Just like its leading character, the Han Solo movie is an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in more suspicious scandals than you can shake a blaster at. But to distract us all from the circumstances that led to him becoming director, Ron Howard has been frequently tweeting images from the set of Han Solo, building hype and teasing fans.
Last time, Howard hinted that Han Solo will feature the infamous Kessel Run, referred to in the very first #StarWars movie, and now we've got a good look at Thandie Newton on set — maybe showing even more than Howard intended.
Suspected by fans to be playing Sana Starros, Han's conwoman ex-wife from the comics, Newton's role has been shrouded in secrecy. But take a look at Howard's right hand, and you'll see a familiar patch peeking out from beneath his fingers. This could be the Empire's insignia, as it's ringed in white and seems to feature the white star sported by Imperial officers.
The only Imperial female officer of note — aside from the protagonist of Battlefront II — is Rae Sloane, who was a Grand Admiral by the time the Empire fell. Before she donned the white robes of her later position, she typically wore the gray uniforms and even rubbed shoulders with Darth Vader. Sloane is an interesting character who is a major antagonist in the novel Aftermath series, and has also appeared in a few canon comics.
While it could be that Newton is playing a character who has already appeared in the Star Wars novels, it seems more likely that she's playing someone new. And that's where the Imperial uniform becomes especially intriguing. By his own admission, Han Solo tried to avoid the Empire as much as possible before he ran into Luke Skywalker in that fateful bar in Mos Eisley. Han's adversaries mostly took the form of the crime bosses he swindled, and as The Force Awakens revealed, he continued this hobby well into his twilight years.
So for there to be a major Imperial character in Han Solo is interesting. Has Han run afoul of the Empire, and they've set Newton's character on his tail? Is Newton the Imperial officer turning a blind eye to the spice smuggling from Kessel, and getting a nice bonus from the proceeds? Or is she a fellow member of the criminal underground, donning an Imperial uniform in order to carry out some extravagant con — perhaps even masterminded by the scruffy nerfherder himself?
Only time will tell, but one thing's for certain: Ron Howard really knows how to stop us talking about how Phil Lord and Chris Miller got fired.
Tell us in the comments: Who do you think Thandie Newton is playing?