Why Qi'ra Stayed Behind In 'Solo,' According To Director Ron Howard

by Emily Mae Czachor

Those who've watched Solo: A Star Wars Story know the film was not without its share of heartbreaks. Now, that tends to be par for the course when it comes to most iterations of the enduring Star Wars franchise, but in Solo, it really stung. The movie's main heartbreak accompanied a tragic romance between Han and Qi'ra, whose confusing end left viewers with a ton of questions. So, for everyone wondering why Qi'ra stayed behind in Solo, you might have just gotten your answer.

During a recent conversation with Slashfilm published on June 8, Solo director Ron Howard shed a bit of light on some lingering questions surrounding the movie, like: Will there be a sequel? Is L3 really gone for good? Can Lando have his own spinoff? And, of course, what the heck was Qi'ra thinking?

"In my mind, she knew she couldn't run off with Han. It would be his death and hers," Howard said, according to Slashfilm's report. So why, then, did she lie to Han's face about it? Howard seems to have a pretty compelling theory:

"She set him up to go, assuring him that she'd follow, but knowing she couldn't really. She had to clean this situation up as best as she could. I think she hoped she could report in and then disappear, but [Maul] trapped her."

So, for all the bitter Star Wars fans who've been feeling some type of way about Qi'ra's decision to remain in cahoots with the Crimson Dawn instead of following Han to potential freedom at Solo's end, perhaps it might be worth taking another look at the circumstances that could have motivated her character's decision. To do that, Howard's comments on the why's behind Qi'ra's actions are probably a really solid start. After all, Howard did direct the film; so it's probably safe to say he knows what he's talking about.

Judging by his comments to Slashfilm, Howard seems pretty adamant in his belief that Qi'ra's knuckle-whitening final scene in Solo wasn't a manifestation of her character's subversiveness, contrary to the way it might have appeared onscreen. In fact, according to the Solo director, it's quite the opposite. "I thought it was kind of courageous for her," Howard said of Qi'ra's last-minute move to conceivably assume the gnarly responsibilities of her evil ex, Dryden Vos, who headed the Crimson Dawn prior to his murder (by Qi'ra, no less).


Speaking more specifically about Qi'ra's uniquely nightmarish circumstances, Howard zeroed in on that chilling conversation her character had with Darth Maul following Dryden's death. As those who watched Solo will likely have trouble forgetting, the conversation, as Howard explained to Slashfilm, went a lot like this: "'He said, 'Come to Dathomir and we're going to be working closely together,'" Howard said. (If Dathomir sounds like a planet that probably doubles as some kind of intergalactic inferno, that's because, in a galaxy far, far away, it is.)

"And you realize, 'Oh my god, she's traded one oppressive boss in for an even scarier dude,'" Howard continued in the interview, referring to both Dryden and Maul's comparable creepiness, especially when it comes to asserting control over Qi'ra, who, at the end of the day, is really just another prisoner of the Crimson Dawn. On the subject of her character's bravery, Howard gave inquiring fans a glimpse into Qi'ra's thought process, post- freaky interaction with Maul, before she starts piloting the ship to Dathomir.

As Howard explained, it was a little bit complicated. Because, while Qi'ra was probably duly aware that she might be putting herself in a perilous situation, she's been living under Dryden's oppressive eye for quite some time. So, Howard said, Maul's request might have been enticing for her, even if that doesn't necessarily make a ton of rational sense:

"In a way it fuels her ambition and puts her in a position of heightened power, perhaps. Or heightened danger."

So, to all the Star Wars fans who've been holding a grudge against Qi'ra, it might be time to give it a rest. Judging by Howard's comments, it sounds like her character — like so many of her Solo counterparts — was just doing her best to survive.