WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story, in theaters now.
Star Wars has been more than just the movies since before A New Hope even hit theaters. Through novels, comics, video games and more, the universe has been growing and evolving since 1976, with all the non-movie tales that added to the lore eventually grouped under the heading Expanded Universe, or EU. In the dark times after Return of the Jedi, when there was no Star Wars on the big screen for 16 years, the EU became fans’ only source for new stories. By the mid-1990s, the novels, comics, cartoons, video games and RPGs had each become top sellers in their industries. George Lucas even orchestrated a huge multi-media project titled Shadows of the Empire that included novels, a comic series, a soundtrack, a video game, toys and even trading cards in 1996. It was on the scale of a movie release without any actual film.
By the time Disney bought Lucasfilm in the Fall of 2012, the EU had filled in large chunks of Star Wars continuity. From the beginning of the Jedi Order thousands of years before A New Hope to the adventures of Luke Skywalker’s great-grandson, Cade Skywalker. So, to free up the screenwriters behind the planned new wave of films, the studio made the major decision to convert the EU to non-canon and retitle it Legends. This enraged fans who had invested a great deal of time and money into these characters. What nobody realized then was that Disney apparently always planned to pull from Legends -- it just didn’t want fans to know what to expect.
Which brings us to Solo: A Star Wars Story. The filmmakers behind only the second Star Wars standalone film are clearly Legends fans, as they've included a bunch of awesome and obscure elements from the novels, comics and even video games! Below we break down the intriguing characters and details from Legends that are now canon... again.
This swoop bike gang originates in the Star Wars comics put out by Marvel in the 1970s. Writer Roy Thomas (Avengers) and artists Howard Chaykin (American Flagg!) and Tom Palmer (Avengers) debuted the Cloud-Riders in Star Wars #9 (1977). In the issue Han Solo and Chewbacca are in desperate need of funds and take a job “on a hellhole called Aduba-3.” They are hired to protect a village from a Serji-X and his vicious swoop-riding scavengers. In Solo this gang is led by Enfys Nest and while it appears they are scavengers, the twist is that they are actually defenders and freedom fighters.
Solo co-writer Lawrence Kasdan has stated that when the former directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord told him they were going to use swoop bikes, he dug out the Cloud-Riders to fill the role of his marauders in the script.
In Legends, The Maelstrom is a nebula in the Outer Rim. It was introduced in the RPG book Riders of the Maelstrom in 1989. The area is distinct because a vast cloud of space dust makes it glow green. Now, in Solo when Lando is explaining why getting to Kessel isn’t so simple, he says, “Can’t plot a direct course to Kessel. You have to thread through the Si’Klaata Cluster and then, pass through the Maelstrom.” So, while we don’t learn much about the area other than that it is part of the Kessel Run, its inclusion does make another section of the galactic map from Legends canon.