Solo: A Star Wars Story was released last month and it was a surprisingly enjoyable film. It was a great representation of the events that turned Han Solo into the man Star Wars fans knows and love. Some of the references in the film were to major elements that have been introduced in recent years of television and comics tie-ins, bringing in these established beats into the live-action films. Others were sly asides to past video games or novels that took Star Wars in different (and often strange) directions. And a few of these are just such deep cuts or subtle references that only true fans would recognize. Here are fifteen of the coolest Easter eggs that are in Solo: A Star Wars Story. (Be warned: there are spoilers ahead.)
15 Splinter of the Mind’s Eye
Before Star Wars turned into the be all, end all franchise that it’s become, the creators of the franchise weren’t even really sure a sequel would ever play out on-screen. So, a possible sequel was actually written in book form. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was written as a potential low-budget sequel in case the original Star Wars a flop. Alan Dean Foster, who wrote the novelization of the first movie as well, was brought on to write it. It was a much smaller scale story, focusing on Luke and Leia traversing the muddy swamp planet of Mimban in search of a Kaiburr Crystal, which can be used to power anything from lightsabers to the main laser cannon of the Death Star. It was such a small scale story that Han Solo and Chewbacca are completely absent from the adventure, to keep costs low.
But instead of becoming the second part of Star Wars, the first movie was a massive success. The book became instead just that, a book, while the sequel became Empire Strikes Back. But Solo finally brought that world of Mimban to life, in all of its muddy glory. It’s actually the world that a conscripted Han Solo goes to in the early parts of the movie, and it’s where he meets Chewbacca. And knowing that Kaiburr Crystals are on the planet, we have an idea why the Empire was there in the first place.
14 The Calrissian Chronicles
Most of the biggest laughs in the Solo film probably come from Lando, courtesy of a perfect performance by Donald Glover. He brought a lot of life to the character, and made him pop off the screen in every single scene he appeared in (along with his vast collection of capes). And one of the best bits came when Lando was just hanging out inside the Falcon, passing time by narrating his memoirs. It was beautiful.
But the story he references is actually from a classic series of novels written by L. Neil Smith, which centered on the various adventures that Lando went on before he appeared in Empire Strikes Back. As he speaks into his recorder, he recounts a particular time he had to deal with the Sharu while trying to recover a treasure hidden away from the people. This is pulled directly from the first of the Lando novels, Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu. It didn’t feature his droid buddy L3, though, as she was just created for this film. We're not going to lie—if we can get a bit more of L3 and Lando stealing stuff, we’d love to see that story portrayed in the next movie, Disney.
Sadly, we didn’t get much time of Han Solo trying to be a pilot before flunking out of the Imperial flight school and getting kicked onto the front lines of a heavy ground battle. Which is a real shame! Even just a montage of Han Solo being a pill to his superiors would have been hilarious. And it would have fully brought back an old piece of the Star Wars lore. When he’s being assigned to the Imperial Academy, Han is put on a transport to take him to Carida.
In the original canon of Star Wars tie-in material from before Disney bought the company, Carida was actually an established Imperial world.
It’s one of the surprisingly few touches from the original expanded universe to survive the transformation into the new Disney-owned Star Wars universe, and it’s a nice way to tie Solo to some of the earlier events of the series. It was featured in full during the events of the Clone Wars television show, and we got an extended time on the planet in the tie-in novel Tarkin, which follows the eventual Death Star commander as he rises in the ranks on the planet. So, it’s just really cool to think of Han messing around here for a bit.
12 Teräs Käsi
Emila Clarke actually got a lot of really cool moments in the film as Qi’ra. While the movie probably could have benefited from of her, Clarke managed to make her come to life as exactly the kind of woman who would turn Han Solo into the scoundrel we know and love. One of the best little moments with her comes during the surprise robot revolution that the heroes start as a distraction. When some of the guards try to pull weapons on L3, Qi’ra brings down them all down with a pretty slick set of martial arts skill. When an impressed L3 asks her what it is, Clarke replies that it’s Teräs Käsi.
That happens to actually be a specific set of skills within the Star Wars universe, and has been utilized by various characters over the years (including Darth Maul and Snoke’s bodyguards in Last Jedi). Outside of the lore, this proves to be a pretty deep cut reference to an entire fighting game based around Star Wars that was released back for the original Playstation. Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi was a basic 3D fighter that pitted Luke Skywalker against other fighters like “Jabba’s Pig Guard #3," and hasn’t aged well. But it’s still cool to see the idea brought up in a cool manner.
11 Aurra Sing
There are plenty of bounty hunters throughout the Star Wars universe of characters, so it’s refreshing when we don’t just get the same ones again and again. One of the best additions to the universe from Solo is Beckett, a sly shooter who turns out to be something of a mentor to Han Solo. When Lando first meets Beckett, he’s quietly awed by the man, before thanking him for removing a mutual problem of theirs named Aurra Sing.
This is one of the Easter eggs that stands out amongst the rest, because of just who Aurra Sing happens to be.
