Category Archives: Han Solo

Zahn reads first three chapters of Scoundrels

Zahn reading Scoundrels.

Timothy Zahn read the first three chapters of his upcoming novel Scoundrels at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, OH.

It did not disappoint.

The first three chapters will suck readers in within moments. If the rest of the book is the same way, then Scoundrels is bound to be a fun, exciting trip into the Star Wars universe.

Zahn showed off the full cover (looks fantastic). Zahn writes Han Solo perfectly. Each smart remark and quip feels like it should be in the movies. In addition, he gave character to Chewbacca (visible in the excerpt previously released) that resonates strongly.

No doubt here, I’m picking up Scoundrels the day of release.

The novel takes place directly after A New Hope. Winter doesn’t know that Leia is alive.

Look for a recap of Aaron Allston, Michael Stackpole and Timothy Zahn talking about Star Wars novels. It will be up soon.

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Finding character in clothing: The costumes of the Star Wars Original Trilogy

Costume choices make just as strong of an impression as dialogue and behavior do. The costumes of Star Wars not only capture the characters themselves, but the environment and tone of a scene. Even the smallest detail, like the embroidery of the Naboo symbol on Queen Amidala’s Red Invasion Gown in The Phantom Menace, tells a story.

Over the next several weeks, look for blog posts discussing the costumes of the Original Trilogy, Prequel Trilogy and Expanded Universe. In addition, there will be a post regarding costumes from other movies. Costumes add another layer to storytelling and can, at times, tell more about a character than the words they say.

 

A New Hope

Perhaps the costume that stands out the most in A New Hope is Princess Leia’s Senatorial Gown. Unlike the dresses worn by princesses in other movies, Leia’s dress wasn’t at all revealing, tight or restricting. She wears two different styles of the gown. The one worn on the Death Star, the Alderaan Princess, has short, less bulky sleeves and heavier while the Yavin version uses more voluminous sleeves and a more lightweight fabric.

The Senatorial Gown covers Leia from neck to toe. It’s loose fitting, white in color and simple. The color and fit insinuate purity while the simple design seems more appropriate for someone younger. The only accessory Leia wears is a silver and white belt. The hood in the back doesn’t appear bulky, merely practical. Leia’s practical and confident, yet she’s naïve in many aspects of life, including romance and military life. Her costume relays all these traits and more.

The Senatorial Gown wouldn’t be so memorable without the infamous double buns. The style combined an out-of-this-world feel with royalty. The buns hold her hair tightly to the scalp. Nothing is askew or hanging freely. Such is the life of Princess Leia for a third of the trilogy. The double buns, just like her, appear completely together, as if nothing can shake them loose. Emotions, a trip through the trash, nothing breaks through either.

At the medal ceremony on Yavin IV, Leia changes into a slightly more relaxed yet formal dress. The scooped neck, less rigid hair and gauzy cape remove some of the stiffness the Senatorial Gown cast on Leia. She still wore white and maintained that royal, pure look, but it’s clear that while she is still the same Leia, she has allowed herself to feel some joy at the destruction of the Death Star.

Leia’s hairstyle at the end of A New Hope consists of a crown of braids on the top of her head with one trailing behind. The crown of braids maintain her position, while the one trailing down acts as a sign of a touch of relaxation, regardless of how short that moment is. By that point, she needs a brush with joy after the loss of her world and family.

Everyone’s favorite farmboy Luke Skywalker wears a getup that solidifies his youth and role. The loose fitting tunic, pants and boots all indicate working hard in the heat. The lighter color is not only practical for a planet with two suns, but also give Luke an air of innocence and naivety similar to Leia’s. His garb is more casual that Owen Lars, who wears a robe and undershirt. Luke isn’t as focused on his life on Tatooine as his uncle is.

Luke’s second costume is the orange flight suit later worn by the Rogue Squadron. The insanely bright orange color acts as a drop of color in the drab grey and black color scheme that plagues the Empire. The suits, helmets and gear were based off what various military units wore or designed. In a way, that mixture is a strong indication of what the Rebel Alliance is: a mixture of various parts that wouldn’t normally work together, but when they do work seamlessly.

