I had a nice post for this written up in my head, but events conspired yesterday to prevent me from actually putting it on paper, so instead, you all get a Han Solo story I wrote about a year ago. Enjoy.
Star Wars: Han Solo in “Alumni”
Characters: Han Solo; Iella Wessiri; Leia Organa Solo; Grand Admiral Thrawn (unnamed in script); Luke Skywalker; C-3PO
Places: Coruscant, streets & skies; Dex’s Diner; Han and Leia’s apartment; Imperial Academy ruins
Vehicles/Tech: Speeder bike; various civilian craft; datapad; blaster pistol; commlink; automated blaster cannons; lightsaber
Nonhuman species: Rodian, Bothan
Suggested sources: www.starwars.com, www.starwarsgalaxiesonline.com, Star Wars Essential Guides
Continuity note: This story takes place in between the novels Tatooine Ghost and Heir to the Empire, 4-5 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi.”
Full page splash of HAN SOLO riding a speeder bike through the skies of Coruscant. Time of day is late afternoon. The background is blurred because he’s going so fast, but we can still tell we’re in an urban environment: the tall metal buildings, walkways stretching between them (we are several hundred feet above the surface, after all), etc. Don’t worry too much about getting a lot of detail on this page, since there’s plenty more to go. The bike is similar to those seen in ROTJ, but sleeker, and more stylish; an improved model, and one designed for urban as opposed to jungle travel. HAN is steering the bike one-handed, with his other aiming a blaster pistol. HAN’s face is a mask of concentration.
1 Title: “Alumni”
2 Credits Box
3 CAP (HAN): Just when you think a part of your life is over… you find out it isn’t.
Panel One: Looking down the sight of HAN’s blaster, we see a FIGURE on a similar bike in the distance ahead. The FIGURE is wearing black fatigues and a helmet that obscures his face; we know this because he’s half-turned in the bike’s seat, his head angled towards the camera. The blaster fires, sending a bolt of energy towards the FIGURE.
1 CAP (HAN): Case in point…
Panel Two: Closer to the FIGURE, POV probably about the midway point between him and HAN. The bike swerves up and to the left, dodging the bolt
2 CAP (HAN): Damn, he’s fast.
3 CAP (HAN) (2): Then again, he always was.
Panel Three: Angled side view of the “street” they’re flying down. The FIGURE’s bike has just turned into an alleyway; speed lines behind it indicate the path and steep angle of the turn. Han’s bike is behind, pursuing.
4 CAP (HAN): Can’t let him get away that easy.
Panel Four: Han’s POV, following the FIGURE down the alley, which is a pretty tight fit. Make this panel and the next two tight as well, so that we mostly see the empty space of the alley itself, and maybe a hint or two of buildings in the margins. Han’s a ways behind the FIGURE, so that he’s somewhere between the sizes he was in panel 1 and in panel 2. We can barely make out the end of the alley, and see some small and indistinct shapes in the sky beyond.
5 CAP (HAN): Bad move. No place to dodge or hide in a space this tight.
Panel Five: Same POV, but the FIGURE and the end of the alley are both closer. We’re about as close to him now as we were in panel 2. The shapes at the end of the alley have more definition, so we get the basic idea that they’re ships, flying perpendicular to the direction HAN and the FIGURE are traveling.
6 CAP (HAN): Just have to catch up to him before he clears the alley.
Panel Six: Same POV. Almost on top of the FIGURE now, and the ships at the end of the alley are distinct enough for discerning fans to tell models. Strictly shuttles, civilian freighters and personal craft; no military fighters.
7 CAP (HAN): A little further, and he’s -
PAGE THREE: I want a specific layout for this one: “Panel” 4 covers the entire page, panels 1, 2, 3, are superimposed above this metapanel, at the top, and panels 4, 5, 6 likewise at the bottom. The main image of panel 4 takes up at least half the page, if not more.
Panel One: And now we switch to the outside of the alley, where we see that the lane Han’s been heading into is full of civilian traffic. Rush hour in three dimensions. The cloud of ships is large and irregular, but has identifiable top and bottom planes, which the ships stay within; this is important for later panels. From our current POV, we can see that HAN is just exiting the alley. We can’t see the FIGURE.
