Star Wars: The Princess And The Scoundrel Invites You To The Wedding (And Honeymoon) Of Han Solo And Princess Leia

This will contain spoilers for "Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel."

Beth Revis is no stranger to "Star Wars," previously writing the terrific "Rogue One" tie-in novel, "Rebel Rising." She was tapped to write the wedding of Han Solo and Princess Leia in the new "The Princess and the Scoundrel" and handles the material with grace and charm, a marked improvement over the previous wedding story we'd been given for the characters. "The Princess and the Scoundrel" begins with the end of "Return of the Jedi" — the battle of Endor is won, but the war for the galaxy still rages, with many in disbelief that the Emperor could actually be dead. In short, the galaxy is in chaos, but the core team of rebels is still celebrating on Endor. 

When Han Solo fumbles his way through a marriage proposal to Leia Organa and she says yes, a quick ceremony is thrown together and the Ewoks are all too glad to help. When Mon Mothma suggests Leia take a break for her honeymoon, the Princess has a hard time believing that it's possible. It could be a good photo-op for the Rebels, though, so she agrees to take a trip aboard the Halcyon to celebrate her marriage. Han is interested in taking it easy, but Leia manages to turn the trip into a classic rescue adventure to foil the plans of the Imperials.

With a fast-paced story that ends up in an incredibly unique "Star Wars" locale, "The Princess and the Scoundrel" fills in a major gap in the "Star Wars" story for fans. Revis keeps the romance elements of the story totally in line with the tone of "Star Wars" and manages to capture the antagonistic and hilarious back and forth between Han and Leia from the films.

Impactful Ewoks

One highlight from the book is how much we actually get to see of Endor in those first hours after the destruction of the Death Star. The Ewoks are, naturally, front and center at the festivities and do their best to make the wedding of Han and Leia a memorable one. They even crash the bachelor party Lando throws for Han and turn everything into beautiful chaos.

Perhaps the most touching detail in the book arises from the Ewoks who provide the organic wedding rings for Han and Leia, drawing a straight line to the ring we see Leia wearing in "The Last Jedi." Seeing her put the ring back on after Han's death in the sequel trilogy makes it hit so much harder. Knowing that the shadow of Han is there for Leia as she struggles with the hardest time the Resistance ever has is powerful stuff and makes an already great film like "The Last Jedi" even better.

More than anything, Revis lets the Ewoks be as adorable and vicious as they ought to be, and they are used to maximum effect in the narrative. Any fan of "Return of the Jedi" should be pleased.

The Halcyon

For those familiar with the Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World resort, this part of the book is going to be nothing short of a delight. Han and Leia head to Chandrila to depart for their honeymoon voyage aboard the Halcyon and find themselves in a very familiar setting to fans who have made the trek to the interactive cruise experience. Characters that you're able to interact with on the ship play minor roles in the book and give you even more things to talk to them about. The captain of the ship at the time of your boarding is assigned to Leia here in the book and shows her political leanings early on, decades before guests in our world set foot in the Star Wars universe. Having been on the ship, I can attest to the fact that the level of detail between the book and the ship itself is stunning and would make going aboard even more magical the next time. Though some could argue that including the Halcyon in so much of the storytelling (from this and "The High Republic" all the way to "LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation") is a cynical commercial designed to get people to want to spend the money on the hotel. That's fair.

But it's also pretty neat to see the storied history of the ship and find evidence of its history as you walk through it yourself. I find the story ties powerful and fun, rather than cynical. It's great to think that Han Solo sidled up to the bar in the Sublight Lounge and ordered a drink before scoffing at the digital sabacc machine. It's even better to think that Princess Leia schmoozed with passengers and won over hearts and minds in the atrium and found herself learning to use the Force and moving rocks for the first time in the climate simulator—which is something that happens for a lucky kid or two on the voyage as they learn to use the Force, too.

The crew of the ship plays major roles in the story, and a good third of the narrative takes place aboard, grounding readers who have been to the Starcruiser, but also offering a detailed window into it for those who haven't yet made the voyage.

