WARNING: This article contains major SPOILERS for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Proceed at your own risk.
The latest Star Wars prequel, which tells some of Han Solo’s backstory, is essentially one big easter egg. But we’ve cracked it open and broken it down into as many different pieces as was humanly possible to detail all the nods to the films and the expanded Star Wars universe that we could find. Binge away below.
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are known for many things, but the thing that concerns us in this article is their shared history of planting Easter Eggs from one another’s films in their own films. Remember the C-3PO and R2-D2 hieroglyphic from Raiders of the Lost Ark? And members of E.T.‘s species in The Phantom Menace? Well, Solo director Ron Howard revealed that there’s another Raiders of the Lost Ark reference in the most recent instalment in the saga. He told RadioTimes.com: “There’s a little Easter Egg related to another movie that I find… that I think is a cousin. And this was not my idea but I completely supported the idea of planting this little Easter Egg. And it’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The Easter Egg in question is a version of the golden idol from that film — which you see Indiana Jones nab at the start of the film. In Solo, you see it as an artifact in the background aboard Dryden Vos’s yacht. But there’s also another nod to Raiders that Howard didn’t talk about and that plenty of people seem to have missed.
We spotted it when the trailer was released, and it’s when Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo comes face-to-face with marauder Enfys Nest, who is armed with a stick. As Enfys Nest readies to fight, Han unclips his holster and prepares to draw. It’s a nod to an iconic moment in Raiders when Indy faces off against an opponent demonstrating some flashy swordplay and draws his gun to dispatch his foe forthwith. The fact that both Indy and Han were played by Harrison Ford adds another layer to this particular Easter Egg. To see the article in which we originally pointed it out, click here.
Planets and Locations
Introduced to the cinematic saga in Rogue One, the planet gets a mention here as one of the locations where you can refine coaxium, a hyperfuel that’s extremely valuable. In Solo, Tobias Beckett and his gang dismiss it as an option because of the high level of security there. The motley crew of rebels led by Jyn Erso in Rogue One would later plan and execute a mission on Scarif that results in success for the Rebellion – but tragedy for themselves.
Beckett and paramour Val talk about getting back to Glee Anselm. According to the novels it was first mentioned in and animated series The Clone Wars, it’s an ocean planet, and home to the Nautolan species. Jedi Master Kit Fisto is a Nautolan.
This snowy planet is the location of the train heist in Solo, in which Han and Chewbacca team up with Tobias Beckett and company to steal a shipment of coaxium.
When Han signs up to serve the Empire, he’s sent to the Imperial Academy on Carida to learn necessary military skills. The academy itself was first introduced in the Legends book series and was also mentioned in James Luceno’s 2014 novel Tarkin.
Coronet City, Corellia
Corellia is Han Solo’s home planet and the location for the early scenes in Solo. Coronet City is its capital and is namechecked by Han in the film. The city first appeared in the Legends book Ambush at Corellia and became canon in the 2015 Chuck Wendig novel Aftermath. Corellia in Solo has a heavy Imperial presence, and it’s where they manufacture Star Destroyers for the Imperial Navy.
This swamp planet is the setting for the battle Han Solo joins with the Imperial Army. It’s where he first meets Tobias Beckett and his crew, and also where he meets Chewbacca. Chewie is imprisoned there, and Han is thrown into the muddy pit with him as food. We’re told that Chewie hasn’t been fed for three days. But Han speaks the Wookiee language and is able to communicate with his fuzzy pal-to-be. The duo enacts a plan to free themselves.
Mimban has an interesting position in Star Wars history. Originally conceived as the Bog Planet to appear in A New Hope, it would go on to inspire Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back. It made its first appearance in a novel called Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which was conceived as a sequel to A New Hope, should future movies never see the light of day. Mimban is mentioned in The Clone Wars, and fans were finally due to see it realized on screen in Rogue One, before Jedha took its place in the story.
Si’Klaata Cluster, the Maelstrom, and the Maw
While they’re “Kessel Running,” there are mentions of each of these locations. The Si’Klaata Cluster is a star cluster in the Outer Rim Territories that Lando says you have to thread through before passing through The Maelstrom in order to get to Kessel. The Maw, meanwhile, is a cluster of black holes near Kessel.
Tobias Beckett mentions Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine by name when he says he’s headed there for a job.
This familiar name is mentioned by Val as a better alternative to Han as a hired mercenary for their mission. Bossk is a well-known, if minor, character from The Empire Strikes Back, a reptilian bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader to bring in Han Solo.
Having featured in The Clone Wars, this bounty hunter and one-time ally of Boba Fett also showed up briefly in The Phantom Menace, one of a small handful of callbacks to Episode I in the film. It’s mentioned that Beckett killed her.
Zan and Zu Pike
Val also namechecks this pair of mercenaries, who first appeared in 1996 novel Shadows of the Empire. According to the books they featured in, they’re skilled in Teräs Käsi, a fighting technique that’s also mentioned in Solo.
