'Solo' Lando Chronicles Easter Egg References the Origin of Sabacc
Second only to the retroactively super-important hyperspace fuel “coaxium,” the most important Star Wars vocabulary word in Solo is easily “sabacc,” that interstellar version of poker, and the eventual reason why Han Solo owns the Millennium Falcon. But did you know sabacc originated in the non-cannon 1983 novel Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu? Well, one scene in Solo: A Star Wars Story actually slyly makes that novel canon again, in a deliciously meta-fictional way.
Spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story follow.
When Lando is sitting alone in the Falcon, and seemingly dictating his “chronicles” into a holographic recorder, he’s telling a story about an adventure he and L3 had involving the “Sharu.” Now, this can only be a reference to Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu by L. Neil Smith, the first of three books about Lando’s exploits with Millennium Falcon. In the book, the Sharu where an ancient alien race, but that’s not what’s funny here. What’s funny is that this single brief and the hilarious scene quickly reconciles the events of this novel with what actually happened to canonical Lando. If Lando was recording his memoirs, it stands to reason he was embellishing, which means, the version of whatever really happened and what happens in Lando’s telling of it can be different, with an explanation.
In our world, the Lando books feature a droid sidekick by the name of Vuffi Raa. Clearly, this can have a metafictional explanation too.
In Solo, Lando is narrating his “chronicles” in the first person, while all the Lando books by L. Neil Smith are in the third person. So, here’s a theory: assuming a basically non-existent physical book market in the Star Wars galaxy, at some point, a publisher decides to use Lando’s holo-recordings as a basis for a novelty series of e-book books, but they change some of the events and switch around the names. Specifically, L3-37 becomes “Vuffi Raa” since she was such a big deal in reading a revolution for droid rights and the cowardly publisher decided to downplay radical political ideas. Makes sense right?
The best part about the Lando chronicles in Solo is that not only is it a smart and slick easter egg, but it’s also layered. Despite not being a hugely celebrated Star Wars book, Smith’s novel did invent sabacc, which was later made part of the official canon, even if the rest of the book wasn’t. Obviously without that book, Solo wouldn’t have had the two sabacc scenes that it does, and so, this brief uttering of Sharu by Lando is a tribute Solo makes to that literary debt.
Still, we have some questions. Did other people in Star Wars record their memoirs? Who is Lando hoping sees these holo-recordings? Does he have a holographic podcast? Because if that’s the case, where do we sign up?
Solo: A Star Wars Story is out in wide release in theaters everywhere now.