Spoilers ahead for Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is a movie that largely washes over you. It happens, it has nostalgic references, it has a lot of action, and then it’s over. However, there’s one particularly disturbing moment that I had forgotten about until people on Twitter started pointing it out. And now that I think about that moment, it’s probably the most twisted things to happen in a Star Wars movie.
In the movie, L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is an advocate for droid rights. It’s a fascinating character because it’s the first time the Star Wars movies have delved into a fan debate about whether or not droids are robots or sentient lifeforms. Solo, through L3, comes down pretty heavily on the side that droids, although treated like a servant class by the larger galaxy, are individuals with thoughts, ambitions, and goals. They’re the second-class citizens of the Star Wars universe, but they are sentient lifeforms worthy of recognition and respect.
Which is what makes L3’s fate so dark and twisted. During the shootout on Kessel as L3 is rallying other droids and leading the rebellion, she’s shot and destroyed. She’s basically dead, and the other characters, especially Lando (Donald Glover) mourn for her. And then they decide that because they need her navigational programming, they’re going to plug her into the Millennium Falcon and upload her into the ship so they can use her navigation to maneuver through maelstrom.
So L3 doesn’t get to die, and instead she’s treated like the object she rebelled against, uploaded into the Millennium Falcon where she’s cursed to exist for all eternity as the ship’s onboard navigation. It’s like they took what they thought her last wishes would have been, and did the exact opposite of that.
It’s grizzly and kind of Black Mirror-esque (What is machines had feelings and then we disregarded those feelings anyway?), specifically weaving in elements of the episode “White Christmas”, and the movie treats it like it’s no big deal. And that makes L3’s arc even sadder. The movie doesn’t actually want to acknowledge that droids may have feelings and desires beyond serving other species, and instead turns it into a joke. “Oh, it’s it cute that L3 thinks she’s people. Anyway, let’s make her into Waze now.
I don’t know if this is the same fate befell the character in the version from Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, or if L3’s death was treated with any more reverence and respect. But in the version we got, it’s basically a joke. Lando grieves for the loss of his friend, but then doesn’t have any second thoughts about forcing her to live forever as part of the ship. There’s not even a line from L3 that’s like, “I’d like to go on if it means I can help you.” Nope, she’s treated like an object even though her entire character is about not being treated like an object.
If anyone in the production considered this, it doesn’t really show. And for most viewers, it probably won’t even seem like that big of a deal. But for me, it’s something I haven’t been able to shake, and it adds a whole layer of sadness to L3’s life and death and twisted rebirth.
For more on Solo, click on the links below:
- ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Off to a Record-Breaking Start at the Thursday Box Office
- ‘Solo’: Emilia Clarke and Paul Bettany Describe Their Unforgettable First Day on Set
- ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Review: I Don’t Have a Feeling about This
- ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’: What Does the Ending Mean for the Series Going Forward?