By now, if you are reading this, you have seen Solo and most of you have your minds made up about what this adds to the Star Wars canon. As a standalone story, I think it’s good and served to mostly visualize a lot of what some of us fans may have already known. However, Solo is yet another movie that I think breaks the canon in an unusual way, and it makes me question some things that happens in The Empire Strikes Back (ESB).
As always, if you haven’t already seen the movie, there will be spoilers ahead as what I discuss is a focal point of the movie.
One of my colleagues recently discussed L3-37’s role in Solo and how the droid went from being a sentient droid fighting for machine rights to being integrated into the Millennium Falcon and becoming property. It was a really interesting concept that didn’t exactly make sense until I saw how it was handled. Then, upon further thought, something else occurred to me: how L3’s integration into the Falcon may have played a role in the ship’s performance in ESB.
It may be a bit of a stretch, but think about it for a moment. While we were first introduced to the Falcon in A New Hope, the ship really wasn’t showcased until ESB (and somewhat in Return of the Jedi) because the plot point was that the ship’s hyperdrive wouldn’t work properly to escape the Imperials after leaving Hoth.
Now, stay with me on this because here where things get a little crazy: If you follow the path that Solo sets in establishing why Lando uploads L3 into the Falcon is to preserve the old navi-charts as well as whatever is left of L3’s sentience, then it makes me look at ESB in a whole different way.
First is the asteroid field. We know that in order to bide time to fix the hyperdrive, the Falcon heads into an asteroid field. Now, let’s make note that right before the ship heads directly into it, Chewie and Han are rooting around in the Falcon trying to fix whatever is wrong. It’s also implied that Leia isn’t piloting because she is just as surprised as they are when the ship gets hit, because I mean, what madman knowingly heads…yeah, don’t answer. I have always inferred all of these years that the ship was on autopilot with Leia, for better or worse, holding the yoke and just so happened to be heading that way. But, with the revelation that L3 is the ghost in the machine, it now becomes a question of whether or not going into the asteroid field was intentional as that was the best laid out path to escape.
Another issue which really blurs the lines a bit more with this new revelation is while in the asteroid field, C-3PO interfaces with the Falcon to find out what’s wrong with the hyperdrive. He does this with Han’s insistence and later quips to Han that he doesn’t know where the ship learned to communicate. In light of Solo, now that statement becomes questionable. Considering that Threepio is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication, I am somewhat stunned that L3 just didn’t tell 3PO what the problem was. Or…maybe she just didn’t want to. After seeing Solo, I am left wondering that between the time Han and Chewie coming to own and modify the Falcon all of those years and that moment with Threepio, what happened to L3’s persona? Remember as well, the bulk of the time we see Han and Chewie in ESB, they are busy trying to fix the Falcon. If you want to go as far as considering that L3 is indeed sentient somehow, then how much of L3’s psyche broke down upon realizing that she became what she hated most and she is in the company of two strangers.
At this point we reach the obvious scenario when Han Solo realizes that he has to go to Lando for help. I still may be over thinking it, but how much that idea is Han’s vs. L3 possbily playing deus ex machina? In the most faintest of outcomes, you get Han to fly you to Bespin, you watch as he and his friends get betrayed by your first love and at best, you wind up back in Lando’s possession.
(By the way, we are going to simply ignore the part of ESB where R2-D2 was told by the city’s central computer how to fix the hyperdrive and R2 just manages to flip the switch in the nick of time.)
But oh no, that pesky desert kid comes along and ruins the whole thing…but wait, not so fast! Not only are you back with your love, but you and he become an integral part in blowing up yet another Death Star!
Not only did Solo skewer things for ESB but possibly The Force Awakens as well.
Last thing to consider, and trust me I am going out far into left field as I can possible: as far as we know, Rey has never flown a ship before right? But somehow, not only did she find the Millennium Falcon, but with her budding sensing of the Force, she was flying her like a champ in a matter of mere moments. Not only that, she spent a little time during the movie tinkering around with the Falcon as well and to positive results. Now ask yourself, how much of it was the Force, and how much of it was her in communion with L3 as well?
…and then when Han and Chewie finally find her, what do you think L3’s reaction might have been? Was it “YAAAAAAY, I miss you guys!” or “Awww f**k not these two again.” Let’s be real, the Falcon suffered some abuse under those two and it probably wouldn’t be so bad to consider if we didn’t have an inkling that the ship was sentient to a degree.
I know some of this sounds a bit out there, but again, this is what happens when you introduce stories years after canon has been established. There is always a risk that you will break something that didn’t need breaking. Much like the midichlorians that just popped out of nowhere to create Anakin Skywalker, L3’s fusion into the Falcon is a bit rough to consider, and yet another think that makes you look at the entire canon differently. This is why I felt that we didn’t really need a visual story of Han Solo, and this new movie pollutes Han’s legacy in similar ways that the prequels polluted Vader’s. But: at least we didn’t have to sit through Han’s childhood.