How much do you know about Emilia Clarke? Here are some of the secrets behind Emilia Clarke and Solo: A Star Wars Story!
I’ll just cut right to the chase: Qi’Ra was the best part of Solo: A Star Wars Story. A well-written character with depth, strength and the opportunity for future involvement that made her much more than a token sidepiece in the film. And also, because of Emilia Clarke.
While you may know all about Clarke’s terrific performance on-screen, or from this little show called Game of Thrones, there is so much more to her relationship with Star Wars.
1. She needed the Game of Thrones blessing before signing on for Solo
Just before the premiere of Solo in 2018, Vanity Fair released a cover story revealing a bit more about Clarke and the run up to her role in the film. You can imagine that emerging from Game of Thrones‘ success, there was perhaps some hesitation from the show’s creators in Clarke moving over to another major entertainment franchise.
While hesitation may be a bit of a harsh word, Clarke did indeed have to ask the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Wess, for permission before signing on to the film, likely more for scheduling than anything amid filming the final season.
Not only did the two accept, but they fervently looked forward to it. They said, “Solo felt like a great fit that would let her show off her versatility … Also, we figured she’d probably get to shoot a ray gun. Ray guns are something we just can’t offer, unfortunately.”
2. She was against some serious competition for the role
Even before that commitment though, as she did with Game of Thrones, Clarke had to fend off a few of Hollywood’s biggest actresses for the role. Like the lead characters, Clarke underwent rounds of intense testing for the part, winning the role out an initial field of thousands.
Some notable names in that batch included Tessa Thompson, who you may know as Valkyrie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Naomi Scott and Zoë Kravitz. Another grouping of actresses featured Kiersey Clemens, and also of Game of Thrones‘ fame Jessica Henwick and Adria Arjona.
Clarke ultimately won the role as we all know, and in hindsight, it was the right decision, too.
3. She saw the Star Wars movies with her brother as a kid
Born in 1986, Clarke was born during that Star Wars dead space between the excitement of the original trilogy, which wrapped in 1983, and 1999’s reignition with the prequel trilogy. With that, Clarke was not much of a Star Wars fan growing up. However, she did try to conjure up some love for the franchise with 2015’s The Force Awakens.
In fact, Clarke went to see the film with her older brother, Bennett, who interestingly enough, worked behind the scenes on Game of Thrones. Recounting that experience, Clarke said, “I became a fan because I suddenly realized what everyone must have felt in 1977 when it first came out. The enormity – like this is how a movie should be made!”
And here’s a fun story about a gift Clarke received from her brother, just to show how much the two care about each other.
4. There were some initial struggles with the character
Solo’s production struggles are well-known and documented, so we won’t detail them here, but what is less discussed are some of the difficulties with Qi’Ra. In the aforementioned cover story, Clarke openly expressed her struggles under the original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, saying,
"“’m not gonna lie … I struggled with Qi’ra quite a lot. I was like: “Y’all need to stop telling me that she’s ‘film noir,’ because that ain’t a note."
Clarke then went to the film’s screenwriters, Lawrence Kasdan and son Jon, to learn of their intentions for the characters. That may have begun pushing things in the right direction, with Lord and Miller’s departure to make way for Ron Howard representing another massive step forward for the film.
Speaking about Howard, Clarke did not mince words, saying that his arrival “saved” the movie. And maybe it was his magic that gave Clarke a clearer picture of Qi’Ra and helped turned her into the terrific character she was in the film.
5. She kept a piece of jewelry from the set
One of the things that really jumped out at audiences in Solo was its wardrobe, and not just because of Lando’s assortment of colorful capes and fur coats. Qi’Ra had a variety of outfits as well, all adorned with some gorgeous jewelry that Clarke could not bear to leave behind on the set.
As many actors often do, Clarke revealed that she did take a piece of jewelry home with her, specifically a necklace. Don’t get too excited hoping to see it anytime soon though, as she has left it locked away for safekeeping. Maybe she is just keeping it as a backup in case she fills Qi’Ra’s shoes again.
6. She is on contract for future films
Speaking of filling Qi’Ra’s shoes, that might just be a possibility! Clarke is contracted to be in multiple Star Wars projects. Again, don’t get too excited, as that tends to be done with most actors in franchises such as this one, and Clarke joins her fellow Solo stars with that same honor. Even Clarke identified it as “an insurance thing,” but that does mean the door is open for her character’s continuation.
If there were a character I’d bet on reappearing, it would be Qi’Ra. Of course, the film’s ending of Qi’Ra taking over the Crimson Dawn and a quick chat with Darth Maul left the future for her character wide open. And there are rumors of a Maul series coming down the pipeline, with Qi’Ra a big part of it. But what rumors about Star Wars spinoffs haven’t we heard?
Regardless, it’s interesting that we once went from saying that a Solo film was unnecessary to practically begging Disney to give us more. Yes, I’m on that train, too, so let me put it here. #MakeSolo2Happen. If not that, a future with Qi’Ra may be possible, too.
For more Star Wars celebrity facts, check out the Star Wars Actors category on Dork Side of the Force!