Casting a Star Wars film has always been a tricky business. For both the Original Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy, George Lucas chose to cast relatively unknown yet (generally) talented actors, such as Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, Hayden Christensen, and Jake Lloyd. The tradition was carried on in the most recent films, including Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, as relative newcomers John Boyega and Daisy Ridley led the charge for a new generation. At the same time, the space-faring franchise likes to temper its young bloods with seasoned vets like Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, and Lupita Nyong’o among others.
Disney’s second standalone saga, the untitled Han Solo Anthology film, already went through a veritable casting gauntlet for directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller to find their main man, Alden Ehrenreich. Not long afterwards, the field narrowed on best bud Lando Calrissian, with hot property Donald Glover landing the coveted gambler with a heart of gold role. When it came to female leads, though, early rumors put Tessa Thompson and Zoe Kravitz in the running for the top spot. However, Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke was recently cast in an unspecified role – which some sites speculate could be the primary female character. At this point, Star Wars.com only disclosed that she’ll “round out a dynamic cast of characters that Han and Chewie will encounter on their adventures.”
Although it’s unlikely such a high-profile actress would take a bit part, droid, or mo-cap character, her exact role is a mystery. Whether as a leading lady (there ought to be room in a Star Wars movie for more than one strong, capable woman) or a major supporting cast member, here are a few possible parts Emilia Clarke could play in the young Han Solo movie:
16. Bria Tharen
Making her debut in the Legends book The Paradise Snare, Bria took charge in A. C. Crispin’s second Han Solo trilogy. Before becoming a Rebellion commando, Corellia-born Tharen was rescued from a religious cult by a certain young smuggler, who happened to bear the surname Solo. Drawn to one another, the young couple fell in love, but Tharen ended things to deal with her addiction (leftovers from her cult life). While separated, the young woman signed on with the Rebellion, eventually becoming leader of the Red Hand Squadron, while Han pursued his short-lived Imperial career. The two eventually reconnected, but tragically Bria was killed in a bid to steal the Death Star plans.
And therein lies the main problem with Ms. Tharen. Although non-canon, her role in the plot to obtain Imperial blueprints is now being verily handled by an entirely different crew in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Of course, since Bria is part of Legends, the Story Group could easily incorporate her into the universe, cherry-picking whichever aspects of her backstory fit as they did with Grand Admiral Thrawn. Her addition could even add some intriguing lore to Han’s solo film and connect, if reconfigured, to Rogue One.
15. Jessa Vandangante
Since the official announcement came with mere hints about rounding out the cast and “dynamic characters,” fans are forced to do the hypothetical legwork on which character Emilia Clarke will play. As part of the initial Han Solo trilogy (specifically Han Solo at Stars’ End, written by Brian Daley), Jessa Vandangante could fit the bill. A member of an outlaw mechanic group operating on the fringes of the Corporate Sector – a cluster of star systems in the outer rim ruled by the laissez faire-extremists, the Corporate Sector Authority – Jessa knew her way around a hydrospanner and a blaster. When her father “Doc” went missing, she and Han forged an alliance-with-benefits, journeying to the top secret CSA prison Stars’ End to spring him. The tough-talking mechanic would make an excellent addition to the canon and also give the Emmy-nominated Clarke a chance to cut her chops on the blue-collar end of the space spectrum.
14. Hart-and-Parn Gorra-Fiolla
No one said Emilia Clarke had to play a love interest. If she does, though, Han’s colleague, Fiolla would make a good candidate. The Lorrdian had a non-canon romance with Solo, as well as adventures which spanned the Corporate Sector. The tough but fair CSA Auditor-General teamed up with the warm-hearted smuggler to bring down a foul batch of slavers in Brian Daley’s Han Solo’s Revenge. If Lucasfilm chose to lasso Hart-and-Parn Gorra-(‘just use my first name’) Fiolla and the Corporate Sector into the official continuity, it could open up a lot of interesting Solo story lines. The CS may not sound like a particularly exciting place, but the technocratic fiefdom certainly put this unlikely duo in all sorts of tight spots, such a gunslinger who could outmatch even Han’s aptitude with a blaster.