1 CAP (HAN): - mine?
2 CAP (HAN): Son of a… He led me right into the heavy traffic lanes!
Panel Two: Not as big as 1 or 3. In a side view of the traffic, we see the FIGURE’s bike break through the bottom plane; he’s flown down through the traffic and come out below them. (We don’t need to see the entire clump of the traffic, so if you need to draw only the bottom part to be close enough to the FIGURE that we see it’s him, that’s fine.)
Panel Three: Close on HAN, a big “Oh shit!” look on his face.
3 CAP (HAN): Uh-oh…
Panel Four: The splash. HAN’s bike swerving straight up to avoid a huge civilian shuttle that fills the center of the page. We’re quite possibly close enough to see the shocked look of the shuttle’s PILOT through the front windshield. (What I have in mind for the shuttle is a modified version of the delta-winged models used in Jedi and on the covers of several of the X-Wing novels, but if you can think of something cooler, by all means go with that.)
4 HAN: AHHHHHHHHHHH!
Panel Five: HAN’s bike breaking out of the top plane of traffic. We can see his face, and he’s scared shitless.
Panel Six: Below, the FIGURE, riding away in safety.
Panel Seven: Top-down shot of HAN scanning the traffic; of course, the FIGURE is nowhere to be seen.
PAGE THREE CTD:
4 CAP (HAN): Dammit! I lost him!
Panel One: Inset into panel 2. Extra close-up of HAN, exasperated.
1 CAP (HAN): I should never have let Wessiri talk me into this job…
Panel Two: Starting now, rounded panel borders to convey flashback. HAN sliding into a booth in Dex’s Diner (from Episode II) opposite IELLA WESSIRI, an agent of New Republic Intelligence. Civilian clothes for both. (In fact, HAN will be wearing his classic outfit from Episode IV for the whole story, just because it’s so darn iconic.) Note on WESSIRI: She’s an established EU character; her relationship with Han is that of friendly acquaintances and fellow ex-Rebels. Image scans from some of the comics are here: http://www.xwpilots.de/Dateien/iella_bilder.html
2 WESSIRI: Han. Thanks for agreeing to meet me here.
Panel Three: Close-up of HAN, giving WESSIRI his trademark grin.
3 HAN: Anything for my favorite person in NRI, * Iella. You sure we should be in public, though? I mean, I am a married man.
4 CAP: *NRI: New Republic Intelligence.
Panel Four: WESSIRI, all business.
5 WESSIRI: This whole place is Intelligence-owned and operated. We use it for mission assignments.
Panel Five: The two looking at each other across the table. Han’s angry but restrained, maybe just pointing a finger at her. The only sign of how pissed he really is should be on his face, not in his body language.
6 HAN: Ohhh, no you don’t. I dropped out of the military a year ago.
7 HAN (2): I’ve got a kid on the way now. Tell your bosses they can find a new errand boy.
Panel Six: WESSIRI pulls out a datapad (which, for the uninitiated, is a device not unlike a PalmPilot in shape and function, but of course capable of much more than our own technology). She’s nonchalant, even amused by HAN’s reaction.
11 WESSIRI: I thought you’d say that. But I’ll bet you fifty credits you’ll change your mind after you see what’s on this.
12 HAN(OP): You’re on, sister.
Panels One & Two: These two panels form one image, of WESSIRI and HAN conferring over the table. The main action of panel 1 is WESSIRI pushing the datapad across the table to HAN; the main action of PANEL 2 is HAN reaching for it. The gutter should be thin and obscure little of the important information. WESSIRI’s balloons are in panel 1, HAN’s in panel 2. Net effect: establishment of emotional distance between HAN and WESSIRI. If WESSIRI has to be in profile or three-quarter profile so that we can see HAN’s face more clearly, so be it.
1 WESSIRI: We’ve learned that one of the renegade Imperial Warlords has sent an assassin to Coruscant. Best that we can tell, he arrived a week ago.
2 HAN: Is he after Leia? Or Luke?
3 WESSIRI: We haven’t been able to ascertain the target’s identity.
4 HAN (2): Then what’s this got to do with me?
Panel Three: WESSIRI, a grave expression on her face.
