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15 Characters Han Solo Met in 'Star Wars Legends Canon' (Even if He Didn't Need to)

Han Solo has met so many minor characters across the 'Star Wars Legends Canon' - but were they necessary meetings?

By Anthony GramugliaPublished 7 years ago 13 min read
Art by Alex Ross

Han Solo remains the most popular character in the Star Wars saga, so much so that Disney is funding a film all about Han Solo's life before A New Hope. This isn't the first time, of course, that Han Solo's story expanded beyond the limits of the core films. Back in the days of the Legends canon, tons of novels and comics outlined and expanded upon Han Solo's adventures and escapades.

When Disney bought the rights to LucasFilms, they did away with much of the series's expansive canon to create a streamlined story. While many fans complained, maybe this wasn't such a bad idea. A lot of writers took it upon themselves to needlessly elaborate on plot points of the Star Wars saga. Remember that droid Luke buys from the Jawas before R2? He's force-sensitive. Ever wonder ponder the history of Max Rebo's band? Look at how often he appears! And none of these stories were necessary to make the saga better. None of it elaborated on vital plot points. It all felt like pure fanservice that complicated the plot.

But if any character was needlessly expanded by Legends, it was Han Solo. Han Solo has met so many minor characters across the Star Wars Legends Canon for no other reason than the writer wanted to shove Han Solo into the story.

The Academy of Cardia, once Palpatine became Emperor, became the Imperial Training Academy. It just so happened that a young Han Solo entered the Academy, and stood apart from the rest for his skills as a soldier. He was expelled, however, when he protected a wookie from a fearsome whipping. That wookie was Chewbacca.

Though he never graduated, Solo did encounter a certain Imperial Officer while attending. Yes, Grand Moff Tarkin.

Now, this happens in the Han Solo Trilogy, a series of books outlining Han Solo's years before the original trilogy. It's some of the better Legends novels, and worth a read, even now. The upcoming film, it sounds, will be drawing from it for material.

But, despite being a good book, nothing in the story justifies Solo meeting Tarkin. Yes, Solo trained in the Imperial Academy, but the encounter with Tarkin is somewhat... unnecessary.

Some can justify this. After all, Tarkin is an Imperial. Why wouldn't Solo meet him once? It's just as normal as a normal thief... running into a four-star General at school. Yeah... justifiable.

Aside from the Death Star, the Super Star Destroyer remains one of the most impressive space craft in Star Wars's history. Firmus Piett would be Admiral of the Super Star Destroyer Executor. The character proved so popular in Empire Strikes Back that fans convinced George Lucas to put Piett in Return of the Jedi, where he is killed in a battle against the Rebels.

And it just so happens one time that Han Solo met his match in this character.

This encounter happened in a book published before Heir to the Empire, which is often regarded as the real start of the Star Wars Legends brand.

The plot is quite simple. Piett, back in his days as a Captain, caught Han Solo and Chewbacca, and stuffed them in the Super Star Destroyer's brigs. And, ultimately, lost them. That's the whole story. So Han Solo met multiple high ranking officials in the Empire long before ever joining the rebellion. Why? Because he's Han Solo.

Han Solo... a bounty hunter so unimportant that not one person in the Death Star recognized the Millenium Falcon when it was docked there. No one went "Hey, there's Han Solo's ship. You know, the guy who met everyone?"

One of the things the fans love about the Legends canon is how they made Boba Fett into a main player. He moves on from being just another face in a greater universe to one of the most badass characters in the saga. How many people can fight their way out of a Sarlacc Pit? How many people can train Han Solo's daughter in combat? How many other people knocked drinks out of Skippy the Force Sensitive Droid's grip? Yeah, we didn't forget about you, Skippy. You useless waste of eight pages...

But one thing that a lot of writers felt compelled to do was justify Boba and Han's rivalry. It isn't enough that Boba Fett just took Han down for some extra money. No, it had to be personal. There had to be an epic rivalry between them all.

