Major spoilers ahead for Solo: a Star Wars Story. Ever since the first trailer for Solo, the second Star Wars anthology film after 2016’s Rogue One, fans have been wondering what characters would be joining Han on his fun ride. Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke plays a woman named Qi’ra, a former flame of Han Solo’s and a major player in the standalone film. But because so much of Qi’ra’s past is a mystery, and because much of the underlying theme of Solo is that we can’t trust everything we’re told, audience members can’t take anything we learn about Qi’ra at face value. So when a familiar face shows himself at the end of Solo, it presents a huge question: since she becomes loyal to Darth Maul, could Qi’ra be a Sith in Star Wars?
As it turns out, The Phantom Menace villain Darth Maul is the head of a mysterious crime organization called Crimson Dawn, for which Qi’ra has been working for a number of years. But when, toward the end of the film, Qi’ra kills her current boss Dryden Vos, abandons Han, and seemingly pledges loyalty to a holographic Darth Maul, it seems totally possible that she’s been a Sith in disguise all along.
Solo‘s first act fills you in on Han and Qi’ra’s backstory: They’re both orphans from a dusty planet called Corellia where they worked manual labor under the firm grasp of Lady Proxima. When the two plan an escape, Han makes it, but Qi’ra gets captured. After a three year stint in the Empirical army, Han deserts his post, joins a rag tag gang of thieves, and makes plans to make enough cash to buy Qi’ra’s freedom. But Qi’ra beats him to the punch, it seems. When Han and fellow thief Beckett (Woody Harrelson) head to the chic headquarters of big-time crime boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), Han literally bumps into Qi’ra, who now works for Dryden as a sort of Lieutenant.
At the end of Solo, Qi’ra’s true allegiances are still up in the air. As it seems, she wants to gain as much control as she can, survive the dog-eat-dog style of the galaxy, and finally have power of her own. She abandons Han and Chewie on Savareen, but she also essentially saves them as well by telling to Darth Maul that Beckett killed Dryden Vos, when in reality, she killed Dryden and Han killed Beckett. Leaving Han behind in that way is actually a method of keeping him off Maul’s radar and letting him live out his own life. Qi’ra does seem to truly love Han, despite not always making the best choices.
Alternatively, she could be truly evil, and perhaps she’s off to hone her Sith powers at the end of Solo, in which case it’s possible we’ll see her in other Star Wars movies or the upcoming TV series. A female villain who can use the Force, albeit for the Dark Side, is something we haven’t yet seen in any Star Wars film, and there’s no time like the present to make it happen.
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