Star Wars has infamously been a boys club until the recent years. After the original trilogy where Leia was practically the only woman anywhere, the new movies have been going out of their way to add some gender diversity to the mix. One of those new faces is Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story. She’s a woman from Han Solo’s past, but when Entertainment Weekly pressed Clarke for details about whether their meeting in the movie is a reunion, Clarke said we should wait to find out.
I think that’s something you should wait to discover. I don’t want to say. I don’t want to start saying anything that might get me fired, or just write me out of the movie. [Laughs] … The point where you meet her, she is with Han. They are both doing what they’ve got to do to survive. And that is Qi’ra the whole the movie. The whole way through, she is surviving. And surviving in the underworld that we know to be [filled with] smuggling, aloof gamblers, wrong-side-of-the-tracks nasty ones. It was beautiful they touched on it very briefly [in The Last Jedi] when they are at the racetracks. Do you remember and they were talking about what that world is?
She’s talking about the scene in The Last Jedi when Rose is talking about the ugliness that lies beneath something that is superficially beautiful. It was the very heavy-handed swipe at the top 1% and the ugliness is the world that Solo is going to exist in.
And that’s our world. I mean it’s not the racetracks, and not Canto Bight. But we have the main storyline talk about what the smuggling, gambling black market world is like. It’s dangerous and it’s sordid and it’s ugly, and it’s really, really dark. There are loads of different gangster-y elements running through it. It has been really fun to put Qi’ra in that. She has a couple of guises, but essentially she is just fighting to stay alive.
Despite being one of the little guys getting hit by the system, Qi’ra looks very glamorous. However, Clarke seems to hint that it’s all a facade and just another mechanism she is using to survive in this harsh world.
Well, if you have got a really glamorous lady in a really sordid environment you kind of know that maybe the glamour is hiding a few rough roads.
When asked if Qi’ra is fitting into the Star Wars tradition of strong women, more so now than in previous movies, Clarke absolutely agreed that Qi’ra deserves to be in the ranks with Rey, Jyn, Leia, and more.
Oh hella yeah. [Laughs] I am never going to take a job that doesn’t tell that story, because I think it’s a very important narrative that we are telling all ages at all stages. And whilst it is Han Solo’s movie, this girl gets to be badass. And strong. And has her own journey. Qi’ra’s journey is definitely one of survival and strength. The way that I felt about her was yeah this girl has got a core of steel.
Han Solo is a character that is surrounded by strong women, and Clarke mentions that after we see how he interacts with her character, it will make sense why he gravitated to Leia.
Very much. And there is a female presence to this movie. Han Solo is only surrounded by strong women. He doesn’t know any woman who doesn’t stand up for herself, has got game and chops and intelligence and wit. Those are the only women in his life. And then he meets Leia, so it all kind of falls into place.
While it is awesome that Qi’ra is going to be another strong women in this series that little girls (and boys!) can look up to and that we’re getting some gender diversity, now we need some racial diversity among those girls. We don’t know anything about Thandie Newton‘s role just yet; maybe she’ll be our next badass woman of color in Star Wars.
Summary: Han Solo and Chewbacca’s adventures before joining the Rebellion, including their early encounters with Lando Calrissian.
Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard, stars Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, and Thandie Newton. It will be released May 25th.
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