Solo: A Star Wars Story Trailer Breakdown

(Welcome to A Different Point of View, a column where we explore the supporting characters of the Star Wars universe and discuss why they deserve more time in the spotlight.)

I know, I know. My last article was also about a bad-ass woman from Solo: A Star Wars Story, but it’s my column and I’ll do what I want. However, I swear to you the next one will pull from another corner of the Star Wars Galaxy.

But I absolutely could not pass up the opportunity to gush about Enfys Nest. A surprise break-out star in Solo, everything about the mysterious gang leader begs to be expounded upon. With her immediately iconic look, her strong sense of moral justice, and the implications of a tragic past, Nest could be the next protagonist of a whole corner of the Star Wars galaxy, should Lucasfilm choose it.

Solo: A Star Wars Story Trailer Breakdown

WHO IS SHE?

Enfys Nest is an enigma. We know very few concrete details about her life. We know she is a human or extremely near-human woman. We know she is the leader of the Cloud-Riders, a gang that acts as an early sect of the Rebellion. We know she wears her mother’s mask. We know from the recent Marvel comic Beckett #1 that Tobias and Enfys Nest have a long history of some sort. We know she is a martial arts expert and prefers her electro-ripper staff for melee combat. Outside of that, it all becomes speculation and educated guesses.

Fellow lore fans may have noticed I didn’t put Nest’s home planet down as the list of knowns, despite the story she tells Han and Qi’ra on Savereen. In the tale, meant to explain Enfys’ origins fighting the Crimson Dawn, she explains her mother’s people were peaceful. Then the mercenaries who would one become the Crimson Dawn came to exploit the planet and its people for a rare (unnamed) resource. When the locals fought back, the Crimson Dawn cut out the tongues of every citizen. The whole timeline gets mushy though once you realize Enfys was born around 28 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) and the Siege of Mandalore was in 19 BBY, making Enfys already nine or ten when Maul began to coalesce his power base into the Crimson Dawn. Thus, I’m taking the story as more of a convenient myth Nest told untrustworthy companions, rather than law. After all, Star Wars loves to pull the “from a certain point of view” card.

WHEN WAS SHE INTRODUCED?

Enfys Nest, portrayed by Erin Kellyman, first appeared in the 2018 film Solo: A Star Wars Story. Prior to the release of the film, the gender of Enfys Nest was kept a secret. Once it was revealed the person behind the terrifying visage was a fresh-faced young woman, interest in her skyrocketed. For example, as of this writing, Nest is so popular and powerful in the Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes mobile game that high-level versions of her are able to take on whole teams of five by herself.

WHY SHE’S FASCINATING

Oh man, everything. Let’s start with her outfit. Her armored gauntlets are made of beskar, or Mandalorian alloy, the only known metal both light enough to wear and durable enough to deflect the slash or glancing arc of a lightsaber. While the new canon hasn’t confirmed the rarity of beskar, it stands to reason it’s as hard to come by now as it was in the Expanded Universe (EU) or the new wave of First Order Troopers would all be kitted out with it. Before the lore reset, beskar could only be found on Mandalore and its moon of Concordia. The metalsmiths of Mandalorian culture jealously guarded the process of forging the metal, even unto death under torture, as it was crucial to their cultural heritage. Which leads to the question of how Enfys Nest ended up with it.

Then there’s her mask. Nest points out it is the mask of her mother, indicating that her mother is dead and that Nest idolized her. The mask itself is a fascinating blend of cultures. The fangs on the sides belong to the Narglatch of the frozen planet Orto Plutonia. The symbolic painting on in the center is a reverse eclipse, shining light into the darkness. Emblazoned with the poetic words “Until we reach the last edge, the last opening, the last star, and can go no higher” there are many tantalizing clues to Enfys Nest’s heritage. StarWars.com even states her “mask and armor hide all clues about the Cloud-Rider chief’s identity and background.”

If that’s the case, then the most interesting thing about the mask Nest wears is that it is Ubese. The most famous Ubese in Star Wars is Boushh, the unseen alien whose identity and clothes are stolen by Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi. The Ubese have not made a physical appearance since the EU was retconned. We know basically nothing about them now until Lucasfilm confirms or changes their lore. However, a most fascinating thing about them was how no one outside their homeworld knew what the Ubese looked like. The near-human aliens always wore enviro-suits or battle armor when out and about. As such, there was no record in any database, not even the Jedi one, as to what the Ubese people looked like. Anyone who came face-to-face with one outside their suit would never know who they were looking at.

Could Enfys Nest be half-Ubese? It would contextualize some of that origin myth, that’s for sure. Which brings me to…

solo clips

WHAT STORIES COULD LUCASFILM TELL?

So many. Unlike other characters that are tied to storylines in the films, Enfys Nest is a clean slate covered in narrative story hooks. For the sake of my own sanity, let’s go through them in chronological order.

The childhood of Enfys Nest. There is obviously a story here, one that strongly indicates her mother was a freedom fighter of some kind. If the Ubese helmet is a clue, Lucasfilm could be reconfiguring the tragedy of the Ubese homeworld of Uba III. Within the EU, the planet was destroyed by the Jedi in ancient times during one of their wars with the Sith. The refugees of Uba III relocated to a new planet the named Uba IV, which had been bombarded by the Galactic Republic. The assault catastrophically changed the USA IV atmosphere, making it so thin it resulted in biological changes in those Ubese that lived there. It would be easy enough for the Story Group to rearrange it so the Empire or the First Order strip-mined the system for resources, thus Nest’s aggressive sense of justice. They could also be substituting cut out tongues instead of the Ubese going mute due to atmospheric changes.

Then there are Nest’s relationships. How long has she known Beckett and how did they first meet? Were they enemies from the start or did they end up on opposing sides gradually? Then there’s Saw Gerrara. In the expanded novelization of Solo, Nest meets up with Gerrara and Jyn Erso to hand off the stolen fuel. It’s implied Saw’s people will fence the product and funnel the profits to the Alliance, and ultimately, fund the Rebellion. Who put Enfys in contact with Saw? Exactly how deeply aligned with the Alliance is Nest and her gang? There’s a several year gap between Solo and Rogue One. Did Enfys ever see Jyn Erso again?

Of course, you can’t talk about Enfys without talking about the Cloud-Riders. In a prime example of Lucasfilm raiding the Expanded Universe closet, the Cloud-Riders are a nod to a gang of the same name from the EU introduced in the 1977 comic Star Wars #8: Eight For Aduba-3. Originally amoral marauders, the Cloud-Rider storyline appear to have been repurposed as well. Instead of moisture-farmers asking Han Solo for help to fend off the villainous Cloud-Riders, Solo inverted the dynamic to depict Enfys Nest and her followers as protectors. The Solo Visual Dictionary expands briefly on each member of Nest’s team, but a solid origin story for how each of these folks with certain sets of skills ended up under the leadership of a teenager would be nice.

Beyond that, what lies ahead for Enfys? Surely her story doesn’t end with the successful heist of fuel from under the Empire’s nose. Her Cloud-Riders are too talented to throw in the towel and retire. What part does Enfys Nest play during the years of war between the Empire and the Rebellion? Should she survive, what becomes her place in a galaxy at nominal peace?

Then there are the questions we don’t even know to ask yet. Enfys Nest is around 18 in Solo. Not a person alive gets to be that old without dozens of friends, enemies, familial disagreements, regrets, and lessons learned. What made Enfys Nest the person she is in Solo? Hopefully, Lucasfilm wants to find out.

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