I had a whole other article worked out in my head -- hey, I gotta think about something while my body endures working out for the first time in years -- and then I read "Star Wars" #6. I should have known better than to plan ahead, but there's a development in the final pages of "Star Wars" #6 that I just can't ignore. Sorry, action figure enthusiasts, but you're going to have to wait for a quieter week to read my reasoning behind displaying 150-ish toys in my office. I got something bigger to talk about this week: I'm talking about -- oh wait, SPOILER ALERT.
If you've made it to the end of Wednesday and not had the reveal ruined for you, I definitely don't want to do it here. Go read "Star Wars" #6; if you're like me, then it's probably near the top of your to-read list anyway. Put that to-read list in action! You done? You better be, because we're now in the SPOILER ZONE. Where was I...?
I got something bigger to talk about this week: I'm talking about Sana Solo! Han Solo's married. Now my head is flying around in a circle like a speeder bike that's been lassoed by an Ewok -- and it's exploded like one, too. That reveal is something that has potential to rewrite how my brain responds to "A New Hope" and potentially "Empire Strikes Back" in future viewings -- and I have to note that I really loved how my brain was wired for "Star Wars" before today. But is this a bad thing? Marvel got the go-ahead from Lucasfilm to make canonical "Star Wars" stories and this reveal alone proves that the publisher is going for it. After five issues of pleasant play in the "Star Wars" sandbox, writer Jason Aaron has finally taken a major leap.
And that's not to say that the previous five issues haven't been fantastic. I love "Star Wars" and I've loved this series so far. It's as different as you can get from Brian Wood and Carlos D'Anda's similarly-set -- and now out of continuity -- "Star Wars" series from Dark Horse, which I also loved. The first trilogy of Marvel's "Star Wars" issues felt like it was written by a kid after excitedly opening a sack full of Star Wars toys on Christmas morning. It made me feel like that kid, and I loved every page of it. Those issues had C-3PO trying to use a blaster, Han piloting an AT-AT, Chewbacca playing the part of sniper and more quips than the entire prequel trilogy.
The thing is, those issues also had Han and Leia tension, speeder bikes and Luke's first confrontation with Darth Vader -- all things that were previously first introduced in the original batch of films. This is just a Jawa-sized nitpick; I still really love this series. It's just that I've lived with "Star Wars," "Empire" and "Jedi" for almost 25 years. I know those movies inside and out. I should actually replay "Empire" in my head while doing laps in the pool, because lord knows I need all the distractions I can get until my body levels up. Part of the subtle magic of those movies is believing that the characters are experiencing it right along with you; when those Rebel officers see AT-ATs lumbering over Hoth's horizon, I always assumed they were seeing those for the first time. Logically, and Marvel's "Star Wars" plays within this logic, those are weapons of the Empire just like AT-STs and speeder bikes. Of course they're not using untested tech against the Rebels on Hoth and Endor. Logically it makes sense that these vehicles were parked in the garage of the first Death Star, even though it may seem like those scout troopers have never ridden a speeder bike before. And really, when I see "A New Hope"-era Han Solo behind the "wheel" of an AT-AT, my elation erases all potential nerd-rage.
The Luke and Vader fight that kicked off "Star Wars" #2 felt slightly different; initially it felt like it undercut all of the tension of their first clash on Cloud City in "Empire." That was huge! Luke and Vader, standing on those steps, igniting their lightsabers -- that moment is iconic! A younger version of myself would have been outraged by it and he might have even turned "Star Wars" #2 into a hat -- I mean, that is what I did when Milligan and Allred revamped "X-Force." Looking back at that issue, though, four months after its release, I can see it's not even that big of an alteration. Their fight consists of their laser blades meeting once, Luke losing his weapon and an AT-AT foot stomp through the ceiling. Hardly epic, right? And totally in fitting with Luke's "I'm good against remotes!" skill level. It's also not like this is the first time Luke's seen Vader; he watched him kill Obi-Wan Kenobi. Jason Aaron has proven so far that he's not just writing wish fulfillment fanfic; lord knows if I was, the series would be exclusively set on the Millennium Falcon and feature more flashbacks to "Revenge of the Sith"-era Obi-Wan. Aaron has actually used a lot of logic and restraint in this series while still making it feel like a romp.
But this Sana Solo reveal, though! How do I deal with this? It's possible I'm overreacting to something that takes up two pages in the entire issue. All we know is that Sana has been hunting Han for the past few issues and that she claims to be his wife. We know that Han recognizes her ship -- a modified YT freighter like the Falcon -- and seems more embarrassed than scared of her. Thanks to the reboot of the expanded universe, we also don't know anything about how Corellians view marriage; they could be closer to business deals than an expression of romantic love, who knows! I should probably slow my roll and wait to see how this plays out before I make any judgments.
There are a few things that I'm worried about, though, and no amount of roll slowing will stop my brain from going there. I often think that I'm not invested in fictional couples and that I "ship" no one. Turns out I'm a passenger on the Organa/Solo Cruise and I booked a lifetime trip. I love Han and Leia together. I can recite the Echo Base argument and the lead up to their first kiss by heart ("We need? What about you need?"). I love both of the "I know" moments. I probably need to get an Organa/Solo life preserver, don't I?
Since the Marvel comics are in-between-quels, I know where Han and Leia end up after Aaron's "Star Wars": crowding a hallway in Echo Base with their sexual tension at the start of "Empire." But that's why a development like this, the introduction of Han Solo's wife, could alter the movies I already love. If Han ditched Sana without warning, that's bad news. If Han and Sana were very much in love when he disappeared, that's even worse news. If Sana -- one of the few women of color in the Star Wars universe -- turns out to be a crazy person whose role is limited to just being an obstacle, then yikes. But if I've learned anything from reading a over two hundred Jason Aaron comics, it's that I trust him as far as Chewbacca could throw him -- which I think would be pretty far, by the way.
In turning the Sana Solo reveal over in my head, I've come to understand one thing: Jason Aaron had to do this. Well, he had to do something. He can show us the first time the Rebels see a Chicken Walker and he can depict the second time Luke sees Vader, that's fine. All of that stuff is inconsequential compared to writing Han and Leia's first kiss. That's in "Empire Strikes Back," period. So, knowing that he has to write an ongoing series where the only two characters with romantic tension can't get to smooching, Aaron had to introduce some element to keep them apart until the perfect time comes -- which is on the Falcon in "Empire." I mean really, which retcon would be more horrifying for Han/Leia fans: Han being married or their iconic kiss in "Empire" getting bumped down to their second kiss because nothing in the comics was keeping them apart? I'll take the former over the latter, y'all.
I know comic readers have a rep for forming snap judgments and enacting harsh follow through, which seems to go against the nature of serialized storytelling. I could decide right here and now that I hate this reveal and delete all my "Star Wars" comics from my iPad (doesn't have the same impact as ripping up an issue, does it?). The truth is that I don't have all the information yet -- that's how storytelling works. They want me to want to come back next month, and considering how spot on "Star Wars" has been since the start, I'm definitely doing that. My ship might be entering some turbulent water, but I have a lot of faith in the man steering it.
Brett White is a comedian living in New York City. He makes videos for the Upright Citizens Brigade as a member of UCB1 and writes for the sketch comedy podcast Left Handed Radio. His opinions can be consumed in bite-sized morsels on Twitter (@brettwhite).