When Val is abseiling from the bridge during the train heist, it’s a callback to both Luke Skywalker dangling from Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back and Amidala scaling the wall of the palace in The Phantom Menace.
The giant tentacled monster that the Millennium Falcon encounters is redolent of the slug-like exogorth Han, Leia and Chewie come across in the same ship in The Empire Strikes Back. There’s also a hint of not only the beast in the trash compactor from A New Hope about it, but also Return of the Jedi’s Sarlacc. And let’s not forget the fact the whole scene evokes the Great Pit of Carkoon too.
The speeder chase on Corellia has echoes of the speeder bike chase on Endor from Return of the Jedi, not least in the way a stormtrooper meets a painful end.
The Old Prisoner Routine
When the team infiltrates Kessel using the prisoner routine, it’s a callback to the similar stunt pulled on the Death Star in Episode IV.
Han Solo Specific
Han Solo’s signature weapon is a blaster. In Solo we see him acquire his famous gun. Tobias gives it to him. It’s broken down from a larger rifle.
Addressing the controversy over the scene in A New Hope in which Greedo is shot by Han Solo, the film shows Han clearly shooting first when he fires at Beckett at the end. Suggesting that this is absolutely something that Han Solo would do.
In A New Hope, Han Solo famously boasts to Obi-Wan and Luke about the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. In Solo, we see that feat. Lando points out that “you can’t make the Kessel Run in less than 20 parsecs” and by the end of the film Han is boasting he just did it in 12. When Chewbacca appears to object, Han responds: “Not if you round down, buddy.”
Never knowingly important in the original trilogy, Han’s gold dice hung in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. Taking on more significance in The Last Jedi, Luke hands a projected version of Han’s dice to Leia. In Solo, we see Han hand them over to his love, Qi’ra, and then accept them back from her later. The action imbues them with symbolism.
I’ve Got a Feeling
Throughout the franchise, the line “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” crops up time and again. Han Solo even says to Luke at one point: “You aren’t gonna say you have a bad feeling about this, are you? I hate it when you say that.” In Solo, a younger, less jaded Han says: “I’ve got a really good feeling about this”.
In Solo, Beckett’s multi-limbed pilot Rio Durant asks: “What’s a fancy flyboy doing down in the mud?” when he first comes across Han. Later in the saga, Leia will use the same word to describe Han when she says: “Into the garbage chute, flyboy.”
When Lando says to Han: “I hate you,” Han’s retort is: “I know.” It’s the same famous response he gives Leia when she says “I love you.”
Han instructs Chewie to “punch it” and put the Millenium Falcon into hyperdrive. Both Han and Lando utter the line in later films.
Classic Original Trilogy Callbacks
They Don’t Serve Our Kind
When Lando’s droid co-pilot L3 says: “They don’t even serve our kind here,” it’s a callback to Episode IV when the Cantina barman orders C-3PO and R2-D2 out of the establishment with an aggressive: “We don’t serve their kind here”.
When Chewbacca rips off the arms of a Kessel miner, it recalls Han Solo’s warning to C-3PO in A New Hope when he says, “That’s ‘cause droids don’t pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.”
Jabba the Hutt
Tobias Beckett not only mentions Tatooine, which immediately recalls A New Hope, but also references Jabba the Hutt when he talks about a very big gangster putting together a crew there. This sets up Han’s subsequent “adventures” involving Jabba. Qi’ra, meanwhile, directly namechecks the Hutt cartel when she suggests they could get sold by traffickers.
Early on, a stormtrooper says: “Move along.” This recalls the moment a stormtrooper says the same phrase in Episode IV, when Obi-Wan performs a Jedi Mind Trick on him at Mos Eisley.
Han threatens Lady Proxima early on with a fake thermal detonator. It is, in fact, a rock to which he applies a clicking sound, created with his mouth. She’s not fooled, however, and calls him out. But it’s a clear reference to the moment in Return of the Jedi when Leia, disguised as bounty hunter Boussh, threatens Jabba the Hutt with a real version of the explosive device.
On the Millennium Falcon, Tobias Beckett is playing Dejarik — a holographic chess-type game — with Chewbacca. He gets annoyed at losing and swipes his arm across the holographic playing pieces. It’s a callback to Chewie playing the same game in the same spot with R2-D2 in A New Hope, when Chewie also proves himself a bad loser. Prompting C-3PO to suggest R2 “let the Wookiee win.”
In Solo, L3 gets herself in a tizzy about the restraining bolts affixed to droids. She calls them “barbaric.” Fans will recall the restraining bolt attached to R2-D2 in A New Hope that Luke removes due to its interference with the Princess Leia message he’s trying to play.
Lando’s Mining Colony Quip
The preceding video is from Star Wars Explained.
“Mining colonies are the worst,” says Lando as the team lands on Kessel. This is a humorous nod to Lando’s future which sees him in charge of a gas mining colony in Cloud City, where audiences first met him in The Empire Strikes Back.
