There’s been a very small thread running through the first few issues of Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories that has been quite subtle, to the point where it could be easy to miss. Since appearing in the first issue, a small Wookie doll has been making its way across the galaxy, meeting up with various heroes from the Skywalker Saga. And now, it finally returns home to Kashyyyk in what ends up being a delightful end to these first four issues that feels like poetry; to use the words of George Lucas himself: “It’s like poetry, they rhyme.”
After a couple of issues by Cecil Castellucci, this one sees the return of writer Amanda Deitbert. Out of the previous three issues, the first was the one that I found to be the weakest, and as such I was slightly worried when I saw that Deitbert was returning to the book. However, not only was that fear unwarranted, but this ended up being the most enjoyable book of the series to date.
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This issue sees Rey and Chewbacca travelling to the Wookie home-world of Kashyyyk, where the annual celebration Life Day is happening. Chewie wants to bring Rey with him so that she can meet him family, and take part in the celebration with them. However, a bounty hunter is following close behind them, and intends to try and take the Jedi into custody; even if it means wrecking the Wookie holiday in order to do it.
Life Day is one of those things that has become a pretty firm fan favourite over the years. Originally beginning life as part of the frankly horrifying Star Wars Holiday Special it first became popular because of how awful the Holiday Special was. But since the change in leadership behind the scenes and the introduction of the new canon, Life Day has been incorporated into Star Wars once again. Having first appeared in new canon in Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy issue three, it’s since featured in its own special Life Day issue, as well as having been mentioned in the High Republic books, the kids’ game show Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, and even the very first episode of The Mandalorian.
Here, Life Day is being used as an excuse to further develop the relationship between Rey and Chewie, and it works perfectly for that. In the sequel movies Rey very quickly starts to ingratiate herself with the Falcon crew, striking up a decent relationship with Han Solo, and over the other two movies she and Chewie start to become good friends; to the point where you can easily see the two of them going off and having adventures together. Here, Chewie is bringing her to his home, he’s introducing her to his family, and bringing her into an important part of her life. It’s lovely to see their relationship develop in this way, and it feels like the perfect next step for them.
But this issue isn’t all about them, as two other Wookie characters also get some of the spotlight. The first if Lumpawaroo, Chewbacca’s son. Like Life Day itself, Lumpy first appeared in the Holiday Special, and would have several EU appearances. This is one of the first times we’ve seen him since he was brought into canon with Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End, and he’s grown up a lot since then, appearing to be almost an adult himself now. We also see another Wookie who’s done a lot of growing up: Viiveenn. Viiveenn appeared in the first issue of the series, and was the little girl whose Wookie doll has been appearing throughout the series. This Viiveenn has matured a lot, and rather than being the scared child she was then, gets to be involved in the plot, and even has a moment that mirrors her father’s actions in that first issue (poetry, they rhyme).
The fact that this issue has brought things full circle, that these four issues, which make up the first volume of the graphic novels, begin and end with Wookies, that they’re about family, sacrifice, kindness, and bravery, makes it all feel planned out and worth it. The four unconnected stories weren’t completely unconnected, as they shared a lot of themes in common, and they all come to the forefront here.
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This issue has art by Lucas Marangon, and Michael Atiyeh, and the book looks absolutely fantastic. Much like with previous issues, the book has a wonderfully cartoonish look to it that makes things easy to read and understand, and brings the characters to life in lovely ways. Rey and Chewie are instantly recognisable, and feel true to their established characters. The Wookies and their home all look amazing, and it’s brilliant to get to see a lot of different style and variety in the Wookie, with different shapes and sizes, and different decorations to their hair, rather than just being coloured differently.
Easily the best issue of the series yet, and the perfect end to this first run focusing on the heroes of the franchise. With the next four issues focusing on the bad guys, labelled as ‘Scum and Villainy’, I’ll be interested to see if it does the same thing again, with small pieces running throughout, culminating in one cleverly constructed tale.
Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories #4 is out now from Dark Horse.