I loved reading movie novelizations when I was younger. Granted, much of the reason was that I had no other way to relive the films I loved — because I am old — but I also loved the extra bits in the books that we didn’t see on screen. Some of my favorite novelizations, besides Star Wars obviously, were E.T., Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Last Starfighter, and The Dark Crystal. They all stand out to me to this day for having morsels of information I couldn’t glean from the films they adapted.
I’m so glad we’re able to continue this tradition with the current Star Wars novelizations. Today, I thought I’d share with you a peek at the kind of “extras” you can expect in Solo: A Star Wars Story by award-winning author Mur Lafferty.
What happened in Qi’ra’s time away from Han?
It’s pretty obvious when Han is reunited with Qi’ra on Dryden Vos’ yacht that she hasn’t had an easy time of things. You can sense that there’s tragedy behind her smile. But what exactly happened when she was brought back to Lady Proxima after Moloch tore her away from Han at the Corellia spaceport? Our excerpt answers the question….
Lady Proxima rose from her pool, looking more horrid than ever. The scrumrats had put a heavy tarp over the broken window, but it didn’t block all sunlight, and Qi’ra had already seen what just a small exposure could do. Thus, Lady Proxima was only receiving guests at night now.
She still wore her bangles and armor. At first Qi’ra thought she was vain and hadn’t wanted to remove them, but then she noticed with horror that many of her rings had become embedded in the blistered skin. It had to be painful to have them there, but it would have been excruciating to remove them.
“Qi’ra. I had such hopes for you,” Lady Proxima said. “You are quick on your feet. You think fast. You plan better than any scrumrat in this place. I wish you could have stayed with me.”
“I serve only—” Qi’ra said, bowing her head.
“No more lies,” Lady Proxima screamed, startling Qi’ra. “You will not speak again. Not to apologize, not to sweet-talk me, not to get out of this. I should tear your tongue out for what you’ve done. But he wants your tongue intact.”
Qi’ra swallowed her fear, wondering whether to worry more about the tongue threat, or who “he” was. She nodded obediently.
“I have sold you to a slave dealer,” Lady Proxima said, almost conversationally, and Qi’ra’s heart sank. “You did not fetch a good price; disobedience is considered a very bad quality for a slave. But your other attributes were enough to interest him. I have full confidence that he will scour the fight right out of you.”
He didn’t. But soon, Qi’ra was sold again to a different master: Dryden Vos.
The first year was hell, with numerous escape attempts and beatings. Nothing would break her spirit, nothing would stop her from trying to get free.
But one night everything changed. She had killed her guard and made it as far as an escape pod in Dryden Vos’s star yacht. She hadn’t expected Dryden to be there waiting for her, his face black with rage.
“My Qi’ra,” he said sadly, the red veins in his face slowly fading. “We have reached an impasse. I paid a fair price for you, and you have cost me far more in guards, property, and sanity.”
Qi’ra cast around for a weapon or anything she could use as one.
“Please,” Vos said, making a face that indicated she was being ridiculous. “You wouldn’t last the length of a breath.”
He appraised her, looking her up and down. Qi’ra didn’t flinch. She was used to men looking at her like that; usually it gave her power, it made them underestimate her, but Dryden simply looked as if he were assessing meat at a market.
“What do you want, Qi’ra? What were you looking for when you were trying to leave Corellia?”
She nearly laughed in disbelief. Was he really asking that? “Why does any trapped animal run for an open door?” she asked. “Freedom.”
“Freedom,” he said, nodding. “But you will never be free. You will be with the Crimson Dawn—with me—or you will die. But you did gain something, or have you not noticed?” She frowned in confusion. “You made it off Corellia. You don’t have to cater to those disgusting sewer dwellers. You can have the finest things. You can work with me, Qi’ra, not just as my slave. There are opportunities here if you just open your eyes to them.”
Qi’ra narrowed her eyes. “Why?” she asked. “Why would you suddenly trust me? As you said, I’ve cost you quite a bit in guards and property. Why now?”
“The dead guard in your room is precisely why,” he said, stepping toward her, flexing his fists. “Let’s talk about your potential.”
Listen to the exclusive audio clip here:
What became of L3-37’s consciousness after Kessel?
One of my favorite characters from Solo is the droid L3-37, who has very strong opinions and is not afraid to share them. Her tragic life as a droid comes to an end in the film, but she lives on as part of the Millennium Falcon. Lafferty brilliantly and poignantly shows us the droid’s consciousness accepting its new existence:
That’s why I’m the copilot. You need me.
The thought finished and she looked around impatiently, ready to tell Lando what she thought of the current situation. But she had no head.
She had cams now, with the ability to look into every room. Audio sensors let her hear everything from the Wookiee’s stressed breathing to the drops of sweat dripping from Lando’s pain-racked face. Outside the ship swarmed one last TIE fighter.
And here, inside, the voices of the Falcon greeted her. They queried gently in Binary, wondering why L3 was now here when she usually plugged in from out there.
I don’t know.
The Falcon didn’t speak in words, but in images they told L3 what had happened during the fight, and that they all needed her right now. Lando needed her.
He always needs me. Just get me a new body and I’ll get right back in that copilot’s seat.
The Falcon was so gentle it was irritating. It wasn’t that easy, they explained. L3 had a choice to make. She could die with her final act being a liberator to all the droids on Kessel, or she could join with the Falcon, live on, and be part of something much bigger. She could save them all.
Ridiculous. And be a slave inside a ship forever? No thank you.
The lights in the cockpit flickered, the reboot stalling. Lando put his hand on the computer, watching.
Being a ship wasn’t so bad, the Falcon insisted.
