- The Pyke Syndicate
The Pyke Syndicate is mentioned more than once in Solo. The movie also marks the first appearance of the Pyke species in live action through Quay Tolsite, the administrator of the operations on Kessel. This is yet another homage to the Clone Wars. The Pyke Syndicate played an essential role in keeping the fate of Jedi Master Sifo Dyas shrouded in mystery. The Pykes were even in contact with Count Dooku, and were some of the very few beings who knew him as Darth Tyranus. Aside from that, the Pykes were especially prominent in the Spice Cartel and had active business coming out of the Spice Mines of Kessel. Furthermore, they spearheaded raids on Mandalore, acting as the primary benefactors of the Death Watch. See how the greater saga connects with Solo yet?
Actor Warwick Davis is practically family to Lucasfilm. He’s been Wicket the Ewok, a Canto Bight gambler named Wodibin, another Canto Bight vacationer (in a deleted scene) named Kedpin Shoklop, and most recently the voice of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s favored assassin, Rukh, on Star Wars Rebels. Oddly enough, these characters are mostly Davis in costume as another creature. Yet in The Phantom Menace, sitting next to Watto during the podrace sequence, Davis used his own face to portray a weapons dealer named Weazel. Wouldn’t you know it, Davis is back in Solo portraying the exact same character from The Phantom Menace! This time a member of Enfys Nest’s group.
- Benthic (“Two Tubes”)
Benthic, referred to as “Two Tubes” due to the breathing hoses his respirator is connected to, first appeared in Rogue One as one of Saw Gerrera’s partisans. The partisans were willing to foil the plans of the Empire no matter the cost, which saw them labeled as radicals by other Rebel cells. However, years before Benthic joined Saw Gerrera’s cause, he was working with Enfys Nest for a similar crusade.
- Teräs Käsi
Teräs Käsi was a specialized form of hand-to-hand combat that Qi’ra mentions she has experience in when she fights on screen in Solo. Other practitioners of this fighting style were Supreme Leader Snoke’s Elite Praetorian Guards. However, many, many years before this fighting style was reintroduced to the Star Wars canon, there was a game on the original PlayStation called Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi. Longtime Star Wars fans must remember this game. It’s basically a Star Wars tournament fighting game.… it wasn’t good.
- Enfys Nest and The Cloud Riders
The mysterious figure known as Enfys Nest leads a band of swoop bike riders who call themselves the Cloud Riders. The name of the group may be an homage to some of the first Marvel Star Wars comics. In said comics there is a band of marauders that raid the villages of the innocent. While it turns out that Enfys Nest and her group are actually in on the Rebel cause, the trailers and their early on screen appearance makes the audience think that they’re merciless hunters like the comics.
- L3-37 Was In The Millennium Falcon The Whole Time
Lando Calrissian’s personal protocol droid, L3-37, made for some of the funniest moments in Solo. While L3 is very vocal in the liberation of all droid-kind, some would say she has a sharper wit and “tongue” than that of Rogue One’s K2-SO. Sadly, when L3 receives irreparable damage during the escape from Kessel, Han comes up with the idea that they can still save her by uploading her mainframe into the Millenium Falcon itself. Lando proceeds to do just that as Han deftly makes the Kessel Run. The group is successful and L3 becomes one with the Falcon. This then gives special meaning to the future, when in the Empire Strikes Back, C-3PO “speaks” with the Falcon and to Han he says, “Sir, I don’t know where your ship learned to communicate, but it has the most peculiar dialect.” It’s been L3-37 this entire time, and the time ever since the Kessel Run.
- Anthony Daniels’ Cameo
Did you know that Anthony Daniels is the only actor to appear in every single Star Wars movie? Sure, as C-3PO, including a scene in Rogue One when Blue Squadron departs for the Battle of Scarif, but he can also be seen in Attack of the Clones as a patron when Obi-Wan and Anakin track down bounty hunter Zam Wessel in a bar. In Solo, Daniels appears in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene during the escape from Kessel. Daniels plays a human male prisoner who waves some Wookiee prisoners to safety just after the battle sequence ensues.
- Han Shot First
As the movie draws to a close, and after Beckett double crosses Han and takes Chewie as a hostage, Han intercepts Beckett before he can leave with the coaxium. It looks to be an old fashioned standoff. The two exchange words before shots are fired. Beckett is about to share one more lesson with Han when he’s suddenly shot in the chest. Han shot first instead of waiting for Beckett to draw his blaster. I loved it so much. This is obviously a reference to the fiercely debated “Han Shot First” cantina scene from A New Hope. In the original, unedited film, Han indeed shot Greedo first. However, in one of the most controversial changes in the Star Wars Special Edition Trilogy, George Lucas had Greedo shoot first and a jarring special effect makes it look like Han dodges at the last second and returns a killing shot. It may not change what the special editions did, but it was a nice nod from Lucasfilm kind of telling us, like Han, “I know.”
- Ray Park and Sam Witwer’s Cameos
I don’t know if you can call them cameos or not but you have to admit this is the greatest surprise seen in Solo. When Qi’ra usurps Dryden Vos as head of Crimson Dawn, she contacts Vos’ true overseer. In theaters, the moment I heard Sam Witwer’s voice (within the first two seconds) I immediately knew it was Maul under the hood. Witwer provided his voice talents for Maul in the Clone Wars and again in Star Wars Rebels. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Ray Park was also credited as being the actual body of Maul seen in the hologram before Qi’ra. Oddly enough, Ray Park did all the stunt work as Darth Maul in the Phantom Menace, but was voiced by Peter Serafinowicz. Now remember what I said about that red Mandalorian armor awhile back? Coincidence? I think not. Maul was highly instrumental in brokering several criminal bodies during the Clone Wars. Death Watch, the Nightbrothers, Black Sun, the Shadow Collective, the Pyke Syndicate, the Hutt Clan, and Crimson Dawn, each of these organizations have something in common: dealing with the former Darth Maul.
Thank you so much for reading. Hopefully this article has piqued your interest in exploring more of the Star Wars mythos. Really, there is so much more to Star Wars than just the movies. The TV shows, novels, comics, and games have a great allure about them: knowledge. I greatly enjoy expanding my knowledge of the Star Wars canon. It’s gotten to the point when I go see a new Star Wars movie and see something referenced in another medium, everyone around me is going, “huh?” Yet, Solo made me bounce in my seat with glee to know I can see the bigger picture. Be sure to catch Mammoth Gamers’ spoiler-free review of Solo: A Star Wars Story. If you haven’t already seen the movie, it’s definitely worth a watch!