Tag: aftermath

Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End returns Lando to Cloud City

empires_end_coverSource text: ScreenRant

In the Star Wars original trilogy, Lando Calrissian went from a skeezy double crossing businessman to a General of the Rebel Alliance and one of the biggest heroes of the Battle of Endor. Needless to say, many fans were upset to find him without an appearance in The Force Awakens, even though the rest of the main cast from the OT was reunited. With Donald Glover putting on the cape and mustache for the now-officially-in-production young Han Solo movie, Lando is officially on his way back to the big screen. While he hasn’t had a presence in the new movies yet, the character hasn’t been entirely unused in other stories – he’s had a couple appearances in Star Wars Rebels, and even got his own Marvel miniseries.

lando-star-wars-rebelsLando voiced again by Billy Dee Williams in the Star Wars Rebels episode Idiot’s Array.

Remember Lando’s first scene in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back:

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There have only been a few books and comics that take place in the 35 year span between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, but the real heavy lifting during that era has been done by Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, which is about to be concluded with Aftermath: Empire’s End on February 21:

Aftermath previously served as the only post Return of the Jedi story to include Wedge Antilles in any significant way in modern canon, and it looks like Empire’s End is going to do the same thing for Lando Calrissian. As is revealed in a recent excerpt from the book, released by io9 (read the full excerpt here), Lando is back at Cloud City, trying to pick up where he left off before the Empire showed up on his doorstep.

The excerpt includes a couple major connections to previous Star Wars stories. The first is from the (now cancelled) mobile game Star Wars: Uprising, where the Imperial Governor Adelhard creates a blockade in the Anoat sector (home to Bespin and Hoth), and attempts to retain imperial control immediately after the Battle of Endor.

“After Endor, he thought he would just be able to sweep in here like a handsome king retaking his throne in the sky—but then that son-of-a-slug Governor Adelhard formed the Iron Blockade. He kept the people here trapped not only by a well-organized Imperial remnant, but also by a grand lie: that Palpatine was not dead.”

lando-calrissianThe second reference ties back to one of the “interludes” from the first book in the trilogy, Star Wars: Aftermath, where an uprising in Cloud City is led by a pirate, Kars Tal-Korla, who’s working with Lando’s right hand man, Lobot. Not so surprisingly, the Empire’s End excerpt reveals that Lobot is still working with Lando, who had slowly led this uprising from the shadows to eventually beat Governor Adelhard’s blockade and retake Cloud City.

The excerpt takes place on Cloud City’s casino level, which may remind many fans of rumors that some characters visit a “casino planet” in The Last Jedi. Obviously Lando doesn’t run every casino in the galaxy (as much as we’re sure he’d like to), but fans hoping for a Billy Dee Williams appearance in Episode VIII will obviously be encouraged by this passage.

The passage also features a Hamilton Easter egg (“The Rebellion was easy, Lando. Governing’s harder.”), and Lando stresses about a baby gift for Han and Leia. While it’s only a brief tease of what Empire’s End has in store – outside of finally revealing more details about the Battle of Jakku – it’s definitely enticing for Star Wars fans, especially those that love the cape-wearing Baron Administrator of Cloud City, Lando Calrissian.

Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End will hit stores on February 21.

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Leia uses the Force in new novel Aftermath: Life Debt

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Source: ScreenRant.Com.

Luke: It won’t be easy for you to hear it, but you must. If I don’t make it back, you’re the only hope for the Alliance.
Leia: Don’t talk that way.  You have a power I don’t understand and could never have.
Luke: You’re wrong, Leia. You have that power, too.  In time, you’ll learn to use it as I have.  The Force is strong in my family. My father has it.  I have it. And… my sister has it. Yes. It’s you, Leia.
Leia: I know. Somehow… I’ve always known.

Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

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In Return of the Jedi, audiences learn that Princess Leia Organa is Luke Skywalker’s twin sister. As the daughter of Anakin Skywalker, it means that Leia is Force sensitive and has the potential to be a Jedi Knight if she so chose. Of course, the siblings went down very different paths following the Battle of Endor. Leia became a leading figure of the New Republic before assuming command of the Resistance; Luke went off on a quest for the lore of the Jedi and exiled himself on Ahch-To once Ben Solo became Kylo Ren.

Still, Luke mentions to Leia, “In time, you’ll learn to use it as I have.” As fans have seen with Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens, it is possible to know the Force (and control it) without becoming a full-fledged member of the Jedi Order. It would appear that Leia fits that bill, if passages in the new canon novel Aftermath: Life Debt are any indication. At some point, Luke taught his sister some lessons, which play a substantial role in the book.

Leia using the Force isn’t exactly a new topic for Star Wars to cover. When Kylo Ren killed Han Solo in Episode VII, a cutaway shot showed that Leia felt a disturbance:

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Even in The Empire Strikes Back, she hears Luke’s call for help and brings the Millennium Falcon back to Cloud City:

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At the end of Return of the Jedi, Leia tells Han that she knows Luke wasn’t inside the Death Star when it exploded.

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The biggest takeaway from Life Debt is that Leia received some minor training from Luke, specifically how to let the Force guide you during a troubling time. In the novel, Leia is going through a very stressful period, as Han has gone missing while trying to liberate Kashyyyk with Chewbacca (and the New Republic offers minimal help to find him).

Life Debt made headlines prior to its release thanks to an excerpt that depicted Leia communicating with her unborn child and realizing that she’s pregnant with a son. This is perhaps the most noteworthy example of the Princess using the Force in the book, but it is far from the only one. During a dogfight sequence towards the end (when Leia is flying the Falcon against an Imperial attack), author Chuck Wendig writes:

“There are even moments when she can feel the battle unfolding around her in space – invisibly, as if all of it is a warm stream in which she has dipped her hand.” 

Leia may never have followed the footsteps of her brother, but she is using her abilities in ways that benefit her, letting the Force flow through her when it’s absolutely necessary.

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The Disney canon hasn’t been afraid to suggest Leia has become somewhat skilled with her gifts. There are instances in Claudia Gray’s Bloodline that imply Leia is using the Force as she works on unraveling a diabolical plot. She isn’t performing Jedi mind tricks or levitating objects with her mind yet, but there’s enough evidence in the publications to suggest that Leia has become (or is in the process of becoming) strong with the Force, and it will be interesting to see if this aspect of the character is developed in the future. Leia has always been a powerful fighter, but now that she has the Force as her ally, she can take things to a whole other level.

A big question is whether or not Leia’s developed use of the Force will factor into one of the upcoming movies – beyond the small segments already seen. The Lucasfilm story group is very careful about what they release and when they publish it, so it’s likely they have some plans for Leia in Episode VIII or Star Wars 9. At the same time, her role in The Force Awakens was very minimal, and if rumors about Star Wars 8 pan out she won’t have much to do in the next chapter, either. It would be disappointing if Leia never got to display the full extent of her talents on the big screen, but at the very least, fans are getting a taste of a Force enhanced Leia in the other materials available, illustrating that Lucasfilm is making the most of their initiative.

Han Solo and Chewbacca life debt backstory explained

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

One of the most dynamic duos in all of cinema, Han Solo and Chewbacca have been an inseparable pair since they were first introduced in 1977. It’s hard to think of one without the other, one of the many reasons why Han’s death in last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens was so heartbreaking. They are two of the most beloved and popular characters in the entire franchise, making them ideal candidates for their own spinoff film (hitting theaters in 2018). And with all the new novels and comics being released as part of the larger series canon, there are plenty of opportunities to put the best friends in the spotlight.

