Star Wars has always been a franchise that placed as much focus on their villains as their heroes. Solo: A Star Wars Story will likely not be any different rolling out the villains Enfys Nest and “her” marauders. However, I will focus on Nest in this piece as that character is shrouded in mystery even though Solo has been kicking into hyperspace in its preparation for its May 25th release date. There still has not been an actor associated with Nest closing into a week from the film’s release. There isn’t even set gender on the character and with the Mad Maxian costume, it is hard to judge though rumors point to female. Even the Databank, Star Wars’ canonical encyclopedia, has little information on the character. With all this mystery one would assume that Star Wars is actively hiding potential spoilers due to the character’s large role in the film. The question that remains is whether this new villain will end up with the likes of the endearing Darth Vader or the loathed Captain Phasma.
According to the Databank Nest’s official description is “An extremely dangerous marauder and leader of the swoop-riding pirates known as the Cloud-Riders, Enfys Nest has carved out a brutal and nefarious reputation across the galaxy.” Jon Kasdan, a writer for Solo, revealed that the name of the gang Cloud-Riders has connections to the original Marvel Comics Star Wars series in the late 70s and early 80s. This gang operated on Aduba-3 causing chaos throughout the planet until they ran into Han and Chewbacca who defeated the group and restored peace to the region. Though this might just be a callback due to the Swoop Bikes used for transport there remains a chance of something more. With the amount of Legends material being integrated into the new canon Kasdan’s tweet regarding “her” origin is a promising insight into the character.
The leader of the Cloud-Riders in the Legends material was a washed up arrogant former swoop racer called Serji-X Arrogantus—subtlety wasn’t created until the 80s. Arrogantus had relatively thin character development, being a product of his time, however, he still provided Han a tough challenge. Though in the comics he was portrayed after his racing career seeing Nest, assuming they’re the same character, have a chase scene where the Millennium Falcon being tailed by the Swoop Bike gang would be a nice sight. Given that at the red-carpet event premiere for Solo everyone, from Govind Menon to Ron Howard, was saying this has the feel of a 1970s summer action movie which makes a Smokey and the Bandit car chase scene essential. Though Nest may be influenced to a degree by Arrogantus given the scale of mystery it is hard to see them being the same character.
The best clue to unlocking this character may be through understanding Woody Harrelson’s character Tobias Beckett. In Solo, Beckett is the leader of Han’s group that operates for the Crimson Dawn and gangster Dryden Vos. Co-writer Jon Kasdan stated in an interview with The Star Wars Show that Beckett and Nest have a long history of running into one another. With this group being put together for a specialized mission Beckett is a man who knows the underworld inside and out. Gathering this knowledge came from experience which hardened him and showed him that you can trust no one completely. This was shown in the first trailer of Solo where Beckett states, “Let me give you some advice. Assume everyone will betray you and you will never be disappointed.” It would not be a stretch to assume that the character that betrayed Beckett is Nest given their admitted history. If Nest is a character that is betrayed Beckett it would allow for an escalated tension and a rivalry that would give the unknown character a needed backstory.
“To understand who Enfys Nest is, you have to understand who Woody Harrelson plays, who is a character named Beckett, who is a highly trained, very lethal criminal. He’s a real pro who is into big jobs. And he runs a crew. But one of their competitors is a more pirate-like gang, and the leader of that gang is.”
Now that we figured out who the character is and how he/she will fit into the story let’s get to how well they will be portrayed. Being disappointed with cool looking villains and their role in their respective movies has been around since Boba Fett fell into the Sarlacc Pit during Return of the Jedi. Recently the criticism has been shifted to Captain Phasma for being a one dimensional whose only accomplishments to date are being thrown in a trash compactor and almost being killed. Will Nest be the first in a long line to show that the intrigue behind the character is worth the interest? The trailers do not offer enough to change the cautious optimism as Nest’s main presence was only in one scene. Based on Nest’s helmet it can be speculated that “she” is of Mandalorian background which would be an interesting addition to Solo. If Nest is a Mandalorian this would hint at the character’s personality is a fierce warrior. Unfortunately, according to Star Wars News Net “she” will not play a large part as an antagonist contradicting what the trailers are suggesting.
“It is not a big role, but it is important. She (the actress) worked closely with Woody Harrelson. She is signed for two more movies, presumably Solo sequels.”
Enfys Nest might steal the attention in trailers building up to Solo but unconfirmed sources state she will only play a small part in the film. This should be no surprise given that the Star Wars model is to downplay characters with great designs unless their name is Darth Vader. With the extremely low bar set by Phasma if Nest does anything of value, she will likely be praised. Even with limited screen time Nest has the tools to succeed where her predecessors failed with her Swoop Bike gang and possibly being a Mandalorian.
Let us know your thoughts. Do you think Enfys Nest will be an interesting villain or the latest let down in Star Wars’ characters?
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