Aurra Sing is a feared bounty hunter with more importance to the franchise than we ever realized. She made a cameo in The Phantom Menace, as one of the spectators of the pod race, but she didn’t add anything to the narrative. However, her next appearance in the Clone Wars television series cemented her role in the universe. She actually took in the orphaned Boba Fett and was among his first teachers in the art of blowing stuff up. It’s actually really fitting to see her taken out by the man who would go on to mentor Han. Funny how things work out like that.
10 Lando’s one apparent disguise
So, in Return of the Jedi, most of the heroes have to sneak into the dreaded Jabba’s palace on a mission to rescue Han Solo from carbonite. And in that sequence, Lando does the most effective job of blending into the crowds at the palace. We’d always figured the costume he chose, which made him out to be a masked pig guard like many of his compatriots, was just a choice for the situation. But instead, it turns out that Lando has been using that getup for years. Literally, years!
When the heroes of Solo have to sneak past security while trying to reach the valuable fuel they’re trying to steal, Beckett takes the costume out and throws it on himself to stay close to Qi’ra. And what’s even crazier than Lando apparently only having a single disguise is that the single disguise actually works! It’s apparently the Trojan Horse of the Star Wars universe, an invisibility cloak that apparently anyone can wear and just look like a random mook for sneaking purposes. And Lando kept it for so long that it must have worked so many times. You have to respect a man with that much dedication to his wardrobe, even beyond the aforementioned room of capes.
9 The Maw
One of the most visually stunning parts of the film came during the escape from Kessel, which saw the heroes forced to take a hard right turn away from the worn and beaten path (because of the impending Imperial forces) and into the untamed and wild cosmic storm that was known as the Maw. A cluster of ruined rocks, unspeakable monsters, and countless black holes; it’s considered something a dangerous run by even the best of pilots. So, of course, Han flies them straight into it and puts everyone in mortal danger along the way. But they do escape, which is all kinds of cool.
But the untamed area actually has a lot of importance to the overall Star Wars lore, and has appeared a bunch of times in the old canon of the franchise.
In the original books and tie-ins, it was once used as a prison by some straight-up mystical members of the Force, trying to contain a powerful Sith power. In secrecy, the Death Star was also in part constructed there, hidden away from the eyes of the galaxy. In short, it’s been an important and scary location for years, and it’s exciting to finally see it in all its glory thanks to probably the best scene of Solo.
The Cloud-Riders (apart from having—let’s be honest here—a pretty boss-sounding name) turned out to be one of the most interesting elements of Solo. While they initially appear to be just a pack of raiders that prey on people like vultures, the third act of Solo reveals the depth of the warriors and the kind of past they have. The ending of the movie even implies that by helping them, Han and Chewbacca have unknowingly helped jump-start the first steps towards a rebellion against the Empire.
This version of the group is distinctly nicer than the last previous sighting of the concept. The Cloud-Riders are actually a deep cut from the 1977 Marvel Star Wars comics, which typically went nuts with their concepts thanks to the medium allowing for more freedom to get weird.
The Cloud-Riders were more like a straightforward gang, who were extorting supplies and wealth out of a town before Han Solo and Chewbacca showed up to help save the day. Jon Kasdan, one of the writers of Solo, confirmed the reference in a tweet, saying “Not a coincidence at all. In the earliest drafts of the script, Enfys Marauders attacked the Conveyex on Bantha II skiffs. When Chris & Phil decided they wanted to do swoop bikes instead, we found the Cloud Riders on Wookieepedia, from above Marvel comic, and it STUCK."
7 A shout-out to Baask
Baask actually has appeared in Star Wars media before, usually as a shorthand example of the kind of bounty hunters that scour the galaxy for heads to bring in. He appears in The Empire Strikes Back as the huge reptilian bounty hunter who comes to the Star Destroyer upon Darth Vader’s request. And while he fails to find Han Solo before Boba Fett, he did leave an impression on the fans and creators of the franchise. Baask has since appeared in a host of comics and video games, most notably in last year’s Star Wars: Battlefront 2.
And continuing on those nods to the character comes a sly line in Solo.
While preparing to go on the train heist, Beckett’s partner Val argues with him about how he should have hired Baask for this job instead of having to rely on newbies Han and Chewbacca. Beckett waves the complaint off, making us wonder why Beckett would prefer to not have a giant lizard man on his squad. It looks increasingly like we’ll be getting a Boba Fett prequel film next, and is it too much to ask to see a giant lizard man show up in a laser fight? Just for a bit at least?
6 Dryden’s office
Dryden Voss was a genuinely frightening and intriguing villain for Star Wars. His ability to shift from affable friendliness into brutal malice was very effective, and helped him stand out amongst the various Star Wars villains of the last couple years (which have for the most part been either super serious Imperial commanders, CGI over-the-top creatures, or the whiny-but-compelling Kylo Ren) as an actually interesting figure for our heroes to have to contend with. This mob boss was also something of a collector, having amassed a whole slew of references to other events and characters in the universe aboard his yacht and in his office.
