With the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, fans can expect (canonically new) answers to some age-old questions: How did Han and Chewie meet? Who did the Kessel Run? And how did Han and Lando wind up wearing a vest and cape, respectively?
Writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan satisfy some of those inquiries, but the final question remains: What led to the vest and cape? And just how many capes did Lando have in that closet? To find out, SYFY WIRE spoke with Solo costume designers Glynn Dillon and Dave Crossman, who shed spotlight on dressing Lando (Donald Glover), Han (Alden Ehrenreich), and the rest of the cast.
The first Star Wars came out in the ‘70s, and this is supposed to take place about a decade earlier. How’d that impact your approach?
Dillon: I don’t think some of the original Star Wars was really overtly '70s, it was more kind of a military, cowboy and western feel. I think if it had been overtly '70s, it would have dated some of the costumes, but they're either Japanese-influenced, Western, or military. And I think that's kind what keeps it 40 years on still looking good. If they'd gone full ‘70s with it, you would have ended up with Logan's Run, that kind of feel. That's what was different about Star Wars.
So did you think about what it might have been like 10 years earlier in Star Wars time?
Dillon: It just felt like it's pretty much in the same period. When it comes to stormtroopers sometimes you can see a marked development, but I think it terms of the fashion it just has to feel Star Wars.
Crossman: We tried to project youth. You know, a more youthful kind of exuberance of the characters, so, just kind of take them back.
Lando clearly already had his thing for capes. I read Prince was an inspiration for them — anyone or anything else?
Dillon: Our main influence was probably more Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, and James Brown. The main concentration was getting Donald looking good in the black cape and the yellow shirt, because the story demanded that was gonna be his main costume throughout.
The whole Lando's closet thing grew, developed as the film when on. In the end we made around 30 capes for that room, probably around 30 shirts, 20 scarves, lots of footwear and accessories. The general thing was to make it luxurious as possible. All his available money has gone to his clothing.
Were they all different styles, or plays off one another, with slight tweaks?
Dillion: It's a few styles, and then we did them in different fabrics and textures. So you had silk, wool, fake fur, leather; some were patterned, some plain. So you just try to work in as much variation as you could. There's very silky ones. There's one that Qi'ra puts on in the closet that has some lovely details with blue-y silk. It’s the red cape that we did for her.
Crossman: That wasn't made to fit Donald, even though technically it's supposed to be his cape. It was made to fit Qi'ra so that she would look stunning in it.
Was there a particular cape that you designed that you liked the most?
Dillon: It was the big fur ones for me, I loved Donald's big fur one. I loved Qi'ra's red cape, because I think that just really worked so well on her walking down the ramp of the Falcon. And I think it's nice, a lot of times these days you don't see colors that bright.
There's a temptation to tone everything down, and it's we wanted to go for like, a bright scarlet, as inspired by Terence Stamp in Far From the Madding Crowd. That kind of bright, bright blue against the blue sky. You don't see that very often these days.
How about young Han? How'd he get the vest?
Dillon: We looked at a lot of music, looking at the Clash for the young Han Solo, the way they cut off the sleeves in the leather jacket and the biker boots with the jeans over the biker boots. So it feels like we had a similar feel, like with the vest that he wore in the original trilogy. And the fact that the biker boots are there but later on in the trilogy they're riding boots. So there's all these kinda connections, but there's a more youthful feel.
What other elements about Han that you wanted to update or make more youthful?
Dillon: The Clash thing is, in particular, Corellia, really, when you first see him. We started with two jackets; we had the Clash-style jacket and then we had this chopped-off leather jacket which was another punk jacket, with painted leather, kind of self-customized. Something you could customize at home.
And then the suede jacket was kind of Han's development. We were looking at Steve McQueen and these kinda cool elements, and then we were looking at black paneling at the V & A Museum in London, at one of the '60s exhibitions, was all about things at the forefront of fashion at the time. So it kind of lent itself to what we were doing.
So much of the movie is about class — the poor orphans on Corellia, the rich gangsters floating above. Did that play into the design of the larger cast?
Crossman: Yeah, Corellia, in the original script there was a lot more starting off that maybe he worked in a factory. And we had the idea of lots of factory workers. And when you've got to have a large amount of people, if you can have any kind of costume that repeats, in terms of getting like, 500 costumes made, you do it. There's a certain uniform for a factory and a certain uniform for another factory, and it helps us out and you can play around with accessories to make everyone feel different.
What kind of factory?
Crossman: In the opening chase, you'll see the speeder, he whizzes through that factory. That's, you know, maybe what he was going to be part of there. It's a general Imperial factory, and you can see Star Destroyers under construction in the sky, and that was the mindless work kind of Corellia.
So it was very much a working planet, a working environment. And amongst them, there were some rich people as well.
Dillon: Yeah, actually in some of the versions we did some richer people in space, so more elites in some of the queues leaving the planet. And then it kinda went a bit more gang-related with Proxima and the White Worms gang. So he was part of that world, this kind of underworld of Corellia. It’s a very aspirational film. They're all after something. They're all looking to progress and which is a good dynamic.
His clothing is pretty similar 10 years later; there are obvious elements he kept. Meanwhile, Lando has a cape for every occasion. Did you think about how often people in Star Wars do laundry?
Crossman: I'm sure there's a washing machine somewhere on the Falcon. I'm sure Lando told L3 to do the laundry, and I'm sure she tells him where to stick it.
Dillon: You know, weirdly on The Last Jedi there was actually an Imperial kind of laundry and dry cleaning room.