Solo: A Star Wars Story features a British brunette in a lead role, but fans should know going in that Emilia Clarke's Qi'ra is not Rey's mother. The Jakku scavenger's heritage was one of the hottest discussion points in the aftermath of The Force Awakens, as fans came up with a plethora of theories about who Rey's parents were. After two years, the answer to the question was finally revealed in The Last Jedi. Rey literally came from nowhere, born to two degenerate alcoholics who sold her off for drinking money. They're so insignificant to the larger story, they didn't even get names, and since they're both dead, Episode IX likely won't touch on them at all.
Still, some are hopeful Lucasfilm will eventually flesh out Rey's backstory further, perhaps detailing more about her parents. When Clarke was cast in Solo (more than a year before Last Jedi came out), it was hypothesized in certain circles the seeds were being planted for her to have a larger connection to the overarching Star Wars story. However, that just isn't the case.
Never mind the fact that there can be multiple brunettes with English accents in the galaxy (we went through something similar with Rogue One's Jyn Erso), tying Qi'ra so closely to Rey would fly in the face of what the studio has spent the past few years establishing. The whole idea behind the Star Wars anthology films were for them to be standalone narratives that complement the Skywalker saga, but technically aren't a part of it. They're designed to make the galaxy feel larger, taking audiences to new planets where they can meet fresh faces. If Qi'ra was Rey's mother, the complaint of "making the universe smaller" would reverberate across the reactions. Solo is obviously going to be full of references to earlier Star Wars films, but there's no need to do something along the lines of this. Plus, there's no guarantee Qi'ra makes it out of Solo alive. All of the Rogue One crew perished in the Battle of Scarif.
The other thing that's important to keep in mind is this would seemingly negate one of the core concepts of The Last Jedi. After telling audiences Rey's parents are not important, it'd be a little contradictory for the very next movie on the slate (debuting five months later) to feature Rey's mom in a key role. That would essentially make her a somebody since we'd learn so much more about her. Going from a faceless corpse in a pauper's grave to Han Solo's oldest childhood friend in the span of two films is a jarring juxtaposition and would lean too far into the realm of coincidence - even by Star Wars standards. Throw in the fact Han took Rey under his wing, this revelation would induce even more eye-rolls. Lucasfilm took a definitive stance on this matter in Last Jedi, so they're not about to undo it.
There's no denying Qi'ra is an integral piece of Han's past, but that's "all" there is to her. This doesn't devalue the character in any sense; Jyn's actions set the original trilogy in motion, and it's likely Qi'ra contributions to canon are meaningful. After all, Solo is a film that explores how Han became the jaded cynic we meet in A New Hope, and Qi'ra was obviously a large part of that. It'll be interesting to see how she fits in to everything, but she isn't giving birth to any Force prodigies anytime soon.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019