Luke’s final costume is the yellow jacket ensemble he wears for the medal ceremony on Yavin IV. With the blaster slung midway down his thigh, black undershirt and yellow jacket, some of that naïve boy from Tatooine blends in with a man who has witnessed death and destruction.

Han Solo’s clothes scream rebel. With a blaster as far down on his thigh as possible, a dingy looking shirt and black vest, it’s clear that this man sets his own rules. Even when presented with a medal at the end, Han sticks to the black vest. Even as he is being honored for his role in the destruction of the Death Star, he gives no outward indication of a change of heart. Even though his views changed, he wasn’t quite at the point of showing it.

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi robes first appear worn and comfortable. The long tunic doesn’t suggest that he is a fighter, more of a mentor. In that way, it captures the essence of Obi-Wan. Throughout the Saga, he teaches, tries to negotiate and fights only when necessary. More on the Jedi robes in the prequel post.

Darth Vader’s suit is the ultimate sign of an evil villain. With its mechanical appearance, it screams that the wearer is someone evil. Add in the loud ominous breathing and low dangerous sounding voice and the package is complete. His helmet and suit hide him completely, forbidding anyone from thinking he has any humanity left in him. The suit contains no decoration or alludes to style. It intimidates and keeps the man inside alive, that is all.

The Imperials wear uniforms featuring olive green, black and grey. Their costumes contain various features, like the riding pants that are based off what the Germans wore during part of the 19th century. The Imperial uniforms are drab and formal, similar to any military unit’s garb. There is no color aboard the Death Star, nor would there be. The colors play on the mood found aboard the space station: order, fear, destruction and desperation.

 

The Empire Strikes Back

In the next installment of the Original Trilogy, the costumes follow the changes in the characters, particularly Leia and Luke, much clearer. Given the multiple locations and opportunities to change, there are more costumes in the movie.

Leia is still wearing white, still her barred-off self on Hoth. The cold climate demands some type of protection from the cold, as seen by everyone. While the snowsuit isn’t formal, it certainly doesn’t belay any indication of relaxation. If anything, Leia appears more closed off than she did during ANH.

Leia keeps her hair up in braids. Again, her hairstyle is practical, perhaps more so than the double buns. Leia eventually sheds the vest portion of her snowsuit on Bespin.

The red costume Leia wears on Cloud City shows a dramatic change from the uptight princess to a woman finally allowing herself to be free. The dark red color of her tunic and pants suggest a more romantic, vibrate, alluring attitude. The tunic isn’t revealing or tight. The long white sleeveless cover adds a touch of soft romanticism and femininity. It’s decorated with embroidery, adding to the flair. Leia’s hair is also more relaxed. Though in braids, the looped style is much softer than any seen before. She is still Leia, but begins to adapt more to the changes in her life. Red is a deep contrast to the white she always wore before. It’s the color of romantic passion, something missing from Leia’s life until that point. In addition, it also shows that she is coming to terms with her growing feelings towards Han rather than hiding behind a stiff façade. The outfit is so characteristically Leia that it’s eerie.

Sadly, the Bespin outfit doesn’t stay on screen long. She’s stuck back in the snowsuit, sans vest, after capture. At the end, Leia goes back to white, wearing a gown that is almost in mourning. It’s almost the same as the Senatorial gown, though instead of the double buns or tight braids, her hair is pulled up in a more casual pile on the crown of her head. The hairstyle portrays more about Leia’s character at that moment than the dress itself. It’s clear that such a style wouldn’t take much time or energy. After losing someone, it’s difficult to do anything special. Though the dress choice could indicate that Leia could go back to the person she once was, her hair shows that it’s not the case.

Throughout ESB, Luke undergoes his Jedi training. Once free of the military snow gear and flightsuit, he turns to the khaki pants, ribbed tank and khaki jacket for Dagobah. His appearance gives him a more orderly feel, especially when he wears the jacket. Once he sheds the jacket, though, it’s clear how hard he’s working to become a Jedi. His clothing is simple caters to what he needs at the time. More importantly, it doesn’t resemble the ensemble we see him wear on the Rebel Base. He’s stepping away from the soldier to become something more.