5 WESSIRI: We have identified the assassin. He’s one of their most dangerous operatives.
6 WESSIRI (2): And according to our intel, you used to run with him at the Imperial Academy. His name is -
Panel Four: HAN holding the datapad, reading it. He’s shocked both by WESSIRI’s words and those on the screen in front of him.
7 WESSIRI (OP)/HAN: - Rolan Naff.
Panel One: Running across the top of the page. HAN’s head on the left, same expression as in Five-4. In the rest of the panel, we see a ghostly image of a younger HAN dressed in an Imperial officer’s uniform, his arm around a similarly-dressed ROLAN NAFF. NAFF is pretty-boy handsome, blond hair and blue eyes, a bit taller than HAN, and slimmer. The two are sharing a boisterous laugh over something.
1 HAN: Your intel’s pretty good. We were inseparable. Solo and Naff, the troublemakers.
2 HAN (2): We pulled more stunts… If we hadn’t both been in the top ten percent of the class, we’d have been expelled our first year.
Panel Two: HAN sets the datapad down. WESSIRI is watching him intently.
3 HAN: We kept in touch after graduation, but I haven’t heard from him since I got kicked out of the Navy.
4 HAN (2): That was over fifteen years ago. I don’t know how much good I can be to you.
Panel Three: WESSIRI pockets the datapad. Her face shows no sign of sympathy.
5 WESSIRI: Naff hasn’t been back to Coruscant since graduation.
6 WESSIRI (2): He’ll head somewhere familiar, where he feels safe. The Academy was destroyed, so that leaves your old hangouts.
Panel Four: Profile of HAN, his head bowed in thought.
8 WESSIRI (OP): If you like, I can just take down what you know and assign a field agent to -
Panel Five: Han looks up, grim-faced.
9 HAN: No. Not if there’s a chance he’s after Leia. I’ll find him for you.
Panel One: Inset of Han’s face, similar to the last panel, except the background is a set of speed lines, indicating he’s back on the speeder bike. We’re back in the present (so lose the rounded corners), and it is now dusk.
1 HAN (CAP): Well, I found him. Should have mentioned something about keeping him, too.
Panel Two: HAN is flying his speeder bike through the lower levels of Coruscant. The area is a slum, home to the rank-and-file who support the opulence above with their labor. It’s reminiscent of Dickensian London: the buildings are dingy and in ill repair, the people of the browbeaten, urchin variety, and the lighting the kind of shadowless grey you get in winter, when the clouds cover the sun. Not a fun place to be, but once upon a time, HAN would have fit right in.
2 CAP (HAN): This is the neighborhood where I caught up with him, before he led me on that wild nuna chase.
3 CAP (HAN) (2): If he’s staying here, there’s only one place he could have holed himself up.
Panel Three: HAN walking to the doorway of a seedy rent-by-hour hotel. It’s a squat concrete building, unremarkable except for its establishment sign (a simple set of neon numbers). The exterior is weathered to a dull grey. Perhaps some graffiti on the walls. The bike is parked outside the building.
4 CAP (HAN): One night, we left a bar too drunk to walk, much less fly. We rented a one-room at this building and slept it off.
5 CAP (HAN) (2): I don’t remember it looking this run-down, though.
Panel Four: HAN, at the complex’s front desk. He’s holding out a palm full of credit chips to the CLERK, a stocky, unkempt Rodian.
6 CAP (HAN): The clerk, however, is exactly the same. Bad memory problem, cured by the application of credits.
7 CAP (HAN) (2): He tells me which room Rolan was using. Maybe he left behind a clue to his next move.
Panel Five: HAN standing in the open doorway of NAFF’s apartment. Since we’re looking at him, we can’t see much of the room’s interior, but whatever it looks like, HAN is shocked to see it.
8 CAP (HAN): What in the -
Panel One: And we flip around to behind HAN, looking over his shoulder. He’s just stepped into the room. The place is an absolute mess; the sheets have been stripped off of the small single bed, a metal bureau next to it has all of its drawers pulled out, and some clothes (but not many; NAFF brought maybe one change with him) are strewn all over the floor, including an Imperial Officer’s cap, one of the grey jobs the mid-level wonks on the Death Star sported. This doesn’t have to be too prominent, since we’ll see it in better focus in the next panel. We can see a closed closet door on the wall opposite the bed.
