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Back in May, Solo: A Star Wars Story, the second of Disney and Lucasfilm's standalone Star Wars movies, hit theaters, giving fans Han Solo's "origin story." While the movie itself earned a decent critical reception, commercially it proved to be a disappointment, making only $393 million worldwide and becoming the first Star Wars movie to lose money. There have been various theories for why Solo failed to earn the big bucks, and whichever reason you believe is most responsible, the end result is that it's unlikely this movie will ever get a sequel. That's a shame, because the movie set up great groundwork for a follow-up by pairing Emilia Clarke's Qi'ra with Darth Maul.
Long before Han Solo and Leia Organa were an item, Han and Qi'ra were lovers, trying desperately to escape Corellia to build a new life for themselves. Unfortunately, only Han managed to make off-planet, but he promised to come back for Qi'ra. Three years later, Han and Qi'ra finally reunited, but neither were the same person they were when the couple were previously together. For Han, he'd been kicked out of the Imperial Flight Academy and seen combat as an infantryman for the Empire, and for Qi'ra, she was forced to join the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate after Dryden Vos rescued her from Corellia. In a fairy tale, these two would have ridden off into the sunset despite all that time being separated, but this romance didn't have a happy ending. Rather than join Han to rescue Chewbacca from Tobias Beckett, Qi'ra contacted Darth Maul, Crimson Dawn's leader, to blame Tobias for Dryden's death and the stolen coaxium. All of her efforts were a means to rise up in the Crimson Dawn ranks, and in the end, she left Han and traveled to Dathomir to see Maul.
The Darth Maul cameo was arguably the biggest twist in Solo: A Star Wars Story, especially for folks who haven't kept up with the tattooed Zabrak post-Phantom Menace. But as far as Qi'ra goes, it was an interesting creative decision to have her embrace her life as an organized crime figure, even though it meant sacrificing living the rest of her years with Han. In fact, as Sam Witwer, Maul's voice actor, previously told CinemaBlend, he sees Solo as really being about Qi'ra saving Han's soul, as she knows he's not meant to walk with her down the dark path. So romantically speaking, Han and Qi'ra are toast, which is fine since we know who he ultimately ends up with in due time. Nevertheless, that cliffhanger set the stage perfectly for a Solo sequel. With Han and Chewbacca embarking on their smuggling career, they could easily run into Qi'ra again, who has achieved great success working directly alongside Maul in Crimson Dawn. Whether Han and Qi'ra reconcile or are further wedged apart, there'd be enough material to properly conclude their relationship.
Let's also not forget the Darth Maul of it all. Although for years he was assumed to have been dead after being decapitated by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Maul was brought back in animated form for The Clone Wars and Rebels and became a much more interesting character. Those who've watched Rebels know how Maul's story ultimately ends, but Solo: A Star Wars Story allowed a way to explore more of his post-Clone Wars life. Even for the fans who haven't watched The Clone Wars or Rebels, Darth Maul remains one of the more well-known and visually distinctive players in this universe, so having him as a main characters in the Solo sequel would surely have pit butts in seats. And Maul wouldn't even need to be the only familiar Star Wars bad guy to appear. As the sequel would delve deeper into the seedy underworld, it's plausible Han and Chewie could cross paths with bounty hunters like Bossk, Dengar and, of course, Boba Fett.
If there's one silver lining to all this, it's that there's still a chance we could see Qi'ra's story continued elsewhere. Obviously it would be preferable for this tale to unfold on the big screen, but from novels and comic books to TV shows and video games, there are various ways for us to learn what happened to her after meeting with Darth Maul. Qi'ra is too compelling of a character to not be used ever again, and even if the next chapter of her life doesn't happen in a Solo: A Star Wars Story sequel, this should definitely be explored through a different medium. Personally, I'd go with a novel and delve into Qi'ra's life on two fronts: the past, i.e. the three years between when she and Han were separated, and the "present," i.e. her time working for Darth Maul. Rest assured, if there's any news about a new project about Qi'ra post-Solo, or even a legitimate Solo follow-up, we'll be sure to let you know.
You can watch Solo: A Star Wars Story in the comfort of your own home now on Blu-ray, DVD or Digital HD. The Star Wars saga continues next year with the release of Episode IX on December 20, 2019, and for everything else the galaxy far, far away has coming to the big screen, look through our Star Wars movies guide.