new star wars canon

It’s an interesting time to be a Star Wars fan. The old expanded universe may be gone, but the new canon that the Lucasfilm story group has been carefully overseeing has been mostly successful, telling stories set in this beloved universe that always feel like they matter and are always pushing characters into interesting new places. For the first time in years, keeping up with the canon feels fresh and fun and maybe even necessary to fully appreciate what’s going on in the grand scheme of things.

Which brings us to the other side of this double-edged sword: how many of us have that kind of time? Chuck Wendig‘s new novel, Star Wars: Aftermath – Life Debt, hits stores today and I’ll be brutally honest and just say that I have no idea when I’ll be able to carve out the time to read it. However, this is a case where the internet is our mutual friend. If you want to stay on top of the broad strokes of what’s going on in the space between Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we’ve got you covered.

If you intend to pick up Life Debt, there is no need to read further. Although we aren’t going to touch on any major plot points or spoil any grand reveals, this is definitely information that should be saved for when you crack open the book. Consider these tidbits for the more casual fan who just wants to know what’s up with a few key characters during this mostly blank spot on the Star Wars timeline.

Let’s star with everyone’s favorite smuggler-turned-rebel, Han Solo, who drives the bulk of the action in Life Debt when he decides to embark on an unauthorized mission to Kashyyyk to help Chewbacca take back his home planet from Imperial forces. ScreenRant collected some relevant Han Solo quotes to explain why he would risk his life for his big furry co-pilot, especially since Chewie is the one who owes him a life debt:

I saved him, at least that’s what he says, the big fuzzy fool, but really, he saved me. I was on a bad path, and Chewie, he put me straight. Saved my shanks more than once too. He said it was part of some life debt… It means that he owes his life to me… He doesn’t owe me. I owe him. I got a debt to Chewie to get him his home back.

In short, Han’s emotional journey across the original trilogy is crystallized in his relationship with his Wookiee companion. Would he have turned the Millennium Falcon around to save Luke at the end of the original Star Wars if he didn’t have a big furry conscience weighing on him in the cockpit? Probably not. For more relevant excerpts from the book, follow the link above.

And that brings us to what’s going on with Princess/General Leia, who we knew from previously released excerpts showcases some command over the Force in Life Debt. Apparently, Wendig writes of her training under Luke and using her latent abilities to become aware of the child (Ben, or Kylo Ren, take your pick) growing within her. She even finds finds her abilities useful in stickier situations:

There are even moments when she can feel the battle unfolding around her in space – invisibly, as if all of it is a warm stream in which she has dipped her hand.

Both Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens heavily suggest Leia’s connection to the Force, with her sensing events before she could be aware of them and knowing great truths before they are revealed, but it’s interesting to watch her abilities receive additional attention in her offscreen adventures. She may never be a Jedi (probably by choice), but she’s still a Skywalker.

And finally, we arrive at some news concerning a newer member of the Star Wars saga. The very good Star Wars: Bloodline made a passing reference to a vicious Imperial officer named Brendol Hux and it’s surely no coincidence that he shares a surname with Domhnall Gleeson‘s villain in The Force Awakens. The elder Hux plays a role in Life Debt and it’s revealed that he has an illegitimate son named Armitage, about whom he has this to say (via Uproxx):

Armitage is a weak-willed boy. Thin as a slip of paper and just as useless. But I’ll teach him. You’ll… You’ll see. He has potential.

Since young Armitage grows up to help lead the First Order and personally commands Starkiller Base to murder countless innocent people, it sounds like daddy succeeded.

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