The character of Qi’ra, portrayed by Emilia Clarke in Solo: A Star Wars Story, is a very interesting character.
Born a scumrat on the streets of Corellia, Qi’ra grew up with fellow Corellian Han Solo (portrayed by both Harrison Ford in the original trilogy and Alden Ehrenreich in Solo: A Star Wars Story. She would eventually fall in love with Han and the two would have dreams of getting out of one day escaping Corellia and living free from servitude to Lady Proxima and her White Worms.
While Han was able to escape the White Worms, Qi’ra was never able to and was sold to Crimson Dawn. Dryden Vos (played by Paul Bettany), the man who would eventually become her mentor, trained Qi’ra as his enforcer and right-hand woman. Years later, she would eventually reunite with Han and would witness the future hero of the Rebel Alliance make the Kessel Run under 12 parsecs. However, the two would part again after she killed Dryden and was told to return to Dathomir to report to Maul, the former Sith Lord and apprentice to Palpatine.
Eventually, after Maul’s death at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Crimson Dawn would fade into obscurity and become dormant. Qi’ra would eventually ascend as its leader and slowly make plans to have the organization surpass its former glory. After the events of Empire Strikes Back, Qi’ra would send her agents to steal the carbonite slab of Han Solo from Boba Fett. Many within the organization would question why a smuggler-turned Rebel Alliance hero was so important. Qi’ra’s reasoning was that the Rebels, the Empire, and the criminal underworld shared some connection to Solo. Little did Han know, his ex-girlfriend was not only a crime lady but she was using him to let the galaxy know that Crimson Dawn was back and in power.
After watching the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story and reading Marvel Star Wars’ War of the Bounty Hunters and Crimson Reign comic book arcs (written by Charles Soule), I realized that Qi’ra shared similarities with a character from the Expanded Universe (now Legends).
Enter Prince Xizor, the leader of the criminal syndicate called Black Sun.
At first, I initially thought Qi’ra would be similar to Bria Tharen, also a past love interest and fellow Corellian of the smuggler from the Han Solo Trilogy books of the Legends canon. While Qi’ra does share similarities with Bria, being Corellian and lovers of Han Solo, their similarities end there. For instance, Qi’ra told Han she never left the life of servitude to crime lords as she was sold to Crimson Dawn by the White Worms. In contrast, Bria felt a longing to be free from her servitude to a cult that she was a part of on the planet Ylesia.
Bria, with help and inspiration from Han would eventually break free from the cult and become a member of the Rebel Alliance who would sadly perish during a mission to give the Death Star plans to the crew Tantive IV. If Bria does share anything in common with a canon character, it would be Rogue One character, Jyn Erso (portrayed by Felicity Jones). But Qi’ra and Prince Xizor are very similar that if one of them looked in the mirror, they would see one another in the reflection.
Hailing from the planet Falleen, Xizor came from loyalty and was several centuries old. He was a Falleen, a reptilian humanoid who had a lot of influence and deep pockets thanks to his family business Xizor Transport Systems. This was proof that Xizor was everywhere. He was also a friend and ally of the Emperor. The prince agreed to use his company to lend 300 ships to deliver materials for the construction of the second Death Star orbiting the forest moon of Endor. However, Xizor was also considered a rival and a threat to the Emperor’s right-hand man, Darth Vader. And Vader was right to feel that Xizor was a threat since the Sith Lord was responsible for the deaths of the Prince’s family and people after Falleen experienced an orbital bombardment due to a pandemic caused by bacteria leak from an Imperial biolab. He also had agents or followers in the places where others would least expect them whether they were in the underworld, the Rebellion, or the Empire.
For instance, in Steve Perry’s Shadows of the Empire novel and the comic book adaptation of the same name, an X-Wing mechanic was hired by Xizor to assassinate Vader’s son, Luke Skywalker. And the twist was that Xizor double-crossed Vader by having people suspect that the Sith Lord was behind the assassination attempts. This would also ultimately lead to Xizor’s death when Darth Vader orders the Imperial Navy to fire on the Black Sun leader’s skyhook orbiting Coruscant.
