One thing that can be said about the upcoming “Solo” film is that the main crew looks fairly diverse. Despite the initial impression, we don’t have only a bunch of guys with guns, one token pretty girl and one token furball alien. The crew Han is going to cooperate with on a big heist, as it stands, includes also another alien besides Chewbacca, a middle-aged gunslinger woman, and a self-made female droid.
Disney has just released a set of posters featuring each of the main characters – and with the little we know, we can already say something about each of them besides Han, Lando and Chewbacca.
Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) seems to be the most important character after Han and possibly Chewie and Lando. Her bio on the official Star Wars website confirms her to be from Corellia, an well-known heart of Republic/Imperial industry. The bio, however, also says Qi’ra is only 18 years old. Look, I am not saying that Emilia Clarke looks old, but it seems to be a generic trend to cast both actors and actresses in roles over a decade younger than their actual age. And nothing against Emilia Clarke, but if the story really demands a 18-year old girl (which I am somehow not convinced by, from what we have seen in the trailers), she should be rather played by somebody close to twenty.
Qi’ra is said to be cooperating with a Corellian gang, and the filmmakers have hinted at her being the link between the team and their employee, the criminal boss Dryden. That opens many questions and possibilities.
Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) is the one who puts the crew together for the big heist. His short bio says that he “is a survivor”, which challenges the assumption that he looks like the classic type to die in the film. A mentor figure who brings the party together and passes his wisdom on before his tragic demise. In this case, perhaps he will live and lead the rest of the crew as them and Solo part the ways (as they must, in one way or another, because Han needs to remain – well – solo).
Val (Thandie Newton) is your average no-nonsense middle-aged lady with a gun. Despite this being a trope of its own, it’s good that the film has somebody like her and not just a bunch of tough men and pretty young girls. Let’s hope Val gets enough space in the film.
L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), Lando’s co-pilot, is a droid built of both astromech and protocol droid parts, which explains her unusual appearance. More interestingly, she is described as “self-made droid”. That hints at pretty interesting backstory, combined with the fact that she is said to care deeply about droid rights. It would be great if this aspect got more than an off-hand mention in the film, as sentience and feelings are one of the trademarks of Star Wars droids: they are as far from merely programmed machines as you can get.
Rio Durant (Jon Favreau) completes the crew roster as yet another pilot who’s been operating alongside Beckett for years. It is good the writers decided to put another alien into the crew – after all, one of Star Wars’s chief aspects is that there are millions of sentient species throughout the Galaxy, and therefore it would be boring to have just human crew. Rio is said to be an Ardennian, which is a race never before mentioned in the universe. The only thing we can say is that they had four arms – a handy thing for a pilot, indeed.
I am not convinced that the group is going to have just merry times. If only for the reason that Beckett calls them on behalf of Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) – a gangster with a very bad reputation. In the trailers, we see that Vos is classy, however ruthless. The most recent German trailer shows a few not-before-seen scenes with him armed and very threatening (e.g. around 1:00).
The weapon he uses in one of the scenes – a knife – continues the recent trend. Seems like the creators have decided that if there are lightsabers, there is no reason not to have other exotic weapons, like the arms of Snoke’s guard in The Last Jedi. Technically, this trend started already with Kylo Ren’s cross-hilted saber.
Dryden Vos is said to lead a criminal syndicate called “Crimson Dawn”. Its name fits the old Star Wars mythology with organisations such as Black Sun. This is the first mention of Crimson Dawn (resp. second, its name appears in recently published novel The Last Shot, which is connected to the upcoming film), but we can assume there to be a classic scheme behind it: an organisation thriving even under the Empire, possibly using its corrupt structures and profiting from the oppression and want it creates among the unfortunate.
We can conclude by saying that on closer look, “Solo” starts to seem more interesting than it did on first sight. The question is – is all this going to be only extra flavour to otherwise bland story, or will each of the secondary characters and worldbuilding details get enough space to shine?