The Han Solo Trilogy establishes Boba's grudge against Solo, but then every writer working on a pre-Empire Strikes Back story felt compelled to embellish on the rivalry, with neither character really doing anything serious to the other character because of the confines of the original films. It wasn't like Boba Fett or Han Solo could die, after all. So the two characters were stuck doing the same song and dance over and over again with little variation or complexity to add to the relationship.

But that deadlock is not why he's here.

He's here because of The Holiday Special. That... nightmare. Boba Fett's first appearance is the only reason to watch that accursed abomination, and, even then, Boba Fett's coolness does not justify sitting through a second of this dreck.

You remember Dengar, right? That bounty hunter that Darth Vader hired to hunt down the Millenium Falcon? No, not Boba Fett. No, that's IG-88. No, not the lizard guy, Bossk. Those guys are cool.

So Star Wars Legends writers had a thing where they wanted to take every minor character, and give them an epic backstory, even if they were only on screen for a fraction of a second. Dengar is one such character. He looks like a guy with a towel over his head. How do they make him stand-out next to Boba Fett and a bunch of other awesome characters?

Simple: they make him have a grudge against Han Solo.

This is established both in the Star Wars Galaxy Magazine and the short story "Payback: The Tale of Dengar." Apparently, back on Corellia, Dengar and Han Solo raced, and, during the race, Han Solo cut him off. This caused Dengar to get into an accident that led to crystals plunging halfway into his brain. He blamed Solo, and went on a roaring rampage of revenge from there.

Again, Dengar could have received no development, and no one would have ever noticed. In fact, the new canon barely mention Dengar at all, and no one is worse off for it.

In an absolutely necessary series of events, Han Solo and Leia ended up running into Luke's Aunt on Tatooine. No, not Beru. She was dead. No, it would just be silly if they wrote a story where Han ran into Beru before she died. Can you imagine it? Beru making some blue milk, and running into Han Solo? That sounds like something out of a bad fanfiction.

As opposed to this, where Luke's aunt Dama--Beru's sister--ends up running into Han and Leia after the two of them find a weird painting. Little of consequence happens. They just sort of meet.

Oh, and then Thrawn shows up, dressed as a stormtrooper, to steal said painting. Long before the Thrawn Trilogy. I'd say it makes sense in context, but it really doesn't.

This entry doesn't contribute much to the lore. It's almost totally irrelevant to the greater canon. Hell, it's almost irrelevant to the book, since the story is about Leia coming to terms with the realization that Darth Vader was her father. What does Luke's aunt have to do with things? Well, she offers a link to Anakin's mom. That's... it.

But, again, the Legends continuity loved to expand the universe in ways that seem oddly underwhelming and hollow. Sure, Luke has another aunt... so what? Sure, Han Solo met her... so what? This really contributes nothing.

But on that note about Luke's Aunt, what about Thrawn?

No, not in Heir to the Empire. Heir to the Empire may just be the greatest entry to the Legends Canon. I'm still referring to the prior book on this list, Tatooine Ghost.

Admiral Thrawn is supposed to be a huge threat when he appears in the Thrawn Trilogy. Han Solo is supposed to be taken by surprise by this guy--hell, everyone is. Everyone thought the Empire had crumbled. Thrawn is an old commander that none of the Rebels had encountered before who uses his cunning to take the upper hand.

But Thrawn takes the upper hand because he has the element of surprise on his side.

This prior story takes place right after Return of the Jedi and before Heir to the Empire. Having Han Solo met Thrawn over something as small as a painting feels kinda... it deflates Thrawn's threat level, doesn't it? Thrawn goes from the Empire's Trump Card to some guy who steals a painting. Feels almost underwhelming.

Admiral Ackbar is everyone's favorite squid-headed space navigator. Admiral of the Rebel fleet, spouter of popular internet memes, it makes sense that he would have been around Captain Solo even before the Battle of Endor.

But apparently, it's thanks to Han Solo that Mon Mothma gave Ackbar the his job. Not as a member of the Rebel Alliance, no. Ackbar earned that after an attempt on Tarkin's life (who had enslaved Ackbar before the Battle of Yavin). But when Han Solo (and Luke and Leia, who were... there) saved Ackbar after he crash landed on the muddy Daluuj.

There, Ackbar helped convince the council of Mon Calamari (his squid-headed people) to back the Rebel Alliance. Through a series of impressive twists and turns, Ackbar proved his worth to the alliance, and became Supreme Commander of the Rebel Fleet, but none of that would have happened if Han Solo didn't save him first.

Oh, and Luke and Leia were there, too. But Han was flying the Falcon, so... it's all him.

Do you remember that guy Obi-Won talks to for five seconds in the Cantina before meeting Chewbacca? Yeah, that's BoShek--force sensitive smuggler and Kessel Run Champion (yes, better than Han Solo).

The absolute absurdity with this character is how unnecessary BoShek's is. He is a force sensitive smuggler? Friends with all the cool characters? It feels like BoShek wrote fanfiction about himself to make himself seem more important.

All this development added to his character in the Legends timeline, and none of it makes him more important. What does he do to stop the Empire? What does he do that matters? Maybe he told Obi-Won to hire Han Solo? Okay, but so what? Who cares about BoShek's story? Was this a story that really needed to be told?

Granted, it is important to develop Solo's life in the criminal underworld. His relationship with Lando, with Chewie, with Jabba... but who is this joker here?

Continuing Star Wars Legend's obsessive habit to give minor characters sweeping, epic roles, this minor character from the prequels (the cool albino character watching the Podrace in Phantom Menace in one shot) had a role in a later book in the Legends canon.

So, naturally, for a character who appears at the beginning of the Star Wars saga, it makes sense for Han and Leia to meet her... 37 years after Return of the Jedi.

The plot is... messy. It involves Han and Leia turning against the Galactic Empire and the Jedi when their son Jacen Solo (Legend's Kylo Ren, basically) turns to the dark side. Aurra tells Han and Leia about her one scene in the films before she ultimately gets taken down by Jacen Solo. She contributes very little. She is captured fast, and ends up dying when the ship she's imprisoned is fired upon.

It was very important that this character from the prequels was brought back, clearly. She contributed so much to the plot.

Star Wars Masters of Teras Kasi is the only major Star Wars fighting game to ever be released. You'd think that with such a large cast that someone else would've made a fighting game by this point.

But no. Just this one. All we have is this masterpiece of a game.

And in this game, you have Han Solo going all fisticuffs with such legendary characters as Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and Hoar. Don't remember Hoar? Oh, he's a Tusken Raider with a very unfortunate name. Say it out loud. You'll understand why Hoar is the butt-end of a lot of jokes about this game.

What about Mara Jade? Luke's future wife? The Hand of the Emperor? She's in this game that takes place between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. She's one of the unlockable characters in this game, along with Darth Vader. This is wrong for many reasons. Least of all that Mara Jade and Luke never met before the Thrawn Trilogy. At least, not directly. They sure didn't go fist-fighting days before the Empire struck back against the rebellion.

The canon of this game is very sketchy. It really doesn't make any sense if you try to force it in, so, again, maybe I'm stretching with this one.

But it exists.

Again, the Holiday Special. This thing existed and was canon in the Legends Timeline. So, yes, this bleating two hours of Wookie yodeling, Carrie Fisher singing, and Bea Arthur exists in Legends.

So Han Solo tries to take Chewie to his family for the holiday Life Day (the Galaxy's discount version of Christmas/ Hanukkah/ Kwanza/ Ramadan/ Festivus). While Han Solo meeting Chewie's family isn't a bad idea in and of itself, it's just that nothing happens when they meet. Han kills a couple Stormtroopers by tripping them (yes, really), and then that's it. He doesn't do anything with the family. They don't bond. Nothing.

And the thing is that, unlike a lot of other characters here, Chewie's family really don't matter. They don't appear elsewhere. They were made for this special. Chewbacca never brings them up ever again--no one brings any of them up again--so the whole thing feels downright purposeless.

It is fairly well known that George Lucas wanted to include Han Solo in Revenge of the Sith. There are excerpts from the script showing this ultimately useless scene in all its useless glory. But ultimately, it didn't happen. So why bring it up at all?

