Last week was INCREDIBLE. I’m still reeling from all of the excitement, and I’m LOVING being able to report back on all of the fun I had! Disney invited me on an expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the #HanSoloEvent and #ABCTVEvent in exchange for coverage on my blog. No other compensation was provided. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Amazon affiliate links are used within this post and I may earn a commission for purchases made through my links.
I’ve never watched Game of Thrones, so I was unprepared for the level of devotion GOT fans have for Emilia Clarke. But after seeing her in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY and then spending time with her on Saturday, I’m not surprised at all that she has such passionate and devoted fans. She is as sweet as can be, and flawlessly portrayed Qi’ra, Han Solo’s long-time friend and love-interest.
Qi’ra is deeply enmeshed in a life of crime as a member of a street gang on Corellia. Streetsmart, calculating and ambitious, she puts her early life as a powerless street urchin behind her and uses all her wits to move up in status within a prominent criminal organization.
About SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Paul Bettany.
Becoming a Star Wars Fan
Emilia wasn’t born when the first Star Wars movie appeared in theaters, but she grew up with an older brother who was a Star Wars fan and would make her dress up in Star Wars costumes for Halloween (even though she had no idea what they were really about).
Emilia said, “When Episode 7 (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) came out and I watched that with him, I became a fan because I suddenly realized what everyone must have felt in 1977 when (A New Hope) first came out. The enormity– like this is how a movie should be made.
This is what (movies) should look like. This is a blockbuster. The next level. So as soon as that happened I was like, ‘I need to be a part of this. This is how it’s done. This is how everybody should make a movie.’ So it was kind of from then on I just watched everything….and now I’m here.”
Fun side note: Emilia said that her Star Wars-fan brother screamed louder than she did when she was offered this role. I bet that was a fun day at their house!
Walking in Leia’s shoes
We wondered if Emilia was intimidated at all playing ‘the woman who came before Princess Leia.’ Her response was perfect: “Well, I just tried not to think about it. I’m not gonna’ lie. It’s scary enough standing under the Star Wars banner, but having that as well.
“(But) it’s before Leia so I don’t need to spend too much time worrying about it. Like, I don’t know what my next 10 years are gonna look like. So I can kind of step away from that. I’ll let Alden take all that heat. ‘You carry that one, honey.'”
Emilia recognized that this role carried a certain “weight” that her previous roles have not carried. She said, “Star Wars is challenging because you’re dealing with so much that it seems it’s almost history. It’s like hallowed ground, do you know what I mean? Making sure that you’re not gonna disappoint Star Wars fans is a big thing to carry and to make sure that you’re doing that right.”
Once you see her in this role, I’m sure you’ll agree – she handled the pressure well, and totally nailed it with her character. She mentioned that she felt like Han’s relationship with Qi’ra had a huge impact on the person he became later in life. First loves usually do shape us in ways that no one else can.
On Playing Strong Women Characters
Perhaps my favorite part of our interview was what Emilia had to say about playing “Strong women characters” and being a role model for girls and other women.
Emilia said that she regularly gets asked about playing “strong women” and what she would love to see if for the vocabulary and the perception to change. She said, “We’re just women. You can take strong out of the equation, do you know what I mean? It just IS what we are; strength is within us as women. And it’d be wonderful if for the young girls who are watching me play these characters now just see that as a part of being a woman as opposed to it being a choice of like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a strong woman or I’m not gonna be a strong woman.’ You are, we all are. You have it in you anyway, so just go get it.”
On Being Directed by Ron Howard
Ron Howard is such a legend, and has such an amazing reputation (and by the way, I’m 1000-times more impressed by him now that I’ve met him!). I loved hearing Emilia’s experience working with him.
Emilia said, “Jon Kasdan, one of the Writers, (told the cast that Ron Howard was going to be directing the movie), and I kept being like, ‘You’re joking. I don’t believe you. This is just ridiculous. You can’t actually really expect me to believe that Ron Howard has chosen come and direct this movie.’ And that’s when (I realized), ‘Oh no, yeah of course. It’s a Star Wars movie.'”
She continued, “It was just a dream come true. He literally couldn’t have been better and just held us all in the most beautiful way and he made us all feel heard, which in a movie of this scale is so impressive.”
Emilia left us with her person mantra: KOKO (keep on keeping on). Good words to live by.
Let me know when you’ve seen SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY and what you think of Qi’ra in the movie!
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