Solo: A Star Wars Story has premiered in Los Angeles, with a second premiere date to come at the Cannes Film Festival this week. Details about the story are starting to leak out as endless interviewers bombard the cast and crew with questions. One of the big mysteries, at least to fans, was the revelation in a recent trailer clip Chewie has a Wookiee friend, or perhaps even a girlfriend. (Chewie did have a wife at one point, but it was in The Star Wars Holiday Special and doesn't count.) So who is the other Wookiee in Solo: A Star Wars Story?
As mentioned, fans were hoping this character might be a love interest for Chewie. The two Wookiees are seen in a hug in the trailer clip, and though it could just be a brother, or a cousin or a close friend, old school Star Wars fans have always hoped for a return of Chewie's wife, Mallatobuck, from the holiday special. In it, she was known as Malla, and her name meant "beautiful singer" in Shyriiwook.
While most agree the Star Wars Holiday Special was terrible, there's always been a soft spot for Chewie's family. (He had a son named Lumpy!) And I think there was a small hope after seeing Chewie hugging another Wookiee of indeterminate gender that this deep dive into Han's past might bring about a way to re-include her after the episode was wiped from the canon record.
But upon questioning this weekend, director Ron Howard had to admit fans hoping for Malla would be disappointed. Speaking to Screen Rant, he was definitive this was not her.
I’m going to actually say no. I’m going to try not to give away any spoilers, but I’m going to actually say no. No. No, it’s not Malla.
Ron Howard has not been the most spoilerphobic Star Wars director the franchise has had by a long shot, willingly tweeting photos from the set during filming. So I'm inclined to give him a pass here on his being overly cautious in making sure no spoilers are being allowed into the wild.
But it turns out the writers of Solo actually consider this Wookiee non-spoiler enough they were willing to reveal the character's name.
Writers Lawrence and Jon Kasdan told Screen Rant:
It's not Malla. In fact, that is a different character. In fact, we could tell you the name of that character. That was Sagwa. And he was always in the script. There was always a version of that character in the script.
So who is Sagwa? The official Star Wars wiki doesn't have him as an entry yet, but the writers affectionate described him as "a bit of a stoner," a "touchy-feely sort of guy," and "like [someone out of] Bill & Ted." From the sounds of it, he's a slow Wookiee who Chewie is good friends with, but who acts more as comic relief than anything else.
As for chances down the line Malla might be introduced, I think it hinges on the hopes of a Solo sequel, as well as if the Kasdans take fan chatter over Malla's potential return seriously enough to make her canon in some fashion. Alden Ehrenreich has already revealed he was signed for two potential sequels, which would presumably be set prior to the events of Rogue One/A New Hope. This would at least give Chewie time to have a girlfriend, and perhaps lose her again, before meeting Luke and Leia.
Until then, fans will have to wait and see. Solo: A Star Wars Story will arrive in theaters on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, May 25, 2018.