Major spoilers ahead for Solo: a Star Wars Story. Ever since the first trailer for Solo, the second Star Wars anthology film after 2016's Rogue One, fans have been wondering what characters would be joining Han on his fun ride. Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke plays a woman named Qi'ra, a former flame of Han Solo's and a major player in the standalone film. But because so much of Qi'ra's past is a mystery, and because much of the underlying theme of Solo is that we can't trust everything we're told, audience members can't take anything we learn about Qi'ra at face value. So when a familiar face shows himself at the end of Solo, it presents a huge question: since she becomes loyal to Darth Maul, could Qi'ra be a Sith in Star Wars?
As it turns out, The Phantom Menace villain Darth Maul is the head of a mysterious crime organization called Crimson Dawn, for which Qi'ra has been working for a number of years. But when, toward the end of the film, Qi'ra kills her current boss Dryden Vos, abandons Han, and seemingly pledges loyalty to a holographic Darth Maul, it seems totally possible that she's been a Sith in disguise all along.
Solo's first act fills you in on Han and Qi'ra's backstory: They're both orphans from a dusty planet called Corellia where they worked manual labor under the firm grasp of Lady Proxima. When the two plan an escape, Han makes it, but Qi'ra gets captured. After a three year stint in the Empirical army, Han deserts his post, joins a rag tag gang of thieves, and makes plans to make enough cash to buy Qi'ra's freedom. But Qi'ra beats him to the punch, it seems. When Han and fellow thief Beckett (Woody Harrelson) head to the chic headquarters of big-time crime boss Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), Han literally bumps into Qi'ra, who now works for Dryden as a sort of lieutenant.
But Qi'ra's position isn't entirely one of power. A brand on her arm, and the way Dryden treats her, are more suggestive of ownership than partnership. Qi'ra never goes into detail about what's happened to her or what she's done during the three years she's been apart from Han, and though Han loves her, she never really comes across as terribly trustworthy throughout the movie. But it's clear that Qi'ra is a survivor, and has suffered through an enormous amount to get to where she is when Han sees her again.
Which is why something like the Sith could be so alluring to Qi'ra. She doesn't necessarily have the moral compass that Han does; despite the fact that he's a smuggler (and shoots first!), there will always be an inherent good within Han Solo. His saving of Chewbacca alone reflects that. But Qi'ra's motivation is more about her own survival. And if someone like Darth Maul or another Sith lord managed to lure her into a life of crime, or to the Dark Side, she'd have every reason to take them up on the offer, trying anything she could to escape Dryden's grasp and take control. Also, her skills with a sword and her agility reflect some great instruction — perhaps it came from the guy known for using a double edged lightsaber?
Now, you're probably wondering at this point how the heck Darth Maul survived being cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of The Phantom Menace. According to the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels, the story goes that Darth Maul survived, built a pair of robotic legs, and went on to form an alliance of criminal syndicates called the Shadow Collective. Solo takes place after the events of The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith but before Rebels, so Maul would be right at the height of his criminal power. But since Maul isn't really a member of the Sith anymore at this point, and rather just a huge crime boss, it wouldn't make total sense that Qi'ra be a Sith, either. But that doesn't means she won't try and use Maul's connections, power, and galactic influence to her own advantage.
At the end of Solo, Qi'ra's true allegiances are still up in the air. As it seems, she wants to gain as much control as she can, survive the dog-eat-dog style of the galaxy, and finally have power of her own. She abandons Han and Chewie on Savareen, but she also essentially saves them by telling Darth Maul that Beckett killed Dryden Vos, when in reality, she killed Dryden and Han killed Beckett. Leaving Han behind in that way is actually a method of keeping him off Maul's radar and letting him live out his own life. Qi'ra does seem to truly love Han, despite not always making the best choices.
Alternatively, she could be truly evil, and perhaps she's off to hone her Sith powers at the end of Solo, in which case it's possible we'll see her in other Star Wars movies or the upcoming TV series. A female villain who can use the Force, albeit for the Dark Side, is something we haven't yet seen in any Star Wars film, and there's no time like the present to make it happen.