Spoilers for Star Wars: Last Shot are ahead.
Let the hype begin…
Just weeks before we’ll see the characters on the screen together, Daniel José Older’s Last Shot takes fans on adventures that happen before and after Solo: A Star Wars Story.
“So Lando’s story takes place before the movie Solo, and Han’s takes place after Solo,” explained Older to Starwars.com on April 16. “So the younger-version stories sandwich Solo.”
But the prequel-era isn’t the only epoch touched by the book, which hits bookstore shelves, today (April 17).
“Han and Lando are both so much fun,” added Older, speaking to the setting and appeal of the characters. “I love the balance or the tension between recklessness and responsibility. They both embody that in very fascinating and very different ways and exploring that was a pure literary pleasure for me, especially with the different ages involved.
“We have a younger Lando and a younger Han, and then both of them more mature post-Return of the Jedi, and we’re exploring what it means to tear off into the galaxy and cause trouble back then versus right now, and the different responsibilities they have. It was just a lot of fun.”
“Fun” seems to be the theme surrounding the Solo saga, with both the trailers and this book emphasizing a swashbuckling, Buck Rogers-esque vibe that is in direct contrast to the current episodic trilogy.
However, Older explored deeper topics as well.
Learning about Han & Lando
Take fatherhood as an example. Older explains:
He struggles with it in the way that any person would, especially since he’s used to the run-around, being able to bop from place to place freely, and suddenly being tied down and what does that mean. But also craving it, being really content, but not knowing what to do with that contentment… Of course, we also have the shadow of what happens later, with Ben and him, looming over every decision he makes as a father. So there’s that added tension, but that was a tension I figured to let best work its own magic and just stay there in the shadows. No direct mention of any of that.
Meanwhile, we learn more about Lando, too.
“[W]e see Lando, really, really wanting to settle down—he kind of wants what Han has—but they both are used to this rugged smuggler lifestyle that they’ve been living for their whole lives, so they’re both trying to find what it means to settle down but in different ways,” said Older to James Floyd. “Like I said, Han has already found it, but doesn’t know how to reconcile it with who he is, and Lando is looking for it in a more romantic way.”
Previously, Starwars.com published an excerpt, which ended with a passage that will send many fans to Amazon:
One thing that was different about Lando: that wide scoundrel grin was not stretching across his face. In fact, he looked downright pissed.
“What’sa matter, old buddy? And why are you—?”
Han didn’t finish because now Lando was reaching back, winding up, fist tight, and then swinging forward with what looked like all his strength. And then, sure enough, fist met face and Han flew backward with a shocked grunt, thinking, as the world flushed to darkness: I should’ve probably seen that coming.
Another excerpt teased the return of a familiar face (and included an audio passage read by Older). Sana Starros (of Marvel comics fame), in a familiar location:
“What was that—” Han yelled, and then a blaster shot shrieked through the air from the doorway.
Han was on the floor before he’d realized he’d jumped for cover. Above him, Maz dished out rushed commands as the few patrons left screamed and ducked under tables. Sana flew past, let off two shots toward the door, and glared at Han. “You coming?”
Another shot fizzed and then thunked against the bar right by Han’s head. “Coming!” he yelled, hopping up and dashing for the back exit behind Sana. “Who did you piss off now?” he demanded as they broke out into the thick Takodanan night.
“Bounty hunters,” Sana said. “Mean ones.”
If the above didn’t yet whet your whistle, check out the Amazon description:
Even the fastest ship in the galaxy can’t outrun the past. . . .
It’s one of the galaxy’s most dangerous secrets: a mysterious transmitter with unknown power and a reward for its discovery that most could only dream of claiming. But those who fly the Millennium Falcon throughout its infamous history aren’t your average scoundrels. Not once, but twice, the crew of the Falcon tries to claim the elusive prize—first, Lando Calrissian and the droid L3-37 at the dawn of an ambitious career, and later, a young and hungry Han Solo with the help of his copilot, Chewbacca. But the device’s creator, the volatile criminal Fyzen Gor, isn’t interested in sharing. And Gor knows how to hold a grudge. . . .
It’s been ten years since the rebel hero Han Solo last encountered Fyzen Gor. After mounting a successful rebellion against the Empire and starting a family with an Alderaanian princess, Han hasn’t given much thought to the mad inventor. But when Lando turns up at Han’s doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s Fyzen’s assassins that he’s running from. And without Han’s help, Lando—and all life on Cloud City—will be annihilated.
With the assistance of a young hotshot pilot, an Ewok slicer prodigy, the woman who might be the love of Lando’s life, and Han’s best and furriest friend, the two most notorious scoundrels in the New Republic are working together once more. They’ll have to journey across the stars—and into the past—before Gor uses the device’s power to reshape the galaxy.
Like I said, “Fun…” I am picking it up today on Audible. Punch it! JB