Luke’s final outfit is a loose fitting tunic and pants. He wears it while the medical droid installs his prosthetic hand. Like most hospital garb, it’s comfortable and nonrestrictive. Its light color meshes well with Leia’s white robes, casting a type of light in the darkness that recently entered their lives.

No look at costumes is complete without a talk of Lando Calrissian, connoisseur of the all that is fine and luxurious. In his flared black pants, v-neck blue shirt and suave cape, Lando’s smooth and sophisticated personality is apparent from the start. He’s a businessman, ready to oil the wheels when necessary to reach the finale profit. The blue is peaceful and calm, suggesting that Cloud City is a safe haven for Han, Leia and Chewbacca. The silky fabric shows his love for the finer things in life. The hip cape is the final touch. Not many people can pull off a cape without looking ridiculous, but Lando does it. It seems like an extension of himself, that extra flair to his outfit—and character.

 

Return of the Jedi

The most iconic costume in all of the films is Princess Leia’s metal bikini. Scores of websites are dedicated to the construction of the slave Leia costume. Rather than allow the skimpy garb and chained collar to weigh the character down, it served as a tool for empowerment and means of escape. Not once when Leia was laying on Jabba’s dais or watching Luke, Han, Lando and Chewie approach the sarlacc pit did she look as if she was allowing anyone to humiliate her. Rather than permit that chain to stop or beat her, Leia turned the symbol of slavery into a weapon against her captor. Rather than try to hide herself or allow the costume to distract her, she accepted it and moved forward. She isn’t held back by anything during the events of Jabba’s palace.

Leia fully integrates herself as one of the soldiers in the Rebel Alliance with what she wears at the briefing and on Endor. There isn’t a shred of white on her uniform, which also removes the “princess” from the battlefield. She wound her hair around her head in braids. It’s out of the way and very “Leia.”

The Ewok dress is a rather interesting piece of work. Leia appears vulnerable in it. Her hair almost completely unbound, held back by a braid. Her insecurities about herself come through while wearing this dress. It’s wilder, rawer than anything else she’s worn in the movies. When Leia learns the truth about her heritage, she’s knocked down to a dark place. Everything she’s known is sent on a tailspin. Even after the destruction of Alderaan, a horror only a few could relate to, she still had a grasp on her past. With Luke’s reveal, everything changes. She does have family out there and he’s a monster. The Ewok dress plays off these emotions quite well.

Luke sheds his farmboy clothes for good with his black Jedi uniform. It’s strict, darker and formal, as Luke now is. He still maintains his inner confidence and belief that good will prevail, but now he’s learning the discipline necessary to be a Jedi. He never loses the black uniform. Rather than change, he simply throws on a camouflaged poncho and helmet. Though a member of the Alliance, he’s set apart from everyone else through his dress.

Han Solo finally meshes the lovable scoundrel with his sense of responsibility on Endor. While he doesn’t give up his traditional pants, white/ivory shirt and vest/jacket combo, he adds a camouflaged jacket. Not only does this help him blend in to the forest, but also it gives a sense of similarity to the Rebel fighters.

Emperor Palpatine maintains a shroud of evil and mystery with his shroud. It possesses neither glory nor glamour. It is threadbare, old and rough as he is. His face stays mostly hidden by a low cowl. His cane isn’t smooth, its scraggly and eerier looking. The Emperor’s robes exude both mysticism and danger.

Acting as a stark contrast to the black of the Emperor’s robes is the red of the Crimson Guards. Their smooth helmets, inhuman appearance and bold color demand attention. No one around the Emperor can forget that it would be a very bad idea to try to harm him. The ceremonial weapons look intimidating, always within sight of visitors and ready to punish.

The costumes of the Original Trilogy reflect the overall feel of the three movies. The changes of the characters, the darker tone of the Empire and the lighter colors to Rebel Alliance paint a clear picture of the state of the galaxy. Life is dark in many corners and oppressive. The Rebel Alliance is the light in that darkness, restoring color and hope to the galaxy.

