An Open Letter to Alan Horn at Diseny, More ‘Solo’ Please

This article is a bit different from my usual quandaries into the depths of human imagination, behavior, and cultural ramifications because it’s not directed at a general readership, but as a person I admire quite a lot, Alan Horn, the Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios Film Division. Horn unlike me is a liberal in Hollywood functioning from his known parameters which I was thinking about a lot yesterday as I was at a Tractor Supply. To a large degree the surface of our political natures comes from our regional influences. I grew up around guns, farmers and old westerns on television so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I am now very much a Trump country conservative. Horn and his Hollywood friends have spent most of their lives around people who want to save the planet and protest straws in the ocean. But getting deeper into the motivations of the human race I find that I have a lot in common with people like Alan Horn. I have known them and still do when I was active with the Joseph Campbell Foundation years ago, because it is in my real love of mythology that I respect the work that Horn does. And it is in that regard that I want to ask him to climb out on the limb and find a way to make a few more Han Solo films. Solo: A Star Wars Story was a great movie, it has held up well over this year and deserves another crack at becoming a major part of the Star Wars cannon. I don’t care about it so much for myself, but for my grandchildren. One of my grandsons is absolutely obsessed with Solo: A Star Wars Story and I think for his sake, more myths from the line of stories would be a wonderful thing and Horn is in a position to pull the trigger on that type of endeavor.

I have had my problems with Disney’s handling of the EU in Star Wars, but I’ll make another one of my big predictions, the Episode 9 that is currently wrapping up for a December release is going to be a champion that will heal a lot of the Star Wars trouble that has erupted over the last several years. I have been paying attention to the Fantasy Flight Games X-Wing game and of course the projected opening of Galaxy’s Edge at the Disney Parks and thinking about my background in mythology and comparative religious studies, I see a great enlightenment movement emerging that is unparalleled in all of human history. Star Wars and the films that come from them as I have said many, many times over multi-thousand word articles is many people’s gateway to the sciences. Every day I deal with very smart people all over the world, especially well-educated engineers and they all have in common a love for Star Wars, for the most part. The concepts introduced to them in those movies inspired them to get into the field of engineering, so that they could figure out how to build all the cool things they see in those movies. And of course on the serious side of economics and politics, our culture requires more smart people with playful spirits to emerge into careers that develop new technology. And the way those people are created is with films like Star Wars, so I view what Alan Horn does to be very important to the building of our culture.

My grandson which I referred to, has an obsession with the Millennium Falcon which has carried over into actual space travel. His favorite current activity at the age of 2 going onto 3 is in watching rocket launches on YouTube. When he’s not watching those rocket launches he watches over and over and over again the Kessel Run from the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story. I can see igniting in him all the things that will make a future genius and it starts with that childlike love that is generated by a good story full of new ideas. Even as my wife and I plan to visit Disney World at the opening of the new Galaxy’s Edge to see the full-scale Millennium Falcon and to actually go into it and fly it is to me mind-blowing considering the evolution of myth through human experience from stories told around a campfire to actual experiences like what Disney will offer in their new Star Wars land. It is putting thought on a scale that we’ve never seen before on earth. I think of that kind of thing often because I spend most of my time contemplating about mythologies, religion, and politics. To me they are all connected, they are what build culture. And to have such young minds able to participate in myth the way that young people currently do is very, very exciting.

There were lots of reasons that Solo: A Star Wars Story didn’t make a billion dollars at the box office. Mary Poppins Returns didn’t even come as close to a decent ROI than Solo did, so for Horn, the film business is tricky. The real problem, especially with the oversea markets was the rejection of a Star Wars film that was so rooted in the values of Western Civilization. That was the reason China rejected the film, but so what. A good film finds a way and through Blue Ray sales and Netflix, Solo has done a great job for the Star Wars franchise. I’m sure that other kids are doing just as my grandson is doing, watching it over and over all day long for weeks on end. They aren’t doing that with other movies, that’s for sure. I think J.J. Abrams will fix a lot of the Star Wars problems in the next film and on the backs of that, there is room for more Han Solo stories that can unleash so many countless adventures and other movies.

The end result of all this of course is the expansion of the human intellect which is and has always been an obsession of mine. I think we are all better and smarter when we have good things to think about, and these Star Wars movies are good foundations for thinking about the right kinds of things, such as exploring Mars, what kind of religion we will all have once we discover that there was life there and that the moon has been visited often by life from far away destinations. When we are no longer calling angels from our Bible stories such superficial references and come to understand that there were always life forms that our primitive people encountered but had no name for, a lot of those problems get explored in science fiction. And with Galaxy’s Edge about to open with a new Star Wars film this year on the back of a great Solo movie playing on Netflix for kids to watch over and over again, I can see a lot of these problems being solved by our civilization of tomorrow. The ability to go and touch that Star Wars world that is going to be offered by the Disney Company is a technical achievement that mythology has never had the ability to render up to this point so effectively.

So Alan Horn, I hope you will get another Solo movie into the pipeline. There is room for it and I still think it could be a billion dollar winner at the box office. If the fan base can be united behind Episode 9 and the problems of the EU fixed, there is great opportunity for more Han Solo movies, and many others. But for my grandson’s sake, he would greatly benefit from more exciting adventures in the Millennium Falcon. And I’m sure he’s not the only one out there. It’s probably the safest bet you could make.

Rich Hoffman

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