Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here’s the story behind "I'm Han Solo," one of the worst pieces of Star Wars licensing ever

Even though it was arguably a better match for the visual tone of the film’s trailer, it’s unlikely we’re going to hear the song “I’m Han Solo” pop up anywhere in Solo: A Star Wars Story. That’s mainly because it’s notoriously terrible. The infamous track—a parody of Jason Derulo’s “Ridin’ Solo” with ham-fisted Star Wars references galore—first appeared in the Xbox 360 game Kinect Star Wars, and now a report from New York Magazine is attempting to get to the bottom of how the hell anybody let this happen.

For those you don’t remember, or just had better things to do in 2012, Kinect Star Wars was essentially the death rattle of the LucasArts video game studio. It was the last game produced before everything Lucasfilm-related was packaged up and sold to Disney. Rather than go out with a bang, LucasArts decided to go out with a gimmicky game that capitalized on the poorly functioning Xbox Kinect interface. Users were give the chance to wield lightsabers, explore their favorite Star Wars locations, and, for some reason, make the film’s iconic characters dance to shitty pop songs.

“[Microsoft] had licensed a number of songs for a different dance game, and then that game fell through,” Lucasfilm employee Jesse Harlin tells New York. “They had that license and they had all these songs… so somebody at Microsoft made the decision that they were going to add a dance section into the game.”


As if forcing Han Solo to dab and do the electric slide in the very Carbonite chamber where he was imprisoned wasn’t bad enough, some genius in upper management decided they should include a few parody versions of songs, just in case fans didn’t get that this was a game about Star Wars. “Y.M.C.A.” became “Empire Today,” “Hollaback Girl” became “Hologram Girl,” and, of course, “Ridin’ Solo” became “I’m Han Solo.”

“It just changed the word boogie to wookie, that’s not parody. That’s like find-and-replace in a Word doc,” says Harlin in a pretty accurate description of what these Weird-Al-wannabe songs sound like. In a damningly honest admission of the state of things during the last days of LucasArts, Harlin describes the level of QA that was going on during the game’s production: “By the time it reached my desk there was nobody saying, ‘Do you think this is a good idea?’”

A more favorable interpretation of that sentiment would be that game designers at LucasArts just wanted to make something fluffy and fun. They didn’t think too hard about the quality of the song parodies in their Star Wars dance mini-game because they didn’t think anybody would care. They certainly didn’t think gameplay videos featuring the song would go viral and draw the ire and ridicule of fans everywhere.

Or maybe they just hate Han Solo and wanted to make him look stupid. Who’s to say? You can read the whole report here.


Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Pay me to write for you, you coward.

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