Han Gets the Boot in a Brand New Excerpt from the ‘Solo’ Novelization
The official Star Wars website recently released an excerpt from Mur Lafferty’s upcoming novelization of Solo: A Star Wars Story. The excerpt features Han in his time as a cadet in the Imperial flight academy, a portion of his military career that was hinted at in the movie’s trailers but ended up being completely cut from the finished film. Much like what Jason Fry did with his expanded novelization of The Last Jedi, Lafferty will be gracing readers with some additional material from Solo that fans have yet to experience in her Expanded Edition of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Read on to check out the excerpt.
“Onyx Squadron, maintain formation!”
Han knew that voice, and it always made him grind his teeth.
Flight Officer Ubbel was constantly demanding they play it safe. Han privately thought that if Ubbel had been in charge, the Empire would have encompassed one of the smaller skyscrapers on Coruscant instead of half the galaxy.
“I can take them faster than the squad can!” Han shouted.
“Negative, negative, Onyx Nine, return to formation!”
Han actually liked Onyx 2, his friend Cadet Lyttan Dree. The number of other cadets who liked him was frankly diminishing. His natural charm always drew them in…but then most people would quickly figure out that being close to him would probably reduce their chances for advancement. Dree, or Onyx 2, managed to be a good pilot, Han’s friend, and still follow the rules. Han had always meant to ask him how he did that, and now he might never get the chance.
Han peeled off from the formation and chased the Headhunters down, feeling much freer now that he could fly where he wanted to and not worry about the others in formation. In theory he could understand the need for a formation, but in practice he always preferred to worry only about himself and his own ship.
He accelerated, watching the raiders flank Onyx 2 as he tried to outmaneuver them. Han’s helmet squawked again, and he turned down the audio as Onyx Leader was shouting at him to return to formation. Then his droid started fussing at him.
Imperial droids were the worst. The White Worms hadn’t had much use for droids, so Han hadn’t grown up with them behind doors, underfoot, and always politely, infuriatingly, telling him how wrong he was.
His ship’s intelligence, MGK-300, was such a droid. It thought that since it was integrated directly into his ship, it knew more about the ship than he did.
He’d already long since had enough of MGK’s so-called guidance, but it still beeped furiously at him that they were making the squadron weaker because of his actions.
Han ignored it. If the droid wasn’t telling him something was wrong with the ship, he didn’t see a need to listen to it.
He got one of the raiders in his sights and fired, nearly missing, but clipping a wing. The ships separated, one keeping up with Onyx 2 and one turning to pursue Han.
Now he saw the point of the squadron formation. Han wheeled and turned, heading back, and met head-on his own fellow cadets flying toward them. He ducked to slide under them and they fired. He cheered them on, but then felt the ship heave under him as something behind him exploded.
His Infiltrator went into a spin. Han fought for control, trying to tune out the squeals and beeps coming from behind his head.
“Yeah,” he said, “I know we lost the reverse thrusters! Thank you!” The ship started to spin, the universe whirling madly around him, the Star Destroyer’s docking bay a rapidly moving target.
MGK beeped what Han knew was standard emergency protocol at this point—which was essentially giving up. He shook his head. “Not ejecting! I can make it back to the docking bay!”
The droid made known its firm disagreement, beeping and booping faster and faster as it began to panic.
These machines were distracting, irritating, and useless. How did anyone fly with this nagging going on? “You know what?” he asked, flipping an emergency switch to power down the droid. MGK couldn’t distract him now, and he could finally focus.
As if the droid were trying to get the last word in, the control panel sparked and spit when he touched the switches. Pain flared in his hand and he yelped, shaking it. Had MGK done it on purpose? He couldn’t tell. It was pointless to wonder, because the docking bay was suddenly much, much closer.
He struggled to maintain control and decelerate. At the last possible moment, he yanked the control yoke upward, managing to slip through the artificial atmosphere of the docking bay cleanly, without clipping any of the sides—which Han thought was pretty impressive. His ship hit the floor and bounced, careening him into three tethered TIE fighters. His chin hit the control panel and he saw more stars, wondering briefly if he had flown straight through the ship and back into space. Then he heard the alarms and remembered where he was.
No one was impressed with the fact that he’d saved Onyx 2.
You can read the full excerpt (which includes the deleted tribunal scene with comic characters Tag and Bink) and listen to exclusive audio clip at StarWars.com.
Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he’s not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.