Solo: A Star Wars Story was (largely) delightful! And best of all it was stuffed with Easter eggs and references to the greater Star Wars universe, to that other Harrison Ford hero, and even to one of our favorite sitcoms.
1. The Imperial March/The Asteroid Belt
The well-known herald of Star Destroyers and Imperial officers plays, albeit in more upbeat form, in the background of the Imperial Academy recruitment ad that gets Han off Corellia. Also, the Kessel Run is helped along musically by the same motif John Williams created for the Asteroid Belt sequence in Empire Strikes Back.
2. Bossk + Aurra Sing
Both bounty hunters get offhand mentions: Lando thanks Beckett for killing Sing (he had some outstanding debts with her); and earlier in the film, Val grouses about how they could have hired someone more experienced for this job, like Bossk. Alas, no mention of baby Boba Fett.
3. Crimson Dawn
The name of the crime syndicate that Dryden Vos works for would seem to be a riff on Black Sun, which was prominent in the Legends canon (especially in Shadows of the Empire) and, while mentioned in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy and The Clone Wars cartoon, hasn’t spent much time in the spotlight. Then again, it’s possible that Dawn is a spin-off name after Black Sun was absorbed by the Shadow Collective, run by none other than…
4. Darth Maul!
Darth Maul had a fascinating plot woven through Star Wars: The Clone Wars where it was revealed that he was, you know, not dead following the events of The Phantom Menace. After running a crime conglomerate that he created with the aid of Death Watch (a splinter sect of Mandalore), Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective was dismantled when Darth Sidious showed up and stopped his party. Having escaped the end of the Clone Wars with his life, it looks like Maul is trying to rebuild that criminal cache, and doing a fine job of it, too. (Did you see his robot legs?)
5. Anthony Daniels
No, we didn’t get to see C-3PO tottering along in the background anywhere. But Anthony Daniels did appear as Tak, a human enslaved in the Kessel mines working alongside the Wookiees that Chewbacca frees.
6. 12 Parsecs, Eh?
Han blusters visibly in The Force Awakens when Rey makes the mistake of thinking that the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in thirteen parsecs, grumpily correcting her to twelve, the number he has always given to everyone. But following their little escapade in Solo, when Han insists that they made the run in twelve, Chewie grumbles at him. “It is if you round down,” he tells the Wookiee with a smirk.
7. Indiana Jones!
There are five Indiana Jones references that we counted—let us know if we missed some! Here we go:
1.) Barging into a mine, freeing enslaved miners, and desperately trying to manhandle a mining cart smacks of Temple of Doom.
2.) Dryden prominently displayed a CRYSTAL SKULL in his office. Although, since there has never been an Indiana Jones movie featuring a Crystal Skull maybe this shouldn’t be here.
3.) Twice in the film, Han steals a move from Indiana Jones by trying to pilot a ship through two giant structures—first when he’s driving a speeder between two buildings, where it promptly gets stuck, and later when he pilots the Falcon between two massive asteroids in the Maelstrom. This calls back to one of the best bits of banter between Indy and Elsa in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
Are you crazy! Don’t go between them!
Go between them? Are you crazy?
4.) Finally, during the attempted train heist, Chewie ends up dangling out of the cargo train just as it passes close to a rock face, and almost gets his head knocked off by an outcropping, mirroring a scene in Last Crusade when Indy is almost decapitated while fighting a Nazi on a tank.
5.) The plot is roughly similar to Last Crusade. We see the hero’s formative moments, particularly the point where he gets his totemic items (Indy gets the hat and the whip and his scar, Han gets his blaster and ship). There’s an older man (Donovan, Beckett) who tells the hero not to trust anyone. While we’re initially led to believe that the romantic interest (Elsa, Qi’ra) is the one who can’t be trusted—and she can’t—the person who turns out to be the most dangerous was the guy who told you not to trust anyone in the first place. And then he dies.
8. Teräs Käsi
After dispatching of an opponent, Qi’ra mentions that she was trained in this particular form of hand-to-hand combat—which is also favored by Supreme Leader Snoke’s Elite Praetorian Guards as well as (from the Legends canon) former Emperor’s Hand Mara Jade.
9. You Say “Han,” I Say “Han,” Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off
Canon proof that Lando knowingly mispronounces Han’s name! Because he
loves hates him, sure, that’s why. After a few moments of banter at the sabaac table, Lando has decided that he’s not much of a fan of this Solo dude, and calls him Han with the ‘a’ like “hand.” Han corrects him, but Lando is clearly not interested. And proceeds to be uninterested for the rest of their lives.
10. So Many Little Moments on the Falcon
Like the radar dish breaking off, or hiding the coaxium in the same floor panel Han and Luke hid in when they infiltrated the Death Star… (happy sigh) So good to see our girl again.
11. Chewie Learning Dejarik
Turns out Beckett managed to impart some vital dejarik lessons to the Wookiee and escaped with both his arms intact.
12. Lando’s Skiff Disguise
Turns out Lando’s cape room doesn’t just hold fabulous fashions; he’s also got some ready-made getups, like the skiff guard helmet that Beckett wears on Kessel. It comes in handy a few decades later in Return of the Jedi.
13. L3 in Empire Strikes Back?
Nerdist noticed this interesting line from Threepio regarding the Falcon. While it’s unclear how long L3 remained part of the ship, this makes for a fun reverse-Easter egg, no matter how unlikely.
The Darkest Timeline is referenced when fire breaks out on Lando’s formerly pristine Millennium Falcon; as Qi’ra tries to douse the flames with a spare cape, Lando scream out “No, it’s custom!” in a voice that can only be described as Troy-esque.
15. Clint Howard!
He’s Ron Howard’s younger brother, and in addition to a long career in B-movies and horror, he appears in all of his big bro’s movies. In Solo he shows up as droid wrangler, pitting droids against each other in a barbaric fighting ring—at least until L3 picks him up by the face and tells him to quit it. Maybe he chose a nobler path after that.
16. Hey, We’ve Been There!
Beckett thinks Scarif is too dangerous for a job. Lando’s bitching about mining colonies. Beckett tells Han about this great job out on some dustbowl called Tatooine…
And, of course, our absolute favorite:
17. HAN SHOT FIRST
Literally the entire film is a great big lead up to the world’s biggest punchline: In the final confrontation between Han and Beckett, the older pirate prepares to teach little Solo a final lesson about his tendency toward trust—and Han responds by firing first and killing the man. Beckett praises him, saying he would have killed him if Han hadn’t drawn. Depending on your personal feelings, this either reads like the greatest flip-off to George Lucas ever captured on film, or as clarification on Han Solo’s character… not a bad guy, but one who knows when it’s time to put aside the charm and defend himself.