face it, Reed is a solid filmmaker. Howard is also a remarkably sturdy workman, having delivered great moments of spectacle throughout his career (and one of his best movies - Rush - less than five years ago). He probably has a really cool Star Wars installment in him, and it'll be neat to see what kind of best case he's made out of a bad situation. If anything, the cast is still amazing, and watching these performers bounce off of each other in the Star Wars universe will be a treat unto itself.