1 CAP: (HAN): Looks like somebody beat me here.
Panel Two: HAN, bent over, having just picked up the cap. We see now that it’s very old and beaten. A discerning reader will notice a red line running along where the brim meets the crown.
2 CAP (HAN): Not much dust around. Whoever did this must have left not too long ago.
Panel Three: HAN sniffing the air.
3 CAP (HAN): Wait - what’s that smell?
Panel Four: HAN has turned towards the closet and drawn his blaster. The cap, forgotten, is falling to the floor.
4 CAP (HAN): Left -
Panel Five: HAN presses a button to open the closet door.
5 CAP (HAN) (2): - or still here -
Panel Six: POV of the PERSON hiding in the closet. The door has just slid open to reveal HAN, blaster pointed straight at him. The PERSON’s furred hands are held up in the universal sign of “Not in the face!”
6 PERSON: Hold your fire! I’m not him!
Panel One: Flip the camera around to another OTS shot of HAN, and beyond him, our ransacker revealed as a red-furred BOTHAN, an eyepatch over his left eye, with wild, unruly fur around his head and a blaster at his side. His hands are still up.
1 HAN: I can see that. Who are you?
2 BOTHAN: My name is Staan Kar’skar. I am a bounty hunter.
Panel Two: HAN has stepped back from the closet, letting KAR’SKAR step out. HAN is pointing at the bed with his free hand.
3 HAN: Yeah, and I bet I can guess the bounty. Sit down. Don’t try anything funny.
4 KAR’SKAR: Little chance of that. You’re the one with his blaster out.
Panel Three: KAR’SKAR sitting on the bed. Han’s standing right in front of him, blaster still trained on the spy.
5 KAR’SKAR: I presume we are both searching for the same man, one Rolan Naff.
6 HAN: Maybe. What’s he to you?
Panel Four: Close-up of KAR’SKAR, shaking his head.
7 KAR’SKAR (2): I represent the interests of a Bothan merchant who would prefer to remain anonymous.
Panel Five: HAN and KAR’SKAR, same as in panel three. Switch the angle, though, to make it look interesting.
8 HAN: I’ll bet. What’s this guy got against Naff?
9 KAR’SKAR: A blood thirst. Naff killed his family.
Panel One: Flashback panel. NAFF accepting a datapad from a man in an Imperial Admiral’s uniform. The top of the panel cuts off their heads.
1 CAP (KAR): My employer financed much of the transition to New Republic rule after Coruscant was reclaimed.
2 CAP (KAR) (2): Naff’s commanding officer decided to set an example for anyone else who might fund the “Rebel traitors.”
Panel Two: NAFF, his face in shadow, pointing a blaster at the camera. The reader should feel like he’s the one about to be shot.
3 CAP (KAR): From what we’ve been able to determine, his orders did not specify brutality.
4 CAP (KAR) (2): Nonetheless, Naff used it.
Panel Three: Worm’s-eye view of a cream-furred BOTHAN’s bloody paw lying on a floor. Beyond it, we see a horrified elder BOTHAN screaming.
5 CAP (KAR): The victims were shot in the knees and stomach, and the fur on their heads was seared off by a laser torch.
Panel Four: Back to now. HAN and KAR’SKAR, still in the apartment. HAN’s look of horror matches the BOTHAN’s from panel three.
5 KAR’SKAR: We Bothans have large families. My employer had fifteen children between three wives.
6 KAR’SKAR (2): Naff slaughtered them all.
Panel Five: Close-up of KAR’SKAR, fire in his eyes.
7 KAR’SKAR: Their souls demand vengeance.
Panel One: Exterior shot of HAN and LEIA’s apartment building. This is in the “Upper East Side,” so it’s definitely ritzier and more stylish than the dump we saw earlier. It’s now night. HAN’s flying toward the building. He’s still jarred by KAR’SKAR’s story.
