WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story, in theaters now.
Among the longest-running mysteries of Star Wars lore is the significance of the gold dice first glimpsed in Star Wars: A New Hope dangling in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. Although the unobtrusive trinkets weren't mentioned onscreen, and didn't appear in the next two films in the original trilogy, they developed a legend of their own before making a return in 2015's The Force Awakens.
The lucky charms gained new significance last year with The Last Jedi, in which Luke Skywalker walks back into the cockpit of the Falcon after nearly 30 years, and sees them still hanging there. Better still, they represent, to both Luke and Leia, a piece of Han Solo -- and what makes the iconic ship what it is. Now, with the arrival of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the real story and significance of the gold dice is revealed, and it's safe to say it's not what most fans expected.
When Solo begins, Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is a young man dreaming of escaping Corellia and becoming a pilot. The first thing we see him do is steal a speeder; as he takes the wheel, he hangs up his gold dice. Instantly, we understand these mean a great deal to him. They're a symbol of his freedom, and of his innate rebellion. We don't actually learn where these dice come from — we only know what they represent. After he crashes the speeder on a chase, he takes the dice with him.
Then, when he and Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) attempt to get off of the planet, he hands the dice to her, for luck. It's a bond of trust between the two, and a symbol of -- dare we say it? -- love. The two are eventually separated, and spend more than three years apart. When they finally reunite, Qi'ra hands the dice back to Han. After all that time, she held onto them, just like he held onto the thought of flying back to Corellia and rescuing her from her landlocked life.
Throughout Han’s adventures in the film, he learns the tricks of the smuggling trade, and discovers there aren't many people he can trust. Even Qi'ra ultimately betrays him, choosing a life of crime over him. When all is said and done, Han Solo finally beats Lando Calrissian at sabacc and wins the Millennium Falcon, his own ship — what he's wanted more than anything else. Now, he's finally a pilot, and he gets his freedom. He charts his own path, and he trusts only himself (and his co-pilot, Chewbacca). Home is now aboard this vessel, and so is his family.
He hangs his gold dice one final time, in the cockpit, and they won't be taken down until after his death, when Luke finds them in that same spot decades later, in The Last Jedi.
Directed by Ron Howard from a script by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan, Solo: A Star Wars Story stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca. They’re joined by Thandie Newton as Val, Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37, Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos and Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett.