10 Essential Han Solo Stories (Outside The Star Wars Movies)

Han Solo had one of the best character arcs in Star Wars, and several stories have expanded on his journey outside the movies. Many of these stories were told in the old Expanded Universe, now branded as “Legends,” but they convey Han’s character just as effectively as stories told in Disney canon so far. From Han’s early life to his final adventures, Star Wars is full of great stories about the smuggler turned rebel beyond what was shown onscreen.

The variety of tales in canon and Legends also affords the opportunity to explore key aspects of Han’s life in different ways. Solo: A Star Wars Story introduced mainstream audiences to Han’s early adventures, but many of the film’s biggest moments played out in a radically different manner in Legends. Throughout both continuities, 10 Star Wars stand out as the most essential to understanding the life of Han Solo outside the movies.



10 Han’s Legends Backstory Is Told In The Han Solo Trilogy

Han Solo looking suave on the book cover

Long before Solo hit theaters, Han’s backstory was chronicled excellently in the Legends continuity through the Han Solo trilogy by A.C. Crispin. The Paradise Snare focuses on Han right after he leaves Corellia, The Hutt Gambit follows his early life as a smuggler after Chewbacca swore a life debt to Han for saving him from the Empire, and Rebel Dawn leads directly into the original Star Wars trilogy. Crispin brilliantly wove in other aspects of Han’s story from the Expanded Universe and devised reasonable explanations for his beliefs and attitudes in A New Hope, making the trilogy essential despite now being non-canon.

Related: Star Wars: 10 Things That Happened To Han Solo Only In Legends Canon

9 Han Flies For The Empire In Han Solo: Imperial Cadet (Canon)

Cover art for Star Wars: Han Solo - Imperial Cadet #1 comic issue.

Han’s time in the Imperial Navy ended up being cut from Solo but was finally shown in detail for Star Wars: Han Solo – Imperial Cadet by Robbie Thompson and Leonard Kirk. The series demonstrates why Han was inevitably kicked out, as he disobeys orders to rescue a fellow cadet and crashes his TIE Fighter on more than one occasion. The series is also the beginning of Han’s relationship with Beilert Valance, who eventually becomes a cyborg bounty hunter with a major role in other Marvel Star Wars comics. Above all, Imperial Cadet shows how Han became a great – albeit reckless – pilot destined to turn against the Empire.

8 Han Sees “A Lot Of Strange Stuff” In The Han Solo Adventures

Han Solo At Stars' End, Han Solo's Revenge, & Han Solo and the Lost Legacy by Brian Daley.

The Han Solo Adventures by Brian Daley were not only the first Han Solo stories told outside the movies, but they were also some of the first Star Wars novels ever written. Released between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Daley had to come up with a backstory for Han and expanded the Star Wars universe before even the movies had done so, setting the precedent for several future novels. Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo has stated that these are his favorite Star Wars novels, noting that each book’s 200 pages make them perfect for a Star Wars movie.

7 Han And Lando Pull Off A Heist In Scoundrels

Star Wars Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Described as an “Ocean’s 11-type heist caper,” Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn has Han assemble a team to break into a heavily fortified Black Sun stronghold. In addition to being an incredibly fun story, Scoundrels builds off many of Han’s lines from the original trilogy, namely his habit of describing both himself and Lando as “scoundrels.” Han also told Leia in Return of the Jedi that “Chewie and me got into a lot of places more heavily guarded than this” and Scoundrels finally shows this in action. As great as it is when Han gets to be a hero, it’s just as fun seeing him be a scoundrel.

6 Han And Leia Get Married In The Princess And The Scoundrel (Canon)

Star Wars The Princess and the Scoundrel Cover

Han told Leia that “You like me because I’m a scoundrel” and this proved to be right when the two got married in Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis. The Legends novel Star Wars: The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton originally had them marry four years after Return of the Jedi, but The Princess and the Scoundrel show why Han and Leia’s wedding happened almost immediately after in canon. The two gradually realize during their honeymoon that the war is not over, demonstrating the obstacles they are destined to face but also how they do so as husband and wife.

Related: Star Wars: Han & Leia’s Relationship Timeline Explained

5 Han Faces His Past In The Corellian Trilogy

Ambush at Corellia, Assault at Selonia, and Showdown at Centerpoint by Roger MacBride Allen.

Han may have left his life on Corellia behind, but he was forced to confront his past in The Corellian Trilogy by Roger MacBride Allen. While visiting Corellia with his family, the entire system breaks out in a civil war between humans and the other native species, and Han is caught right in the middle. Han is shocked to learn that the Human League is led by his first cousin, Thrackan Sal-Solo, who intends to use the conflict to ensure his control of Corellia. Having Han’s current family pitted against his own family makes for an engaging story and sets up Corellia as a key planet in future Star Wars novels.

4 Han And Boba Fett Face Off In The Last One Standing

Boba Fett and Han Solo from Star Wars: The Last One Standing by Daniel Keys Moran.

Han and the bounty hunter Boba Fett had every reason to hate each other, and their long rivalry came to a head in “The Last One Standing: The Tale of Boba Fett” by Daniel Keys Moran. A large part of the story takes place 15 years after Return of the Jedi when Fett once again becomes fixated on his old nemesis. Han is also shown to feel obsolete as Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa have their own busy lives, and these two stories converge in a face-off. The story is an excellent examination of Han and Boba Fett, ending on a cliffhanger that leaves the outcome open to interpretation.

3 Han Loses His Best Friend In Vector Prime

Han Solo mourns Chewbacca's death in Star Wars: Chewbacca (2000) #4.

Chewbacca was one of the few original trilogy characters to survive Kylo Ren in canon, but this was not the case in Legends. Star Wars: The New Jedi Order – Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore made Chewbacca one of the first casualties of the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion, sacrificing himself to save Han’s son, Anakin Solo, before being crushed to death by a moon. This scene was later adapted into the comic series Star Wars: Chewbacca by Darko Macan, capturing Han’s heartbreak after losing his best friend. Han was devastated after Chewbacca’s death, and it took him nearly half of The New Jedi Order series to find his way back to Leia.

2 Han Loses His Son To The Dark Side In Legacy Of The Force: Bloodlines

Boba Fett in Legacy of the Force

Following the death of Han and Leia’s youngest son, they eventually lost their oldest to the dark side in Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines by Karen Traviss. While the entire Legacy of the Force series showed Jacen Solo’s transformation into Darth Caedus, the second book drove a wedge between father and son that was never mended. After learning that Jacen had killed Boba Fett’s daughter during an interrogation, Han was disgusted by his son’s actions and told him to “get away from me.” This was one of the most heartbreaking chapters in Han’s life, especially after Jacen was eventually killed by his sister, Jaina Solo.

Related: Legends’ Version Of Kylo Ren Was FAR Better Than The Star Wars Sequels

1 Han Discovers His Ship’s History In Millennium Falcon

Star Wars: Millennium Falcon by James Luceno

After losing Jacen and taking in his daughter, Allana Djo Solo, Han and Leia set out to discover their ship’s entire history in Star Wars: Millennium Falcon by James Luceno. Even though a large portion of the novel focuses on the ship before Han owned it, it’s clear how much learning about the Millennium Falcon means to him. Luceno brilliantly tracks the ship’s history, revealing that what was originally just a fun easter egg in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith was indeed the Millennium Falcon. Perfectly balancing the present and the past, Millennium Falcon is one of the most essential Han Solo stories in Star Wars.

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