1 CAP (HAN): Kar’skar can cool his heels at NRI headquarters for now. I haven’t seen Leia all day.
Panel Two: HAN and LEIA sitting at the dinner table in their apartment. (Floor plan’s up to you, but some general notes: the place has separate rooms for cooking and eating, a living/recreational area, a balcony outside with a killer view, a bedroom, and an office for LEIA. They’re not poor.) LEIA’s almost done with her meal, while HAN’s still poking at his. HAN’s not wearing his vest or gun belt. On LEIA’s pregnancy: She’s only just begun to show.
2 LEIA: Han? Is something wrong? You’ve barely touched your nerf steak.
3 LEIA (2): You know Threepio will sulk all night if you don’t eat anything.
Panel Three: HAN pushing himself out of his chair.
4 HAN: I’m not hungry.
Panel Four: LEIA crossing around the table to follow HAN, who’s gone into the living room. Here or in the next panel, we see that his vest and gun belt are draped over the couch.
5 LEIA: Han? Talk to me. What’s going on?
Panel Five: HAN facing LEIA, arms out in a “what the hell am I gonna do” gesture.
6 HAN: It’s this thing with Rolan Naff. I don’t remember him being anything like what that Bothan described.
7 HAN (2): He was rough around the edges, we both were, but he had a sense of decency. Whoever killed that family sounded like - another person.
Panel Six: HAN leaning against the living room window, looking out, one arm across his forehead. Leia is behind him, her hands on his shoulders.
8 HAN: Before I met Chewie, Rolan was the closest thing I’d ever had to a best friend. A brother.
PAGE ELEVEN CTD:
9 HAN (2): How can anyone change like that?
Panel One: LEIA and HAN facing one another, LEIA running a hand through his hair.
1 LEIA: Han, my father was a podracer pilot who grew up to be Darth Vader. People’s lives can take unexpected turns.
2 LEIA (2): You’ve come a long way yourself from the cutthroat smuggler who pulled me out of the Death Star. Not to mention your time in the Imperial Navy -
Panel Two: HAN shaking his head, pushing her away. LEIA’s shocked at his reaction to what she just said.
3 HAN: I haven’t changed that much, Princess. I may have been just a dumb kid when I signed up at the Academy, but I knew right from wrong.
4 HAN (2): Hell, that’s why they kicked me out of that outfit in the first place, so don’t go comparing me -
5 LEIA: Han, I didn’t mean it like that -
Panel Three: HAN holding a hand behind his head, flummoxed. LEIA is standing close, arms folded.
6 HAN: Ah, I know. I’m just on edge. I lost him this afternoon, and now I’m worried that he’ll make his move before I find him again.
7 HAN (2): There must be something I’m missing, some clue -
8 LEIA: Well, then, let’s put on our thinking caps and work it out.
Panel Four: Close-up of HAN. If this were a Disney strip, there’d be a little light bulb above his head.
9 HAN: Cap - that’s it!
Panel Five: Runs along the bottom of the page. HAN has LEIA by the arms and is shaking her with excitement. She has no idea what he’s going on about.
10 HAN: The cap in Naff’s room! It was Academy Cadet issue! You can tell by the red line on the brim!
Panel Six: Inset into five. A close-up shot of the cap, and yep, there’s that little red line we saw back on Page Eight.
Panel One: HAN smacks his fist in the palm of his hand. LEIA, behind him, not as confident in the idea as he is.
1 HAN: It was pretty beat up, too, which makes sense. You can’t get them anywhere these days.
2 LEIA: What about from an Imperial Cadet?
3 HAN (2): No, they changed the rank identifiers to pips years ago. It had to be his old cap.
Panel Two: Close-up of LEIA, unhappy about this development.
4 LEIA: But why would be bring a fifteen-year-old cap with him? Han, I don’t think I like this.
Panel Three: HAN, slinging on his vest. LEIA behind him, looking frightened.
5 HAN: I know I don’t like it. He left that cap as a message for me. It means he’s at the old Academy ruins.
6 HAN (2): He knew I’d get involved, so he left me a trail.
7 LEIA: But that means -
Panel Four: Same angle, HAN now fastening his gun belt around his waist.
8 LEIA: - You’re his target!
9 HAN: I know. That’s why I have to go. Better we fight it out somewhere else. If you and the baby got caught in the crossfire…
Panel Six: HAN and LEIA facing each other, her hands on his shoulders.
