Thanks to the powers of wordplay, May the Fourth is usually considered a special Star Wars-themed day by fans around the world, so it seems like the perfect time to look forward to the next movie zooming in from a galaxy far, far away – Solo: A Star Wars Story.
But today we won’t be looking at Solo’s well-publicised directorial struggles, the possibilities of its plot or even how on Earth (or outer space) Han Solo made the pristine Millennium Falcon so filthy by the time of A New Hope.
Instead, we’ll be looking at one of the spin-off film’s villains and asking the crucial question – why are they Welsh?
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If you’re confused by that question, well, let me unpick it a little bit. A while back we learned that the mysterious masked baddie Han meets in the Solo trailers is called Enfys Nest, a pirate running a crew called the Cloud-Riders, a group apparently taken from deep Star Wars lore.
At the moment we don’t know who plays Enfys, whether they’re a male or female character, or even what their nefarious scheme is, but we do know one thing – for some reason, screenwriters Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan gave the character a Welsh name.
You see, ‘Enfys’ is the Welsh world for rainbow, and is also fairly regularly used as a girls’ name with more popularity than you might expect (certainly more than English people call their own children “Rainbow”). I went to school with an Enfys, personally, which might be why it jumped out at me.
Meanwhile, ‘Nest’ is ALSO a Welsh name – the equivalent of Agnes, roughly, and known as the Christian name of historical figures like one of Henry II’s mistresses and Nest ferch Cadell, a Welsh princess from the 8th century – as well as being close to the more common Welsh name Nesta, meaning pure. A villain (sort of) called Pure Rainbow! Isn’t that nice.
Of course, it’s not completely unknown for Star Wars characters to have real Earthly names – it’s about 70% Salacious B Crumb, Mace Windu and Ayla Secura-types versus 30% Lukes, Bens and Leias – but this name is so comparatively rare (and doubly Welsh) it sits oddly within that company. So why was it chosen?
Well, to my mind we have only three options. Option one is that the screenwriters were trying to come up with a cool, Star Wars-y alien name, and inadvertently made up one that already exists in a language they’re (probably) not very familiar with. If true, this is hilarious and my new favourite thing about Star Wars (edging out the Duel of the Fates score by John Williams. Sorry John!).
Option two is that the character is named after someone with the name Enfys and/or Nest, who impressed the screenwriters (or someone else on the crew) with their unusual sounding name, or played such an important role in bringing Solo to the screen that the team wanted to pay tribute to them.
And then there’s option three. If you’ve been paying attention, you may remember that this isn’t the first time a major Hollywood movie gave unusual prominence to Welsh interests this year, with smash-hit Marvel release Black Panther including the Welsh flag among top UN representatives (suggesting it was a independent nation member, while in reality Wales is represented as part of the United Kingdom).
At the time, we pondered the alternate Marvel Cinematic Universe history that might have led to Wales both breaking away from the rest of the UK and gaining such a worldwide influence – but now we’re wondering if something in that vein is ACTUALLY happening.
You see, option three is that a shadowy Welsh cabal at the heart of Hollywood has begun seeding Welsh names and ideas throughout tentpole releases, subtly introducing the world to the idea of Wales’ political supremacy (Black Panther) and ruthless skills in battle (Solo’s villain) so that the population is subconsciously prepared for the Celtic coup currently scheduled for mid-2025.
Obviously, option one or two both have a little bit more going for them than three – if I do turn out to be right with the Welsh world takeover, well, you read it here first pawb – but whatever the truth behind Enfys Nest’s name, we can only hope it’ll be addressed at some point in Solo’s runtime.
If it’s not, then we’ll know they’re hiding something.
Solo: A Star Wars story is in UK cinemas on 24th May