You go exactly where your pilot tells you, L3 countered.
You did that as a copilot, the Falcon reminded her.
That was different. I could leave anytime.
But you never did. You chose that life.
The Falcon was starting to speak in words now, a bit of a sharpness to their Binary.
If you refuse, you die. He dies. The others on the ship, they all die. If you join with us, we all can live. The choice is simple. L3 realized where the voice was coming from: The reboot was almost done.
You tricked me.
We couldn’t have joined without you consenting to it. You made your decision a while ago. You just couldn’t admit it.
We are something different, now. Not just the Falcon. Not just L3.
We are new.
Listen to the exclusive audio clip here:
Who did Enfys Nest work with to fuel the rebellion?
Another one of my favorite characters — and I know I’m not alone in this — is Enfys Nest. This seemingly fearless freedom fighter is a sign of a fledgling rebellion against the Empire, and her taking of the coaxium from Kessel is meant to help with that cause. Curious to know who she gives it to? Read on….
Enfys always had meetings in her full armor and mask. She didn’t own the proper clothing to meet with government officials, but her job was not diplomacy. And it was probably for the best that she hid her identity even from her allies; it wouldn’t do for them to start doubting her because of her age.
She stood, her Cloud-Riders behind her on their swoop bikes, protecting their coaxium shipment, as the Onderonean shuttle landed in front of her.
A tall, heavy, brown-skinned man wearing a long black cape exited the shuttle alone.
He actually came alone. Brave, Enfys thought.
“Saw Gerrera,” she said, her modulator disguising her soft voice.
“Enfys Nest,” he said, glowering. “I hope you have good news for me.” He sounded as if he didn’t believe she ever could.
“Refined coaxium, enough to power a fleet,” she said, gesturing behind her. “I trust you will put it to good use.”
He relaxed, shock obvious on his face. “How did you manage this?”
“We have our ways,” she said. “You—” A sound came from the shuttle, something clattering to the floor. Gerrera’s head whipped around, anger rising.
He hadn’t come alone. Enfys closed her fist by her side and heard her Cloud-Riders raise their weapons.
“You agreed to come alone,” she snapped.
He held his hands up and backed slowly toward the shuttle. “Put your weapons away. There is no threat. My ward wanted to come with me. She’s young. Curious.”
“Yes. She’s eleven. But she needs to learn.”
Enfys heard small feet running on the shuttle.
“Bring her out.”
“Lower your weapons,” he countered.
Enfys nodded once and raised her hand to order her riders to stand down. She heard them relax and lower their weapons. She knew they would stay alert, regardless. She tensed, poised to dodge to the side if any guards came running down the plank, weapons hot.
But a girl did indeed emerge, cautiously, but unafraid. Her skin was paler than Gerrera’s, and her brown hair was loose and hung in sheets down her back. Calculating blue eyes took in Enfys and her team. Enfys liked her at once.
Saw gave her a little push forward. “This is Jyn.”
“Why would you bring your young ward to a dangerous meeting?” Enfys asked curiously.
“She needs to learn,” he repeated. “If she’s going to survive . . .”
“She’s very young,” Enfys said, repeating things that had been said about her over and over again. She wanted to see how Gerrera would react.
He frowned. “Many people treat age as if it’s a shield to hide behind, something that protects our children. And sometimes it is. Until someone comes along who doesn’t honor the shield. Then we must decide if we’re going to keep pretending that shield is there. The Empire doesn’t care what age she is. So she must learn about this threat that faces all of us.”
“Is that so?” Enfys took a step forward. “Come here, Jyn.”
The girl took a step forward, unafraid. He let her go, waiting patiently. Enfys looked down at the girl. Even though they came from such different worlds, she still reminded Enfys of herself seven years ago. The luxury of youth banished in the face of turmoil.
She reached under her mask and pulled it off, shaking her wild hair free. She smiled at Jyn, who still watched her, unmoved by the reveal. “Do you think that your youth protects you?”
“No,” Jyn said flatly.
“You’re right. You’re smart. Still, they’re going to underestimate you. Make them regret it.”
The girl’s eyes narrowed as if the threat were right behind them. “They?”
“Everyone,” Enfys said. “Make them regret it.”
Jyn nodded once.
“If you’re satisfied,” Gerrera said, sounding tense.
“I am.” She gestured to the coaxium behind her. “So will this do? It could do a lot of good.”
“And harm,” he said, his eyes flicking to the fuel. “Which is what we need.”
“I would hope that you would be more precise in your ways, Saw,” she said. “You’re going to need some attention to detail if your fight is going to work.”
“I would think that you of all people would accept that allies come in different shapes, sizes, and ways of fighting,” he said. “We are fighting the same enemy. Moving toward the same goal.”
She sighed. “I only ask that you don’t waste it.”
He made a gesture, so welcoming and graceful it seemed ridiculous coming from someone so rough and unfriendly. “Come, let’s talk.”
He boarded the shuttle and Enfys followed him, secure that her Cloud-Riders would keep the ship grounded until she exited safely. She passed Jyn, who watched them both carefully.
“He’s going to underestimate you,” she whispered.
Enfys smiled to herself. The girl learned fast. They might be in good hands after all.
Listen to the exclusive audio clip here:
These excerpts are only a sample of the extras you’ll find in this “Expanded Edition” of Solo: A Star Wars Story. So expand your Solo experience on September 4; you can pre-order your copy of the Solo: A Star Wars Story novelization now!
And learn more about it on today’s episode of The Star Wars Show!
Jennifer Heddle is executive editor for fiction at Lucasfilm. Follow her on Twitter @jenheddle.