Look for an in-depth look at the costumes of the Prequels early next week.

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Filed under costumes, Darth Vader, fashion, female characters, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Luke Skywalker, Original Trilogy, OT, Star Wars

Zahn’s Han Solo novel has a name: Scoundrels

Timothy Zahn’s much-anticipated Han Solo novel has a title: Scoundrels. EW. com has the cover art for all to see. The cover art features Han, Chewbacca and Lando.

EW.com

The release still stands at Dec. 26, as mentioned in the Random House catalog.

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Filed under Expanded Universe, Han Solo, Star Wars, Timothy Zahn

Han Solo book blurb and Troy Denning Suvudu interview

The Random House Fall catalog is up and lucky for us, there’s some information about the much anticipated Han Solo book penned by Timothy Zahn.

From the catalog:

Ocean’s Eleven meets Star Wars in this classic adventure set just after Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. From #1 New York Times bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

 

The Death Star has just been destroyed and Han Solo still needs the money to pay off the bounty on his head. Now the opportunity to make that money and then some has walked into his life in the form of the perfect heist. With nine like-minded scoundrels, he and Chewbacca just might be able to pull it off and live to tell the tale!

Sounds like a fun read!  The listing states Dec. 26 as the release date. That, of course, can change at a moment’s notice. The only question I have thus far is about Lando’s participation (see Key Selling Points). Is Zahn going to create a different “swindle” than what we read about in the Han Solo trilogy?

In other news, check out Eric Geller’s Troy Denning interview on the Suvudu blog regarding Apocalypse. It contains many eye-brow raising remarks regarding Abeloth (no real explanation), Ben, Vestara and an illogical look at Jaina (this is Star Wars. Stories happen all over the place. Not an excuse to keep her and Jag apart).

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Filed under Fate of the Jedi, Han Solo, Jaina Solo, Timothy Zahn, Troy Denning

Han Solo book hitting shelves Winter 2012 and other book news

According to the Star Wars Books Facebook page, Timothy Zahn’s Han Solo book will hit shelves in Winter 2012. Dare I say that 2012 is going to be a good year for EU fans?

In addition to that, Drew Karpyshyn is working on another SWTOR novel title Annihilation.

From the Facebook page post:

Republic agent Theron Shan and his Twi’lek compadre, Teff’ith (from Dark Horse Comics’ STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC: THE LOST SUNS) must contend with a Sith Empire counter-attack against the Republic, spearheaded by the lethal apprentice of Darth Malgus. Satele Shan and Jace Malcolm co-star in what will be a fast-paced and tension-fraught tale based on the award-winning video game from BioWare and LucasArts.

Unfortunately, the book news isn’t all good. The Nomi Sunrider novel was cancelled, ruining a fantastic opportunity to see a woman lead.

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Filed under Drew Karpyshyn, Expanded Universe, Han Solo, Star Wars, Star Wars The Old Republic, Timothy Zahn

Timothy Zahn announces Han Solo book details

Via Timothy Zahn’s Facebook:

While most of the details (including the title) will have to wait until an official announcement is made (which I’m told will be sometime next month), I *have* been authorized to release a few tidbits concerning my now-officially-approved upcoming Star Wars novel.

First, it will be be set in the classic movie era.
Second, it will be an Ocean’s Eleven-type heist caper.
And third, it will star everyone’s favorite smuggler, Han Solo.

Um, yes please. This sounds fantastic!

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Where’s the love? A look at the lack of romance in the EU

