Solo Black Mirror

Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now, and it’s largely a fun (if still mostly unnecessary) jaunt through the early days of one of the franchise’s most scruffy-looking nerf herders. But while a good portion of the movie is in line with what you’d expect from Lucasfilm’s Disney overlords, there’s one moment so bleak that it demands further conversation…even as the characters on screen barely dwell on it.

Read on if you want to talk about this moment, and see if you think it qualifies as one of the darkest elements of the entire franchise. Major spoilers ahead.

Solo’s Darkest Moment

Here’s the tweet from writer/comedian Mike Drucker that got us thinking about this:

The moment he’s talking about is when L3-37, the rebellious droid played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is uploaded into a computer and trapped there for eternity. In the film, L3 is gravely wounded outside of a mining facility on Kessel, and though Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) makes a heroic attempt to save her, she dies in his arms aboard the Millennium Falcon during the group’s escape from the planet.

Someone in the group suggests putting L3’s consciousness into the Falcon’s computer system so the team can utilize the navigational data she’s acquired over the years, and everyone instantly agrees. Granted, they were in a life or death situation (they had to reach a refinery before the coaxium exploded), but there was absolutely zero hesitation about essentially dooming L3 to an eternity trapped inside the Falcon.

Black Mirror Jon Hamm

The Solo Black Mirror Comparison

This recalls a 2014 episode of the science fiction anthology series Black Mirror called “White Christmas,” a holiday special that starred Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall. (Spoilers for this episode coming up.) In “White Christmas,” a technology called “cookies” exists, which are essentially clones of people’s consciousnesses created specifically to be put in little egg-shaped devices and serve as the overseers of a smart house. Because they’re exact copies of a person, they’ll know all the decisions that “real” person would make and will therefore be the perfect smart assistant. Hamm plays a character whose job is to explain all of these rules to the digital copies…and then to psychologically break them down until they lose their will to resist.

There are some other episodes of the show that deal with the notion of trapped consciousnesses, but “White Christmas” is probably the most distilled version of this idea. The rest of the episode has a handful of great surprises of its own, but the “cookies” are what matters for this comparison – it’s a concept that makes us think about the definition of humanity while being dark and bleak and terrifying. It’s pure Black Mirror.

Let’s bring it back to Solo. While it would have been horrible to import any droid’s consciousness into a ship forever and take away its voice, it’s especially awful that this happened to L3, who had previously announced she had found her true purpose in liberating other droids. She instigated a revolution on Kessel, and you get the sense that if her droid body had lasted long enough, she was just getting started as a robot revolutionary. It’s heartbreaking to see a vital voice snuffed out and trapped like that, but none of the characters in Solo – not even Lando, who’s definitely experimented with L3 sexually – ever stop to think about the eternal sentence they’ve passed down on her. Pretty dark stuff for a Disney movie.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: