Solo Novelization

Remember Solo: A Star Wars Story? While the latest Star Wars spin-off film underwhelmed the box office, it was (mostly) fun and breezy. But there was one particular plot-point featured in the film that was a bit disturbing: the fate of droid L3-37. The upcoming Solo novelization delves into this, and tries to put a positive spin on it all. But let’s be honest: it’s still kind of horrifying.

I liked Solo for the most part, but there was one thing that really bugged me: the treatment of L3, the droid co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. As played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the character was fun and likable, presented as a droid very committed to the cause of droid rights. Then midway through the film she dies and her brain gets uploaded into the Falcon, literally robbing her of her voice and forcing her into a life of servitude. It’s a bit dark, as many people (this site included) pointed out.

The Solo: A Star Wars Story novelization is hitting bookstores next month, and StarWars.com has some excerpts on display for all to read. One such excerpt explores what happened to L3 after she was uploaded into the Falcon. Author Mur Laffert paints a portrait of the droid accepting her new life as a speechless transportation vessel, which might make you sleep better at night. Or make things even more horrifying! Here are some choice excerpts from the scene in question:

That’s why I’m the copilot. You need me.

The thought finished and she looked around impatiently, ready to tell Lando what she thought of the current situation. But she had no head.

She had cams now, with the ability to look into every room. Audio sensors let her hear everything from the Wookiee’s stressed breathing to the drops of sweat dripping from Lando’s pain-racked face. Outside the ship swarmed one last TIE fighter.

And here, inside, the voices of the Falcon greeted her. They que­ried gently in Binary, wondering why L3 was now here when she usually plugged in from out there.

I don’t know.

The Falcon didn’t speak in words, but in images they told L3 what had happened during the fight, and that they all needed her right now. Lando needed her.

He always needs me. Just get me a new body and I’ll get right back in that copilot’s seat.

Alright, this is instantly upsetting. Right away, L3 is begging for a new body, which is a fair request. She could be brought back to life if her robot mind was inserted into a new droid body. But no, that’s not happening.

The Falcon was so gentle it was irritating. It wasn’t that easy, they explained. L3 had a choice to make. She could die with her final act being a liberator to all the droids on Kessel, or she could join with the Falcon, live on, and be part of something much big­ger. She could save them all.

Ridiculous. And be a slave inside a ship forever? No thank you.

The lights in the cockpit flickered, the reboot stalling. Lando put his hand on the computer, watching.

Being a ship wasn’t so bad, the Falcon insisted.

You go exactly where your pilot tells you, L3 countered.

You did that as a copilot, the Falcon reminded her.

That was different. I could leave anytime.

But you never did. You chose that life.

The Falcon was starting to speak in words now, a bit of a sharp­ness to their Binary.

If you refuse, you die. He dies. The others on the ship, they all die. If you join with us, we all can live. The choice is simple. L3 realized where the voice was coming from: The reboot was almost done.

You tricked me.

We couldn’t have joined without you consenting to it. You made your decision a while ago. You just couldn’t admit it.

We are something different, now. Not just the Falcon. Not just L3.

We are new.

Honestly, the Falcon sounds like a bit of a prick. It’s more or less telling L3 her disturbing, Harlan Ellison short story fate is all her fault, and she just has to deal with it. I suppose you could argue that this is all a metaphor for death itself. When we die, we really have no say in the matter, and we can’t exactly pop back into a new body after the fact. But that doesn’t make this any less unsettling. In fact, I’d argue this excerpt makes an already creepy scene extra creepy. And now we’re sharing that creepiness with you! Enjoy!

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