General Star Wars References
A Long Time Ago
During the opening credits, we see the famous opening crawl line: ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…’. As a spin-off movie, decisions have been made to set it apart from the main saga. Like Rogue One before it, the opening crawl is absent except for this nod. However, it does have a few lines of written text telling us it’s a lawless time, that crime syndicates compete for resources and that young Corellian runaways are forced into a life of crime by a character known as Lady Proxima.
Just as the opening crawl has been abandoned, so has John Williams’ classic score. For the most part, at least. When Han Solo signs up to join the Empire, the unmistakable sounds of Darth Vader’s theme, the Imperial March, can be heard. Later, when Han leaps behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon, Williams’ main Star Wars theme plays.
Early on, in a scene on Corellia, you might catch a glimpse of a familiar-looking droid. It’s the insectoid-headed Imperial RA-7 protocol droid. The RA-7 first appeared in Episode IV and has featured regularly since.
Jon Favreau’s CGI character Rio Durant mentions these creatures as the team ready themselves for the train heist. He says: “You’ve never been to a mynock roast on Ardennia. It’s nuts.” Mynocks are the bat-like beasts encountered by Han, Leia and Chewie in The Empire Strikes Back inside the belly of the exogorth they inadvertently fly into.
The card game Lando seems to play regularly — and cheat at — is Sabacc. In Solo we see Han challenge Lando at his own game. First losing, and then in the rematch at the end of the film, winning. From The Empire Strikes Back, we know that Han won/swindled the Millennium Falcon from Lando as gambling stakes. This is that game.
At the end, Enfys Nest refers to the Rebellion which we see in full flow come Episode IV. Speaking about coaxium, the valuable hyperfuel they’ve swiped, she says, “It’s the blood that brings life to something new — a rebellion.” The suggestion is that Han is responsible for fuelling the Rebellion and that Enfys Nest is an integral figure in getting the uprising off the ground.
What do you mean you thought he was dead? Here detailed in the credits simply as ‘Maul‘, Ray Park’s fighting machine with the double-ended lightsaber introduced in The Phantom Menace was unceremoniously sliced in two by Ewan MacGregor’s Obi-Wan at the end of that film. But, if you’re au fait with animated series The Clone Wars, you’ll know that he survived. And now has a contraption to replace his legs that allows him to walk.
Throughout Solo there are heavy hints that Qi’ra has had to do whatever she needed to survive. And at the end, we see her dial up Maul who appears as a hologram and summons her to his home planet of Dathomir where he’s holed up. We see that they both wear the same symbol as a necklace. She informs Maul that Dryden Vos was killed by Beckett and then takes off on the yacht.
The actor that plays everybody’s favourite protocol droid, Anthony Daniels, maintains his record of appearing in every Star Wars film with a role in Solo. But he’s not there as C-3PO. Instead, he plays a Wookiee. Screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan told Uproxx: “In the Papillon-type offshoot story, the Wookiee that helps them escape, Chewbacca’s best friend, is played by Anthony Daniels — and beckons him to join them as they escape on a different ship.”
When L3-37 is taking issue with the droid fighting that a certain character is presiding over, she grabs him, prompting Lando to say, “Let go of the mean man’s face.” The man in question is a character named Ralakili, played by none other than Clint Howard, brother of Solo director, Ron Howard. There’s no word on whether there’s any connection between his character and the similarly named Malakili, the Rancor keeper seen in Return of the Jedi.
Another face you’ll recognize belongs to that of Wicket W. Warrick himself, Warwick Davies. In Solo, you’ll spot him as one of Enfys Nest’s crew who gets a line in at the end. Davies has appeared as various characters in Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi as well as a couple of Ewok spin-off movies. He also provided his voice talents for Star Wars: Rebels.
Another actor cropping up in a batch of Star Wars movies, in Solo Kiran Shah plays a character called Karjj. He also appeared in The Last Jedi, Rogue One and Return of the Jedi.
One of the characters on Dryden Vos’s yacht is a startling sight — it’s missing the top half of its head. According to the Rogue One: Ultimate Visual Guide, the Decraniated are people who have had the top parts of their heads removed in order to turn them into slaves. They’re the handiwork of surgeon Dr. Cornelius Evazan, who had a cameo in Rogue One but is best known for getting his arm sliced off with a lightsaber when he starts on Luke in the Mos Eisley cantina in A New Hope.
Expanded Universe References
Enfys Nest’s gang of marauders are the Cloud-Riders, a pirate crew that date back to the Star Wars comics of the late 1970s. Their first appearance was in Star Wars 8: Eight for Aduba-3.
Oseon System and Starcave Nebula
Lando mentions these celestial locations. The Oseon System houses the Oseon belts of asteroids and appears in book series The Lando Calrissian Adventures. The Starcave Nebula, meanwhile, is home to a species called Oswaft and also features in novels.
Qi’ra namechecks and uses this fighting technique, saying that Dryden Vos taught her. It has formerly been mentioned in books.
Solo: A Star Wars Story hits screens in the UK and Australia on May 24 and the US on May 25.