Spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story
For many months, the makers of Solo: A Star Wars Story envisioned the character of Qi'ra as a humanoid alien. As it stands in the finished film, the human woman (played by Emilia Clarke) is different from previous female leads in the franchise. She isn't a princess, senator, or a Force sensitive destined for a greater purpose. She's simply a survivor, trying to get by on the streets of Corellia. Growing up alongside Han Solo, Qi'ra is always looking for ways to move up the underworld hierarchy. Her path finds her working for Dryden Vos and Crimson Dawn, eventually taking over the division herself by the film's end.
Much like the aforementioned Dryden (who is a near-human played by Paul Bettany), Qi'ra could have been an entirely different species if things played out another way. Early on in the developmental stages, the art department toyed with the idea of having her be some kind of alien, coming up with a wide variety of designs. And now, fans have an opportunity to see what could have been.
The book The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story includes a chapter breaking down Qi'ra. On the pages, readers can see alternate versions for the character. You can check them out for yourself in the space below:
As for why this was changed, head creature designer Neal Scanlan decided that a character such as this would be too outside the Star Wars mold. "That is a territory owned by other franchises," he said. "We came to the conclusion that we should just let the actress be the actress, and that was exactly the right choice." Scanlan's primary concern was it would push Solo too close to Star Trek, which has an abundance of such aliens that are humanoid in nature. While there's no denying it would have been fun to see something like this on the big screen, it's hard to argue with what the Solo team did. Clarke was able to deliver a strong performance without having her emotions obscured by prosthetics. Since the relationship between Qi'ra and Han is in many ways a beating heart of Solo's emotional core, it's easier to sell audiences on that connection if they're both humans.
Refreshingly, Qi'ra is a rare character introduced in an anthology film to survive the movie's events. Solo ends with Darth Maul summoning her to Dathomir so they can work closely together. It'll be interesting to see how Qi'ra is utilized in canon moving forward. Solo's underwhelming box office means a sequel may not happen, but there's always the possibility for a book or comic series to depict what happens after Qi'ra leaves Han on Savareen.
Source: The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019