There’s been a lot of talk lately about the possible return of Jabba Desilijic Tiure aka Jabba The Hutt, to the big screen in the upcoming Star Wars film Solo: A Star Wars Story. The Hutt gangster and crime lord would of course become synonymous with Corellian smuggler Han Solo, so it makes perfect sense to include him in any Solo origin story. I don’t need to tell you that if not for their fragmented relationship, Solo likely would have never met Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker on Tatooine, a meeting that would set in motion events of a historic nature. But with the film's release still a couple of months away, many of the people involved are tight lipped on details surrounding the project, but there’s been some recent activity on the Jabba the Hutt front.
First there was leaked images of toy sets that resembled the desert planet Tatooine and buildings that looked very similar to Jabba’s palace from Return of the Jedi. Those images have been removed from the net at the request of Hasbro, but I did see them prior and they do bear a striking resemblance to the planet where it all started. It’s worth noting however that while the Southern hemisphere of Kessel was lush, the Northern more heavily mined hemisphere was dry and dusty, more like a desert terrain. And we do know for certain Kessel is a part of this film.
Next, some very perceptive fan on Reddit pointed out that in the Solo teaser, we get a glimpse of what appears to be one of Jabba’s palace guards. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment but when frozen and compared to an image from a Return of the Jedi bust, it's tough to deny the resemblance.
And a recent article in The Sun, which is a tabloid newspaper in the U.K. so take it with a grain of salt, a story was posted which claims to have spoken with someone close to the production. The “insider” had this to say about any potential inclusion of Jabba the Hutt…
“It’s a huge secret, but Jabba is returning to the Star Wars universe. Fans will learn why Han ended up owing him so much money. Yoda was brought back for the The Last Jedi and now Disney wants to bring back another legacy character.”
So, anytime you start a sentence with “…it’s a huge secret, but…” there’s cause for misgiving but when compiled with the first two points perhaps it’s not such a stretch. Also, the fact that it is a very important part of the history of Han Solo, easily validates any decision by Lucasfilm to include it. What’s also true is that the insertion of Master Yoda into The Last Jedi, a better kept secret, ended up being very successful and was one of many fans favorite moments from that film.
What’s also important to note, if the person is telling the truth, is that everything they stated could easily be true without having any knowledge of the production whatsoever. The story of the relationship between Jabba and Han could be told and not seen and still impact so much of the narrative. And besides, we already know so much about the events that lead to Jabba placing a bounty on Han’s head so do they really need to dedicate an entire sequence to it?
Plus, with the reported cost of this film already well over budget, would they really spend the amount of money required to bring Jabba to life simply for fan service? CGI is very expensive and if you’ve seen the The Director and the Jedi, we know how much time and effort it took to bring Thala-Siren’s to life, imagine a Hutt likely twice that size?
No matter what they decide to do, there’s very little we don’t know about what went down between these two shady characters. For instance, we know that Han was carrying a rather large shipment of Glitterstim for Jabba, which he had to dump thanks to an Imperial boarding party. Glitterstim was a variety of “spice” from Kessel that was highly addictive and highly controlled by the Galactic Empire. This is where the term “Kessel Run” comes from as getting these highly illegal shipments from Kessel to their destination as quickly as possible was obviously imperative, especially if you’re worried about getting boarded.
We also know that by dumping the shipment of Glitterstim, Han would originally end up owing Jabba 10,000 credits which he planned to pay back after he received 17,000 plus credits for taking Obi-Wan, Luke and the two droids to Alderaan. We of course know what happened after that at Docking Bay 94 where the price would go up to 11,500 credits.
This is where Ron Howard and the team have a chance to think outside the box and do something that could make the inclusion of Jabba worthwhile. The 10,000-credit number is a canon figure that we first learned about in the saga films. In the Expanded Universe however, the total amount owed to Jabba is 224,190 credits. The breakdown for this total can be found in the 1987 “Star Wars Sourcebook” (written by Bill Slavicsek and Curtis Smith) in a section titled “Balancing the Books”. This huge amount really provides us with some clarity as to why Jabba is so upset, even though most of it are costs associated with finding Solo.
In the same universe that’s more than twice the amount of a brand-new YT-1300 (Falcon) freighter so it’s a considerable amount of money that Solo will never be able to pay back. This is probably why the canon amount makes a bit more sense from a narrative point of view. But Howard has already shown his inclination to dip into EU waters with the inclusion of Legends fan favorites Tag and Bink. So perhaps, in order justify the addition of Jabba the Hutt he’s adding levity to a situation we are already very familiar with by making the amount Solo owes much more of an significant exposition point.
Or, all of this is just highly speculative fiction and it truly is just simple fan service that Lucasfilm hopes will raise the eyebrows of the OT fanbase. Also, the timeline of the film takes place roughly 10 years before the events in Episode IV and based on all accounts, we may not get to see Han’s prime smuggling years. My guess would be, if we see Jabba at all, will be near the end of the film as the crime lord issues the bounty we know so well and then cut to credits. After all, we know how the story goes, right?
Till next time…MTFBWY.
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