One of the many continuity snafus Dave Filoni created when trying to tell compelling stories and introducing new characters was the problem future projects would have trying to retcon any decisions Filoni made. Star Wars Rebels as we know, took place in the few years before the events in Rogue One which of course preceded the original trilogy and all the events since. So, many of the decisions Filoni made had the potential to affect the timeline both past, present and future, especially when you include the deus ex machina he introduced in the Season 4 episode, “A World Between Worlds”.
By introducing powerful new characters who have a lasting impact and having them intersect with classic characters already established, the onus was on the writers both present and future, to explain their potential absence in significant future events. The saga does many things right but one aspect that inhibits the ability for others to play in the sandbox, is they tend to make the universe feel small and that the Skywalker-centric storylines don’t allow for much flux.
So as new projects come out that are set before the events of our most current timeline the writers are perceptively introducing the audience to new Star Wars characters knowing their fates are likely predetermined. When Rebels/The Clone Wars introduced powerful Force users like Ahsoka Tano, Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger their absence in Rogue One and the original trilogy made their fates mostly predictable. Now, Filoni has found a way to somewhat circumvent some of that, but even Father Dave knew he couldn’t alter the timeline that much, especially driving backwards.
Such is the case with the new Solo: A Star Wars Story and its introduction of several new characters by writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan and director Ron Howard. While we don’t know much about them at this point, we do know they don’t appear in any material after the events depicted in this film…yet. I say yet because Lucasfilm has become fond of releasing novels after the fact filling in any blanks that requiring filling or giving newly embraced characters another shot.
Predictability is the enemy of all storytellers but none more so then in the recent string of Star Wars producers who are trying to provide visual backstory to some of the great characters and context to the most important events. As such, attempting to add some sparkle to their scripts, they are giving us all new canonized characters to help tell their stories.
Characters such as Qi’Ra (Emilia Clarke), Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Val (Thandie Newton) and Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) are all brand new characters in the Star Wars universe and by turn haven’t appeared in any other Star Wars forms of media. Depending on their significance and the role they play, their absence in future events could be noteworthy and something that needs explaining. But knowing that, why would Lucasfilm paint themselves into a corner? Chances are there’s some type of plan in place to provide some closure to the individual arcs of those involved, at least enough exposition to fill a page or two on Wookieepedia.
So, does their mere inclusion give us a hint to their outcomes? We know what happens to Han, Chewbacca, Lando and the Falcon but what about Enfys Nest? Is she just a disposable villain or is there a plan to include her in future media such as comic books or novels? We’ve heard the rumor that the actor under the mask, who is still unknown, is under contract for two more films hinting at either Solo sequels or an Enfys Nest based story. There’s a rumor Nest is not just a villain but a bounty hunter as well so maybe she’ll be part of a bounty hunter standalone Star Wars film which has been rumored for some time.
It’s the same situation for others such as Vos, Val, Beckett and Qi’Ra. Are they just throwaway characters in a universe chalked full of them or is there a strategy in place by Lucasfilm to ascribe them to future events so they live on posthumously?
They did a wonderful job of just that in Rogue One where the entire main cast was introduced, developed and subsequently killed in the same movie. But by making relevance of their actions, their impact was then felt throughout the original trilogy and it spawned some novels and very popular characters such as Jyn Erso. But they died, that’s the important factor. Their absenteeism in the original trilogy had to be explained in some fashion and killing someone is of course the most plausible way to explain their truancy.
As mentioned, there’s talk of Han Solo sequels should this film perform well in which case they could leave the fates of certain characters ambiguous, but that’s a gamble as there are no guarantees. Plus, we don’t know yet how far in the timeline this film will take us. Should it end just before the events in A New Hope then any new characters introduced to us in Solo will need some form of definitive conclusion whether it be death or retirement for obvious reasons.
We know certain events in Han’s life have been changed to make room for these new characters, especially the Beckett and Qi’Ra characters, so the Kasdan’s and Howard have some room to stretch their creative minds a bit. Again, without knowing the long-term plans over at Lucasfilm its tough to predict but I would expect most of the characters to meet their demise by the end of the film. Does this mean creators should stop mixing in new characters with established one? Absolutely not. But it can take some of the fun and tension out of it if you’ve got a pretty good idea of how it ends for them.
As always, we’ll have to wait and see.
Till next time…MTFBWY.
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