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Emilia Clarke Dishes On Why Her Star Wars Character Is So Important To Han Solo

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Now that we’ve watched the Solo trailer a jillion times, more details are surfacing for the latest Star Wars space romp—and we now have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the “femme fatale” Emilia Clarke is playing in Han Solo’s origin story.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Clarke introduces us to Qi’ra, a childhood friend of Solo’s who teams up with the smart-mouthed smuggler in adulthood on a number of adventures that sound… well, pretty par for the course for Solo, frankly, especially considering that there’s a “romantic side” to their friendship.

“They grew up as pals, as partners in crime,” she told EW. “There is obviously the romantic side of things. But they grew up together. So they were kids together… Qi’ra is one of those relationships that has an impact on him as a character. I mean, hopefully [laughs]—if I have done my job. And within that relationship, the thing that that you see with Qi’ra is that she an enigma.”

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According to Clarke, the world Qi’ra and Solo call home has the same vibe of the sinister one Finn and Rose were introduced to in The Last Jedi: “The point where you meet [Qi’ra], she is with Han. They are both doing what they’ve got to do to survive. And that is Qi’ra the whole the movie. The whole way through, she is surviving. And surviving in the underworld that we know to be [filled with] smuggling, aloof gamblers, wrong-side-of-the-tracks nasty ones. It was beautiful they touched on it very briefly [in The Last Jedi] when they are at the racetracks… it’s not the racetracks, and not Canto Bight. But we have the main storyline talk about what the smuggling, gambling black market world is like.”

Qi’ra’s a resilient fighter throughout Solo, and that’s part of what drew Clarke to the character in the first place. “Qi’ra’s journey is definitely one of survival and strength,” she said. “The way that I felt about her was yeah this girl has got a core of steel.”

As for how Qi’ra fits into the evolution of Solo’s character, there’s one thing in common between her and the other notable women—say, one with a penchant for restoring the freedom of the galaxy and distinctive hairstyles—who leave a huge impact on him.

“Han Solo is only surrounded by strong women,” she said. “He doesn’t know any woman who doesn’t stand up for herself, has got game and chops and intelligence and wit. Those are the only women in his life. And then he meets Leia, so it all kind of falls into place.”

Solo hits theatres May 25.

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