J.J. Abrams launched a thousand theories Wednesday when the Star Wars: The Force Awakens executive producer/co-writer/director revealed that not only do new main characters – seemingly ex or reluctant Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) and planet Jakku junker Rey (Daisy Ridley) – have last names, but their surnames are too spoiler-y to give away just yet.
At first glance it could read like Abrams may have outsmarted himself. After all, there are only so many instantly recallable last names to the franchise’s millions of worldwide fans – Skywalker, Solo, Fett, Calrissian, Organa and Tarkin immediately come to mind. And at second glance if one was to assume Finn’s family name has spoilerly significance, Calrissian seems the likely (and still possible) option, for obvious reasons given Lando Calrissian is the most prominent black character in the post-Episode IV cinematic Star Wars Universe.
[Yes, of course there is Mace Windu, but at least for the purposes of this theory, we don't think Abrams will be delving into Episodes I-III much].
But then Abrams had to know all that when he made the comments to EW, and Abrams as a storyteller is a well-known advocate of what he likes to call the “mystery box.” In short, Abrams wants audiences to be surprised and rues the age of moviegoers knowing all a film’s plot details before the opening credits (or in this case, crawl).
Abram’s mystery box helps explain the somewhat still-inexplicable decision to try to obscure the identity of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan in 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness despite the fact the theory was so widespread so early, it was nearly impossible to truly pull off the surprise to anyone but the patron’s of AMC’s Under A Rock Cineplex.
But could Abrams still have a Star Wars surprise in his mystery box (and are we a-holes for trying to ruin it), despite his presumably calculated comments?
Again, the obvious conclusion to draw is Finn is a Calrissian and Rey is either a Skywalker or a Solo, with the latter being perhaps both if she’s a child or grandchild of Princess Leia and Han Solo, as widely speculated for some time. But for the former, we’re going to throw a curveball at you and dig into our comic book focus for the guts of our theory:
Wait, ‘how would that be possible?’ you ask, assuming the laws of genetics were similar a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away to what they are now?
Look to the comic books, baby…
A few months back Marvel Comics’ Star Wars series somewhat quietly (which now seems conspicuous) introduced Sana Solo, who claims to be the estranged wife of Han, and as drawn in June’s Star Wars #6 and again in next week’s Star Wars #8, Sana appears to be black.
Let’s pull back a minute and remind readers of some context here. Disney and Lucasfilm made the noteworthy but understandable decision last year to jettison the continuity of much of what became known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe, to streamline any subsequent books and comic books into one tight continuity. The decision enables Lucasfilm to move forward with new post-Return of the Jedi plotlines, without being beholden to the decades worth of stories that have been told in the last three decades.
And earlier in 2014, Disney awarded the comic book license to its own in-house comic book publisher Marvel, for presumably revenue and storytelling considerations.
Marvel’s Star Wars comics are considered in-continuity, with the main series in which Sana debuted taking place between a New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. And Newsarama can tell you from direct experience Marvel works very directly and very closely with Lucasfilm on all aspects of the comic book line, right down to press coverage. It is a safe assumption any and all Marvel Star Wars storytelling is done in close cooperation with Lucasfilm.
In other words, Sana Solo is no Jaxxon (we’re going to assume you all got that).
A former wife of Han Solo almost certainly wasn’t introduced willy-nilly by Marvel under Lucasfilm’s nose as a throwaway subplot and if we can assume she was introduced in coordination with or via the direction of Lucasfilm, we can further assume this surprising addition to again – official movie continuity – was introduced for a specific purpose.
And while the 23-year old Boyega would likely be too young to be Han and Sana’s child given the nearly four decades between A New Hope and The Force Awakens (barring a post-Return of the Jedi reconciliation), Finn seem to be exactly the right age to be Han’s grandson, the son of a child Sana maybe never told him about born prior to the events of A New Hope.
Still with us?
While you’re chewing on that, let’s loop back to Rey. Again common theory holds that she’ll be the child of Han and Leia, giving her a direct if not namesake connection to the Skywalker legacy – something that seems to be important if the trailers are any indication. But what if there’s a deeper consequence of Rey being a Solo?
What better way to bring these two disparate characters Finn and Rey together than a family connection? Family is of course an important part of the Star Wars mythos, with the original trilogy, and even the prequels carrying the bonds of blood and kin as a central theme. Luke and Leia’s secret relationship was one of the original trilogy’s most climactic reveals. Could fans be looking at a similar dynamic and even more surprising relationship between Finn and Rey?
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