'Solo' Easter Egg: Qi'ra Puts Teräs Käsi Back in 'Star Wars' Canon
If you didn’t catch every single obscure Star Wars reference in Solo, you’re totally forgiven. Though the tone of the movie is easily the lightest and most accessible Star Wars film in years, some of the easter eggs are seemingly designed only for hardcore fans over the age of 30. Which is why if you didn’t know what Qi’ra (Emelia Clarke) was talking about when she mentioned a certain kind of martial arts she knew, that’s because it was a call back to an all-but-forgotten 1997 Star Wars video game for the very first PlayStation; Masters of Teräs Käsi. Spoilers ahead for Solo: A Star Wars Story.
When L3-37 and Qi’ra are infiltrating Kessel, Qi’ra is able to beat the crap out of some people with some fighting skills, that are comically mostly off screen. L3 is shocked and asks “what was that?” Qi’ra says it’s “Teräs Käsi.” In the 1997 PlayStation game, Teräs Käsi was an ancient form of martial arts in the Star Wars galaxy. It was also just a giant excuse to make a Star Wars fighting game in the style of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. The legacy of Teräs Käsi has a mixed reputation among gamers, but if you’re a Star Wars fan it was mostly awesome.
While the exact reason why Luke Skywalker and Han Solo might have to fight each other to the death was never really convincing in Teräs Käsi, it was nonetheless novel. In the late Nineties, it was unheard of to be able play a Star Wars game with your friends that oddly didn’t feel like a Star Wars game. In fact, you could argue that there just aren’t that many multi-player Star Wars games that are very good. And, if you were starved Star Wars fan in 1999, waiting for Episode I to come out, and you wanted to organize a fun afternoon with your friends, while, Teräs Käsi was pretty much the best thing around. Plus, Mara Jade was a secret un-lockable character, what’s not to love?
Sadly, Solo doesn’t canonize Mara Jade, or any of Han Solo’s weird fighting moves. But, this reference, among others, does prove this movie reached deep into the well of old Star Wars stuff to create the texture of an action adventure movie that is fun as hell.
- Solo is out in wide release everywhere.