Ever since Ron Howard took over production on the next standalone Han Solo Star Wars film in June, he has posted a number of images from the set, teasing a variety of locations and characters. His latest post hints at the inclusion of a pair of characters from a series of non-canon Star Wars comics, Tag and Bink.
In a new Tweet, Howard posted an image of a pair of Imperial officers, with the caption “#tagandbink ?”
For longtime Star Wars comic fans, this is a really cool and completely unexpected reference. Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna are a pair of characters who appeared in series of non-canon comics, created by Kevin Rubio, who directed Troops, one of the earliest (and best) Star Wars fan films.
Rubio wrote ended up writing a story for Dark Horse Comic’s non-canon series Star Wars Tales, and told The Verge that based on the reception of that first comic, LucasFilm asked if he would be interested in doing additional issues with the characters, which became Tag & Bink Are Dead 1, Tag & Bink Are Dead 2, The Return of Tag & Bink: Special Edition and Tag & Bink: Revenge of the Clone Menace. The characters are based loosely on Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, about two minor characters from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Over the course of those comics, the pair get into a series of hijinks that sees them cross paths with just about every major character in the Prequel and Original trilogies. Rubio noted that the pair are best summed up by Prince Leia Organa in the foreword of A New Hope’s novelization “They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Naturally, they became heroes.”
Now, Howard could be having a bit of fun at the expense of Star Wars fans looking for clues about the next movie, but this is a pretty obscure reference to draw on. Provided he isn’t just flat-out messing with everyone, the two characters do feel as though they would be at home in a film that looks designed to be a more comedic entry in the Star Wars universe, even if they just make a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo appearance. LucasFilm has been known to draw on characters from the now non-canon Expanded Universe, introducing characters such as Grand Admiral Thrawn and Rukh to Star Wars Rebels, but this would be a big leap from comic book page to screen.
Update: According to the film’s screenwriter, John Kasdan, the characters are actually going to be in the film, with him playing one of the pair alongside Toby Hefferman, the film’s Second Unit Director.
Rubio notes that he was completely in the dark about their possible inclusion until Howard posted the tweet earlier today, but says that it was “pretty fuckin' cool,” and that it is an honor to know that people liked what he created.
The untitled Han Solo movie is scheduled to hit theaters on May 25th, 2018.
Update October 14, 5:55PM: added tweet from John Kasdan.