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Solo: A Star Wars Story's Ending Explained

Alden Ehrenreich as Han in Solo A Star Wars Story Ending
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Spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Solo: A Star Wars Story's ending is lot more complex (and surprising) than you may expect. As a basic pitch, the young Han Solo prequel has a simple story - we follow how he met Chewbacca, acquired the Millennium Falcon from Lando, and set himself up in a life of crime before that fateful cantina meeting - but writers Jon and Lawrence Kasdan weren't just content filling in big gaps in Han's story. The film spans over three years of time during the Empire's stranglehold on the galaxy between the prequel and original Trilogy of the main Skywalker Saga, taking a young, surnameless Han from scrumrat on Corellia to Imperial trooper to crime syndicate stooge, and finally, a smuggler making his own destiny.

The backbone of Solo is a crime heist story - after losing a shipment of expensive ship fuel coaxium during a train heist, Han, Chewie and new mentor Beckett must find a way to replace the payload, concocting an elaborate sting of the Kessel spice mines that sees him reuniting with former flame Qi'ra, gambler Lando Calrissian, his feminist droid L3-37 and completing the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs (if you round down) - but where things really kick into gear is the final showdown and big ending.

Related: How Solo Fits Into The Star Wars Timeline

There's a lot of surprises that come so thick and fast it can be hard to keep up - especially when one of those shockers is the return of a character who hasn't graced the big screen in almost twenty years - and have some major impacts on how you view the Harrison Ford iteration of Han. We're going to break down everything in Solo: A Star Wars Story's ending - you might want to buckle up, baby.

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Han's Plan To Con Dryden Vos

Chewbacca Han and Qi'ra in Solo A Star Wars Story

The final conflict begins when Han and co. arrives on Savareen with the boosted coraxium ready for refinement. First, they come face-to-face with Enfys Nest, revealed to not be a vicious mercenary as Crimson Dawn and Beckett believed, but a proto-Rebel cell fighting back against the Empire-enabled gangsters who had decimated their homeworlds (including Warwick Davis' The Phantom Menace character Weazel and one of Saw Gerrera's later allies from Rogue One). This poses a debate for Han, who has been looking for a way out of crime or Imperial rule his entire life: giving up the fuel to Vos solves all problems but leaves him troubled while providing it to Enfys is the right thing but makes him a marked man.

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The solution is to con Vos. Han aims to play into Dryden's lack of trust, giving him the coraxium but making him think it's a fake, thus calling out his top men to seize the "real" fuel from Enfys, whose Rebels will promptly pacify, leaving Vos totally unguarded for Solo and his smuggled-in blaster.

Beckett's Betrayal

Beckett in Solo A Star Wars Story

However, Dryden reveals he knows he's being played care of one of Han's confidants; the immediate suspect is Qi'ra, previously Dryden's lieutenant, but in steps Beckett who had seemingly ran off to Tatooine for one last job. From very early on, it was established Beckett was untrustworthy - he very nearly left Han and Chewie behind on Mimban and pointedly told Han that he should "assume everyone will betray you, and you'll never be disappointed" - but here the extent of his self-serving motives are seen.

Related: Breaking Down Solo: A Star Wars Story's Villain Twists

The question of how long this has been going on - if Beckett was always more in with Dryden than it seemed or if this was an opportunistic betrayal only after Han revealed his plan - isn't dealt with purposefully, but a clear answer would change perceptions of Tobias. If he's always been on the take, then most of the film is a play on Beckett's part and that warning of betrayal is a glimmer of compassion coming through. If it's opportunism, then things are more about self-preservation, with Beckett not wanting to be on the wrong side of the Crimson Dawn care of Han as he enters "one last job" (although the indication is he will never actually leave the life). Either way, this moment is a fundamental betrayal of Han's trust and the first of two parallel lessons he was already learning.

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Indeed, while Beckett helped Vos out by clueing him in on some of Han's plan, the trap was still sprung: Enfys wiped out Dryden's men and left him unguarded. Here's where Beckett's true nature comes out, with him seizing the opportunity to take the coaxium for himself.

Han Shoots First

There's some big stuff still to go down in Dryden's ship, but as part of why Solo's ending winds up so messy is its thread juggling, let's first look at the resolution Han and Beckett's relationship. Tobias takes Chewie and plans to escape with all the fuel, only to be confronted by Han. Beckett tries to talk his way out of it and engage Han in a gunfight  - a smart move given how well-established his blaster skills have been throughout the movie - but Han isn't listening this time and shoots him straight up.

This is the film's rather pointed nod towards the infamous "Han Shot First" controversy that's raged in Star Wars fan circles for over two decades: in the 1997 Special Editions, George Lucas redid the cantina showdown between Han and Greedo to have the bounty hunter fire at his prey before Han landed the killing blow, thus indicating the soon-to-be-hero was only shooting in retaliation (it was subsequently changed for the 2004 DVD release to be simultaneous shot, but the core issue remained). The move was seen as wearing away some of Han's innate criminality and rounding off his soft edges, and quickly became an emblem for all of Lucas' alterations.

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Related: Why Lucasfilm Shouldn't Release the Original Theatrical Cut of Star Wars

Immediately, this scene not only atones for that but also brings back some age-old Han trickery; he can't beat Beckett in combat, so uses cunning and knowledge of his opponent to best him another way, linking the lesson he's learned about thinking ahead in Solo: A Star Wars Story to his actions in the original film. However, as Han's first action after firing the shot is to hold Beckett as he dies, somewhat regretful that he's robbed him of retirement, we still get that same sense of a human conscience, echoing what Qi'ra said about him ultimately being a good man. And, speaking of Qi'ra...

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Page 2: Qi'ra's Final Betrayal & Maul's Return

Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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