Solo: A Star Wars Story has long been considered a narrative dead end. After its high profile failure at the box office, future plans for Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo were quietly shelved, with the supporting cast’s stories ignored, and the big sequel hook of Darth Maul’s Crimson Dawn crime syndicate not going anywhere. All of which made it a shock when Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra unexpectedly reappeared in new comic Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #1.
The one-time girlfriend of Han Solo turned criminal lieutenant was an interesting character, though her fate was left a mystery as Solo ended. Now we can wonder no more, as the issue reveals that Qi’ra is still involved in the Crimson Dawn in the period between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The comic ends with the Crimson Dawn stealing the frozen Han Solo from Boba Fett and planning to deliver him to Jabba themselves, with Qi’ra revealed as their leader.
Her return has surprised Clarke, too, who sounds very happy that Qi’ra is back, saying:
“It means so much. It means the absolute world. I know her backstory. I know her history. Maybe the movie didn’t get to go there, but that was such an honor and a privilege to be part of that universe as an actor. So then, to see the character actually be taken on to the origin of all of it — bringing it on home to the family in that way — cemented it in a way. I was not expecting to feel as moved as I was by that.”
One slight downside is that Qi’ra’s story being resolved here probably means the ongoing fan campaign for a Solo sequel will amount to nothing. Then again, at least Lucasfilm is now letting their creators use these characters so we can get some kind of resolution to their stories. And you never know, if Qi’ra is still the Crimson Dawn leader in the years after the fall of the Empire, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see her return in The Mandalorian or The Book of Boba Fett.
In the meantime, let’s see if Qi’ra continues to play a part in the next issues of Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters, which might be as close to a Solo 2 as we’re likely to get.