Game of Thrones may not be returning until next year, but Emilia Clarke has news that will fill the Khaleesi-shaped hole in your heart. Her character Qi'ra in the new Star Wars spinoff movie Solo: A Star Wars Story, she says, is shockingly similar to HBO's beloved warrior queen. "They are both very powerful women, and they’re both survivors," the actress tells InStyle. "There’s a kind of need in them to keep moving forward in a world that maybe otherwise would reject that [from] a woman."
We caught up with Clarke at the New York City premiere of Solo, hosted by Fiji Water and The Cinema Society at the SVA Theatre, where fans were introduced to a younger Han Solo (the character Harrison Ford made famous in the original films). Clarke enters the film as Solo's love interest, but, true to the mold of female fighters in the Star Wars universe, she's so much more than that. Clarke's Qi'ra is a leader who knows how to get ahead—with enviable fighting skills to boot. Her motivations are nearly always tainted with ambiguity, but she's a clever survivor of oppression. Sound familiar? We're looking at you, Daenerys.
But both badass characters are individuals through and through, says Clarke. "I try to do different things in both projects. And I think that on paper they’re quite different. So whilst I’ll be bringing similarities [to both characters] I didn’t really lean on one for the other."
Clarke did get to keep a couple Qi'ra pieces to remember her time on the Star Wars set—and others she swiped from set. “I got given a beautiful piece of jewelry, and I borrowed a dress I haven’t given back!"
Clarke also talked about what it's been like working on a major production in the wake of Hollywood's sexual harassment reckoning, and to a degree, she’s already seen positive changes.
"I definitely felt the temperature change after #MeToo, that’s for sure. And that shift was awkward, for a minute," Clarke says. "I was fortunate to be on a set that was not like that," she adds, referring to Harvey Weinstein's crimes. "I felt and I do feel like both that set and my Game of Thrones set are respectful of that space."
But Clarke knows she's not in the majority. And she thinks that "awkwardness" she's observed on set is actually just what Hollywood needs in order to change. "I can just hope that the conversations that are happening will make things so awkward that it will change," she says.
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters May 25.