Hints of Han’s EU past in Solo: A Star Wars Story?

Though the path of production for the Han Solo origin movie has not been smooth (what with changing directors, etc.), trailers and initial reports seem to say it is at least entertaining.

I have never been truly excited about Solo: A Star Wars Story simply because the stories I want to hear about young Han have already been told…in the EU.  The Star Wars Expanded Universe (now Legends) has several great novels featuring Han before the OT.

The Han Solo Trilogy

The Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin contains many of the expected plot points: Han meeting Chewbacca, winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando in a game of cards, losing a shipment of spice he was smuggling for Jabba, and eventually betraying Lando in such a way that Han anticipates a chilly reception later on Cloud City.  I’m sure Solo will contain all these elements as well, but the details may be slightly different.

A recent clip from the movie shows that one detail seems to align with Han’s EU backstory: his time in the Empire.  In The Paradise Snare, Han eventually achieves his youthful goal of entering the Imperial Academy to become a Navy pilot.  It seems that in Solo, Han also begins his career with the Imperial military, though it appears to be the army instead of the navy.  Check out io9’s article for further information.

Another hint comes from the soundtrack titles.  Check out track 16: “Into the Maw.”  This could potentially be a reference to Han’s famous record-setting Kessel Run.  The Han Solo Trilogy was used to retcon Han’s claim that he had made the Kessel Run in “less than twelve parsecs,” a parsec being a unit of distance, not time.  Oops.

But in the EU stories, Han was actually able to shave some distance off the Run by flying close to a cluster of black holes called the Maw, thereby warping time-space. (The Maw was also the site for the initial construction of the Death Star–what better place to hide your giant planet-killing weapon prototype than a cluster of black holes?)  So, the famous gaffe actually is correct, based on that explanation (sort of…don’t think about it too hard).  It seems possible that this is the explanation they are sticking with in Solo, and we’ll see a Kessel Run up against some black holes.

Also, how cool is it that John Williams got to compose a track for the movie?!

One last minor bit of convergence.  Before the Han Solo Trilogy was written, Han and Lando each had a trio of novellas about their adventures prior to the OT (which were incorporated in the later trilogy); I’ve never gotten all the way through them because, honestly, the books are a bit weird.  But in The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Lando’s co-pilot of the Falcon is a droid named Vuffi Raa.  It seems like this role will be filled in Solo by a droid named L3-37.  Although Vuffi Raa was not humanoid, so the two look nothing alike, there could still be some similarity of function or personality.

L3 and Lando

What parts of Han’s EU backstory are you hoping they keep?  What are you hoping they get rid of?  How many different ways can Han betray Lando? (I think the EU has at least three…)

Advertisements

Fan Art Friday: Solo

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri at Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

I’m not crazy about how this one turned out, but I don’t hate it either.  I had planned to use colors that remind me of Han Solo: Blue, red, grey, brown, and some yellow.  (Kiri actually had a similar color scheme; check out hers here).

However, then I decided for some reason to throw some green in there, and now it looks like kindergarten primary colors, which is not what I was going for.  I also got bored coloring Vader all dark brown, so I started mixing in light brown and now he’s got a weird ombré thing going on.

But luckily, this image is actually in the book twice, so I’ll get another chance at it someday!

I’m cautiously optimistic about the Solo movie based on the trailers.  I probably won’t get to see it in theaters or anything, but I always enjoy a good heist story.  In fact, if you would like a good heist story with Han and Lando, check out the Legends novel Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn.  I’m lucky enough to have a signed copy! 😀

 

John Williams, Live

If I am a musician at all, it is thanks to John Williams.

John Williams, the five-time Oscar winning composer, who created the soundtracks of so many childhoods with the scores to Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones…ok, I think you get the idea.  I listened to his music on repeat in high school.  He made me love marches, appreciate the French horn, and put me to sleep many nights with his “Hymn to the Fallen.”

john_williams_hollywood_bowl
Yeah, this guy.  John Williams conducting at Hollywood Bowl By Alec McNayr (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I have had the extreme privilege of seeing John Williams himself conduct the world-class Cleveland Orchestra three times in my life.  Most recently, I saw him conduct the orchestra at their beautiful Severance Hall in the cultural heart of Cleveland.  I bought these tickets eight months in advance and had to purchase a subscription to other orchestra concerts to even get a chance to do so.

It was so worth it.

The evening started with “Sound the Bells! (a classic fanfare) and progressed through a series of hits until finishing with the highlight of excerpts from Star Wars.

 

There were a couple of fun surprises for me.  I was familiar with all the pieces except the Suite from The BFG, which turned out to be a charming, fantastic piece featuring a lot of flutes and the use of a tuba mute, which I don’t think I’d ever seen used before.

Tuba Straight Mute
Yeah, this thing.

Another pleasant surprise was the theme from the ’90s remake of Sabrina, which I honestly forgot he scored.  I promptly went home and watched the movie again on Amazon Prime.  I love that movie, and my husband had somehow never seen it,

I was also pleased to hear some excerpts from Jaws.  I think this is one of his scores that tends to get overlooked; everyone is so familiar with the ominous two-note shark motif that the rest of the score gets forgotten.  Check out “Out to Sea,” which is a jaunty little nautical tune.

Of course, the highlight of the night was the Star Wars music.  It was great to hear some of the new stuff, and for one of the encores they played “Han Solo and the Princess.”

The night really lived up to my expectations.  Williams is such a genial guy, and he spoke about nearly every piece.  I think he enjoyed conducting as much as the audience enjoyed listening; he said that performing with the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall was a “bucket list” type thing for him.  It was just perfect that he was able to be here for the orchestra’s 100th season.

What’s your favorite piece or score by John Williams?  Can you even pick a favorite?

Fan Art Friday: Vader’s Mask

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri at Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

My cat wanted to get into the action this month: I left my book open on the floor and decided to add his claw marks.  I think he was trying to add to the edginess or something.

I really like the color scheme I picked this time, and the execution was okay.  I did Vader’s mask in grey and it kinda turned out looking like a skeleton.  But then I decided I liked it, because it reminded me of the scene in ROTJ when Vader tosses the Emperor over the railing, and the Force lightening energy electrocutes him so you can see his skeleton.  Not sure that’s entirely scientifically accurate, but it sure looks cool.

You can check out Kiri’s version here and enjoy its great colors and shading.

Next month in anticipation of the Solo movie, we’ll do a Han Solo-inspired image.  Fun fact: this one is actually in the book twice!

20180405_232719.jpg

Fan Art Friday: Portrait of a Queen

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri at Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

20180216_143710.jpg

We meet Amidala as Queen of Naboo in Episode I, and I have always loved her dresses and makeup. So I always enjoy coloring Amidala. I wanted to use the core colors of red, gold, and black from her outfit, which fit the poppies perfectly.

But I also wanted to incorporate other colors. I hit upon using royal blue, mixing blue and purple. Purple has been associated with royalty since Roman times, so I thought it was fitting thematically.

The monarch of Naboo is the head of state for the planet (the governor of Naboo being the head of goverment). It is actually an elected position, and I always thought it was strange that the people of Naboo seemed to frequently elect teenage girls to the position. Amidala was elected at the age of fourteen. In my experience, teenage girls are not always a font of calm and logic, but the queens seem to be the exception to that rule.

Check out Kiri’s version here (and read her thoughts on Amidala’s stoic facade).