"Solo 2" could explore the crime-ridden underground that "Star Wars" has teased for decades. (Image via Polygon)
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Fans are clamoring for the further adventures of the beloved, scruffy-looking nerf herder.

Many have already forgotten, but Disney’s second attempt at a Star Wars film separate from the “Skywalker Saga,” came out on May 10th of last year. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” follows a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) as he tries to make enough money to return to his home planet of Corellia after a daring escape resulted in his love interest, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), being left behind. Solo does this the only way he knows how: smuggling Coaxium, a very valuable fuel source, for the criminal organization known as Crimson Dawn.

Despite positive reviews by fans and critics alike, the movie failed to earn $400 million in the box office, leaving the possibility of a sequel unlikely, despite the cliff-hanger ending teasing a richer, more complex universe waiting to be explored. As the one-year anniversary of the movie passed, the hashtag #MakeSolo2Happen spread across social media, even acquiring support from Chewbacca actor Joonas Suatomo.

Disney should seriously consider making a sequel to “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” “Solo 2” would have the potential to not only be a good movie that will make fans happy but would also be significantly more successful in the box office.

Despite its underperformance in the box office, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” was both intense and action-packed but also had intimate moments highlighting the different relationships between the characters. It created nostalgic feelings from seeing Han and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon, as well as other references to the original trilogy, such as how Han got his name, acquired the Millennium Falcon and DL-44 blaster and finally showed us the infamous 12-parsec-Kessel Run. Alden Ehrenreich did a fantastic job playing a young Han Solo and capturing the arrogant, yet sweet nature of the character.

After the original directors were fired, director Ron Howard was handed the reigns with extreme time restrictions and limited resources, yet still managed to pull off a fun, high stakes movie that showed us a side of the Star Wars galaxy that we hadn’t seen before. Don’t believe me? Watch it on Netflix. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

But, despite the quality of the film itself, the timing of its release, coupled with the behind-the-scenes issues, made for an unsuccessful release. After Disney started making new Star Wars movies with “Star Wars The Force Awakens” in 2015, they started a pattern of releasing a new movie each year in December.

This pattern was broken with “Solo,” as it was released in May 2018, only six months after “The Last Jedi” came out in December 2017. This didn’t leave enough time to build anticipation and excitement among fans for the movie, as well as a successful marketing campaign. It didn’t feel like the cultural event that other Star Wars movies are, and fans were less eager or even aware that the movie was coming out. Director Ron Howard also believed that trolls and some of the pushback from “The Last Jedi” carried over to “Solo,” again causing fewer people to see it. Solo 2 would likely not have the same amount of production issues and Disney would be able to give it the proper amount of dedication and attention that the first film deserved.

Above all, Star Wars is about the fans. And if making a Solo sequel is what the fans want, then Disney should at least consider the possibility of returning to the seedy underbelly of the most well-known movie franchise of all time.

“Solo” set up a world full of intriguing storylines and mysterious characters that left a lot to the imagination. A potential sequel could dive deep into this newfound mythos and also show us a lot more background to the Star Wars universe that we know and love.

The movie ends with Han and Chewbacca jumping into hyperspace to Tatooine, talking about a gangster putting together a team for a job. That gangster is Jabba the Hut, a significant character in the original trilogy. The sequel could follow this storyline and show how Han and Jabba the Hut met, exploring their relationship and setting up his encounter with Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, bridging the gap between “Solo” and “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” It could even reference the cargo he dropped at the “first sight of an Imperial Starship” a line famously said by Jabba.

The end of Solo also revealed that Darth Maul, the Sith Lord that made his first on-screen appearance in “Episode One: The Phantom Menace,” was the leader of Crimson Dawn. Rumors have recently started up again about a possible Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff series on Disney+. It is possible that Darth Maul and Crimson Dawn can be a major part of that, due to the long-standing animosity between the two. If that does happen though, it does not mean he can’t be involved in the next Solo movie. Whether Han encounters Darth Maul and Crimson Dawn on a job for Jabba or an attempt to rescue Qi’ra in “Solo 2,” seeing these two legendary Star Wars figure face to face on the big screen would be an incredible moment.

Speaking of Qi’ra, the movie also leaves a lot to be desired with her character. Though she promises to meet Han at the end of the film so the two can start their life together, she instead abandons him and is revealed to be much more involved with Crimson Dawn than we thought. While this could be the ending for her character, explaining why she isn’t around in the original trilogy, it is rather unsatisfying. It feels like her and Han’s relationship is incomplete. They need a final interaction, which could take place in the sequel.

The possibilities for a sequel are endless. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” took the already expansive Star Wars universe to new depths, so who knows what “Solo 2” could look like. No matter what, there’s no reason Ron Howard couldn’t make another quality movie that perfectly captures the audience’s imaginations.

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