He offers the heroes snacks made from the fish creature seen in The Phantom Menace. He has ultra-rare and extremely durable Mandalorian armor hanging on the wall like a trophy. He even has a crystal skull that serves as a nod to the Brian Daley’s Han Solo-centric Star Wars book, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy. There’s a whole treasure trove of little trinkets in the office and the yacht as a whole, and we’re sure we didn’t catch everything that the creators put on screen. But hey, that’s what rewatches are for!
5 Han shot first!
The entire arc of the movie was meant to signify the transformation of Han Solo from an idealistic (if rough around the edges) wannabee pilot into the opportunistic smuggler he has to be by the time of A New Hope. And while his relationship with Qi’ra and her darker shades could have had a little bit more exploration, his relationship with Woody Harrelson’s Beckett was a very solid introduction to the lengths Han will have to go to survive this galaxy. Beckett spends the entire movie lecturing Han about his morality, and how he can’t afford to trust a soul except himself.
Han gets a firsthand lesson in this when Beckett betrays him.
And it’s revealed that he took the advice to heart when he shoots down Beckett before the quick draw can even reach his blaster. For long-time Star Wars fans, it’s a moment of vindication in more than one way. One of the most controversial changes George Lucas made with his re-edits of the original films was making Han shoot after Greedo in the cantina. Entire passionate websites were made just around the argument that Han shot first. And now, we have confirmation that yes, Han definitely shoots first.
4 The return of Maul
Darth Maul being the principal villain of the story (the man behind the man as it were) was meant to be the big earth-shattering plot twist of the Solo film and the set-up for the next one. And even if it didn’t really achieve the intended effect (people who didn’t recognize him were confused by the appearance, and even those who did felt like the scene would have been better served as a credits tag instead of being a major part of the climax of the film), it has garnered a lot of attention.
What makes the move really cool is how much Ron Howard and the other creators of the film brought from the rest of the Star Wars universe to restore Maul. Physically, his original actor Ray Park is back in the red and black paint to portray the character. But just as before, he’s not delivering the vocal performance. Instead, the voice of Darth Maul is Sam Witwer, who has been portraying the character in his cartoon appearances over the last couple of years (and in which the Darth Maul not only being alive but a crime lord is better explained). We're interested to see when the character will pop up again.
Speaking of Darth Maul, we also want to draw attention to when he ordered Qi’ra to come and meet him after she tells him about the passing of Dryden Vos to frame Beckett for the attack. After promoting her to the position Dryden used to have, Maul tells her to meet him at Dathomir. For everyone else, that’s just a throwaway planet of no consequence. For Star Wars nerds, it’s a seriously rewarding callback.
Dathomir is the planet that Darth Maul and his entire race come from.
It’s a natural home for the dark side of the Force, even leading to an entire sect of Dark Force wielders called the Dark Sisters to rise to prominence during the events of the Clone Wars cartoon. Well, that is until they are personally targeted by the Emperor as a direct threat and their race is almost entirely wiped out. Darth Maul is actually a part of their people, and returned to the decimated planet in the Rebels series to unlock the spirits of his lingering sisters. It’s an all-around creepy setting whenever it comes up, so it’s exciting to think of how we might get a good look at it in the future.
2 The Tatooine job
Beyond the just general space setting, Tatooine is probably the most iconic location in all of Star Wars. It’s where the saga truly begins, with two droids making their way across the desert and finding themselves into the hands of maybe the most important young man in the galaxy. So much of the foundations of the franchise were established on the desert wastelands, and it’s proven a strong enough image that we returned there in the prequels and went to Tatooine 2.0 with Jakku in the new trilogy.
At the end of Solo, Han decides to accept a job that Beckett (who's now passed) had intended for them to complete after the whole Kessel Run was done. The last line of the film even references how easy he thinks this next job will be, with a sly wink and nod to the audience. It’s because going to Tattoine is going to prove to be a dangerous choice by Solo, who will fail the job and end up on the bad side of Jabba the Hut as a result. But it does get him into position for the next step in his growth by keeping him on the planet just in time for Luke and Obi-Wan to show up needing a ride.
1 Black Spire and Dok-Ondar
So, here’s how crazy the Easter egg game was in Solo. There were references to things that haven’t even happened yet. Because Disney is invested in turning the Star Wars franchise into an even bigger phenomenon, the people working on Solo made some preemptive references to things that are yet to come out of the galaxy far, far away. Twice in the movie, characters make references to the soon-to-be opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge park add-ons that are coming to Disney World and Disney Land.
In them, visitors to the park will get to see aliens and characters, and explore a fully functional Star Wars park.
L3 mentions how Lando would have never made it to the Black Spire without her help. This is a reference to the name of a village that guests will be able to explore in the park once it’s open to the public. Meanwhile, Qi’ra mentions that one of the guests who’s visiting Dryden’s party is named Dok-Ondar. He’s an archaeologist and collector who will be formally introduced as a part of the parks, and a recurring character within. That’s Disney synergy for you, and it’s as impressive as it is terrifying to see how effortless they make it seem.