Released shortly after Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and advertised as containing clues to the film, Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run focuses on the first mission that Han Solo and Chewbacca undertake for the Rebel Alliance.
Beginning just hours after the medal ceremony at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope, the book sees Princess Leia convincing the pair of smugglers to travel to the Outer Rim world of Cyrkon in order to rescue a Rebel agent on the run from the Empire.
It’s interesting to see Han and Chewie so quickly after the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, where they are still trying to break away from their criminal past and wanting to become the freedom fighters we know that they will go on to be. Throughout the book we see Han and Chewie discussing their motivations for helping the Rebels.
We get to see the fight within Han in particular as he wants to be seen as a dashing rogue, capable of heroic actions, but is confronted by the reality that whilst people may like him, they don’t completely trust him. This helps to fill in some of the character development that we don’t get to see between episodes 4 and 5.
Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run also fills in some of Han Solo’s past, not only letting us meet some of his friends and former associates such as Delia and Curtis, whilst showing the reader some of the less savoury sides of Han’s time as a criminal as he comes up against a group of bounty hunters looking to cash in on Jabba the Hutt’s bounty.
When a vicious Imperial Security Bureau agent arrives on Cyrkon looking for the rebel that Han and Chewie are there to help, things get even more complicated, with multiple factions getting in the way of our heroes from achieving their goals.
The Imperial agent, Alecia Beck, is a surprisingly good antagonist considering the relatively short amount of time given over to her in the fairly short book. She’s cold and calculating, willing to hurt civilians, and to brutally punish the enemies of the Empire; coupled with her startling visual look of white uniform, facial scar, and cybernetic eye, she’s an impressive villain. It’s a shame that she has yet to be featured in any other Star Wars lore, as she would be perfect for more stories involving the Empire.
Beck is also joined in her actions by the older clone trooper Rainer, who acts as her second in command. Whilst he doesn’t have a great deal to do in the story, it’s a nice inclusion that ties the original trilogy more to the prequel era stories. Much like Star Wars Rebels and their inclusion of Star Wars Clone Wars characters, I’m happy to see the Star Wars stories merge together more into one cohesive whole.
Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run, like the other books in the ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ book series, has a few illustrated pages at certain points in the book. Beautiful painted art by Phil Noto, who has worked on a number of the Marvel Star Wars comics, they look stunning in black and white, with brief splashes of red. It’s a shame that the book doesn’t have more pages like this.
Whilst Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run is a short read, and designed to be accessible to readers of a young age, it has enough content to it to have several action sequences, as well as character development. Being a part of the new official canon, Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run offers some great insight into everyone’s favourite smuggler and his Wookie companion.
Have you read Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run? Let us know!