Romance is a fickle thing in writing. Too much will make the story seem too soppy or distract from the main plot while too little leaves readers unsatisfied. Finding that balance is one that many writers struggle with. When it comes writing romance, I shy away from the long, love-filled speeches. I prefer to use actions and gestures, like a touch or favor. There’s no set formula, though, about how much or how little a story needs.
Romance plays a vital role in so many stories we love. Think about Empire Strikes Back. The love story between Han and Leia was phenomenal. It wasn’t drippy or character killing (go Harrison Ford’s improvising). It wasn’t awkward. It was believable. Their actions made sense for the characters, making their love easy to see. It was a vital chain in the story, not some silly side plot.
Take Harry Potter as another example. While love is a major theme of the book, it’s not romantic love. The romance in Harry Potter is much less than some fans wanted to see. Hermione and Ron don’t have grand, loving moments. In the books, we don’t even see their first kiss. The movie handled that scene well. It was the moment we were all waiting for—and expressed the same amusement as Harry did about the situation.
Romantic pairings come into play in Harry Potter. The Ron and Lavender incident caused severe friction between the three. And who can forget about the Yule Ball fiasco? Bill and Fleur’s wedding and the pairing of Remus and Tonks added not only a touch of romance, but hope to the latter books.
Even Harry’s crush on Cho and feelings for Ginny were rather muted. He pined for them, but it wasn’t as if they were the focus of the books.
When it comes to Harry Potter, I don’t think that the books needed more romance. It wasn’t about Harry’s relationship with Ginny or Remus learning that he can have love too. The romance added a bit of flavor to the book, the topping if you will.
Romance is something severely lacking from the Star Wars EU. It didn’t used to be. The best example of this recent problem is the Fate of the Jedi series. It started with great romantic interactions with Jaina Solo and Jag Fel. These continued through the series until Backlash. There was nothing in Backlash. No real Jaina and Jag or Han and Leia. Allies? Yeah right. Vortex, a sliver. Conviction? Not really. Ascension? I’ve already expressed my feelings on the “romance” in that book.
What doesn’t make sense with FotJ is that there was a love story right there to work with and expand upon. Jaina and Jag were prominent characters in Outcast, for one. After that, their roles dwindled. It’s important to maintain some type of character balance in a long series, but it was lost along the way.
When I think of romance in Star Wars, I don’t think of chats in the starlight or candlelight dinners. It’s more action orientated and animated. It’s possible to have a romantic interaction without gooey language or even a kiss. It’s all in the wording and the character point of view. A person’s reactions are more telling than anything else is. Look at the Hunger Games trilogy when Katniss thought Capital was going to torture Peeta. She wanted to kill him to save him. Even though she didn’t realize it, it was clear she loved him.
The EU books need romance to balance out the story. Think about a book or story. Now categorize what is going on in the book. Each piece acts as a building block to make the perfect tale. Too much of something and the story feels odd.
Romance is something that most can understand. Most people want to love someone or already do. It’s an emotion we can understand, even if we don’t have any experience with the situations or emotions the characters are feeling. I’ve never been hunted, or as good as dead, but I understood Peeta’s need to keep Katniss alive in The Hunger Games, for example.
Star Wars is a space opera. Love plays such a vital role in the overall Saga. Anakin’s obsessive love for Padme influenced his decisions to go to the Dark Side. Would Anakin have fallen had he not fallen in love and married Padme? It’s very possible, but the story wouldn’t have been the same.
Romance also appeals to everyone. We all know the arguments about romance novels and “chick flicks.” They’re for “women.” Plenty of men enjoy these types of stories. The concept that romance is only for women is a pointless, old stereotype.
One of the many questions I’d love to ask the editorial team and writers is where the romance went. Including some aspect of it would not only make the books feel more “Star Wars,” but would also make the stories more appealing to a wider audience. Without Mara and Luke, the content falls mainly on Han and Leia’s and Jaina and Jag’s shoulders, yet we don’t see too much of either.
When writing, I can’t put the number of pages or romantic interactions into a calculator to determine how much more or less I need. Reading the story and finding feedback is the only way to accomplish this. Receiving feedback from multiple sources is even better. That way, it’s possible to see multiple views of the scenes in question. Some stories only need three or four romantic moments or bits while others need a chapter’s worth of content.
The argument for balancing romance is similar to angst, tragedy, comedy and other genres. Each has a place in a story—and a certain amount called for. While not every story needs romance, that factor was established as a key factor of Star Wars during the OT. It’s time for it to come back.

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Filed under Han Solo, Harry Potter, Jagged Fel, Jaina Solo, Katniss Everdeen, Luke Skywalker, Peeta Mellark, Princess Leia, romance, Star Wars, The Hunger Games, writing