CAUTION: This recap and analysis from “Solo: A Star Wars Story” contains spoilers.
Don’t underestimate Qi’ra.
In “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” she comes off as a survivor, just like Tobias Beckett labels her. But he’s wrong. Qi’ra, played by Emilia Clarke, is much more than that. In fact, the final scene of the movie begs the question as to whether she’s been in control from the moment she runs into Han at Dryden Vos’ bar until she later kills Vos. She goes from opportunist to black market mogul in a matter of minutes with a double dose of misdirection.
The moment felt quite a bit like Kylo Ren murdering Snoke. The audience is led to believe Ren is good. But then it becomes clear: Ren is simply trying to fulfil the natural path of every Sith: kill the master, take on a new apprentice. In this case, she may have asserted herself as a trainee, not a master.
And there it is: Qi’ra feels like Sith.
She’s got a teacher: Darth Maul.
Where did he come from? Well, Maul made it away from his duel against Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn (which we saw in episode one) without his legs but with his life. He recovers by getting a pair of robotic legs and becoming a crime lord. Eventually, he heads Crimson Dawn. That’s where we find him in this film.
After killing Vos (with extravagant sword skills for a street rat), Qi’ra meets by hologram with Darth Maul, who says he’s interested in working more closely with Qi’ra in the future. Has he already been teaching her? Is that who taught her to wield a sword? Maul shows his red lightsaber, an indicator he’s still in the business of manipulating the force, even in his new line of work. The timeline is such that he’s has been supplanted by Count Dooku as apprentice to the emperor. But Maul could very well take on an apprentice to start his own Sith Lite sect.
If Qi’ra is as force-powerful, she may have seemed like a bystander while engineering her ascent to supplant Vos. (Think about how Palpatine engineered his way to emperor on a much grander scale.)
While the film only featured one lightsaber (and no Jedi), we may have been looking at at a deeply powerful force-wielder in Qi’ra. Perhaps she and Darth Maul will indeed be working more closely with one another in the coming movies (there are supposed to be two more “Solo” films). Perhaps she will train in the dark side of the force. Perhaps she’ll build her own lightsaber.
There’s one thing that debunks this theory: Han is not a believer of the force’s power in “A New Hope.” If Qi’ra becomes a prominent antagonist and Han continues to be this three-movie series’ protagonist, won’t he run into her force powers? Would she hide them from him? Well, she hid her motives of skyrocketing up the food-chain of Crimson Dawn. Perhaps she’d do the same as a Sith. It may not be something she is exceedingly proud of — and perhaps she wants to protect Han from this new (dark) side of her personality.
Because we’ve met so few force-wielding females in the galaxy far-far away, it’s fair to wonder: Is Qi’ra connected to another one of the characters in these movies? Could she be a family member to one of the other important characters? Frankly, I can’t help but wonder whether she might be Rey’s mother.
Does Qi’ra seem like she’d abandon a loved one on a desert-ridden planet? Absolutely. That’s what she just did to Han at the end of “Solo.”
Qi’ra is roughly the same age as Han. Rey is roughly the same age as Kylo Ren. From an age and generational standpoint, they match up. And while in episode eight, Ren claims Rey’s parents were nobodies, I’m not totally willing to abandon the idea that Disney isn’t interested in giving her force-powerful bloodlines.
Regardless of whether Qi’ra has significant relatives, she should become a major antagonist in the coming movies. Here’s hoping her character steps into the spotlight in more prominent fashion.