This is why there is much interest in the latest book, Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, the sequel to last year’s Aftermath. As the title (and cover image of the Millennium Falcon) would suggest, part of the narrative deals with Han and Chewie’s history with each other as they work on accomplishing a mission that means so much personally to the both of them. We’re breaking down the backstory for the two characters here, as well as theorizing on what (if any) implications it will have on future films.

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HAN AND CHEWIE’S LIFE DEBT

Fans of the old Expanded Universe (now “Legends”) know the story quite well. Han Solo was a member of the Imperial Navy and saved Chewbacca from enslavement as the Empire occupied the Wookiee home planet Kashyyyk. Because of this, Chewie felt he owed Han a life debt, and stayed by his side through thick and thin. Of course, Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 wiped out most of this material, but the story group stuck very close to this basic idea when re-canonizing how Han met Chewie.

The primary focus of Life Debt is Han and Chewie attempting to liberate Kashyyyk from whatever traces of the Empire remain. At some point, the Wookiee is captured while Han makes a getaway. Obviously, the smuggler is determined to save his co-pilot, which proves to be a dangerous task. After a transmission to Princess Leia ends abruptly, Leia sends a team of New Republic fighters out to find her husband. When the group finally discovers Solo and asks why he’s risking his life, Han explains the deep bond he has with Chewbacca, making it apparent why he can’t just turn his back and walk away.

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Though the passage in the novel is brief, it’s heavily implied that the Disney canon version of the tale is very similar to Legends. During their rise to power, the Imperials severely mistreated the Wookiees. Says Han:

“I’ve seen what the Empire has done. They ripped down trees. They put cuffs and collars on all the Wookiees. Some of them they cut open. Others they ship off to work the worst jobs the Empire has on offer. They took his home from him. I can’t abide by that. I don’t have a home anymore besides the Falcon, but him? He does. And he deserves to go home. He has a family too, you know.”

The “him” Han is referring to is Chewbacca. From this, it would appear that in his younger days, Solo’s journeys somehow landed him on Kashyyyk, where he saw firsthand the tyranny of the Empire. Somehow (this isn’t revealed in the book), Han gets Chewie off the planet, and the famed life debt is formed. Chewbacca believes that Han saved him, but according to Solo it’s the other way around:

“I saved him, at least that’s what he says, the big fuzzy fool, but really, he saved me. I was on a bad path, and Chewie, he put me straight. Saved my shanks more than once too. He said it was part of some life debt… It means that he owes his life to me… He doesn’t owe me. I owe him. I got a debt to Chewie to get him his home back.”

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This is a fascinating angle that adds a layer to Han and Chewie’s relationship. For longtime fans, it also makes a great deal of sense too. Dating back to A New Hope, Chewbacca has always been Han’s conscience. As the Rebels geared up to assault the Death Star, Chewie seemed to be reluctantly going along with Han’s plan to make away with his reward. “What are you looking at? I know what I’m doing,” Solo said to his pal after Luke Skywalker stormed off. Off-screen, it very well may have been the Wookiee that influenced the change of heart in the smuggler. Han realizes that his partnership with Chewie led to a far more rewarding life than he could have ever imagined (or deserved), so he wants to repay his friend.

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By the end of Life Debt (with a major assist from Leia and members of the New Republic), Kashyyyk is freed and the Wookiees can work on rebuilding their homes and eliminating whatever Imperials are left. In an emotional scene, Han says goodbye to Chewie, because he now has to go back with Leia and start his own family. Insisting that he stays on Kashyyyk, Han tells his co-pilot “We’ll see each other again. I’m gonna be a father and no way my kid won’t have you in his life.” From there, they go their separate ways. Those who read Claudia Gray’s Bloodline know that the two weren’t “together” for a while, as Han was partaking in an intergalactic racing league while Chewie settled into a domesticated life with his relatives.

