The Solo: A Star Wars Novel Adds An Interesting Twist To That Major Cameo 

Qi’ra has a close encounter with a Star Wars legend in Solo. And we’re not talking about Han... (Photo: Lucasfilm)

Solo: A Star Wars Story has much more intriguing connections to Star Wars’ recent past beyond just telling the tale of a younger Han Solo. But the upcoming novelisation of the movie, just like other recent Star Wars adaptations, is adding more — including an intriguing wrinkle left unstated by the film.

By now, you’re probably aware that the very-much-still-alive (at least, at this point in the Star Wars timeline) Darth Maul makes a special appearance in the climax of Solo as the real leader of the sinister Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. If you’ve somehow managed to retain an interest in Solo and yet still have not seen the film, well... hey, you read past the spoiler warning!

In the last act of the movie, Qi’ra, Han’s former paramour and current operative for Crimson Dawn, makes the decision not to flee with Han after the death of her boss, Dryden Vos. Instead, she contacts the Dawn’s leader and works her way up the criminal underworld’s career ladder, leading to a frosty holo-call with none other than Maul himself.

He snarls a bit, twirls his double-bladed lightsaber (just so you really know it’s Maul), and tells her to meet him on the planet Dathomir, promising that they’ll be working very closely going forward.

Maul’s name isn’t mentioned in the scene, and while he makes it clear that he knows Qi’ra well enough, the encounter is shrouded in enough mystery that you might assume Qi’ra herself already knew who Maul was, and was just making a shrewd move in contacting him, like the many other decisions she’d made throughout the film.

But according to an interview with Mur Lafferty, the writer of the Solo novelisation, the book will make it clear that Qi’ra had no idea who was on the end of that call when she made it:

In the final version, Lafferty’s novelization does describe the Force-wielding Zabrak — “another thing that I added almost entirely after I saw it,” [Lafferty] says. “It wasn’t until I saw it the second time that I realised he Force-pulled his lightsaber to him. It wasn’t on him, he pulls it in. Which is even scarier!”

But she made the conscious decision not to include his name because, she reasoned, Qi’ra wouldn’t have known him on sight. “I don’t think she would have known who he was,” Lafferty says. “They sort of implied that Dryden was beholden to someone a lot more powerful than he was. And so she knew that whoever it was scared him, but she didn’t know that the guy used to be a Sith Lord. She didn’t know who he was. She just knew that that button would call Dryden Vos’ boss.”

Lafferty goes on to reason that considering by the time the original Star Wars trilogy took place the Jedi are a fabled myth (despite only having been gone for two-ish decades!), it’s pretty reasonable that Qi’ra, a lowly orphan turned gangster, doesn’t know that her boss’ — well, ex-boss’ — boss is actually a secret Sith.

People such as Maul survived as long as they did in the galaxy far, far away by sticking to the shadows, rather than letting it be known that they’re, say, running vast criminal enterprises.

But it’s an interesting interpretation of the scene from the movie nonetheless — and makes the fact that Qi’ra doesn’t promptly freak out the moment Maul starts getting all lightsaber-spinny in front of her rather intriguing.

Who knows when we’ll get to see more of their relationship together in a post-Solo world at this point, but little twists and tidbits like this make it one of the most intriguing partnerships left currently uncovered in Star Wars canon.

The Solo novelisation hits shelves September 4.


    "...he pulls it in. Which is even scarier!”

    He force pulled, so I'm shaking in my boots. Oh no.

    I highly enjoyed Solo

      Me too, I think it was underrated generally.

      Yeah I actually prefer it over the new main movies so far

        Thats not exactly saying much though is it? (especially in the case of 8, at least 7 is entertaining even if not a great movie)

    I would go so far as to say I loved Solo.
    I went into it expecting the worst to be fair but came out of it having been completely engaged.
    I'm bummed it didnt do so well at the box office because I really do think it's probably the best of the new films. I would have loved to have seen more adventures with young han on the big screen.

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