[Note: This article discusses plot details from Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker.]
For a movie so happy to spend minutes at a time luxuriating in the comedy stylings of C-3P0, J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker appears to have had an almost-perverse tendency to shunt certain plot-relevant bits of its backstory into its ancillary materials in the interest of saving time. It’s a trend evident even from the film’s requisite opening crawl, which goes so far as to suggest that the movie’s own trailer—in which Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine announced his return to the galaxy so long and far away—is canon, since the movie itself jumps right past the bit where everyone goes “Oh Sith, that dude’s still alive!” and right to “The dead speak!”, as though we were all already in the know.
But of course, that idea is silly: Abrams would never confine such an important plot beat to a mere internet trailer. No, he stuck it in Fortnite, instead, where the film’s cross-media tie-in event last week ended with the Emperor’s announcement of his return playing out in full. It’s just one of several minor RoS plot details left to just sort of orbit the film listlessly, waiting for intrepid adventurers to tease them out. By, say, seeing Abrams himself introduce the movie, for instance, which is the only way you’d know what Finn was trying to spit out to Rey when the two of them were seconds from death in the desert. (It turns out to have been that classic deathbed confession, “I am also sensitive to the Force.”)
Fans received their latest intergalactic bread crumb this weekend, with the release of the film’s Visual Dictionary tie-in book. Among other reveals—including all the hot Knights Of Ren goss you could want—the book strongly suggests that, no, Lando was not just being a huge space lech in one of the movie’s final scenes. If you’ve seen the film, you remember it: The Emperor is dead, the Last Order is shattered, and Mr. Calrissian suggests that he and young former First Order fighter Jannah (Naomi Ackie) blow off all this partying to go hunt down her birth parents. As presented, it’s hard not to read something weird in the scene, whether you’re imagining Lando setting the whole thing up as an opportunity to put the moves on a much younger woman, or just Abrams making some sort of bizarre point about solidarity between people of color in the Star Wars universe.
But no: She’s probably just his kid. Said revelation comes from the Visual Dictionary, which reveals that, post-Return Of The Jedi, Lando tried to settle down and have a family, only for the First Order to kidnap his daughter for their own nefarious ends. Hence, then, his asking Jannah where she comes from, and then offering to help her find out, suggesting strongly that the character is his long-lost daughter, and not just the next notch on Billy Dee Williams’ space-bed. Ackie herself hopped on Twitter this weekend to confirm that more of Jannah’s backstory is explored in the film’s novelization, which will presumably also finally fill us in on where Maz Kanata got a loan to open her bar from The Force Awakens, and how Charlie from Lost found himself working in the Resistance camp.