The political landscape

For the Alliance to Restore the Republic, the political landscape after "Return of the Jedi" is tenuous. Much of the Empire doesn't believe the Emperor is dead. Operation Cinder —Palpatine's equivalent of a Nero Decree — has not been yet been put into motion. And the galaxy is about to plunge into a power vacuum that would see a ragtag Rebellion need to transform into a full-fledged government.

Mon Mothma, who we'll see again soon next month on the Disney+ series "Andor," is a minor player in the book, but a major force in the politics of the galaxy. As the de facto political leader of the Rebel Alliance, she has to find a way through the struggle of governance to actually affect change in the wake of the Empire's destruction. She's looking for anything to help turn the tide, whether it's a decisive victory or the right photo-op to sway public opinion.

At this point in the story, the Battle of Jakku is still a year away and the Empire still has a lot of damage to do. "The Princess and the Scoundrel" shows us the depths they're willing to sink to. For her part, Leia is torn by the notion that no matter how decisive their victory over the Empire is, there is still more fight left. That makes it even more difficult for her to agree to go on the Halcyon in the first place. There's this fatigue to the victory when everyone realizes how much fighting there is to do.

It's a precarious, exhausting situation for the Rebellion and provides an intriguing moment for Revis to explore in the text.

Details to watch out for

There are no shortage of details from various parts of the "Star Wars" canon that Revis uses to tie the broader universe together in "The Princess and the Scoundrel," including a lot of references to events that occur in the now-defunct mobile game "Star Wars: Uprising." In that game, you get a view of the events in the Anoat system and the Imperial warlord Adelhard who takes over that entire system in the wake of the Emperor's death. Poe Dameron's parents, Kes Dameron and Shara Bey, both make cameos at different spots in the narrative, allowing one to draw a contrast to another couple married during the civil war and how much they're separated because of their duty.

References are made to Operation Yellow Moon, which appeared in the book "Star Wars: Moving Target." That's the mission Leia undertook prior to the Battle of Endor to fool the Empire into thinking they might be massing their fleet somewhere other than Sullust. That series of books also gets another major tie-in from "Star Wars: Smuggler's Run" in the form of the villain: Alecia Beck. Beck hunted down Han and Chewbacca earlier in her career and shows up again here as a heavy for Han and Leia here in "The Princess and the Scoundrel."

The recent comic book events play a heavy role in this story as well. Reading the recent "Star Wars: Crimson Reign" storyline would offer an additional view of events that Leia talks about here, including her run-ins with Han's ex-girlfriend, Qi'ra.

Other important ties to the canon tend to feel much more oblique, hinted at rather than stated outright. For example, there's an engineer stowaway who is an expert in tractor beams whose story implies that he might be involved in the development of the New Republic Starhawk ships that featured an extraordinarily powerful tractor beam. The story of those ships is told in the "Star Wars: Squadrons" VR game.

The verdict

Something explored heavily here that I think needs to be addressed is the difficult nature of coming to terms with a monster of a father. Thanks to "The Princess and the Scoundrel" we're able to see the contrast in approach between Luke and Leia where Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker are concerned. Luke is very much interested in the good in Vader, but Leia was tortured by him and forced to watch as he destroyed her real family. Both responses are correct and the book touches on this heavy topic in very interesting ways. What do we owe those who gave us life, regardless of the evil they perpetrate? Anything? It's an answer that is going to be different for every person and whatever answer they come up with is going to be correct for them.

That's not to say the book isn't any fun. It's actually quite rollicking as you move from the tense political story to the beautiful absurdity of the Ewoks, then to the Halcyon as you fly at lightspeed toward the tense climax. It's a solid entry in the "Star Wars" canon, fills in details that enrich experiences in other parts of "Star Wars" storytelling, and it's just a lot of well-written fun. The team at Del Rey has been firing on all cylinders lately and continues to offer us great stories that expand "Star Wars" in interesting ways.

"Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel" is available now at bookstores everywhere.