For nearly eight years Emilia Clarke has commanded dragons and respect from thousands of fans on the hit show Game of Thrones as Daenerys Targaryen. Now with that shows run coming to an end she sets her sights on the film industry by taking up a role in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Her transition from Emmy nominated actress on Game of Thrones to movie star has not always been easy. With a previous attempt with the Terminator reboot in her rearview mirror, she is moving up to a galaxy far far away.
The thirty-one-year-old actress graduated from the Drama Centre London in 2010 at the age of twenty-three where she quickly acquired her first role in the television movie Triassic Attack (2010). But it was within the next year that she would find the role that would define her life forever. The creators of Game of Thrones Dan Weiss and David Benioff weren’t satisfied with Tamzin Merchant the pilot and needed a new actress for the role of Daenerys Targaryen. Clarke scored the role, with the creators quoted by Vanity Fair as saying, “Emilia was the only person we saw- and we saw hundreds- who could carry the full range that Daenerys required.” So with the role secured, the show took off and her career with it.
From that point on she become one of the breakout characters on this highly successful show, with many fans resonating with her rise from the ashes of her past to become one of the fiercest characters on the show. Her success and following on the show, with her plotline being mostly separated from the rest of the cast, allowed her to start to reach out of the realms of television and into the more lucrative film industry.
Unlike a lot of her co-stars on Game of Thrones Clarke has attempted to find work in other films trying to support a franchise of her own to continue to gather her clout and fame so that she can make the projects she is passionate about. Her first real attempt at breaking away from just being seen as Daenerys was meant with little success as she played Sarah Conner in the reboot for the Terminator franchise Terminator Genisys. After the flop of that film, she stuck mostly to smaller roles while continuing to have a larger role in Game of Thrones. In this time, she stared in a romance film, Me Before You, opposite Sam Claflin.
Now she is back in full force as a main character in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story a franchise that can make careers overnight. With buzz and talk of another Solo movie Clarke could have found the franchise gold she is seeking to help her hold on to the fame that Thrones gave her but also help her establish her creditably as a force on screen beyond just blockbusters and hit shows. Speaking with Vanity Fair, her Thrones co-star and friend Kit Harrington said, “She’s done, far more than me or most people in the cast, these very high-budget big-hitting blockbusters. Hopefully, Star Wars continues for her and she does more of them.”
Her character in this new Star Wars movie, Qi’ra seems to be one tailor-made for the range and prowess of the actress. Qi’ra, a rogue of her own, is set to be just as dangerous and violent as her male counterpart Han Solo. She is a femme fatale inspired character, a first for a Star Wars films which means that she will be once again blazing new trails in a storied franchise, only this time success seems more likely. Clarke herself only got really excited about the role when she found out about her character and was quoted saying, “We’re going to hit you with a character that could very easily well be a dude, because you question her motives. That’s really fucking exciting in the Star Wars universe, because that has never happened.” If this excitement translates into the role it should help elevate her character into franchise history which would only lead to greater successes down the road.
So with Solo coming out this week and Thrones ending within the next year, Clarke seems to have made it, with the hope that this role helps carry her to further success past just Game of Thrones. If Solo takes off, there are sure to be more offers and choices for the actress moving forward with her career as she becomes a household name. When asked by Stuff what is next for her she said, “I’m just looking to see what it is that makes me tick now, what it is that I relate to, what it is that gets me going now, in this climate. The questions I’m asking myself when I’m reading scripts are, ‘Why is someone making this movie now, where’s the relevance?’ and that’s going to be a narrative throughout the rest of my career choices.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story opens on May 25th.