Spoilers ahead for Solo: A Star Wars Story. The trailers for Solo: A Star Wars Story primed fans to expect a few familiar faces, some sly references, and to meet a couple new members of the Star Wars Universe. But one character still took fans by surprise — the enigmatic and intimidating Enfys Nest. Wearing a full-face battle helmet and appearing to confront Han and his crew in a desert stand-off and during a train robbery, the marauding Cloud-Riders gang leader sent fans in a frenzy, especially when she was revealed to be a young, red-headed woman leading a rebellion against Han's employer. Now that part of Nest's identity is revealed, is the rebel girl from Solo in the Star Wars books or comics, or will fans just have to wait for the next Star Wars release to learn more about her?
To know more about the character's creation and history, we'll need to step back a moment. In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas, who was the sole owner. Before that time, anything created and published with the official Star Wars imprint, whether books, comics, or cartoons, became chronological canon, meaning that whatever came out first established canon for anything that came after. Some books were more ridiculous than others, leaving fans and creators frustrated at having to work with what was cemented by time, but the Expanded Universe, as the entire web of interconnected stories and characters was dubbed, was what they had to work with.
In April 2014, just ahead of the new Star Wars movie releases, Lucasfilm made the monumental decision to retire the entire Expanded Universe save for the six films and television show The Clone Wars. From here on out according to the official site, "these stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align." The slate was wiped clean, and creators were free to cherry pick and choose elements from the Expanded Universe, now retitled "Legends".
Which brings us back to Solo and the young woman at the heart of a burgeoning rebellion. Enfys Nest is so mysterious, the character's still not listed on Solo's official IMDB page. Nest is mentioned in several books and comics, but they're all from 2018 and tie directly back into Solo. According to Wookiepedia, Nest is an entirely new character created for the film, and likely to feature heavily in any upcoming Star Wars stories set in the same time period. But the young rebel does have a direct tie to the Star Wars of old.
Han, Beckett, and their assembled team first encounter Nest in disguise during a train heist on ice planet Vandor-1. Nest and her Cloud Riders beat the would-be raiders at their own game, stealing the train's valuable coaxium fuel cargo out from under Han's nose. They all meet again at the climax, when during a second attempt to steal coaxium fuel on planet Savareen, the Cloud Riders surround them. What seems like a showdown turns into an explanation - far from villainous pirates, the Cloud Raiders and Nest are trying to stop Crimson Dawn, Han and Beckett's boss. Crimson Dawn works for the Empire and are displacing planets' native populations; Nest and the Cloud Riders want to put a stop to it.
While Enfys Nest is an entirely new creation, the Cloud Riders have a longer history in the Star Wars universe, even if they're a pretty deep cut. Over 40 years ago, Marvel released Star Wars comic Star Wars 9: Showdown on a Wasteland World! Right there on the cover are the Cloud Riders attacking Han, Chewie and their crew.
So how did the Cloud Raiders go from pirates led by Serji-X Arrogantus, a jerk who lived up to his name, to a group banding together to fight early Empire villainy? Solo screenwriter Jon Kasden explains via Twitter:
Kasden and co. combed the archives and decided to re-appropriate the Riders for the new film, based on how cool their gang name was. There's even a small easter egg nod to the original gang leader in the swoop bike's full technical name: the Modified Arrogantus-X Skyblade 221.
The Cloud Riders have made their way from Legends back into official Star Wars canon, and Enfys Nest is leading their way. What happens next with the new crew depends on what Lucasfilm has planned for Star Wars' official future.