[WARNING: This article contains POSSIBLE SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens]
Star Wars fans have just over two months to go until J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and in the next few days (as of this writing), they may have a new trailer to fawn over as they count down the days until the saga's seventh episode. But even before that third and final preview debuts, official merchandise has given moviegoers plenty to speculate over.
Many of the products released on Force Friday have provided clues as viewers dissect lines of dialogue from talking action figures and character descriptions from Halloween costumes to get a better idea of what Abrams has in store. Now, thanks to a new line of Topps Star Wars trading cards, questions about the ownership of the Millennium Falcon have been raised.
In a new card depicting Chewbacca in action (hat tip HitFix), there is an image that shows the Wookie co-pilot sitting next to none other than Daisy Ridley's Rey in the iconic Falcon cockpit. This has caused some to wonder why it's not Han there with his old friend, and is instead one of the new characters of the sequel trilogy.
Now, it's important to point out that having someone else fly the Falcon isn't exactly new territory for the Star Wars franchise. There were instances in the classic trilogy where Chewie was with someone else, including a sequence in A New Hope where Leia was at the controls as Han and Luke fought off a wave of TIE fighters. Since this image of Chewie and Rey is taken out of context, it's quite possible that Han is somewhere else in the ship and has left Rey in charge for a moment. At this stage in the game, anything is possible.
When one notices how serious Chewie and Rey's facial expressions are on the card, it's justifiable to wonder if this scene is in any way associated with a rather spoiler-heavy rumor about Han that surfaced months ago. But that appears unlikely. Lucasfilm has made sure that all merchandise items thus far showcase elements from the first act of The Force Awakens only, and on the card Rey is wearing the outfit she has in the second teaser trailer. The decision to include Rey (and not Han) on the card was most likely spurred by a desire to mix the old with the new, which has been a running theme through the whole promotional campaign.
Of course, seeing Rey in the Falcon's pilot seat will only add to the speculation that she's connected to Han in some capacity (i.e., Chewie flies alongside generations of Solos). However, it's not worth reading too much into this card. We've known for a while that Finn, Rey, and BB-8 cross paths with Han and Chewie during their escape from Jakku, and the Falcon is clearly their getaway vehicle. It's very plausible that Rey (similar to Luke and Obi-Wan in the first film) is simply a passenger who has struck a deal with Captain Solo and nothing more. Just because she's in the Falcon, it doesn't mean the ship is her's.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.