10 LEIA: I could say you’re a stubborn, stupid nerf herder for doing this, and no one would blame me.
11 HAN: But you won’t.
Panel Seven: HAN and LEIA embrace. They both know he might not be coming back.
12 LEIA: No. Not this time. Be careful.
PAGE THIRTEEN CTD:
13 HAN: I will. I’ve got plenty to come back to.
Panel One: Exterior shot of the Imperial Academy ruins, night. Most of the building is demolished, but there are standing walls poking out of the rubble in places. HAN’s bike is swooping down into the area.
1 CAP (HAN): The Academy was practically wiped out when we retook Coruscant. The Provisional Council hasn’t gotten around to deciding what to do with the site yet.
2 CAP (HAN) (2): I say bomb the rest of it out of existence. But until then, it makes a great hiding place for rats.
Panel Two: Han stepping forward into the ruins, his bike behind him. His blaster is drawn.
3 CAP (HAN): I never thought I’d come back here of my own free will.
4 CAP (HAN) (2): Better be careful. If I know Rolan, there could be traps everywhere.
Panel Three: HAN walking past one of the standing walls. We can see that it’s cracked and pockmarked, barely holding up.
5 CAP (HAN): Then again, how well do I know him?
6 CAP (HAN) (2): I told Wessiri I’m doing this for Leia, I told Leia I’m doing it for the baby, but I lied. I’m doing it for me.
7 CAP (HAN) (3): I have to see Rolan for myself. See if it’s really true. And if it is, I have to be the one to stop him. Otherwise, he wins.
Panel Four: HAN peering around the edge of the wall.
6 CAP (HAN): Better stay sharp. This place is just full of good sniping spots.
7 CAP (HAN) (2): Looks pretty safe from here…
Panel Five: HAN has walked out into the open. He’s stopped short, his head cocked in surprise.
8 NAFF: Han, glad you could make it. I wasn’t sure you’d pick up on my message.
PAGE FOURTEEN CTD:
Note to letterer: All NAFF’S balloons, until otherwise noted, are in spiked “electronic” format, because, as we’ll see, he’s speaking through a microphone. Let them free-float for now. Also, the lettering starts out a kind of faded grey, as if softened by distance, and blackens as we and HAN get closer to the source.
Panel One: Distant shot of HAN, whirling around, trying to figure out where the sound is coming from.
1 CAP (HAN): Where - ?
2 NAFF: I gotta say, old buddy, I’m a little bit disappointed in how you turned out.
3 NAFF (2): What happened to the good soldier I knew back when this place still had four walls?
Panel Two: HAN takes a tentative step towards the sound.
4 HAN: Oh, I should be more like you then? Burning Bothans’ fur off with a blowtorch? That’s low, even for the Empire.
Panel Three: From behind HAN, as he continues walking forwards.
5 NAFF: You heard about that, huh? What can I say, I enjoy my job.
6 NAFF (2): It beats grunt work. Like, I don’t know, running spice for the Hutts. With a Wookie.
Panel Four: Close-up of HAN, disgusted.
7 HAN: You’re insane.
8 NAFF: No, just a realist. You, on the other hand, are a certified delusional.
Panel Five: HAN spies something on the ground in front of him. The lettering’s full black by now.
9 NAFF: Joining the Rebellion? Palling around with a Jedi? Marrying a princess? Talk about living in a fantasy world.
Panel Six: HAN’s hand picking up the object, a commlink.
10 CAP (HAN): A commlink?
Panel Seven: HAN holding the commlink up to his mouth, talking into it.
11 HAN: All right, Rolan, enough of this! Where are you? What’s the game?
PAGE FIFTEEN CTD:
Panel Eight: And we’re once again looking at HAN from afar, as, in the foreground, a blaster cannon rises out of the rubble.
13 SFX: POP-CHK
PAGE SIXTEEN: Another specific layout. Think of the page in two tiers. The first tier takes up a third of the page, the second tier the rest of the page. Panel One, vertical panel running the height of the tier. Panels Two and Three, next to it, half the tier, and Panel Four below them. Panels Five, Six, and Seven comprise the second tier; they’re equilateral vertical panels. If this utterly confuses you, I can send a picture.
