Last year, author Chuck Wendig released Star Wars: Aftermath, the first of a trilogy of novels expanding on the Star Wars mythos. The trilogy takes place between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, serving as a bridge between the movie trilogies. It introduced us to fantastic characters like Norra Wexley, Sinjir Rath Velus, Jas Emari, and Norra's son, Temmin Wexley (who will grow up to become Snap Wexley, as played by Greg Grunberg in The Force Awakens). The novel also elaborated the lives and motives of previously introduced characters such as Wedge Antilles and Rae Sloane.
Aftermath followed the adventures of 30-something single mom, Norra Wexley, and her quest to reunite with her young son, Temmin. Along the way, she gets roped back into helping the Rebels rescue X-Wing pilot Wedge Antilles from a group of Empire leaders, desperately trying to regroup following the destruction of the second Death Star.
Throughout the novel, there were a number of chapters which read as brief short stories, letting the reader know what famed Star Wars characters were doing during the course of Norra's adventures. One such chapter focused on Han Solo and Chewbecca, going off on an independent mission to free the Wookiee salves on Chewbacca's homeworld.
It was a brilliant novel on its own merits, and it drew Star Wars fans and science-fiction fans alike, while turning many readers into massive Chuck Wendig fans along the way. For many of us, the wait between these in-canon, expanded universe novels has been almost as painful as the wait for Episode VIII.
Thankfully, Star Wars: Aftermath - Life Debt hits bookstores and online retailers everywhere on July 19, 2016, making it an almost bearable three months and one week away. To appease eager readers, and to encourage new fans to pick up the series, Entertainment Weekly debuted an excerpt from the upcoming novel, indicating the Han and Chewbacca's plan to liberate the Wookiee home-planet does not go according to plan. From Entertainment Weekly:
The galaxy is changing, and with peace now a possibility, some dare to imagine new beginnings and new destinies. For Han Solo, that means settling his last outstanding debt, by helping Chewbacca liberate the Wookiee’s home world of Kashyyyk.
Meanwhile, Norra Wexley and her band of rebels pursue Admiral Rae Sloane and the remaining Imperial leadership across the galaxy. Sloane, increasingly wary of the mysterious fleet admiral, desperately searches for a means to save the crumbling Empire from oblivion. Even as Imperial forces fight to regain lost ground, Princess Leia and the New Republic seek to broker a lasting peace.
But the rebel’s hunt for Admiral Sloane is cut short after the disappearance of Han Solo and Chewbacca. Desperate to save them, Leia conscripts Norra, Sinjir, Jas, and the rest of their team to find the missing smugglers and help them in their fight for freedom.
The entire expert is well worth a read, but by far the highlight is Norra's first encounter with Han, and the Millennium Falcon:
A shape emerges in front of her as the white light begins to recede: a person-shape. Norra thinks: Aram has us. We thought we were watching him, but he was watching us.
She leans forward, starts to stand.
"Don't move", comes a voice. Quiet, but urgent.
Norra asks as her eyes adjust, "Who is that? Who's there?"
The figure steps forward. She spies two blasters held aloft, one in each hand, and one pointed right at her. "Name's Han Solo. Captain of the Millennium Falcon. Who the hell are you?"
Wendig sure knows how to get a reader hooked! Star Wars: Aftermath - Life Debt will be released on July 19, and is available for pre-order now.