Dialogue in a new Solo: A Star Wars Story TV spot seems to allude to Jabba the Hutt, clearing up some of the finer details of the spinoff's plot. Since his introduction in A New Hope, Han has always been connected to Jabba, spending most of the original trilogy in debt to the crime lord after a smuggling job went wrong. Their pasts are so tied together, it seemed borderline impossible to make a movie like Solo without including Jabba in any capacity. And yet, as marketing heated up with trailers and TV spots, it looked like the Hutt would be missing from the action. He hasn't been seen in any footage, and there aren't any official hints he's in the film... until now.
The last few weeks have been an onslaught of Solo TV ads, highlighting fun character interactions and franchise Easter eggs. This latest one, however, appears to bring narrative specifics to greater focus. The spot heavily features Dryden Vos, the "big shot gangster" who's organizing a mission to Kessel. As he lays the stakes for Han and Beckett, Vos warns them that failure will leave them with no further options. "You know who I answer to," he says. Since Solo is set in the galactic underworld, there are only so many individuals that could be in reference to.
Before getting choked to death by Leia, Jabba was one of the most powerful gangsters in the galaxy, running a criminal empire that operated in the Outer Rim (multiple Solo planets are located there). Though Jabba's home was on Tatooine, his influence was felt across a plethora of worlds. Jabba even cut a deal with the Galactic Empire when the Imperials looked to eliminate Outer Rim crime; this allowed Jabba to conduct his business as usual, without having to worry about any competition. Since Solo is set in the pre-Rogue One heyday of the Empire, all signs are pointing to Jabba being the one Dryden is talking about. He essentially had a monopoly on Outer Rim criminal activities.
This isn't just wild conjecture. Shortly after Ron Howard took over Solo directing duties last summer, rumors about Jabba's involvement first popped up. It was uncertain exactly how the Hutt would factor in (initial reports had him playing a significant role), but now it sounds like he's going to be more of an offscreen threat - similar to Emperor Palpatine in A New Hope. In all likelihood, Jabba will be mentioned by name to illustrate the severity of Han's situation, but he may not physically appear in a scene. This would allow Jabba to have a presence in Solo and still give Howard the opportunity to spend more time with new characters. Additionally, one of the director's famous social media set photos was an obscure Jabba reference, incorporating old Ralph McQuarrie concept art into the production design. Since new Star Wars canon has integrated some of McQuarrie's work into projects before (most notably Darth Vader's Rogue One castle), it wouldn't be out of the question for Solo to tip its hat to the legendary artist.
The TV spot also makes it sound like the Conveyex vehicle Beckett and Han rob belongs to Dryden (and by extension Jabba), meaning the crew is recruited for the Kessel job as a means of repaying any debt they owe Vos. It wouldn't be entirely shocking if things go south along the way, putting Han and Chewbacca at the mercy of Jabba to save their skins. Hence, Han's smuggling career under the Hutt's employment begins until he drops a shipment at the sight of an Imperial cruiser and gets a bounty on his head. This reads as a smart way of fleshing out Han's complicated history with Jabba without leaning on the classic villain as a nostalgia crutch. If the goal of the Star Wars anthology line is to enhance the episodes, tying everything back to Jabba should almost be expected.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019