Some of the oldest stories in the Expanded Universe, before it had an official name or continuity. In fact, at the time of writing they their was no original trilogy, just one movie called Star Wars. Brian Daley did a fabulous job of staying true to the movies. Han’s early adventures introduced the Corporate Sector, an area of space that the Empire largely left to its own devices for a piece of the action. But that doesn’t it make a freer place than the Empire, on the contrary. Speaking out against the Corporate Sector and stealing from it the take very seriously, and they are just as likely to exploit, if not more so, the natives.
Han Solo at Star’s End
The first of the trilogy involves Han and Chewie doing their thing, being smugglers. Finding themselves disadvantaged by the new tech the Authorities have, they seek out to pay debts and get new upgrades. This leads them to a quest to find lost people, those who spoke or acted against the Authority. It also leads to some hints that Han is a more complex character than he has a chance to show in A New Hope.
It’s a rip roaring adventure with some tense moments. You know the heroes must survive. But what about their new allies, who you come to like just as much?
Speaking of the modern marketing term diversity, Daley was doing it back in the ‘70s. Rekkon was a black man, and it also features critical roles for Jessa, leader of the outlaw techs and Attuare, a feline female ranger.
Han Solo’s Revenge
The second book features Han and Chewie desperate for cash and taking a chance that leads to near disaster. Tangled up with a fight against slavers alongside an Authority Exec looking to shut them down, they find themselves once more on the run and finding foes and allies in strange places. They aren’t always who you’d expect.
Chewie has a great role in this one. Many stories treat Chewie as the big hairy sidekick. This one gives him a chance to shine on his own, being creative to survive.
It also introduces a great female character: Fiolla of Loord. She is described as having rich brown skin and black hair. She isn’t just some female love interest…instead she is a determined young woman seeking justice working within the system.
It also introduces Gallandro, a real gunman. He doesn’t get much play yet.
Han Solo and the Lost Legacy
This third book is a real treasure hunt. Han and Chewie meet an old pal hard on his luck and needing help to find a treasure that could bring him out of poverty. This leads to the planet Dellalt, home of the fabled treasure of Xim the Despot. But their is competition and someone has already died for it. When the enemy gets ahold of the Falcon, they are forced to trek across the planet, fighting a cult of Xim worshippers as well as the local competition…and then there is the enemy they made last time. Gallandro is on the trail and he wants revenge.
Once more we meet new characters and species. Badure is a former officer and flight trainer who reveals more hints of Han’s military past. Hasti, his friend and ally, whose sister was murdered at the hands of the competition and Skynx, a ruurian historian who will one day metamorphous into a newer but less active life form.
Han Solo at Star’s End Comic Strip.
Only the first story was adapted into a comic strip, later turned into a comic book and colored by Dark Horse Comics. As a comic strip in and of itself its a decent story but as an adaptation it suffered in 2 ways.
While the line art is generally good in this, it suffers some that the artist had apparently not seen the movie in awhile. Everyone who has will remember the Falcon’s game board and know its round and surrounded by a couch. It is not a flat square table with a regular Earth game of checkers.
The second issue is specifically for those who read the books. If you only read the comic it may not matter. But the entire opening is cut short and altered, perhaps its too long or difficult to illustrate. At the end, the story is altered drastically in how they escape. Again maybe they thought it more exciting or easy to illustrate. Or maybe they just had a limit of how many strips they could do and couldn’t fit it in. All told though as an adaptation it suffers for it. Also is the detail that trianni don’t wear clothes according to the book. Why they felt a need to clothe them in the comic might be explained by modesty standards, but only if one ignores that Chewie is also furry and has none.
It’s a decent comic, if cheesy and dated. It’s just not a great adaptation.
Fiolla of Lorrd: Wizards of the Coast and Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd.
It’s unfortunate that for some reason artists got her totally wrong. The one most guilty of this is Wizards of the Coast, which ignored the ‘rich brown skin’ description. They may have gotten the idea from the short story “Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd”, a hyperspace feature that short story available only to subscribers of starwars.com. In the story Tash Arranda (of Galaxy of Fear series) is telling of an adventure where she met Fiolla. Her scribbled picture had lighter skin. This however could be the in universe equivalent of not having the right color of crayon. Wizards of the Coast chose which version to use. This is a shame. (Except for color the artwork is otherwise good.)
As it fits into the Expanded Universe, the other stories very effectively use Brian Daley’s set up. The radio drama’s he also wrote reference Han in the same way. The Ann Crispin Han Solo Trilogy brilliantly interweave with it, actually explaining why Han went to the Corporate Sector in the First place and showing it as interludes while explaining what was going on that would effect him back in the Empire. The Dark Horse comics story Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse, we get to see Imperial Agent Jahan Cross hire Han for helping his adventure while in the Corporate Sector (something Han says yes too since they were academy friends.) Much later, a few of people and species from these will show up as cameos in the New Jedi Order series.
West End Game also did a Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook.
These stories were released individually in hardcover and paperback, as well as 2 omnibuses.