Solo: A Star Wars Story, the second standalone movie in the franchise, tells the origin story of Han Solo, galactic smuggler extraordinaire. Though each movie has its fans, plenty of reasons exist as to why Solo is better than Rogue One. The film at last reveals how Han (Alden Ehrenreich) met Chewbacca, how he first crossed paths with Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), how he acquired the Millennium Falcon, and even the origin of his name. While it does serve as a prequel (an obscenity among Star Wars fans), Solo feels refreshingly independent of the series in terms of plot, characters, and overall tone. Whereas the other movies are grand space epics, Solo feels more like a Western, with Han's origin story providing a new way to view this galaxy far, far away.
Because of these qualities, Solo is a better movie than Rogue One, the series's first standalone film from 2016. Even with the stakes lowered, Solo still manages to tell a more concise and engaging story. In the same way The Last Jedi surpasses The Force Awakens, Solo surpasses Rogue One by relying less on the canon and more on originality.
Almost every single Star Wars movie not called The Empire Strikes Back ends with a huge battle in space or on a planet's surface, including Rogue One. It's become a pretty tired formula at this point. Solo, however, delivers arguably the most grounded finale of all Star Wars movies, a neat experiment involving a standoff between all the surviving thieves.
For once, a Star Wars movie actually plays out like a Western, as all sides reveal their cards and their interests. In the end, the characters who live another day are the ones who drew their blasters the fastest. Oh, and no one blows up a Death Star.
One thing Solo does that even Rogue One fails to do is bring everyone's favorite con man back to the big screen: Lando Calrissian. Unlike the Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader storylines in Rogue One, Lando boasts a pretty important role, even leaving the door open for his own movie (something Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is definitely thinking about). Even if Billy Dee Williams fails to come back in the Sequel Trilogy, Solo at least gives you Lando, whose character is infinitely enhanced by being played by Donald Glover.
Solo: A Star Wars Story feels much less tied to the main storyline than Rogue One. While Rogue One tackles a plot directly connected to Episode IV: A New Hope – the mission to steal to the Death Star plans that eventually leads to Luke Skywalker destroying the super weapon – Solo merely tells the origin story of Han Solo from before he entered the saga.
Since much of the story never really impacts A New Hope directly, Solo feels more like a noir heist movie than an intergalactic war movie. It ends up being a refreshing departure from the usual "the fate of the galaxy lies in the balance" stakes of the other films. Instead of worrying about the galaxy, Solo simply lets you explore it.
Four Star Wars movies feature a Death Star or a Death Star-like super weapon, not to mention Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith each allude to the battle station, too. So really, six Star Wars movies feature at least a mention of a moon-sized (or planet-sized) weapon capable of blowing up Alderaan, Hosnian Prime, or any number of other planets. Frankly, many fans (and critics) are tired of it.
Solo provides a breath of fresh air in that regard that Rogue One cannot, since Rogue's entire plot revolves around the Death Star blueprints. The Han Solo movie never even mentions the D-word. It pretends super weapons don't even exist. Thank the maker.