“I’ve got a really good feeling about this.”
The moment Han says this in the trailer, I knew this movie was definitely going to appeal to me. It’s the complete opposite, of course, of the line said in every other Star Wars movie. I don’t know how many other fans picked up on that, cared about that, took it to mean cockiness about the film’s chances for success…Clearly this was the second Star Wars in a row that knowingly subverted expectations. Last Jedi proved incredibly divisive, and subverted a lot more expectations, but for me there’s very little more fundamental to Star Wars than its most repeated phrase. It’s the language of Star Wars.
So for Solo to deliberately go after it, that set the tone right there. It demonstrates immediately that although this is a familiar character he’s playing by a different set of rules than we know. I know it’s popular to say that either Han Solo isn’t as popular as some of us used to think, or his death in Force Awakens killed interest in him, but he’s the embodiment of Star Wars for me. Unlike every other hero, even reluctant Jyn Erso, we see his introduction into the Rebellion as a progression, even as a struggle. That’s another reason why I like Finn, because he doesn’t just dive right in, either. I appreciate these people who aren’t automatically fanatics.
To see how Han develops, even with the character traits we know he buried behind gruff in his later appearances, is to appreciate the character even more. It’s all the more shocking to see such an optimistic version of the character, and that line at the top of this post is the perfect expression of it. I don’t think it’s that he becomes cynical, necessarily, but that he begins to hold his cards much closer to his chest. He’s a fascinating character.