Lucasfilm Press is currently working on wrapping up a story series called the “Flight of the Falcon”, ending in the Young Adult (YA) novel Pirate’s Price by Lou Anders. The series was dominated by YA novels and comics within IDW’s Star Wars Adventures comic series.
In total the series contained:
- YA novel – Lando’s Luck
- YA novel – Choose Your Destiny: A Luke & Leia Adventure
- YA novel – Pirate’s Price
- A five part Star Wars Adventures comic series, where half of each comic issue of the comic was the Flight of the Falcon tale
- A standalone Flight of the Falcon – Star Wars Adventures comic (as of yet unreleased)
- The rerelease of the Millennium Falcon: A 3D Owners’ Guide
I had talked about a good many of these in Episode 5 of Star Wars in Poor Taste but I wanted to go a bit more into my feelings of it, especially Pirate’s Price.
Overall, the Flight of the Falcon series is a big “meh” for me. The over-arching premise for the series is that after The Last Jedi, the bounty hunter Bazine (from her brief appearance at Maz’s Castle in The Force Awakens) is tasked with hunting down the Millennium Falcon. Along the way she talks with a whole host of people who give her rather random stories about the Millennium Falcon taking place any time from before Solo to after The Last Jedi. Unfortunately, most of those stories end up being throwaways. This includes almost all of the Star Wars Adventures stories (although the standalone comic has yet to be released and may be a shining light in the dark). The final part of the monthly series also shows us how Han Solo lost the Falcon to Ducain. So, it isn’t a total wash.
Of the books in the series, the rerelease of the Millennium Falcon: A 3D Owners’ Guide was one I didn’t pursue because I already own the original Legends version and I didn’t feel the need to get an almost exact replica of the same book only now in Canon format. From what I can tell, this rerelease was shoehorned into the Flight of the Falcon series based on its topic and not necessarily because it really belongs there. The book has none of the Bazine overarching narrative and it is essentially a users manual to the Falcon.
Another shoehorned book is the Choose Your Destiny book, which definitely feels placed here because the Falcon is in the story and for no other reason. Again, there is no Bazine overarching narrative, and there are two other Choose Your Destiny books where neither of them are in this series. I personally didn’t enjoy this book at all and I feel it can easily be skipped with nothing lost.
We are now left with two books, Lando’s Luck and Pirate’s Price. Lando’s Luck was a fine book with nothing Earth (Alderaan?)-shattering about it. The main story takes place while Lando and L3 own the Falcon and are out to make some money. When Lando is caught doing something a little less than legal, he is forced to either help out the Empire or do the right thing. It’s a classic Lando quandary with enough L3 sass to lighten up the mood. It’s a fun romp of a story but the best part for me is that it propels Bazine to Black Spire Outpost on Batuu. And for those of you who don’t know that name, that is what the location of the new Galaxy’s Edge park in Disneyland and Walt Disney World is called.
This brings us to Pirate’s Price — currently, the story furthest along the Star Wars timeline. Bazine has landed at Black Spire Outpost in search of Hondo Ohnaka, a character who had many memorable appearances on both The Clone Wars and Rebels TV series. Hondo can be thought of as a cross between Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean (Hondo is a pirate after all) and the smooth-talking Lando himself. When Bazine encounters Hondo, he begins to give his tale of the Falcon, just like all of the other stories, however since we are on Batuu, we know this one is different.
The book is broken up into three distinct sections. Part 1 takes place sometime between the end of Rebels and A New Hope (about 1 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin)). This is where Hondo first encounters, and falls in love with, the Falcon. While trying to steal the Falcon, Hondo is forced to hide himself within the one of the smuggling compartments when Han and Chewie come back on board. When a “bank heist” comes up in conversation, Hondo realizes the credits he could earn and quickly reveals himself, embroiling Han, Chewie, and their passenger, Mahjo Reeloo, in a plot that could only go spectacularly wrong.
Encompassing about 70% of the book, Part 1 is definitely the meat of the story. It is also some of the best parts of the story as a whole. Mahjo becomes the fourth major character of this part of the story but she encompasses the most interesting part, beside Hondo, since we don’t know anything about her. She’s an enigma. We are drawn into her, knowing something more is going on but not being quite sure what that is.
But the best part of the story is Hondo. It’s all about Hondo. The story is written in the first person from Hondo’s perspective. He is presenting the events, the descriptions, and even the sound effects (which has to be one of my favorite parts). And since it is presented in this way, who better to read the audiobook than Hondo himself, Jim Cummings. Cummings voiced Hondo in both The Clone Wars and Rebels cartoon series, and having him reprise the role here is what makes the audiobook so magical. Hondo is telling us a tale, and it’s a tale of adventure and intrigue.
Part 2 takes place sometime between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, while Han still has the Falcon. Han and Chewie are kidnapped and Maz enlists Hondo, who was trying to steal the Falcon at the time, to help save them. Although this part is incredibly short (it’s only 30 pages), it felt far longer. After the in-depth plot and story from Part 1, this section felt out of place. It went from 60 to ~10 really, really fast and I think the story as a whole would have been better without it.
Part 3 takes place after The Last Jedi and we find out here how the Millennium Falcon gets to Batuu. We also learn potentially why the movie characters might not be around the Falcon when we see it in the park. This section sets us up for the Millennium Falcon ride at Galaxy’s Edge, called Smuggler’s Run, where you are flying the Falcon and smuggling something for … Hondo!
This third and final section brings us back after the slowdown from Part 2. It ties us back in to the over-arching story arc with Bazine. We also have PORGS! This is the section that answers a ton of questions that we are left with the park. Galaxy’s Edge is supposed to be in canon, taking place at a time shortly after The Last Jedi. We also all know that the Millennium Falcon is in the park, but we don’t know much else. And this book answers many of the questions we are left with about how the Falcon gets to the park, where are the main characters from the movies (this is supposed to be in canon and all), and how does Hondo tie into all of this (he’s the second most advanced animatronic Disney has ever created). Part 3 also ties back in with Part 1, making Part 2 feel even more out of place as the story wraps.
Overall, I absolutely adored this book. The author, Lou Anders, nails the voice of Hondo. I can’t imaging how many hours of cartoons Anders needed to watch to fully become Hondo for this story, but whatever he did, it works. Everything down to the gun firing sound effects that Honda recites are all spot on. Just listening to Hondo describe his many adventures makes getting this audiobook a must read/listen for me.
Since this book ties so closely to the new park I feel that anyone heading out to the parks should give this book a listen to get a background of the Millennium Falcon ride. This is also the only story within the Flight of the Falcon series that anyone really needs to bother with. While some of the stories are fun in the series, this is the only one with a real impact to other aspects of the Star Wars series as a whole.