Teras Kasi in Solo

Solo: A Star Wars Story is chock full of winks and nods referencing future events in the Star Wars trilogy, almost to the point that it’s annoying. But there are also some obscure references for hardcore Star Wars fans that are a little more interesting. One of them comes from a single line of dialogue referencing one of the worst Star Wars video games every made…but it also has a place in the history of Star Wars and even sets up the major reveal everyone has been talking about.

Find out what we’re talking about below, but beware of spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Qi’ra Shows Off Her Fighting Skills

In Solo: A Star Wars Story, part of the plan to hijack a bunch of coaxium begins with infiltrating a mining facility on Kessel. Our heroes accomplish this by having Qi’ra offer up Han Solo and Chewbacca as slaves, allowing them to get into the facility itself. While Han and Chewie are led through the mines closer to the coaxium, Qi’ra, Tobias Beckett and Lando Calrissian’s droid L3-37 are brought into the control room to finalize their business.

During this sequence, Qi’ra pulls off a couple unseen fight moves and takes down the facility supervisor. L3 is visibly impressed and even a little surprised as she asks, “What was that?” And Qi’ra nonchalantly says “Teräs Käsi.” That might not mean anything to the more casual Star Wars viewer, but for longtime fans, this was quite the obscure reference to throw into Solo. So what the hell is Teräs Käsi?

Star Wars Masters of Teras Kasi

Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi

The fighting style Teräs Käsi became well-known to Star Wars fans when a PlayStation game entitled Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi hit the market. Styled in the model of fighting games like Tekken or Virtua Fighter, it was a video game that featured Star Wars characters duking it out on polygonal environments in a galaxy far, far away. Since this is a first generation PlayStation game we’re talking about, the graphics were not great and the game mechanics were clumsy at best. But damn it, was that a fun game to play with friends as an adolescent Star Wars fan.

The fighting roster features Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia (in Boushh disguise), Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Thok (a Gamorrean guard), Hoar (a Tusek Raider) and a new character named Arden Lyn, a Dark Jedi with a mechanical arm. They all engaged in hand-to-hand combat, as well as weapon combat (which didn’t make much sense when characters like Luke with a lightsaber would fight Thok with an axe). But there was no signature fighting style between them to dictate what Teräs Käsi was. Instead, that came from Star Wars Legends.

Star Wars Shadows of the Empire

The History of Teräs Käsi

The first mention of Teräs Käsi comes from a major story arc called Shadows of the Empire. One of the more well-known Star Wars Legends titles, this was an interesting experimental sort of multimedia project that was intended to tell a story that took place in-between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, where no Star Wars novel had ventured before.

The goal at the time was to create anything and everything that might be associated with a Star Wars movie release, but without ever actually releasing a movie. This included a novel, a video game, action figures, trading cards, comics and even a soundtrack. And within the novel of Shadows of the Empire, the fighting style Teräs Käsi is mentioned as being used by the villains Sun and Zu Pike. And from there it went on to become part of the aforementioned video game that everyone loved to hate.

However, Teräs Käsi was only a blip in Star Wars until it came to be referenced in the novel Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter. You see, after Darth Maul’s acrobatic, fast-paced martial arts style debuted in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, many thought it would be interesting if his character was trained in the art of Teräs Käsi, mostly because his fighting style was unlike any we’d seen in the Star Wars universe up to that point. After Shadow Hunter made it canon (at the time), the fighting style was referenced on and off again until it finally was given a real origin story, made to be a fighting style that allowed non-Force sensitive warriors could engage with the likes of Jedi and Sith and still hold their own. Of course, that’s all Star Wars Legends, but…

Darth Maul

Teräs Käsi is Now Canon

With the mention of Teräs Käsi in Solo: A Star Wars Story, the fighting style is now canon. Funnily enough, since this was a fighting style that came to be associated with Darth Maul, the fact that Qi’ra learned it from Dryden works as a hint toward the reveal of the Sith warrior as the puppet master behind the Crimson Dawn in the film’s final act. It only makes sense that those working for Maul have been trained in a fighting style that makes them deadly enough to do his bidding.

The question is how much, if any, of the backstory that became associated with Teräs Käsi will be made canon. Will this fighting style continue to be mentioned in Star Wars stories now that we’ve seen it in Solo: A Star Wars Story? Maybe we’ll see it pop up in other comics, books and video games. And if we’re lucky (or unlucky, depending how you look at it), maybe we’ll get a new generation remake of the original game with even more characters. Because while Star Wars Battletfront II offers us a way to have Star Wars characters from all eras of the saga to fight against each other, there’s just something…special about Masters of Teräs Käsi. Awfully special.

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