A lot can happen in six years. When Lawrence Kasdan began working on Solo: A Star Wars Story back in 2012, the script looked very different to what audiences have since seen on the big screen. This is most notable regarding the beginnings of Han Solo and Chewbacca’s beautiful friendship.
The film sees the duo introduced in a way which is both memorable and a knowing nod to the Original Trilogy. Having been captured by the Imperial Army for attempting desertion, Solo’s cast into a pit where he’ll be introduced to a carnivorous creature known only as The Beast. Although more feral and ferocious than we’re used to, the growl that comes from the cave is undoubtedly Chewie’s and the soon-to-be smugglers quickly develop a plan to team up and escape.
To give credit where it’s due, that’s some out-of-the-box thinking from the man formerly simply known as Han. Think what may have happened had Luke Skywalker made friends with the Rancor in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, rather than impaling him under a gargantuan blast door.
However, as seen in some recently published concept art in The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han and Chewie’s partnership was not always planned to begin on such a level pegging. Aaron McBride, ILM’s senior art director, details their first meeting as a chance encounter whilst in combat against the Empire. The warzone on Mimban, one of The Emperor’s mining colonies, sees the duo caught in the firing line of Imperial Walkers. Here, Chewie saves Han’s life, resulting in Han owing him a ‘life debt’ of sorts.
This shifted perspective alters the dynamic between the pair and is arguably to the detriment of the friendship that’s so effectively formed in Solo: A Star Wars Story. After all, we all know that if you owe a friend, they never let you hear the end of it.