A strong female character, as well as a well-designed element of non-canon lore, it would be fun to see Clarke portray the CSA investigator – especially since Fiolla chooses job security over gallivanting into the stars with everyone’s favorite scoundrel-to-be. Who else but an uptight bureaucrat would turn down a life of adventure with Han Solo?
13. Sana Starros
A recent addition to the Star Wars continuity, Sana Starros dropped back into Han’s life in the fourth issue of the Star Wars ongoing comic saga. In one awkward blaster-point reunion, Leia had met Han’s former “wife.” Of course, Sana and Han never legitimately tied the knot. It was all part of an elaborate hoax to distract from a robbery in progress. And while there are suggestions of a romantic involvement along the way, at this point, Starros is mostly interested in Han because he walked off with her take of the loot.
Sana’s introduction in the comics certainly seems as tailor-made for the overall Star Wars cinematic tapestry. When early casting rumors about the Solo standalone pointed a non-white female lead, Sana immediately leapt to forefront of speculation. If Clarke does play the romantic lead, hopefully she won’t play Sana, though. Because as slow as Disney has been to adapt to our changing world, it would be a shame for them to take a step backwards and whitewash a strong black character who deserves a proper on-screen intro.
12. Lassa Rhayme
First appearing in Christie Golden’s short story Kindred Spirits as part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Lassa Rhayme was captain of the Opportunity. Leading a gang of notorious Pantoran pirates, she teamed up Asajj Ventriss in the story, as well as playing a smaller part in Golden’s interlinked novel Dark Disciple. Rhayme quickly became a standout scoundrel thanks to her quick wits, finesse with a blade, markswomanship, and code of honor. She also banters and battles well with notorious smuggler and occasional Rebel-sympathizer Hondo Ohnaka. With an offbeat pedigree like Rhayme’s, it wouldn’t be a shock if she popped up beyond the pages of Star Wars’ supplemental material. Her lovable outlaw character would be an ideal entry point for Emilia Clarke and make sense thematically for the Han Solo standalone.
11. Katya M’Buele
Another holdover from the semi-Legends department, Katya M’Buele comes courtesy of Marvel’s first comic book run in the Star Wars realm, currently considered a gray area in the official continuity. Created by Chris Claremont (of X-Men fame), Mike Vosburg, and Steve Leialoha, Katya was a human compatriot of Han’s prior to the Battle of Yavin (A New Hope), who worked alongside the young Corellian and also aided multimedia character Dash Rendar. Although Katya only had a brief stint in the galaxy, she would bring intrigue (and drama) into the lovable smuggler’s backstory. Much like Sana, though, her character clearly wasn’t white. While it would be great to see her transition onto the big screen, hopefully Disney hasn’t cast Clarke as this particular rogue.
10. Hera Syndulla
The daughter of prominent Rebellion figure Cham Syndulla, the seeds of rebellion were sown into Captain Hera Syndulla’s blood. While she and her famous father don’t always see eye to eye, her devotion to the rebel cause is steadfast and her loyalty is beyond question. Over three years, Star Wars Rebels fans have come to know and love the Twi’lek’s tough but fair leadership and insane piloting skills. Despite her long history with the Rebellion, little is known about her time before taking the to fight the Empire.
Roughly the same age as Han, her status as an ace flyer, one who likely operated on the fringes of the galaxy, could connect her to some of the same circles as the young scoundrel. Beyond merely paying fan-service to Rebels, Hera’s role in the Han Solo movie could fill in another chapter from her fascinating backstory, as well as opening her up for inclusion in future Anthologies and the far-away galaxy in general.
Everyone knows Han Solo has had his trouble with Mandalorians, or at least one Mandalore warrior in particular. Aside from running afoul of Boba Fett at one or more points – which will hopefully be further explored in either his or Boba’s rumored solo (sorry) flick – it wouldn’t be surprising if Han had a few other run-ins with the once-isolationist culture during the post-Clone War era. Disney already announced the return of the former-Death Watch member (and sister of Dutchess Satine Kryze), Bo-Katan, in an episode in Star Wars Rebels. This reveal also makes the multifaceted character ripe for adventure before the Galactic Civil War takes front and center.
