Star Wars fans on May 23 flooded Twitter with a specific hashtag: #MakeSolo2Happen. The date actually marked the one-year anniversary of Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story, a film that unfortunately didn't light the box office on fire. While the Han Solo origin film set up many plot threads to be followed up in a sequel, a second film was never given a green light. However, the film is not without its fans, and, after a year, they finally let their voices be heard.
The online outpouring of love for Solo, which even caught the attention of screenwriter Jon Kasdan, also brought to light an intriguing connection between the film and J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. An eagle-eyed fan noticed that a weapon held by one of Dryden Vos' guards is actually the same as the one seen in the hands of one of the Knights of Ren in an Episode IX photo that was recently released by Vanity Fair.
Is this simply a recycling oversight, or a surprising connection between the two films?
In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we learned that the Knights of Ren were created by Kylo Ren and fellow dropouts of Luke Skywalker's new Jedi Order some time before the events of The Force Awakens. This would put the formation of the Knights decades after the events of Solo. So, what could the presence of this weapon mean?
Of course, there is always the possibility that the Lucasfilm prop department recycled a weapon that was barely seen in Solo. But, while the studio simply could have opted for frugality, it's also possible that this could hint at something else. After all, the Star Wars universe is filled with alien races that we have yet to see. Perhaps this weapon is specific to a certain people or planet, one that both this nameless guard in Solo and The Rise of Skywalker's Knight come from.
If not for this, then perhaps the connection between the two films is perhaps a little more direct. After all, Dryden Vos works for Crimson Dawn, whom we now know is lead by Darth Maul. Since both Maul and the Knights of Ren are agents of the Dark Side of the Force, could there be a link there that transcends generations?
No matter the story behind it, if the inclusion of the weapon is truly deliberate, then it could be part of the cross-pollination of the Star Wars universe under Disney. After all, this would be far from the only Easter egg in a Star Wars film pointing to another in the franchise.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story mentioned lightspeed tracking before we would see that technology in action in The Last Jedi. Han Solo's golden dice would be brought to the forefront in Episode VIII before being central to Solo. Even the Tognath mercenary Edrio 'Two Tubes,' who was a member of Saw Gerrera's resistance in Rogue One, also appeared in Solo.
There's been a back-and-forth between these spinoff movies and the new Star Wars trilogy that seems to nourish one another. It makes for a more connected universe, yes, and it also shows that there is a larger plan at work that makes all of these new films more rewarding to watch as part of a unified tapestry.
Of course, we'll have to wait and see if the Knight of Ren's weapon is a purposeful inclusion. But, then again, if it turns out to be a simple mistake, it's one that can easily be addressed by the creative heads at Lucasfilm. And, if not, fans can always make up their own canon about how the weapons connect to one another.
Directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Keri Russell, Matt Smith, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher, with Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. The film arrives Dec. 20.