Panel One: HAN leaping back just as a blaster bolt from the cannon hits the ground where he was standing.
Panel Two: Another cannon pops out of the ground.
1 SFX: POP-CHK
Panel Three: And another.
2 SFX: POP-CHK
Panel Four: ECU of HAN, sweating.
3 SFX: POP-CHK
4 SFX: POP-CHK
5 SFX: POP-CHK
6 CAP (HAN): Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me…
Panel Five: Shot of HAN, some distance from the camera, running towards us, blaster fire following him.
Panel Six: Same angle, HAN’s closer now.
Panel Seven: Same angle. HAN’s body fills almost the entire frame. (Don’t cut off his head, since we should see his frantic expression throughout.)
Panel One: HAN leaping, behind a standing wall (not the one we saw earlier). It forms a “J” shape with two others. A very Matrix moment.
Panel Two: HAN crouched in the one of the J’s corners. He’s still holding the commlink, which NAFF’s balloons will emanate from starting now.
1 HAN: Crazy… son of a…
2 NAFF: What’s wrong, Han? Lost your sense of adventure?
Panel Three: Close-up of HAN shouting angrily into the commlink.
3 HAN: What the hell happened to you, Rolan?
4 NAFF: Me? Nothing. I’m still serving the Empire, like we both swore to do.
Panel Four: Angled, top-down shot of HAN in the corner between the two short walls, both of which are being pounded by blaster bolts. We’re close enough to see that the bolts are chipping away at the concrete. (The SW tech lingo is “duracrete,” which means it’s strong enough to hold up to heavy stress, but who are they kidding?) Important: From this position, we cannot see anything on the opposite side of long wall.
5 CAP (HAN): “And if that means killing innocent people, you’re okay with it?”
6 CAP (NAFF): “Innocent, guilty, it’s all about your point of view. You say the Bothans were innocent; my bosses say they were funding terrorists.”
Panel Five: HAN looks at the commlink in his hand.
7 NAFF: It’s not about guilty or innocent, Han, it’s about power.
8 CAP (HAN): Wait a minute…
Panel One: Close-up of the commlink lying in HAN’s open palm.
1 CAP (HAN): There has to be some way those cannons are all tracking me.
2 CAP (HAN) (2): A homing signal… in the commlink!
3 NAFF*: The Empire isn’t afraid to take power and use it as it sees fit. It’s people like that who win wars, Han. And I’m all about being on the winning side.
*This balloon runs under the captions, so we only get a glimpse of NAFF’s words. But, if we were paying attention, this is what he’s saying.
Panel Two: HAN has just thrown the commlink up into the air, directly over his head. It hasn’t cleared the wall yet.
4 NAFF: Your New Republic… what makes you think it’ll last where the old one failed?
5 CAP (HAN): Even if I’m wrong, at least it’ll shut him up…
Panel Three: From the other side of the wall, we see the commlink rise into view.
6 NAFF: Already, you’re tearing yourselves apart because you all have to be so damn poli--
Panel Four: A blaster bolt destroys the commlink.
Panel Five: HAN back up on his feet, hand on his blaster.
7 CAP (HAN): It worked. Thank goodness for Corellian luck.
Panel Six: NAFF has just stepped out from behind the long wall. Our POV is over his shoulder, looking at HAN.
8 CAP (HAN): Or not.
Panel One: A mood shot of the faceoff between HAN and NAFF. This is the first time they’ve seen one another in fifteen years, and also the first time we get a clear shot of NAFF’s face. It’s barely changed from the one we saw on Page Six, maybe aged a little. From the previous cutoff glimpses of NAFF, we should have expected him to have some kind of scarring, but he doesn’t.
Panel Two: Profile close-up of HAN.
1 HAN: This was the way you wanted it all along, wasn’t it?
Panel Three: Profile close-up of NAFF. Put side-by side, the two panels show the men facing one another.
2 NAFF: Pretty much. I figured I owed it to you, for old times’ sake.
3 NAFF: Tell me the truth: Did you really believe the idealistic crap they fed us back at the Academy? Making the galaxy a better place?
