Rockstars and Capes: the Costumes of ‘Solo – A Star Wars Story’

The costume designers behind Solo: A Star Wars Story have revealed some of the complex decisions that went into dressing the film’s lead characters Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. Despite the futuristic look of the recent prequel trilogy, the original films had rather rugged costumes not dissimilar from today that made the films both tangible and probably cheaper to produce. It was continuity with A New Hope that defined the process behind Han Solo’s backstory and the task lay with Glyn Dillon and David Crossman following on from Rogue One. They also worked on The Force Awakens, as a chief concept artist and a costume supervisor, respectively and both have said they “don’t like ‘costumey’ costumes.”

Musical Exuberance

“I think we stayed true because we know them so well,” Crossman told Nerdist. “We grew up with them. We’ve known them for 40 years. And so, me and Glyn will sit there, talking about Han and Lando endlessly. They’re characters we’re so familiar with. How can we do something cool that’s going to slot into the existing universe without jarring, while still bringing something fresh?”

“For the inspiration for a lot of the characters in this film, we looked to music, really,” said Dillon. “For Lando, we were looking at, like, Jimi Hendrix—just trying to imagine what these characters would be like when they were younger. James Brown and Marvin Gaye. It was a wealth of inspiration, really. We looked [to] The Clash for the young Han Solo: cut-off sleeves and biker boots. It’s trying to use inspiration that might even have been used at the time [of the Original Trilogy] by the designers. So that it would have felt of that time, as a part of that universe. You want it to feel like Ralph McQuarrie and [A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back costume designer] John Mollo, and what those original guys would do, but updating it enough so that it’s still got something new.

“It was all about the Vietnam War on Rogue One,” said Crossman. “All the musical inspirations that we used on [Solo] fit the period anyway, so it brought you back into the proper time frame. It was either punk, New Wave, or soul from the late ‘60s through the ‘70s. It drew you into that period and gave you that musical exuberance, that display of some of those musical styles.”

More Capes!

As for Lando’s collection of capes Dillon said it was designed to fit with Lando’s capes in The Empire Strikes Back, “That’s Lando when he’s a working man [in charge of] Bespin. For us, we’re trying to get the youthful version of Lando, before he’s made it in the world. He’s trying to make his way. Everything goes into his clothing and the way he looks, to project that image.” That was no understatement with the total of Lando’s capes in Solo estimated as about 35.

“If you do 10 capes [for Lando’s walk-in cape armoire], it’s going to look half-empty. So we have to fill the room. Try to do an extensive palate. We tried to do some patterns,” said Dillon. “We did a lot of shirts, as well—about 30 shirts. Then we tried to mix the textures, so you’ve got silks, wools, furs, leathers. The closet’s become a bigger thing since the film’s been released. [Our job is] more about getting Lando dressed and looking good onscreen. The room became more a thing as the film progressed, as to the marketing. We were just trying to portray that all his money’s gone into these elegant capes, shirts, shoes, scarves, accessories. Luxury.”


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