Solo versus Solo: Is Last Shot a better Han story overall for Star Wars?


The battle between book and movie continues with Star Wars. Let’s weigh Solo: A Star Wars Story against Last Shot, a recent Han and Lando novel.

While we eagerly await Episode IX, Star Wars is all focused on Han Solo this year. Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters on May 25; and last month Star Wars: Last Shot hit bookstore shelves. While they don’t follow the same plot, they do revolve around the same characters: Han (and Chewie), Lando, and the Millennium Falcon.

Read on to find out which, if any, you should enjoy.


Considering all the problems that Solo went through during production with replacing directors, the end result is not only cohesive but fun, too. The plot follows a young Han Solo’s backstory from orphan to the beginning of the smuggler we all know and love. There’s crime syndicates, speeder chases, gambling, Chewie and Han’s first meeting, and the infamous Kessel Run.

From initial stills released before the movie, many weren’t convinced Alden Ehrenreich would be able to fill Harrison Ford’s shoes, especially since the resemblance was lacking. However, once seeing Alden in action, he’s able to make Han his own, and I found that I wasn’t even comparing the two.

Woody Harrelson plays Tobias Beckett, Han’s pseudo-father-figure and smuggler-teacher. The role is interesting if a little flat, and like with Rogue One, it’s difficult to get attached to any new characters, knowing they’re likely to die.

Emilia Clarke plays Qi’ra, Han’s love interest in the movie, and her role is one of the most intriguing throughout the film. While you never exactly trust her character, there are glimmers of hope scattered throughout that she’ll do the right thing.

Donald Glover as Lando and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Lando’s droid L3-37 are the real stars of the film, however. Their characters are full of fun and serve as a wonderful counter-balance to the more serious themes. It’s no wonder there’s talk about a Lando movie.

Overall, the film is perfect for what it is: a fun, not-so-serious space opera western. It has a solid 70% score on Rotten Tomatoes but didn’t do very well at the box office, so far only grossing about $172 million worldwide when it needs at least $500 million to break even.


Last Shot also tells a new story surrounding Han, Lando, and the Millenium Falcon. The plot goes between past (before Solo: A Star Wars Story) and present (after Return of the Jedi) and revolves around a mysterious Phylanx Redux Transmitter.

The transmitter not only has a huge reward attached to it but also unknown power. It was created by Fyzen Gor, a criminal that doesn’t want anyone to get ahold of it.

While the book isn’t a difficult read when it comes to vocabulary, the short chapters and constant shifting of timelines make the plot a little difficult to grasp. While Phasma has a similar time shift, the present deals with different characters and makes it easier to remember the time period. Additionally, the flashbacks in Phasma continue through several chapters.

Still, if you can struggle through the timelines without needing to take notes, there are some enjoyable moments in the novel. The characterization rings true, and new characters are fun and quirky in typical Star Wars fashion. A young hot-shot pilot that initially impersonates Han Solo is a cute nod to the Solo film, mirroring the cocky attitude the young Han has in the film. Additionally, Peekpa, a female Ewok slicer (hacker) is both adorable and an easy favorite, even if the reader can’t understand a word she says.

Lastly, it’s fun to read about a toddler Ben Solo before he becomes the feared Kylo Ren. There are some sobering moments though, as Han doubts his capability as a father, which makes The Force Awakens that much more heartbreaking.

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Ultimately, the stories are completely different and it doesn’t hurt to enjoy both. There are tiny connections between the movie and book that are fun to discover but are more small Easter eggs rather than anything groundbreaking. If you had to choose just one, stick with Solo as the story is a little more coherent and easier to digest.