Solo’s Qi’ra Has Huge New Relevance to Star Wars’ Original Trilogy Canon

Contains spoilers for Star Wars #28!Rogue One: A Star Wars Story famously bridged the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and now Solo’s original character Qi’ra may have proved to be just as significant to the events of the original Star Wars trilogy.

Qi’ra was introduced to the franchise in Solo: A Star Wars Sotry as a Corellian street kid and girlfriend to Han Solo. By the end of her debut film, she becomes the second in command of the criminal syndicate Crimson Dawn under its true leader Darth Maul. But since Maul goes missing and is eventually killed at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, she gains full control of the syndicate and sets her sights on mobilizing her “hidden empire” that would end Palpatine’s reign. Since then, she’s disrupted the entire galactic underworld by pitting the Black Sun, Pyke Syndicate, and Hutt Clan against each other and even organizing a robbery of Vader’s castle. Her most significant contribution to the franchise, however, is told within the pages of the main Star Wars comic.

In Star Wars #26 by Charles Soule and André‎s Genolet, Imperial cargo specialist Jon Melton and Moff Jerjerrod’s aide Bevelyn Melton have defected from the Empire. The following two issues have followed the couple, along with their children Reen and Zelly, on the run from TIE fighters. They eventually crash-land on the wealthy capital of the galaxy: Coruscant. There the family continues to evade the city planet’s sewer fauna and underworld security forces. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker is enacting his own plan to save the family and find out why they’ve abandoned the Empire.

After convincing Alliance High Command’s Hera Syndulla that the Force is telling him that the Melton defectors are important, Luke infiltrates Coruscant disguised as an Imperial officer. Luke, even without his lightsaber, successfully locates the family and escorts them to the safety of the Rebel fleet. Upon returning, Luke urgently debriefs his findings to Admiral Ackbar, Hera Syndulla, and Mon Mothma. He reveals that the family he rescued are spies for Qi’ra who were instructed to “cause chaos” against the Empire. Their method of doing so: Informing the Rebellion that the Empire is building another Death Star. Given how secretive the construction of the Death Star II project was, this feat is impressive in of itself and knowing that Qi’ra was the one behind its exposure brings to light just how significant she is to canon.

Until now, exactly how the Rebels found out about this before Return of the Jedi has always been unclear. Qi’ra essentially being the unsung catalyst for the Death Star II’s destruction and the Empire’s eventual defeat provides the much-needed context for one of Solo’s standout yet underdeveloped characters; not to mention that she indirectly also answers many long held questions regarding the lore behind the Death Star II’s creation. Just as Rogue One’s Death Star plot is an essential chapter of Star Wars canon, Solo and the expansive transmedia story of Qi’ra proved to be just as, if not more, significant to the original trilogy.