Star Wars has always been a rich tapestry of interconnected stories. In 2014, with new films looming on the horizon, it was determined that all of the books written to that point would not be a constraint to creatives working in the galaxy in the future. This cleared up a lot of the continuity errors and landmines in the universe and paved the way for a new, cleaned-up canon. But that doesn’t mean the writers and filmmakers behind Star Wars can’t draw on those sources, and that’s exactly what they did in Solo: A Star Wars Story. We documented our favorite moments here:
**Spoiler Alert: There are obviously spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story below**
Corellia is a planet that got name-dropped in the very first Star Wars film, and it’s long been held as the home planet of Han Solo, so it’s no wonder the books would get into the details and minutiae of that planet. It became a legendary shipyard during the time of the Empire, and its capital, Coronet City, was given a name and personality. Well, Solo: A Star Wars Story brought many of those details to life, giving us a view of a planet we’d only ever read about in the novels.
The Lando Calrissian adventures
Written in the early 1980s by L. Neil Smith, the three Lando Calrissian adventures documented Lando’s time with the Millennium Falcon before losing it to Han. He traveled the galaxy with an impossibly unique droid named Vuffi Raa and got into all manner of bizarre adventures. In my interview with Solo screenwriter Jon Kasdan, he told me these books informed the movie a lot and I didn’t quite realize the extent to which they’d be referenced. In fact, every single book in the series is mentioned by name. The first, Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon, is name-checked at the Sabacc table when Lando boasts of once winning a subtropical moon in the Oseon system. The next, Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, comes when Lando is dictating his memoirs aboard the Falcon on Kessel. This one is interesting in that it recasts Vuffi Raa as L3-37 in the story. The last one comes in the final Sabacc game and he mentions the Starcave Nebula, a clear reference to Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of Thonboka.
The Han Solo adventures
Though there was only one blatant reference to these books that I found (so far), the entire film owes its spirit to the original Brian Daley Han Solo Adventures that were originally published in the wake of A New Hope’s release. The books were adventurous and fun and this movie is that in spades, but the one specific reference I found comes from the cover of Han Solo and the Lost Legacy. You see that blue crystal skull on the cover of the book? Watch carefully in Dryden’s office and you’ll see it on display, right above the fertility idol from Raiders of the Lost Ark. In the final shootout in Dryden’s office, it’s shot to pieces but, for a brief moment, this bit of Star Wars lore was brought to life.
Splinter of the Mind's Eye
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye might be one of the most bizarre bits of EU fiction ever to come out of Star Wars and it was quickly tossed out of the canon because of the release of The Empire Strikes Back. It was published in 1978 and George Lucas was keen to use it as a launching pad for a potential low-budget sequel to Star Wars if the original film didn’t do as well he had hoped. The cover was illustrated by Ralph McQuarrie and didn’t feature the faces of the actors because Lucasfilm didn’t have their likeness rights. And in order to keep costs down on a potential movie, writer Alan Dean Foster cut out the space battle at the beginning and set the book on the planet Mimban, a fog-shrouded planet that would be easy to shoot on sound stages.
In Solo: A Star Wars Story, we get to see that very planet, shot beautifully in a foggy mist on sound stages by cinematographer Bradford Young. Han is sent to planet Mimban as infantry after flunking out of the Imperial Naval Academy and its this classic EU mud-ball that he meets Tobias Beckett and the crew that would forever change the trajectory of his life.
The Masters of Teras Kasi
One of the most surprising references to the old EU in Solo comes in the form of Qi’ra’s martial arts abilities. She claims to be knowledgeable in the ways of Teras Kasi, which was a fighting style in Star Wars developed for the 1997 fighting game Star Wars: The Masters of Teras Kasi. In the expanded universe, Darth Maul was a master of the art form, and when you trace Qi’ra’s master to his master, you put the pieces together about where they all learned it. It certainly made for a thrilling fight between Dryden and Qi’ra, though. And I hope we get to see it on further display.
Tag and Bink aren't dead
Kevin Rubio’s classic comedy comic series Tag and Bink are Dead inserts two absurd characters into every key moment into the Star Wars saga as unwitting stormtroopers, Imperial officers, rebel soldiers, Jedi padawans, anything really. Solo: A Star Wars Story is no exception. Ron Howard posted that they'd been shot for the film, but once we all saw the movie, they didn't seem to have made the cut. Kevin Rubio posits that there are two possible explanations. The first is that they were simply cut for time. The second is that they're really the two troopers who toss Han in with "the beast." Though they aren’t mentioned by name in the film, the fact that the filmmakers have credited characters with those names brings no small amount of joy to my heart.
What was your favorite reference in the film?