When Disney first bought Lucasfilm back in 2012, the fate of the franchise was at stake. Not just the resurrection of the film franchise, which was moribund after the prequels, but all the other stuff that surrounds them: novels, comics, radio plays, which were collectively known as the "Expanded Universe." In 2014, the ruling came down: The Expanded Universe would be moved into "Legends" and no longer canon so Disney could rewrite the galaxy's history to its own needs. But a new Solo: A Star Wars Story clip suggests when it comes to Han Solo's life story, the writers are sticking decently close to the original outline.
This hasn't always been the case over the reboot series. The Expanded Universe, for instance, gave Luke Skywalker a wife, a feminist free thinker and Jedi Knight, named Mara Jade. They had a son, named Ben Skywalker. Meanwhile, in that version of the galaxy, Leia and Han had twins Jacen and Jaina. Jacen turned on his family and became a Sith Lord, while Jaida followed the path of the Light Side of the Force.
Obviously, some of these details were re-purposed and re-imagined. Ben Skywalker is now Ben Solo, and he became a Sith Lord like Jacen before him. Luke didn't marry Mara Jade, but he did start a Jedi Temple, etc.
With all these changes, it was unsurprising fans assumed Han's backstory would also undergo massive alterations as well. But a new clip shown on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this week suggests the writers went back to the source material.
From the looks of this scene, it seems like this is the first meeting between Beckett and Solo on the planet Mimban, which means the job offer to join the heist on the snowy planet comes after Beckett's known Han for a short spell.
It also seems oddly reminiscent of Han's backstory from the books and comics. Believe it or not, Han Solo, in the original Expanded Universe story, was an Imperial soldier. Moreover, he was a pretty good one, who rose up through the ranks quickly due to his impressive piloting skills. According to The Han Solo Trilogy, originally published in 1998, he graduated from "the Imperial Academy at Carida, serving with distinction." He only left after realizing what the Empire was doing, and he couldn't square it with his moral impulses.
Now at least some of this has been altered for the film, which is, in the end, the reason the Extended Universe was moved to Legends. But taken together with this featurette, Solo aficionados can see at least parts of Han's original story are being honored.
The film seems to have changed this up a bit, including taking away the rising through the ranks due to the Empire recognizing his pilot skills. Instead, he got thrown out of the academy and wound up stuck as a ground trooper. This explains the war footage seen in the featurette, which some have thought might be a moment of Han in disguise to smuggle something that's gone horribly wrong. No, Han signed up for the army and found himself fighting on the front lines. It's the kind of scarring experience that would make anyone want out by any means necessary.
So then one day, he happens to notice two suspicious characters who were really quite terrible at the art of disguise. With this sort of perspective, the decision to walk up to them and maybe find a way out of this hellhole and make himself a new future makes perfect sense. The only question is how he convinces Val not to snap his neck for the insolence.
Solo: A Star Wars Story arrives in theaters on May 25, 2018.