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Thursday, August 11, 2022

‘Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel’ Gives Leia Organa and Han Solo a Worthy Wedding

Even though Leia Organa and Han Solo’s romance is a key element of the Star Wars saga, the movies only covered its shaky beginnings and bittersweet conclusion. It was a little disappointing to see how the couple married and drifted apart in the 30 years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, with little sense that they’d enjoyed any wedded bliss.

Leia and Han tie the knot in Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel.


Penguin Random House

Author Beth Revis aims to solve that issue in novel The Princess and The Scoundrel, which comes out in print, digital and audiobook form on Aug. 16. Taking place just after Rebel Alliance’s victory over the Galactic Empire in Return of the Jedi, it reveals that Leia and Han got married pretty much immediately and jetted off on a rocky honeymoon.

The first chunk of the story takes place on Endor, as they prepare for the wedding. Revis infuses this section with suitable levity, since they’ve won the war and are entering a new era of hope for the galaxy. Leia and Han get used to the fact that Luke Skywalker is her brother (and yes, the super weird Leia-Luke kiss from The Empire Strikes Back is addressed).

It’s just fun to spend time with Lando Calrissian, Mon Mothma and a bunch of other heroes when the Empire isn’t nipping at their heels and possibilities seem endless. This joy seeps into Leia and Han’s Ewok-assisted wedding ceremony, which Revis describes in exquisite detail.

In the midst of all this, Leia grapples with the revelation that the late Darth Vader — who’d tortured her and Han, stood by as her homeworld was blown up and was generally a real bad dude in her life — was her father. This makes her question if she should learn to use the Force like her twin brother, Luke, or steer clear lest she fall to the dark side like her dear old dad.

We know from The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker that Leia will embrace the Force and train with Luke, but have seen precious little of this journey. Leia takes her first steps into this wider world in this novel, and these sections are some of the novel’s most intriguing. Revis conveys the uncertainty and danger of  this new facet of a familiar hero beautifully.

hansoloprincessleiahoth.jpg

The couple have a few arguments in the novel, but their relationship isn’t quite as fiery as it was in The Empire Strikes Back.


Lucasfilm

However, romance is this novel’s focus and the tale becomes less engaging when Leia and Han set off on their honeymoon. After an entertaining interlude with Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon, they arrive on the Halcyon, the luxury passenger liner that happens to be the in-universe setting of the immersive Disney World hotel Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

Revis builds out this location nicely (and it never feels like an extended Disney Resort commercial), but the novel loses steam as Leia starts to mix business with pleasure by gradually turning her honeymoon into a diplomatic mission and Han just wanders the ship, engages in sketchy card games and finds some trouble.

It makes total sense that these two would slip into their old habits, especially when you consider that she’s spent most of her life as a rebel battling a totalitarian regime and he’s operated on the fringes of the law. Unfortunately, the novel feels directionless as they drift apart — possibly because we know sinister forces will push them apart in a bigger way by The Force Awakens.

Thankfully, their bond isn’t quite so frayed at this point in the timeline and they come together before an Imperial threat emerges in the novel’s final quarter. The story regains momentum here, with Revis building an engaging mystery before dialing up the danger in an imaginative new location. It’s only let down by an underdeveloped villain whose appearance is so brief that they’ll likely be forgotten soon after you finish this 368-page novel.

The Princess and The Scoundrel gives Leia and Han a wedding worthy of cinematic icons and foreshadows their destinies in tantalizing ways. Their honeymoon isn’t as memorable, but it doesn’t take too long for adventure and excitement to reignite the spark of romance.


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