Star Wars is about a lot of things–space, starships, droids, blasters, adventure, and everything else you can imagine from a franchise that’s spanned over 40 years.
But at its core, Star Wars has always been about hope. The hope for a better tomorrow, the hope that the ones we love can make up for their misdeeds, the hope that when a fascist regime falls something better will follow.
That’s why the final act of Solo: A Star Wars Story was so defiantly powerful. In an age where there are constant accusations of pandering leveled at any pop culture property that aims to be inclusive or representative, Solo makes a stand, introducing a brave new rebellion leader who is a person of color. In fact, she may just have been the origin of the Rebellion that ended up felling the Empire, and I for one welcome the arrival of Enfys Nest.
“Until we reach the last edge, the last opening, the last star, and can go no higher.”
– Inscription on Enfys Nest’s helmet in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The irony of fandom acting as if there was ever a time when Star Wars wasn’t political is, of course, huge. The Empire has always been a very simple analog for Nazis, even down to their tailored costumes and soldiers called “Stormtroopers.” Yet, in the face of a chance to shirk the political past of Star Wars with a charming, cheery, and action-packed adventure, the creative team at Lucasfilm used the final act of Solo to cement the most powerful message of Star Wars, that no matter how bad things get there’s always hope in grassroots organization, the possibility of rebellion, and direct action.
Enfys Nest’s arc is a fantastic subversion and reflection of the classic A New Hope story. In the first Star Wars movie we know that our heroes are in the right and that the Empire is undoubtedly wrong. But to the citizens of the Empire and the Imperial soldiers the Rebels are just terrorists who blow things up in the name of an unclear goal. In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Enfys and the Cloud-Riders are presented to the audience as a ravaging band of pirates who love nothing more than stealing from our band of rogues. We don’t question whether that’s who they really are, as we’re standing by Han and his friends. It’s only when it’s revealed that Enfys and her crew are actually attempting to steal the coaxium for use by the burgeoning Rebellion that we understand that all along we’ve been on the side of the true bad guys. Not just the betrayer Tobias Beckett or the criminal syndicate of the Crimson Dawn, but the rich Empire-affiliated elite who’re desperate to stop the Rebellion at any cost.
Enfys’ addition to Solo cuts to the heart of what truly makes Star Wars special and what moves us–people banding together in the face of unbelievable horrors to make a better life for themselves and those around them. Even standing opposed to insurmountable odds, there’s still a chance for a brighter future. That’s what has driven all of the heroes of the galaxy starting with Luke and Ben Kenobi when R2 first delivered Leia’s message, to years later as Poe and BB-8 received the missing part of the map to Luke Skywalker’s location, and most recently when Finn–desperate to save his friend and ultimately the world–snuck onto Starkiller base.[/nerdist_section]
Now the big question after Enfys Nest’s unmasking at the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story is when will we get to know more about the young woman who appears to be the spark that set the fire of the Rebellion that changed the galaxy forever? If the rumored Solo sequels happen, we may get to see Enfys and her Cloud-Riders return, maybe even watch them establish the beginnings of the Rebels. More likely, though, is that we’ll get to discover the secrets of Enfys Nest in a novel or comic, or even in the upcoming new animated project from Dave Filoni. Whatever the outcome, I hope that it pays tribute and respect to the potential promised in the fleeting moments we got with Enfys.
Were you moved by the newest Rebel leader? Would you love to see Enfys team up with Ahsoka and Sabine? Let us know below!