We’re only three short weeks away from the release of Star Wars prequel Solo, and despite now actually having some trailers, pictures and interviews with the cast kicking around (remember when there was literally nothing?) there’s still one big mystery haunting viewers – who, exactly, is the villain?
Yes, we know Paul Bettany’s playing a shady character called Dryden Vos, but we’re not talking about him – we’re referring specifically to masked bandit Enfys Nest, the fashion-forward pirate who faces off with Han’s crew in some of Solo’s trailers.
On the face of it, we might not have given Nest much thought at all – when I first watched the trailers, I assumed the masked figure was some sort of minor henchman without much to offer the story – were it not for the fact that some slightly mysterious inconsistencies have cropped up relating to the character.
Potential spoilers for Solo follow, depending on how close we are to the truth.
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First up – despite our proximity to the film’s release we still have no idea who’s playing the character, a fact made all the stranger when you consider that Nest is the only person on Solo’s poster who remains so unnamed.
Sure, it could be that some unknown stunt performer is taking the role and thus wouldn’t get a proper billing, but this seems a bit unlikely. We know the actor playing Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), after all, so it seems more likely that Nest’s actor is being kept secret for a reason.
And then there’s the gender issue. A few weeks ago the character made headlines around the world when a piece of French merchandise identified the character as a woman, marking a bit of a first among Star Wars baddies. The character’s name, Enfys, is also a woman’s name in Welsh, though it’s unclear whether that’s an intentional choice.
Sources speaking to Star Wars News net apparently also independently identified the character as female, so everyone took the rumours as fact – but then an article appeared in Star Wars Insider magazine that cast this in doubt, suggesting that Nest was actually a male character.
Here’s the brand new poster for SOLO: A Star Wars Story. Are you excited for May 24th? pic.twitter.com/10hC9GI9r9
— Star Wars UK (@StarWarsUK) April 19, 2018
“Busy carving out a nefarious reputation as the violent and enigmatic leader of a gang of swoop-riding pirates, the Cloud Riders, the deadly Enfys Nest is an extremely dangerous and brutal marauder,” the piece read (via MovieWeb).
“With his face always obscured beneath a fearsome helmet, Nest is deadly, athletic, and percussively vicious.”
No official word has come one way or another, but the mixed messages have us wondering if Nest’s gender is a secret that’s somehow slipped out – which means there may be some attempt to keep the character’s true identity under wraps.
All this leads to an idea that many fans have been kicking around for a few months now – what if this new enemy is someone Han knows? One of the trailers prominently includes a scene where Han’s mentor Beckett (Woody Harrelson) suggests he steel himself against betrayal at all times, while various people involved in the film have suggested the plot will demonstrate how Han became the cynic introduced to us in 1977’s original Star Wars. So what if Nest is someone he trusts implicitly, secretly double-crossing him the whole time?
With that in mind, the theory continues, what if Nest was Emilia Clarke’s Q’ira?
Think about it – it’s been revealed that Q’ira is a friend of Han’s from childhood, but she’s never mentioned by the time of the original trilogy. Perhaps the smart of such a personal betrayal means he has airbrushed her from his life entirely by then, while also inspiring him to be distrustful in his future dealings?
Added to this is the muddled account of Enfys’ gender, the rumour that the character has been signed for multiple films (a bit odd for a supporting villain) and the fact that Clarke isn’t a bad physical match for the mysterious pirate, right down to some of her outfits in the film (above).
No, this definitely isn’t outside the realms of possibility – and if it does turn out to be true it’d definitely be a massive twist within the film’s narrative, allowing Clarke to play against type while also setting up a conflict with genuine emotional stakes that might help move past the low stakes in other areas (ie, we know most of the characters survive and thrive in their later lives).
If we’re right, we think this could work – though if we’re wrong, well, at least we won’t have unintentionally spoiled what could be a pretty cool twist in the film’s narrative. Sorry about that if we have…
Solo: A Star Wars story will be released in UK cinemas on the 25th May