Among the tales of Han Solo’s baby sitting, and Lando Calrissian’s admiration of his own genitalia, Last Shot readers also get treated to the high adventure of Han Solo’s mid-life crisis.
James Whitbrook of i09 reports:
Daniel José Older’s new Star Wars novel, Last Shot, was bundled up with the recent wave of Solo: A Star Wars Story-themed book announcements. But while there are parts of it that deal with the early lives of Han and Lando, it’s at its best when it’s set decades after the upcoming movie, as the two come to terms with leaving their past—and their youth—behind.
…set approximately two years after Return of the Jedi and the Battle of Jakku, with Han pulled away from his family by Lando into a new adventure tying up the other arcs of the book through its mysterious villain, a sort of Dr. Frankenstein-for-droids figure named Fryzen Gor. That contrast is to starkly remind us of one thing: Han and Lando grew up.
From Han’s point of view in this time period, getting old is a petrifying and new thing to him, as he tries to balance his new homelife looking after a 2-year-old Ben Solo with a wife constantly caught up in the bureaucratic quagmire of establishing the New Republic (a New Republic that frequently wants Han to get caught up in its administration as well, much to his chagrin).
Han’s unease, so potent that it almost feels uncharacteristic for the smuggler-turned-Rebel-hero who helped bring down the Empire. How does a guy who’s spent most of his adult life on the run, solving problems with lies and deals and liberal amounts of blasterfire, know how to be a parent? Can he be the father he never really knew, or the husband he never thought he’d be, to a child and wife who unquestionably, thoroughly love him?
Han finds himself worryingly holo-calling home every time he has a moment to check up on Leia and Ben, and at one point late on in the novel he admits that he has no idea if he’s comfortable being out among the stars as a pilot anymore, doing the things he’s loved his whole life, when he knows should be back home raising Ben—despite the fact he has no idea if anything he’s doing with his son is actually good for the child.
But it’s also important reminder that these characters we’ve known and loved for years—decades, rather, of learning more and more about them over years of books and comics and movies, as we’re about to do so again with Solo next month—are not trapped in amber. They are confronted with maturity and aging and realities of lives outside of spaceship battles and daring rebellions, just as we all eventually become (well, at least without the spaceship battles and daring rebellions bit). And in confronting those very real emotions in Han and Lando, Last Shot becomes far more interesting than you might expect a supposed Solo tie-in novel to really be.
Okay. So riddle me this: if Han Solo “grew up” 2 years after Return of the Jedi, and becomes a boring suburbanite dad while eschewing a life of adventure, then how come we see him in Episode VII as the same smuggler character we first met in Episode IV before his arc was finished in Episode VI?