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The big question, then, is what happens between Bloodline (set six years before Force Awakens) and Episode VII. Han and Chewie are back to their smuggling ways in Star Wars 7, hauling rathtars and swindling whoever they can in the galaxy. It will be interesting to see if a future canon publication will detail this time period, since it’s now something fans will be very curious about. Did the First Order target Kashyyyk? Did Chewie just decide to rejoin his friend after Ben Solo turned to the Dark Side? It’s an interesting topic that could serve as a compelling story.

AN ‘ORIGIN STORY’ SPINOFF FILM

Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s currently untitled young Han Solo anthology movie will of course feature Chewbacca fighting alongside Alden Ehrenreich’s version of the Corellian. Disney CEO Bob Iger has mentioned that the project is envisioned as an “origin story” for the pair, but wouldn’t elaborate past that distinction. It’s a vague classification that could mean one of several things. Going by the textbook definition of “origin,” Han Solo could detail how the two met and became a team for life. It is somewhat telling that Wendig doesn’t explain the entire backstory in his book, as if Lucasfilm is planting seeds for things to come.

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One of the key aspects of any Star Wars movie is heart. The best films in the franchise have a strong emotional core that makes viewers genuinely care about what happens to the characters. What Han alludes to in Life Debt has the potential for an engaging tale that provides a satisfying character arc for fans to enjoy. It’s true that seeing Han on the “bad path” could contrast with the action/comedy sensibilities of Lord and Miller, but it’s worth pointing out that Star Wars has seamlessly blended tones before. The Empire Strikes Back is regarded as the darkest installment, yet still has plenty of laughs. The Force Awakens dealt with some serious subjects, but also made time for BB-8’s thumbs up and Kylo Ren’s temper tantrums. Moviegoers shouldn’t go into Han Solo expecting 21 Jump Street in a galaxy far, far away. However, Lord and Miller should still find room for their unique voices while fitting into the larger franchise.

There are many fans who are questioning the necessity of a young Han Solo movie, and if it’s basically When Han Met Chewie…, it could be viewed as a wasted opportunity (since everyone knows the two become best friends). Kathleen Kennedy has mentioned Lucasfilm doesn’t want to get into the habit of answering questions better left untouched, but the Han and Chewie origin story may not fit into that category. An argument could be made that this would be a stronger angle than having the two go on a random assignment from Jabba the Hutt (in James Bond style, for example). The circumstances surrounding their partnership being formed could enhance the dynamic on display in the original trilogy, changing the way fans watch the first three movies. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is poised to do this with the Death Star plans, so it’s only logical Han Solo could add something of value too.

CONCLUSION

The backstory of Han Solo and Chewbacca was one of the most famous aspects of the Legends materials, so it was only a matter of time before the new canon covered it. For fans of the EU, it’s nice to see that not much has changed, and if anything, it’s now more impactful. The two saved each other from unspeakable horrors, and Life Debt serves as a touching epilogue to their pre-Force Awakens adventures. Their debts are now repaid, and they will never forget what they gained from their friendship.

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For the most part, Lucasfilm has made an effort to tone down any references to the larger canon in the feature films, understanding that not all viewers will have been caught up on all that’s available. Still, there are certain nods to elements from the books, comics, and TV shows popping up. The Aftermath character of Temmin Wexley is an X-wing pilot in Episode VII, and Forest Whitaker is portraying Saw Gerrera from The Clone Wars series in Rogue One. These are smart ways to illustrate that it’s all connected while still maintaining universal accessibility. Even if Han Solo deals with the fateful first meeting of smuggler and Wookiee, reading Life Debt won’t be a requirement; it will just make the experience more rewarding.

Lucasfilm’s story group doesn’t just arbitrarily do things, there’s a purpose behind each and every move they make. It’s no surprise that Episode VIII director Rian Johnson contributed story ideas for Bloodline, which lays the foundation for the political landscape of the galaxy. The Han Solo spinoff is arriving just five months after Star Wars 8, so it wouldn’t be a shock if Life Debt was the studio’s way of introducing concepts that tie into the movie, allowing fans to familiarize themselves with the history. Time will tell.