We have been expecting a casting announcement regarding a female actress and the Han Solo movie for quite some time. However, we were all a little shocked when the first name we heard was Emilia Clarke. She wasn't anywhere near the role we had previously heard discussed. While the odds are that the part she's playing is separate from the one that Tessa Thompson and others are being considered for, that could mean there isn't just one major female role in the new movie.
Of course, that means we have to try and figure out who Emilia Clarke is playing. With the amount of Star Wars expanded universe content drastically reduced by Disney, there are far fewer obvious places to look, but there are still ideas to be had, and other characters who could inspire the eventual role
One of the places in the Star Wars universe where strong female characters are plentiful is in the current animated series Star Wars Rebels. It's also a place where some really interesting aliens exist who should take more of a front-and-center spot in Star Wars movies. Would Emilia Clarke be willing to do a little prosthetic and green screen work to be the first major alien character since Jar Jar? Whatever we could do to replace that would be great. Hera is a driven and focused commander, but she's not without compassion. It's not that far from Clarke's role on Game of Thrones.
Natasi Daala is one of those characters who probably doesn't exist anymore, but if Grand Admiral Thrawn can make it back, so can she. If not, we could still see Daala act as a template for a brand new character. Natasi Daala was the protege of Grand Moff Tarkin and one one of the highest ranking women in the Imperial Navy. Thus far the Han Solo movie is without a bad guy, and we know that Emilia Clarke can be bad. Maybe after a couple of Star Wars movies letting women be the heroes, it's time to let them be the villains, too.
This one is a long shot, we admit, but we'd be remiss to not include who her on the list. Ashoka Tano is quite possibly the most popular Star Wars character to never appear in a movie, we're not counting The Clone Wars. While it's difficult to say if the age would line up since we have no clear idea when the Han Solo movie would take place, it would somehow seem fitting if Han at some point came in contact with the former apprentice of Anakin Skywalker prior to meeting the son of Darth Vader himself.
Whoever the Hell Laura Dern is Playing
Emilia Clarke is far from the only actress currently cast in a Star Wars movie playing a mysterious role. While we've heard rumors about the sort of character that Laura Dern could be playing in Star Wars: Episode VIII we're certainly light on details.While we're expecting Laura Dern to play a new character to the franchise, that doesn't mean this will be the character's only appearance. Maybe Dern's character will have a backstory in Episode VIII that sets her up for appearing in the Han Solo movie, and Emilia Clarke will play the same character 20 odd years previously.
Somebody Completely New
This is, of course, the most likely answer, simply because it opens up ideas rather than closing them off. There's no particular reason that Emilia Clarke has to play a known character. Since we know little about the story, it could very well be that it called for a character unlike anybody we've seen before. With more than a year and a half until the movie hits there's plenty of time to learn more about the movie, which may give us more insight into the role Clarke has taken on.