Assuming Han Solo’s youthful adventures occur roughly 10 years before Episode IV: A New Hope, Emilia Clarke (currently 30) would be age appropriate for that era’s Bo-Katan. Of course, many Rebels fans might prefer the idea of voice actress Katee Sackhoff portraying the character, but casting the Game of Thrones star as Bo-Katan Kryze would still make a lot of Mandalorian warrior enthusiasts happy. Plus, having the armored badass cross paths with Ehrenreich’s young Solo on the big screen would be pretty amazing no matter how it happens.
8. Salla Zend
Captain of the Starlight Intruder and a general engineering, mechanical, and piloting whiz, Salla Zend played a major role in the Star Wars Legends comic saga Dark Empire – which saw the return of Emperor Palpatine as a clone. Her freighter, which had some real zip for its size, ferried around the crew of the Millennium Falcon from time to time, and even hauling the Falcon itself. Zend clearly still had a sweet spot for former flame, Han Solo, much to Leia’s chagrin, but became a valiant ally during the fight to crush the resurrected Empire. The freighter captain also popped up during the second Han Solo Trilogy in A. C. Crispin’s Rebel Dawn.
Although not officially a part of the Star Wars Universe, Zend is one of those Thrawn-like characters who definitely qualify for canonization. As fun as it would be to bring the streetwise smuggler from Han’s Nar Shaddaa days into the picture, having Clarke assay her would amount to whitewashing. While Salla needs her day in the official continuity sun, hopefully Disney waits for another actress and perhaps a latter entry in the rumored Solo trilogy.
7. Ahsoka Tano
Although Lucasfilm’s continuity gurus in the Story Group have (understandably) limited the Jedi’s presence in-canon before and during the Original Trilogy, they’ve still made plenty of allusions and references to the scattered one-time defenders of the galaxy. Former padawan Ahsoka Tano certainly made her presence felt in the five years prior the Galactic Civil War, and it’s doubtful she was a total ghost before then either. Is it possible she encountered (perhaps even influenced) a certain young smuggler nearly a decade before he signed up with the Rebellion?
Admittedly, Ahsoka’s presence is probably a long shot. Still, Lucasfilm does have a history of sprinkling well-known actors in supporting and lead roles (Ewan McGregor, Jimmy Smits, and GOT-alum Gwendoline Christie for example). Clarke is age-appropriate for Ahsoka of the time period, and including her in a supporting role in the untitled Han Solo flick would be a great way set the skilled duelist up for her own Anthology movie (hint, hint).
6. Aurra Sing
First introduced as alien scenery in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Aurra Sing is a perfect example of a character who took on a life of her own – like many background players before her. Her character was explored extensively in Star Wars Legends, but the ruthless bounty hunter (who was once briefly-associated, out of canon, with the Jedi Order), had much of her backstory voided by Disney. Fortunately, she made a triumphant return during the Clone Wars, as a colleague of Boba Fett (and former associate of his ‘father’ Jango). Working alongside the Hutts, Cad Bane, and Hondo Ohnaka, Sing added to her reputation as a ruthless yet honorable bounty hunter.
Her character was originally played by model Michonne Bourriague in Phantom Menace but had no spoken dialogue in the film. While the character would be slightly older than Emilia Clarke, literal age wouldn’t make much difference – the actress would be caked in alabaster makeup and besides, she’s an alien. Sing would also qualify as a “dynamic” character and also require little-to-no backstory thanks to her introduction in the animated series.
5. Doctor Aphra
Admittedly, this one is wishful thinking. One of the newest characters added to the Star Wars mythos, the Kieron Gillen-created Doctor Aphra skyrocketed to popularity after her co-starring role in Darth Vader’s recent solo comic. Skirting the darker-edges of the gray area within the galaxy, Aphra’s brand of archeology, as well as her mechanical wizardry, easily puts her in Han Solo’s orbit. Since she was also born before the Clone Wars, and assuming her title isn’t merely an embellishment (after all, earning a doctorate takes a good while in any universe), she would fit within the Solo Anthology’s timeline. As an added bonus, she has a history – perhaps more than professional – with Sana Starros, who could also wind up in the film.
