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It does not feature a single Jedi nor mention of the Force, yet Solo: A Star Wars Story fully embraces the spirit and feel of a classic Star Wars movie.
Set 10-13 years before Han Solo meets Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), the franchise's standalone film is delightfully fun and thrilling, complete with emotional moments. It is also filled with Easter eggs and references to the extended Star Wars Universe—from comics to novels to TV animated shows.
Out of 50+ Easter eggs in Solo, here’s 15 of the coolest listed in chronological order. (Spoilers ahoy!)
1. Han's Lucky Gold Dice
Hung in the Millennium Falcon cockpit in A New Hope, these gold dice reappeared in The Last Jedi (2017) when Luke presents them (albeit a projected version) to Leia. Solo shows that Han has them since he was a teenage scrumrat on Corellia, and he and his first love Qi’ra (Emilia Clark) use it as a symbol of hope between them. However, the long-time notion that these were the very dice Han used to win the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of Sabacc goes kaput as no dice were used in the pivotal Sabacc rematch at the film’s end.
2. The Imperial March
An upbeat version of "The Imperial March" (a.k.a Darth Vader’s Theme) can be heard playing on an Imperial Academy recruitment commercial at the Coronet Spaceport which allows young Han a way to escape Corellia. The theme was first used in-universe in an episode of Star Wars Rebels (2014-2018).
3. Enfys Nest's Marauders
Solo co-screenwriter Jon Kasdan confirmed on Twitter that Rebellion fighters Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman) and her Cloud-Riders are based on and named after a villainous group that Han and Chewbacca collide with in a 70s Marvel Star Wars comic series. Adding to that deep cut connection, the marauders include Watto’s friend Weazel (Warwick Davis, reprising his role) from The Phantom Menace (1999) and Saw Gerrera’s henchman Edrio Two-Tubes from Rogue One (2016).
4-6. Mandalorian Armor / Xim’s Deathhead / Sith Holocron
The private office of Crimson Dawn boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) is an Easter egg goldmine. According to The Star Wars Show, key artifacts include ancient Mandalorian armor akin to those worn by bounty hunter Boba Fett in the original trilogy and Mandalorian warriors in The Clone Wars (2008-2014); Xim’s Deathhead, featured on the cover of the 1980 novel, Han Solo and The Lost Legacy; and a Sith Holocron, not unlike the one that Ezra Bridger and (Darth) Maul found at the Sith Temple in Malachor in Star Wars Rebels.
7. Aurra Sing
This well-coifed, white-skinned bounty hunter appeared briefly in The Phantom Menace and later in The Clone Wars where she trains a young Boba Fett to assassinate Mace Windu. In Solo, we learned that she’s dead when Lando (Donald Glover) thanks Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) for killing her.
8. K-I-S-S-I-N-G on the Falcon
Han and Qi’ra have an intimate moment in Lando’s cape closet on the Millennium Falcon before they are rudely interrupted by Beckett, a sequence that mirrors Han and Princess Leia’s first kiss on the Falcon before they are rudely interrupted by C-3PO in The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
9. Lando’s Disguise
Acting as Qi'ra's bodyguard, Beckett wears a helmet and breastplate disguise during the Kessel mission. It is the very same outfit Lando wore years later in Return of the Jedi (1983) when he accompanies Leia to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt.
10. Teräs Käsi
Qi’ra floors a Pyke Syndicate representative with a nifty martial arts move on Kessel, telling Lando’s droid co-pilot L3-37 (Phoebe-Waller Bridge) that it’s Teräs Käsi (Finnish for “steel hand”), a combat technique she learned from Dryden Vos. Although it's a technique also practiced by Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace and the Elite Praetorian Guards in The Last Jedi, the reference here pays tribute to Masters of Teräs Käsi, an obscure (and reportedly truly awful) Star Wars fighting game developed for PlayStation in 1997.
11. A Wookiee’s Wrath
In A New Hope, Han warns C-3PO not to upset a Wookiee as they are known to pull people’s arms out of their sockets. In Solo, fans finally get to see Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) doing just that to a Pyke guard in a Kessel mine elevator.
12. L3 Is part of the Millennium Falcon.
Fatally wounded on Kessel, L3’s superior navigational system is uploaded onto the Falcon’s database, thus making the self-made droid a permanent component of the galaxy’s most infamous piece of junk. This makes C-3PO’s comment about the Falcon being “rude” and having “the most peculiar dialect” in The Empire Strikes Back so much more poignant.
13. The Kessel Run In 12 Parsecs
Han boasts about the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run in “less than 12 parsecs” in A New Hope and gets testy when Rey thinks it’s 14 in The Force Awakens (2015). In Solo, we learn that the Kessel Run comprises a cluster of black holes called The Maw and covers about 18 parsecs (of distance, not time). Han manages to find a shortcut and later boasts that he did it in 12 parsecs. When Chewie protests, the scoundrel insists, “Not when you round down, buddy!”
14. Darth Maul
No, the former Sith Lord did not die in The Phantom Menace. He came back alive in The Clone Wars, hell-bent on revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi before dying at his adversary’s hands in Star Wars Rebels. Solo introduces Maul (Ray Park/voiced by Sam Witwer) as the actual leader of crime syndicate Crimson Dawn. His plans to work closely with Qi’ra (who killed Dryden Vos earlier on) may hint that the two characters may feature in either the Kenobi or Boba Fett standalone films, or—dare we hope—Solo 2. It will be intriguing to see live-action battles between Maul and Kenobi once again. Meanwhile, Qi’ra already has her own new adventures in Forces of Destiny (2017-present).
15. “Han shoots first.”
In the original A New Hope, Han shoots bounty hunter Greedo first in the Mos Eisley Cantina. In the 1997 Special Edition, series creator George Lucas altered the scene to have Greedo shooting first before Han responds in kind so that Han doesn't seem like a "cold-blooded killer". The change irked long-time fans for eons. In Solo, the controversy is addressed when during the climax, Han shoots at Beckett first without hesitation. What the scene rectifies is that Han is not a bad guy, but a smart good guy who knows how to defend himself in order to stay alive in a wild, wild galaxy far, far away.
What's your favorite Easter egg in Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let me know on Twitter!