This post contains spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story.[hhmc]
Another year, another Star Wars movie, another basket of Easter eggs. Like most of the franchise installments that precede it, Solo: A Star Wars Story comes packed with references to other Star Wars movies—many that will be extremely obvious to fans, and some that are a little more obscure. Though no one could accuse the film of lifting entire plotlines from the original trilogy—an accusation some critics leveled against The Force Awakens—Solo does manage to incorporate some fascinating parallels to the original trilogy as well. Its worth repeating, though: if you havent seen Solo yet and want to remain unspoiled, now is definitely the time to bookmark the page (you know, if you want), leave, and buy a ticket. For the rest of you, here are some Easter eggs, references, and parallels you might have missed.
A familiar meeting
As Vanity Fairs own K. Austin Collins noted in his review, Solos chief mission is to answer as many questions as possible about how Han Solo became Han Solo. At times, the film tries a little too hard in that capacity. (You know how Han Solo got his last name? He was traveling solo!) But in other moments, it deploys parallels that inspire us to reevaluate things we already knew about the Star Wars universe. Theres perhaps no better example than the moment Han and Chewie meet—which doubles as a reference to Return of the Jedi.
It begins when Han is thrown into a pit by two Imperial officers as punishment for being a deserter—just as Luke Skywalker is thrown into the Rancor pit beneath Jabba the Hutts throne in George Lucass third Star Wars film. (Several shots in Solo seem cannily similar to shots from that film, too.) The monster within the pit, the officers tell Han, hadnt eaten in a couple days—so hell be extra ferocious. Lucky for Han, its not a Rancor that awaits him, but a very muddy imprisoned Wookiee.
Seeing Han and Chewies escape, however, gives us some extra cause to think about that Rancor—where it might have come from, what its story was, just how long Jabba may have kept it imprisoned and in isolation. Its just one of many times Solo recasts this worlds beings in another light; throughout the film, for instance, Landos defiant droid, L3-37, points out the horrendous civil rights violations droids in the Star Wars universe face on a daily basis.
On a lighter note: Han and Chewies introduction is not the only moment that seems to draw inspiration from previous films. At another point in Solo, the two fake being captured and handcuffed while attempting to steal unrefined coaxium from Kessel. Han, Chewie, and Luke try a variation on the same gambit in A New Hope: the two humans dress as Stormtroopers, walking a handcuffed Chewie into the detention center as they set off to rescue Leia.
The gold dice
Hans gold dice first appeared in A New Hope—though they were clearly visible in only one scene. They reemerged in The Last Jedi last year, becoming a far more prominent part of Han, Luke, and Leias story. And in Solo, viewers find out that the dice were originally a good luck charm handed back and forth between Han and his love interest, Qira (Emilia Clarke), at various junctures during the film. Qira might not have come back with Han at the end of the film, but it appears he was able to hang on to the dice, at least, for the long haul. This is primarily interesting because until now, Star Wars lore held that those gold dice were the ones Han used when he won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of Corellian Spike—a dice-game version of the popular high-stakes card game Sabacc.
“Fair and Square”
How did Han really win the Millennium Falcon? Thanks to Solo, its finally clear why Lando is still a little sour about the incident even years later, when they met up again in Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back. The entire game feels like a direct reference to Hans insistence in the film that he won the ship from Lando “fair and square.”
As we see in Solo, Han won the Falcon from Lando in a game of traditional Sabacc. In the new film, the two face off twice across the card table. The first time, Han plays a winning hand, but Lando still emerges victorious—and Han realizes that Lando has cheated by keeping an essential card stashed up his sleeve. The second time, Han makes sure his adversary cant swindle him again. And so, Lando loses the ship—though that apparently never stopped him from calling the Falcon his ship, perhaps because, as we learn in Solo, the Falcon contains all thats left of Landos beloved droid sidekick (and potential lover?) L3.
Landos backstory in Solo comes with one more ironic, coda: a moment in which Lando looks down on Kessel, murmuring, “Mining colonies are the worst.” Cloud City, Landos eventual domain, is also a mining colony.
Empire strikes again
Remember how Han infamously bragged to Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi that the Falcon “made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs”—a quote that has confounded Star Wars fans for years, since the parsec is a unit of distance, not time? Naturally, Solo has an explanation for this as well. During his mission to steal unrefined coaxium, Han must compress the Kessel Run, a popular smuggling route, lest the material hes transporting warm to the point of combustion before theyre able to refine it in a second location. Han does this by flying through the Maw Cluster, a series of black holes that are too close together for most pilots to navigate safely.
On top of providing backstory to an oft-quoted line from A New Hope, the scene also echoes another familiar moment from The Empire Strikes Back. As Lando incredulously asks Han if he plans to fly into the Maw, he sounds a lot like Leia, who once frantically asked Han, “Youre not actually going into an asteroid field!” In both cases, the answer was “yes.” At one point, Han also says “Ive got a really good feeling about this”—a direct reference to “I have a bad feeling about this,” a phrase that has appeared in some iteration in every Star Wars movie.
Jabba the Hutt looms large
As Solo closes, our hero finds out about a “big-shot gangster” who is putting together a team for another job. His home base? The planet of Tatooine. If all of this is sounding familiar, thats because that gangster is very likely Jabba the Hutt, who shared a home planet with Luke Skywalker. Jabbas presence is pretty inescapable in this film; the Hutt Cartel is also referenced in the beginning as one of the threatening groups awaiting Han and Qira, should they ever escape their home planet of Corellia.
Han spent the first two Star Wars films dodging Jabba, to whom he apparently owed a large sum of money after dropping some very precious cargo. At the end of Empire, Jabba managed to catch him, freezing him in carbonite. Thankfully, Hans friends were able to save him. Could we find out in a subsequent Solo movie what, exactly, the job was that landed Han in such deep trouble? With the universe ever expanding, I wouldnt rule it out.
Speaking of that rescue mission: you might have noticed that the mask Woody Harrelsons character, Beckett, wears when Han and his crew steal the coaxium in Solo looked familiar. Thats because its the same mask Lando wore when he, Leia, and the rest of Hans buddies teamed up to save him in Return of the Jedi. Oh, and one final thing: Hans failed attempt in Solo to use a fake “thermal detonator” came straight out of the Return of the Jedi playbook; Leia attempted the same move to intimidate Jabba. It didnt work, but perhaps if shed thrown the fake gadget, like Han threw the rock in his hand in Solo, she would have had more luck.
Making the Team
It takes multiple attempts in the film for Han to fully win Becketts trust—with a lot of insults thrown in along the way. One of those digs, however, is actually a callback. Rio, Becketts original pilot, initially dismisses Han as a “flyboy”—an insult Leia would usually use when Han first tried to rescue her. And one of the other mercenaries Beckett considers bringing on, Bossk, is a gun-for-hire that Darth Vader would later hire to track the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back.
But perhaps the most charming callback involving Beckett comes when the more seasoned outlaw teaches Chewbacca how to play a chess-like game called Dejarik, in which holographic figures battle. Although the Wookiee loses, he does not rip Becketts arms out of their sockets—which Han told Luke in A New Hope that Wookiees are “known to do.” Perhaps over time, Chewie became more of a sore loser.
And finally, perhaps the funniest of all the films Easter eggs comes toward the end, as a bedraggled and exhausted Lando tells Han, “I hate you.” Hans reply? Well, you know.
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