Well, it turns out that maybe he was there after all. We at OMNI had to dig, but we found it. Oh, we found it alright.

It is established throughout the canon that from a young age, Han Solo was forced to travel throughout the galaxy under the orders of Garris Shrike, his "adoptive father."

According to the canonical LucasFilm's Endorsed Star Wars Insider 106, it is rumored that Han Solo had been at the Battle of Kashyyk, a battle that Yoda and Chewbacca fought in during Revenge of the Sith. If these rumors are true... then yes, Han Solo met both Yoda and Chewie as a kid.

So in case you were keeping count, Han Solo happened to meet multiple high ranking members of the Imperial Army, his future best friend, and Yoda--the head of the Jedi Council--all before being embroiled in the Galactic Civil War.

And this is a smuggler who insisted he didn't believe in the Force. How can you meet Yoda and not see the might of the Force first hand?

Are you starting to see how ridiculous Legends became over time?

You know what's weirder than Han Solo meeting Yoda? Him meeting the Emperor.

Dark Empire is notoriously one of the worst storylines in the entire Star Was Legends Canon. Palpatine clones? Just silly. In many ways, it undermined the finale of Return of the Jedi by making the Battle of Endor not the climactic battle, but just another fight in the big war. Killing the Emperor at the end of a saga loses impact when the Emperor can just get back up.

While it can be argued that Luke and Leia had more to do fighting the Emperor than Han does, it feels weird to imagine Han having any real role in a story with the Emperor. Han is a very tangible, hands on sort of character. He doesn't believe in the Force until after A New Hope. He's grounded. Rational. Him fighting space wizards just seems weird.

Indeed, reading the story, it's clear that the writers had no real idea on what to do with Han. He's just... there. Which makes it stupid.

This one is stretching it. After all, this story is completely noncanon, but the logic is this: Han Solo warps through space, and crashes on Earth. He dies. Years later, Indiana Jones and Short Round uncover the old ruins, and find Han Solo's dead corpse inside the Falcon.

Oh, and it turns out that Bigfoot is just Chewbacca. Yeah.

This occurs in the Star Wars Tales series, which are all noncanon, fun stories where other writers took the established canon and did stuff with it.

For obvious reasons, this is noncanon even in Legends, but it is presented as an elseworlds story in the Legends storyline, which means it counts. Not to mention that it is too awesome of a scenario not to list here with the other examples.

Oh, but even stranger than Han meeting Indy... Jaxxon the Rabbit.

What? Don't remember Jaxxon? He was the face of the Star Wars saga... according to Marvel Comics in the 70s.

Yes, before Marvel Comics owned the rights to publishing Star Wars comics under Disney, Marvel Comics owned the rights to publish Star Wars comics independently. This was back when Star Wars first came out, and it is clear that they had no idea what they were doing with the property.

So, enter Jaxxon. Jaxxon is, and I kid you not, a kick-boxing Lepi (Lepi! Get it? As in Lepus?). One of thirteen children (because their family bred like rabbits), he leaves at a young age, becomes a mercenary, smuggler, and all that stuff. But he's short on cash, so he ends up taking a job from Han Solo, and assembles a team of mercenaries called the Star-Hoppers.

It is at this point where you start asking questions like "Why?" or "What?" or maybe even, "What drugs were they taking?"

Yes, and all of this is canon in the Legends timeline. LucasFilms, God bless their souls, never forgot him. In The Clone Wars series, there's a skeleton in one episode that is clearly Jaxxon. They mentioned him in Star Wars Insider, which, I remind you, is a LucasFilms endorsed publication. And even now, in Marvel's current Star Wars comics, they include a cover making fun of Jaxxon.

Yes, but it's clear Jaxxon just did not fit this series. Maybe Bucky O'Hare or Star Fox, but Star Wars? Jaxxon was just too silly, and trying to give him any credibility by associating him with Han Solo just could never work.

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About the Creator

Anthony Gramuglia

Obsessive writer fueled by espresso and drive. Into speculative fiction, old books, and long walks. Follow me at twitter.com/AGramuglia

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