Review: Star Wars Icons: Han Solo

It is not often that a complete reference work is devoted to one Star Wars character. C-3PO (Tales of the Golden Droid, 1999) and Darth Vader (The Story of Darth Vader, 1998 and The Complete Vader, 2009) were the first many years ago and now there is Star Wars Icons: Han Solo; a book about, you guessed it: perhaps the most popular Star Wars character ever. To be honest: Harrison Ford’s Han Solo is my favorite movie character ever and Ford is even my favorite actor. Add to that the fact author Gina McIntyre has used an interview that I conducted (which means that I am listed in the credits) and it is difficult to remain objective, but I am going to try. When I opened the book, I was genuinely impressed: where I expected photos that had already appeared in countless other reference works (such as the three Making Of’s by JW Rinzler), it turned out that there is still enough in the Lucasfilm archives to surprise. The book is packed with photos, drawings and sketches of which a lot are really new.

But is the textual content of the same level? The book describes the Han Solo character. Of course it starts with how George Lucas came up with this character and how a green alien (the original idea) became the Corellian smuggler we all know. This of course also includes the entire casting process (including Walken, Russell, Katt and Nolte). Subsequently, Gina McIntyre describes the role of Solo and Ford in the original trilogy, which is done in an elaborate way, but unfortunately such things as Ford’s alleged affair with Carrie “Leia” Fisher or how Howard Kazanjian played a role in Ford’s return receive no attention for Return of the Jedi. Of the 241 pages, no less than 115 are spent on “Original Trilogy Han”. I did not expect what followed from page 116 on this scale: 26 pages dedicated to Legends / Expanded Universe Han; the Han Solo that we lost when Disney cancelled the Expanded Universe in 2014 to come up with their own stories. Things like the Solo trilogies of both Brian Daley and A.C. Crispin pass by, just like the old Marvel and Dark Horse comics. This segment is really fantastic and I almost suspect the author of being an “EU” fan herself. After this things like ‘The Han Solo effect’ (the character has influence on characters like Indiana Jones, Jack Burton, Malcolm Reynolds and Madmartigan) and ‘Where’s Han’ (in which the Special Editions, art, merchandise, the radio plays and West End Games are discussed). The final 73 pages are then for The Force Awakens and Solo: A Star Wars Story where Disney’s version of Han is highlighted as well as the new canon books and comics. I think nobody can deny that this is just an excellent book that the Ford / Solo fans will enjoy. On the other hand, it must be said that if you have no feelings for the character, you can get bored. I hereby express my hopes that this will become into a series and that more “Star Wars Icons: …” books will appear in the future. Leia, Luke, C-3PO, Obi-Wan and Yoda please?