This Star Wars article contains spoilers for War of the Bounty Hunters.
Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters kicked off last month with the untold story of Boba Fett’s journey back to Jabba’s Palace after the events of The Empire Strikes Back. Han Solo is still frozen in carbonite on the Slave I, but when the carbonite matrix becomes unstable (which could turn our beloved smuggler into “goo”), Fett is forced to make an emergency stop to Nar Shaddaa, the infamous “Smuggler’s Moon” located smack in the middle of Hutt space. As you can imagine, things only get more complicated from there.
While the big crossover event connects all of Marvel’s current Star Wars comics under one storyline, writer Charles Soule and artist Luke Ross are leading the event with their own War of the Bounty Hunters miniseries. Soule, who’s penned some of the best Star Wars comics of the Disney era, is particularly talented at making interesting connections between his stories and other parts of the canon. His excellent work on Darth Vader and Lando specifically come to mind. And he kicks off War of the Bounty Hunters #1 in a similar fashion, bringing back a character from Han Solo’s past that no one was expecting in a story primarily about Boba Fett.
We learn in the book that Fett’s detour on Nar Shaddaa made Jabba grow impatient, so he hired other mercenaries and bounty hunters to retrieve Han Solo and bring him to his palace. The group that eventually steals Han from Fett is none other than Crimson Dawn, the criminal organization behind the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story. But that isn’t the biggest twist. It’s also revealed that Qi’ra, the criminal mastermind who outsmarted Dryden Vos and her former beau Han to become the new head of Crimson Dawn, is still leading the organization.
Yes, Han’s ex from Solo is back, this time to curry favor with Jabba, but also perhaps to save the smuggler’s skin from a fate worse than death. What does this surprise return mean for Emilia Clarke’s fan-favorite femme fatale? Well, for one thing, we now know she outlived Maul, her Sith boss who died just before the start of the Original Trilogy. But what has she been up to all this time, and why hasn’t Crimson Dawn revealed its presence until now? It’s possible the organization was weakened after Maul’s demise and Qi’ra was forced to go into hiding until she saw an opportunity to team up with Jabba to rebuild Crimson Dawn.
The fact that Qi’ra is back just after The Empire Strikes Back also has some potentially huge implications for the character’s future live-action prospects. While some fans have long speculated that Qi’ra could next be seen in the upcoming Lando Disney+ series, could there now be a future for the character in The Mandalorian universe, which is set only about five or six years after the events of War of the Bounty Hunters? The presence of Qi’ra and Crimson Dawn would certainly fit the era’s current stable of live-action characters, many of which are thieves, bounty hunters, and scum, too. Could Din Djarin be accepting jobs from Qi’ra in due time?
Of course, there are plenty of questions surrounding what Qi’ra’s return might mean for the rest of the War of the Bounty Hunters event. While Qi’ra has Han in her possession, it’s hardly a reunion for the former Corellian duo since he’s still unconscious and frozen solid. Will Han escape carbonite long enough to see Qi’ra again? And what will Leia think about that?
Ultimately, we know that Han will eventually reach Jabba’s Palace, whether it’s on Qi’ra’s ship or Slave I. With so much of War of the Bounty Hunters still to be told, there will likely be quite a few twists and turns on the way to Return of the Jedi.