What is the Han Solo movie going to be besides another Star Wars spin-off? Well, we know it's a Western. And we know it's an origin story for the iconic space pirate seen in four previous Star Wars movies. Could it also implement that faction of fandom that embraces steampunk? Quite possibly. At least a little bit.
Steampunk is a genre, design and style of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. While Star Wars is based in advanced technology, it has also always utilized an old fashion sense of atmosphere, and the very first movies used what George Lucas liked to call a 'used universe' style of filmmaking, where the planets didn't look shiny and new, but well lived in. That's the franchise's original aesthetic. So the ideals embraced by steampunk certainly could surface. And may well be on full display in Han Solo: A Star Wars Story.
That's not to say the entire movie will look like one giant Steampunk nightmare. But new rumors are swelling that part of the movie takes place in a cold industrial type setting. Perhaps a world that is powered by steam. With the promise of one new Star Wars movie every year for infinity, atmospheres and locals are going to get used up fast. We've already seen three desert worlds in the Star Wars cinematic universe as it stands, with Tatooine, Jakku and Jedha all similar in there tan dirt appeal. We've also heard that Han Solo is introducing a new planet that will have a similar look, described as a desert salt flats planet. And there is Crait, a new world introduced in the Star Wars: Last Jedi trailer. That brings the total up to five desert planets. So a steam planet isn't out of the question.
What has spurned these rumors is the fact that the Han Solo team is confirmed to be shooting at the Fawley Power Station in the UK. Locals have welcomed the shoot, with this particular location previously used for some key action scenes in Mission Impossible 5. The news comes courtesy of The Daily Echo. Apparently, those who live near the area have been excited to see all the big black cars rolling through the area with their tinted windows.
As far as the power station itself goes, it has a very 70s look to it, which fits the aesthetic of the original Star Wars released in 1977. Han Solo reportedly takes place ten years before A New Hope, so it should look more in line with that movie than the actual prequels from the early 2000s.
Diving into the location itself, it has a specialized dock that may be used in the shooting of the spin-off, which is normally used for delivery of oil by sea. The location is a prime place too shoot, as it is only used for its normal functions during times of high energy consumption. The building was erected six years before the first Star Wars movies hit theaters, way back in 1971, and it was officially decommissioned in 2013. Though it was believed that shooting was currently taking place in the Canary Islands right now, rumored to be a stand-in for Han Solo's home world of Corellia, shooting is definitely underway at this location in the UK as well, so it isn't quite clear how the production is being split up between the two locations.
Some of the locals have confirmed that new ports and docks are being built around the Fawley Power Station. Says the Daily Echo.
"Few details of the scenes to be shot at Fawley have been released, but a port sequence will be filmed this week."
Disney and Lucasfilm have kept a pretty tight lid on story details leading up to this point, so it probably won't become clear what is being shot at this location for some time to come. Perhaps the locals will be able to snap off a few paparazzi style shots of the production as it continues in the days ahead.
The station itself looks like something that is out of a 70s sci-fi movie, so there's little doubt why it was chosen for the movie. Will it help build Star Wars' first steam planet in an ode to the steampunks who love the franchise? Perhaps. Here is a picture of the station, as well as a shot from the inside as utilized in Mission: Impossible 5.