Star Wars Week

Wait! Did Kuiil From The Mandalorian help freeze Han Solo in carbonite?

Here's the theory: Kuiil was totally was on Cloud City.

Han Solo wasn't frozen in carbonite by robots. In The Empire Strikes Back, a bunch of stout aliens called Ugnaughts flipped the switch. These are the guys who make up the majority of the workforce on Cloud City — you probably remember the scene where they tried to melt down C-3PO's body parts, until Chewbacca stopped them. Ugnaughts work with the skills of their hands, even when they are forced to work for the Empire.

But wait, that sounds familiar. Could Kuiil – our favorite Nick Nolte alien from The Mandalorian, the "I have spoken" guy himself — also be one of the Ugnaughts who helped freeze Han on Cloud City? The evidence is pretty convincing, so let's dive in.

Welcome to Star Wars Week! To celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Revenge of the Sith (May 19) and the 40-year anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back (May 21), we're talking about our favorite sci-fi franchise for nine days straight.

Because of his effective conversation-ending catchphrase ("I have spoken"), we don't get a ton of backstory about Kuiil in the early episodes of The Mandalorian. But by Episode 7, "The Reckoning," we do learn that he was an indentured servant who was forced to work for the Empire. "I bought my freedom with the skill of my hands," he says.

In case it wasn't obvious, Kuiil is an Ugnaught, the same species of pig-like aliens who worked on Cloud City in Empire. Kuiil also mentions to Cara Dune that he worked for basically "two of your human lifetimes," meaning he's considerably older than her or Mando. And he says his clan's "debt" has been paid off for whatever dirty work he did for the Empire.

So, what does all that mean for our theory?

The Case for Kuiil being on Cloud City — We already know Kuiil is an Ugnaught, which, you could argue, isn't that big of a deal. Lots of aliens in Star Wars exist in lots of different contexts. That said, Ugnaughts are unique because though they don't originate on the planet Bespin (the location of Cloud City). Ugnaughts come from the planet Gentes, which is in the same sector as Bespin, the Anoat sector. (Remember, Leia says, "The Anoat system, there's not much there.")

The moment when Kuiil becomes an indentured servant could also be a clue. If Kuiil's clan was living on Cloud City when the Empire took over, that could be the moment when he has to start working for the Empire. Even so, his indentured servitude must predate the Empire. Why? Simple: The Empire didn't exist for 200 years, in fact, it only lasted for like 25 years.

Kuiil implies he was an indentured servant for roughly two human lifetimes. That means he was sold into some kind of slavery way before the events of the prequels. If he's working on Cloud City, Kuill is already an indentured servant of some kind at this point, and the Empire simply becomes the latest group controlling him.

An in-canon game called Star Wars: Uprising — along with the novels Last Shot and Dark Disciple — established that a guy named Ecclessis Figg created Cloud City, and after bringing his Ugnaught slave-labor with him, then, decided to free them. So let's assume Kuiil was one of those Ugnaughts. He gets sold into slavery, taken to Cloud City at some point, briefly freed, and then, by the time Vader shows up, gets sold back into slavery again.

Kuiil is also really good with droids, and several of the Ugnaughts in Cloud City showed a particular interest in droids.

The Case against Kuiil being on Cloud City — The problem with all of this, of course, is that it's all circumstantial. Kuiil mentions his clans, he mentions being an indentured servant, and he mentions the "skill of his hands." But these things could apply to literally all the other Ugnaughts in Star Wars, and a lot of other people, too.

Plus, if Kuiil was on Cloud City, it seems like he would be a little hipper to the concept of freezing people in carbonite. In theory, the Ugnaughts on Cloud City helped Vader perfect the idea, and by the time of The Mandalorian it's standard practice. If we were meant to think Kuiil is one of the same guys who were so good at carbon freezing, wouldn't the writers of The Mandalorian put a more overt joke about carbon freezing in there?

If you head over to Reddit, there's a small debate on this topic, but most folks are mostly concerned about the bit about working for the Empire directly.

It seems more meta than that. If we're meant to think that Kuiil was one of the Ugnaughts who helped freeze Han, maybe there would have been a bigger hint. Then again, Kuill did help Mando rebuild his ship early on, and that probably means helping fix that carbon freezing chamber too.

It seems unlikely that Mandalorian Season 2 will feature any appearances from Kuiil, seeing as he died at the end of Season 1 Episode 7. But because Mando and Kuiil were such buddies, and Kuill mentioned his clan, maybe we could meet another Ugnaught who was friend with Kuiil.

Maybe in Season 2, this hypothetical friend of Kuiil's could make it clear, once and for all: Who froze Han Solo in carbonite? And did Kuiil pick up that catchphrase of his from Boba Fett? Come on, "I have spoken," totally seems like a Boba Fett thing, right?

Welcome to Star Wars Week! To celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Revenge of the Sith (May 19) and the 40-year anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back (May 21), we're talking about our favorite sci-fi franchise for nine days straight.

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