With Solo: A Star Wars Story hitting theaters a week from tonight, I’ve been inspired to dig an old friend out of the cavernous Bennion Archives for a quick re-read, a novel called Han Solo at Stars’ End by the late Brian Daley. Published in 1979, Stars’ End was the first of three books by Daley about everyone’s favorite Corellian smuggler pilot, and only the second-ever Star Wars tie-in novel. (The first was Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which was a great adventure but sadly was rendered obsolete as soon as The Empire Strikes Back was released. I read and reviewed that one a few years ago, if anyone is interested.)
Han and Chewie have always been my favorite Star Wars characters, and the Daley books — Stars’ End in particular — quickly became favorite reads as well. I must’ve read Stars’ End almost as many times as I’ve read the Star Wars novelization itself. The opening stands out in my mind as a textbook example of in medias res storytelling:
“It’s a warship all right. Damn!”
Instrument panels in the Millennium Falcon‘s cockpit were alive with trouble lights, warning flashers, and the beeps and hoots of the sensor package. Readout screens were feeding combat-information displays at high speed.
Han Solo, crouched forward in the pilot’s seat, coolly flicking his eyes from instrument to screen, hastily assessed the situation. His lean, youthful face creased in a frown of concern. Beyond the cockpit canopy, the surface of the planet Duroon drew steadily nearer. Somewhere below and astern, a heavily armed vessel had detected the Falcon‘s presence and was now homing in to challenge her…
I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to read more!
The Daley novels were among the so-called “Expanded Universe” materials that Disney declared non-canon when it acquired the Star Wars franchise, but Stars’ End is always going to feel “real” to me no matter what Disney does. I’m very interested to see if Solo: A Star Wars Story borrows any ideas from it or the other Daley books…