Three ways 'Solo' connects the familiar 'Star Wars' universe

While the first trailer makes it clear that “Solo” is a very different sort of “Star Wars” prequel, the backstory for everyone’s favorite scruffy nerf herder also seems to contain some surprising connections to “Star Wars” lore.

Here are three unique, albeit slightly obscure, elements that firmly anchor this Han Solo prequel to that galaxy far, far away.

There's a new Millennium Falcon design for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Falcon Files: Arguably cinema’s most recognizable spaceship, the Millennium Falcon depicted in “Solo” has a few modifications (or, rather, pre-modifications), including a white paint scheme with blue highlights.

If you’ve ever watched 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith” with a magnifying glass — go ahead, you can admit it — you might have spotted something similar when the Falcon docks in the background on Coruscant.

Although “Revenge of the Sith” doesn’t offer a detailed view of the Falcon, concept art for that film reveals a resemblance to the ship in “Solo.” A matching die-cast Millennium Falcon toy was even released by Hasbro in 2006.

We’re still not certain what brought the Falcon to Coruscant, but the timeline suggests the ship was making its way around the galaxy long before it became property of Solo or Lando Calrissian.

Qi'ra is played by Emilia Clarke in the new Han Solo movie.

What’s In a Name? Although her character is still shrouded in mystery, Emilia Clarke plays a woman by the name of Qi’ra. That name — or at least its phonetic equivalent — might sound familiar to die-hard “Star Wars” fans.

According to author Phil Szostak’s “The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Kira was a character originally conceived by George Lucas for a major role in the third trilogy of films. When J.J. Abrams took the director’s chair on what would become the franchise’s seventh chapter, Kira evolved into Daisy Ridley’s Rey.

It’s worth noting that the name Kira has its origins in Sanskrit. The ancient Indic language had previously been used for John Williams’ “Duel of the Fates” in “The Phantom Menace.” And it’s probably no coincidence that “Kira” translates to “beam of light.”

There's a new Millennium Falcon design for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

The F-LER: In 1986, the “Star Wars” franchise had begun to fade. “Return of the Jedi” had seemingly concluded the saga and, as a result, merchandise sales were on the decline. Kenner, the toy company that helped make “Star Wars” a household name, came to Lucasfilm Ltd. with a pitch for a new toy line. “The Epic Continues” would introduce a new story set after the battle of Endor and with it, new characters and vehicles.

Dubbed the F-LER (Freight Loading External Rover), Han Solo’s single-person vessel is spotted in the new trailer. In the toy version, it was built to plug directly into the front of the existing Millennium Falcon, creating an elongated nose design not at all dissimilar to the one we’re going to see on the big screen when “Solo” hits theaters May 25.


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