There is one hiccup to Clarke in the Aphra role, though. Depending upon the artist, the bad doctor appears either Asiatic or Hispanic in the comics. As cool as it would be to watch the diabolical doctor on the big screen, and as much justice as Clarke would do the character, Aphra should be represented by an ethnically-appropriate actress. However, with her own comic saga on the way, it’s only a matter of time before the rogue archeologist makes her way into other aspects of the Star Wars Universe.
4. Latts Razzi
Any film dealing with Han Solo’s past will invariably involve some of the shadier elements from his life, especially scammers, gangsters, and bounty hunters. Latts Razzi, a spiny, purple-skinned mercenary, worked alongside Boba Fett during The Clone Wars, and would represent another exciting crossover from Star Wars animated realm into the film world. As a part of Fett’s criminal syndicate, she was part of the plot to capture Count Dooku. Razzi also frequented the Mos Eisley Cantina – a wretched hive of scum and villainy sometimes visited by a certain roguish smuggler before his Rebellion days.
Aside from her purplish features, spots, and bristles, transforming Emilia Clarke into Latts Razzi would only entail moderate effects makeup or CGI work and wouldn’t cover up her famous face or voice. Razzi even bears a slight resemblance to Clarke, so her character would definitely work in the solo Solo flick.
3. Delia Leighton
The Star Wars Universe has been making headway in the strong female role department thanks to recent solid casting like Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). However, they still have a long ways to go, and adding Emilia Clarke as Delia Leighton – from comic writer Greg Rucka’s Young Adult novel Smuggler’s Run – would be another excellent move. Operating from her mobile cantina/starship The Serendipity, Leighton sets up shop wherever she chooses, including the planet Jakku in the story. The in-canon novel makes it clear that she and Han go way back, and that she’s no one to trifle with. Delia has no qualms about helping the now-Rebellion-allied Sol0o avoid potential ‘imperial entanglement.’ Vetting out Delia’s character on the big screen would be an excellent introductory role for Clarke and add another strong woman to the upcoming Anthology film.
What’s the best way to utilize an extremely famous actress from an insanely popular cable program? Cover her from head to foot in hair and have her to talk only through sound effects-based grunts, growls, and guffaws. While Emilia Clarke-for-Mallatobuck is probably the most far-fetched casting concept for the untitled Han Solo epic. Seeing as a young Chewbacca will definitely play a role in the Anthology feature, it only makes sense to introduce Chewie’s wife (or future wife) Malla – something which would also help erase many fan’s painful memory of that whole Star Wars Holiday Special debacle.
Would the Disney/Lucasfilm ever turn Emilia Clarke into a walking carpet? Not likely unless she requested the role herself. At the same time, her famous costar Gwendoline Christie never showed her face in The Force Awakens. Of course, taking off a mask is a lot easier than being buried beneath a mat of hair and growls, so Malla by way of Emilia is extremely improbable.
1. A Brand New Hero or Villain
Father and son writer duo Laurence and Jon Kasdan have a wealth of in and out of canon characters at their disposal. Also, as one of Star Wars’ foremost scribes (he only co-wrote, Empire Strike Back), Kasdan could have carte blanche to dream up a few of his own characters or use a fresh one courtesy of Lucasfilm’s Story Group. Kathleen Kennedy already suggested that the Anthology film will deal with a pivotal moment in Solo’s history, one which could explore brief stint in the Imperial military, some sort of late-teen legal troubles, or even his connection with Chewbacca, some of which was explored in Chuck Wendig’s novel Aftermath: Life Debt.
Depending upon which aspects of young Han the feature explores, Emilia Clarke could portray an as of yet unknown imperial officer who gives Han hell at the Imperial Academy (which would befit her regal GOT bearings) or a member of the Rebel Alliance who collaborates with the young Corellian. Clarke’s ability to quickly shift from genuine to devious would also make her a believable smuggler, pirate, or bounty hunter, even if not one fans are familiar with.