Panel Four: Over NAFF’s shoulder at HAN.
4 HAN: The truth? I don’t know if I believed in much of anything back then.
5 HAN (2) : But I know what I believe in now.
6 NAFF: Really? What’s that?
Panel Five: Same angle as before, except a lightsaber blade hovers just above NAFF’s right shoulder.
7 LUKE SKYWALKER (OP): His friends.
Panel One: And now we can see all three men. LUKE’s his usual Jedi calm, NAFF’s enraged, and HAN’s grinning in triumph.
1 NAFF: You set me up.
2 HAN: I may be an idealist, but I’m not stupid. Took you long enough to get here, kid.
3 LUKE: Traffic. You know how it is.
Panel Two: Close-up of NAFF. If possible, he’s even more pissed than he was in the last panel.
4 NAFF: I can still put a bolt through his chest faster than you can move that blade.
Panel Three: Close-up of NAFF’s hand, the blaster flying out of it.
5 LUKE (OP): Actually…
Panel Four: The blaster smashes into a nearby wall.
6 LUKE (OP): You can’t. Han?
Panel Five: HAN socks NAFF right in the kisser. It looks like it hurts, a lot.
Panel Six: NAFF lies unconscious at HAN and LUKE’s feet.
8 LUKE: That feel good?
9 HAN: You have no idea. Where’s your speeder? I can’t take him to NRI on the back of my bike.
10 LUKE (2): Just beyond the ruins. And you’re more right than you know.
Panel Seven: LUKE and HAN bending down to pick up NAFF by the arms and legs.
11 HAN: Don’t tell me…
12 LUKE: Your bike got taken out by stray cannon fire.
PAGE TWENTY CTD:
13 HAN (2): Figures.
Panel One: HAN standing in the doorway of his and LEIA’s apartment.
1 HAN: Leia? I’m home!
Panel Two: LEIA running to greet him, relief washing over her face. Behind her stands C-3PO.
2 LEIA: Han!
3 THREEPIO: Master Solo! Thank the Maker!
Panel Three: HAN looking a little off-balance as LEIA practically slams her body into him. Behind them, LUKE, smiling.
4 HAN: Easy, Princess, easy. I’m OK.
5 LEIA: Shut up and hold me, nerf herder.
Panel Four: HAN and LEIA’s heads, hers resting on his shoulder.
6 HAN: I love you, too. How’s our little bundle?
7 LEIA: Fine. We’re all fine.
Panel Five: HAN takes in the moment. His family.
8 HAN: Yeah. Yeah, we are.
Panel Six: HAN turned towards Luke.
9 HAN: Hey, kid, you think you and Goldenrod could give us a minute?
10 LEIA: No, he can stay. Let’s go out on the balcony.
Panel Six: LUKE and THREEPIO in the foreground. Behind them, we can see HAN and LEIA headed through the living room to the balcony.
10 LUKE: “Bundle,” huh? You mean he doesn’t know yet?
11 THREEPIO: Know what, Master Luke?
Panel One: On the balcony. HAN looking out at the Coruscant skyline at night. LEIA stands behind him.
Panel Two: Same angle. The skyline changes to look as it did in the days of the Empire: harsher, more angular buildings. NAFF’s face in the sky, transparent.
1 LEIA: Han? Han, what is it?
Panel Three: Same angle. The skyline is back to normal. HAN has turned and is facing LEIA.
2 HAN: Nothing. It’s in the past.
Panel Four: HAN with an arm around LEIA, and a hand on her belly.
3 HAN: He’s getting pretty big in there.
4 LEIA: Yes. They both are.
Panel Five: HAN looking at LEIA, shocked (but the good kind).
5 HAN: “Both?” You mean…
6 LEIA: Surprise, flyboy.
Panel Six: Han kisses LEIA. It’s a “Honeymooners” moment.
7 CAP (HAN): This really is my life now. A husband. A father. A brother.
8 CAP (HAN) (2): Rolan called it a fantasy. He meant to be insulting. Once, I would have agreed with him.
Panel Seven: And we pull back from the lovers, watching their embrace from afar.
9 CAP (HAN): Now… I think I’m starting to like it.