Major spoilers ahead for Solo: A Star Wars Story. One of the most intriguing characters in Solo, the latest Star Wars anthology film, is Qi'ra, Han Solo's ex-girlfriend played by Emilia Clarke. The two start out on Corellia together as orphans and indentured servants, but after a botched escape attempt, their lives head down very different paths. Han goes on to become the smuggler we all know and love, but Qi'ra's fate isn't fully determined by the end of Solo. We know that she pledges her allegiance to Darth Maul at the end of the movie, but what exactly is her goal? And what is Darth Maul's plan at this point in the Star Wars universe?
Darth Maul's reveal at the end of Solo is certainly a surprising one. When we last saw him in the movies, he had been chopped in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi and fell down an impressively deep pit at the end of The Phantom Menace. But those who watch the animated series Star Wars Rebels know that Maul survived his slice and his fall, that he'd been plotting his revenge against Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Jedi in the time since.
According to his backstory, Maul used the Force to slow his fall, landed in a trash pit, survived by eating vermin, and was eventually given six robotic legs. He was driven mad by hatred for Obi-Wan and the Jedi, and once he managed to drag his way out of his miserable existence, he began to plot his revenge. Maul became a serious crime boss, forming an alliance of criminal syndicates called the Shadow Collective. Since Solo takes place after the events of Revenge of the Sith but before Rebels, he'd no longer be a Sith, working with other Sith lords, but would be right at the height of his criminal power. And as it's shown at the end of Solo, he is the real baddie in charge of Dryden Vos' crime organization, Crimson Dawn.
And now, Qi'ra is aligning herself with him. Qi'ra's had a pretty rough life, as we see in Solo; as an orphan, she was subjected to abuse and mistreatment at the hands of Lady Proxima. And when her escape plan with Han failed, she no doubt experienced some pretty bad punishment. When we meet her again later on in the film, she's a sort of branded slave to Paul Bettany's Dryden Vos, even though she's referred to as his Lieutenant. Knowing that she's been subjugated her entire life, it would make sense for her to want to grasp a hold of any power she can. Abandoning Han, lying to Darth Maul about Dryden's death, and using her situation to her advantage makes it seem clear she has a plan in mind, and it probably includes acquiring some of the power she's never had in her lifetime — perhaps with Maul's help.
Considering that there's an Obi-Wan Kenobi anthology movie potentially in the works, with Ewan McGregor possibly reprising his role as the infamous Jedi, Solo might not have been the last we've seen of Darth Maul. A stand-alone Obi-Wan movie could bring the two back together during the time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, reveal how Obi-Wan ended up in isolation on Tatooine, detail Maul's revenge plot, and bring their animated encounters to the live-action movie realm.
And Maul's potential right-hand woman for that romp could be none other than Qi'ra. They'd have to age Emilia Clarke up a bit, but the timing for the story would work out. And giving Han and Qi'ra some closure in a future film could make for a dramatic romance. We all know Han has to move on at some point — he's got a princess to fall for, after all. So that means that Qi'ra's decision to head down Maul's path might not work out so well for her in the end.