If there is one notable trait that Qi’ra shares with Xizor, it is that she had a hand in playing both sides of the Galactic Civil War to carry out whatever agenda. Both their actions shook the galaxy at large. For Xizor, his ultimate agenda was avenging his family’s deaths by eliminating Darth Vader and curry favor with the Emperor while helping the Rebels steal the Death Star II plans as a way to lure them to their defeat. This action ultimately led to the Empire’s defeat at the Battle of Endor.
Qi’ra’s agenda was also to rid Darth Vader of the galaxy but she also wanted to get rid of Emperor Palpatine since they were both Sith. In Crimson Reign no.1, Qi’ra described the Sith as the chains that imprison the inhabitants of the galaxy. After learning about the Sith from her mentor Maul, she made a vow to destroy the Sith. She also saw the Sith as those who use people and discard them when they no longer have use for them (similar to how Palpatine used Maul).
The only difference between the two, however, is that while Xizor leaned toward the Empire, Qi’ra seemed to lean toward the Rebels but even the leaders (both Skywalkers) Darth Vader and Princess Leia did not trust them and often questioned their true motives.
Furthermore, Qi’ra also has a way of playing neutral. One instance was using the carbonite frozen Han Solo in auction to get everyone’s attention of Crimson Dawn’s resurrection. Anyone (Imperials, Rebels, Hutts, criminal syndicates or bounty hunters) who wanted Han Solo in carbonite form was invited to the ice planet of Jekara and to purchase him for however many credits they could.
A second instance was instigating a war between the criminals syndicates which caught the attention of Palpatine who was distrustful of the Hutts since they attacked the Empire off the orbit of Jekarra (under the orders of Crimson Dawn) in The War of the Bounty Hunters. Qi’ra’s plan was a power play to make the Emperor find a new criminal organization to help him with his agenda while also being occupied with the syndicates fighting amongst themselves.
Like Xizor, Qi’ra also has agents within the Rebel Alliance, Empire, and the criminal underworld. In the War of the Bounty Hunters arc, an Imperial officer helped Princess Leia and her strike team gain access to the super Star Destroyer Executor so that they can rescue Han who ultimately returns to the custody of Boba Fett.
Another notable similarity between Qi’ra and Xizor is that they are both formidable fighters. In Star Wars – Courscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight Xizor once took on former Jedi Knight-turned private investigator Jax Pavan while the latter was wielding a lightsaber. While Xizor was armed with the lightsaber, Pavan ultimately used the Force and the Falleen prince was forced to flee. In both Solo and War of the Bounty Hunters, Qi’ra was a notable practitioner in the martial art form known as Teras Kasi which she utilized against her former mentor Dryden and Darth Vader. Although Qi’ra did not defeat Vader, her fight against the former Anakin Skywalker was proof that Crimson Dawn could stand toe-to-toe against the Empire. A fact she stated after the auction of Han Solo ended.
Like Xizor being the center of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Legends multimedia arc, which took place between the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Qi’ra the center of the canon War of the Bounty Hunters and Crimson Reign comic arcs which also took place between the two films. Entertainment media website Thrillist called the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire multimedia project a “’Star Wars’ spinoff movie that was everything but a movie.” I felt that Marvel’s War of the Bounty Hunters comic book arc was the same way with the shocking revelation of Qi’ra as the leader of Crimson Dawn.
In the Crimson Reign comic arc, Prince Xizor was briefly mentioned by Qi’ra during her meeting with Black Sun leader Lord Gyuti. She tells the Black Sun lord to pass along her offer of Crimson Dawn’s services to the larger criminal syndicate to Prince Xizor. The Falleen prince is mentioned again in the comic by the archivist, one of Qi’ra’s associates, a former historian who studied the Force, particularly the Dark Side. In a narration, the archivist mentions that the research that Crimson Dawn secretly destroyed was vital to Xizor’s plans. Does this mean a future confrontation between the leader of Crimson Dawn and the leader of Black Sun?
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