By now, you’ve probably seen Rogue One, and either loved it, or been branded as this year’s Star Wars grinch for daring to offer up an opinion that criticizes one of the world’s most beloved toy commercials.
What you didn’t see, though, was an element of the movie’s production that was left on the cutting room floor: the nerf herders.
You remember nerf herders, right?
No, not the whiny nineties band—thankfully, there was never a plan to give these washed up rockers a cameo in the movie.
Instead, the movie would have let us find out just how cruel Princess Leia was being when she called Han a nerf herder in Empire Strikes Back.
The line has gone on to enjoy something of a cult status among Star Wars fans, but let’s all breathe a sigh of relief that Lucasfilm decided against adding any kind of explanation to what a nerf herder might actually be.
We all know what happens when Star Wars tries to explain itself. Dare we bring up the dreaded Midi-Chlorians, or mention how Darth Vader became the most evil man in the galaxy because he had bad dreams about Padme dying in childbirth?
Star Wars is fun because of its mysticism, and thanks to its rich, unexplained lore. We don’t need to know what a nerf herder looks like, just as we don’t need to know who built C3PO, or where Boba Fett came from.
The Star Wars universe feels bigger because we don’t always get an explanation, and it’s more fun to see new elements introduced, rather than for a movie to pause and explain in excruciating detail why calling someone a nerf herder would be an insult.
But, if you are one of the people who likes to know the backstory behind every single little detail in these movies (and you’re tired of Wookieepedia), have no fear: the Han Solo movie will give you more than world-building to keep you happy.
In that movie, we’ll see how Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando. We’ll see him complete the Kessel Run in under twelve parsecs, and we’ll be shown in a twenty minute chase sequence how Han dumps a load of contraband after being pursued by an Imperial cruiser, and ends up indebted to Jabba the Hutt.
That movie will exist for the sole purpose of taking any sort of mystery out of Han Solo’s backstory.
If it turns out that he was raised by nerf herders himself, it won’t really be a surprise.