Han Solo‘s lucky dice still don‘t mean a damn thing after ‘Solo‘

There are light spoilers ahead for both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Proceed with caution if you haven‘t seen them yet.

Disney, please stop trying to make Han Solo‘s lucky gold dice a thing.

One of the first conversations that sprung up in Mashable chat after we all saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi was: What‘s the deal with Han‘s dice? The bauble made its apparent big screen debut in the 2017 film, and every lingering shot of the chained-together chance cubes suggested they held a deeper meaning.

We agreed as a group that they were probably included as of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which hit theaters just over five months after The Last Jedi, on May 25. An explanation would surely be coming in Han‘s new origin story, right?

Wrong. The dice pop up right at the start in Solo, when Han drapes them over the dashboard of his stolen speeder. They surface a few more times after that — he hands them to Qi‘ra “for luck” right before they‘re separated on Corellia — but they don‘t seem to mean anything substantial.

So what gives? Why were those dice the subject of a twice-repeated emotional beat in The Last Jedi? Why doesn‘t Solo do any work to unravel the mystery and give those scenes some additional meaning?

As it turns out, Wookieepedia will tell you that the dice , back in 1977. I went and checked my own copy, and sure enough….

Image: lucasfilm / screen capture by mashable

I‘d wager a good portion of Star Wars fans, even super-dedicated ones, never knew about those dice. I never noticed them before, and I‘ve seen each movie in the Original Trilogy dozens and dozens of times. 

As far as I can tell, they‘re only visible, briefly and at the fringe of the frame, during one scene. It‘s when Han, Chewie, Luke, and Obi-Wan are approaching the Death Star for the first time. You‘ll probably need to freeze-frame the moment if you want to see them for yourself; it‘s very easy to miss.

The problem isn‘t that The Last Jedi and Solo both capitalized on this very random and completely unexplained bit of set dressing from the original movie. It‘s that they did so without adding any real narrative texture.

The Last Jedi leads us to believe that the dice are important to Han and, by extension, Leia. The movie really lingers on those moments, a cinematic device that wordlessly ascribes deeper meaning to this physical object.

The problem is, it‘s unearned. The movie tells us that the dice are important without expounding on the idea in any way. It never shows us, it never takes the step of telling us why. That‘s why we suspected the dice were a forward-looking nod to Solo.

The new movie doesn‘t treat them any differently, however. Han is sure to grab them before he abandons his stolen speeder. He then forks them over to Qi‘ra “for luck” just a short time before they‘re separated. She later returns the dice, in what‘s supposed to be some kind of meaningful moment.

It‘s not. That moment, just like every other featuring the dice, is emotionally empty. The dice might have some connection to Han‘s fictional past, but they‘re a total non-factor in our history with the character. 

This is a failure of fan service. Someone pulling the strings on these new Star Wars stories decided to pull a random artifact out of the Original Trilogy and imbue it with new meaning. There‘s nothing inherently wrong with that, but these dice were so invisible, and so seemingly inconsequential to the character arcs we‘ve been following for decades, that they feel out of place.

It‘s not even something books, comics, or other forms of media could eventually fix. The dice have been highlighted during key moments of two different movies, and we‘re no closer to understanding why. 

They don‘t matter. They‘ve never mattered. They‘re a misguided emotional , an empty gesture — Hey, here‘s this super-obscure thing that appeared briefly once before! — that‘s devoid of all meaning. 

It‘s never going to catch on, Disney. Just drop it.