The Last Jedi didn’t have time to dwell on Luke’s reaction to the death of Han Solo, but Marvel’s comic book adaptation, hitting shelves today, has plenty of time for Luke Skywalker’s inner life. How does Luke take the news of his best friend’s death at the hands of his nephew and pupil?
Well, to paraphrase Uncle Owen, there’s a bit of Vader in him.
In The Last Jedi, Rey and Chewbacca break the news of Han’s death to Luke off screen. After they finally get the hermetic Jedi master to talk to them, Luke realizes that if Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon are on Ahch-To, something is missing.
“Where’s Han?” he asks, but the movie skips the explanation — which the viewer already knows — and cuts directly to Han’s murderer, and son, Kylo Ren, aboard Supreme Leader Snoke’s flagship.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Adaptation #1, written by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story screenwriter Gary Whitta and drawn by Michael Walsh, has two things going for it. One, Whitta manages to find enough space to devote a page to Rey’s explanation of Han’s fate, and Luke’s reaction to it. And two, the medium of comics is one in which it’s pretty standard for a character’s inner thoughts to be revealed to the reader, by way of narration boxes.
The issue offers tons of Luke narration with boxes explaining how difficult it was to cut himself off from the Force, and how determined he was to gain “true solitude.” So when Rey explains that Han was “Killed. Murdered. By Kylo Ren,” Luke can only think about one thing: As Luke sits with that knowledge, something interesting happens. Things in his hut start floating.
It’s not as violent as examples we’ve seen before, but it’s still the mental anguish of a powerful force-user, warping their surroundings. And it’s hard not to see a connection to Vader’s reaction to hearing about Padme’s death.
Fortunately, Whitta declines have Luke scream “NOOOOOOOO,” in favor of something sweeter, and sadder.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Adaptation #1 doesn’t have many other “extra” bits up its sleeve — a line here or there, a bit of Luke’s monologue. But, for many Star Wars fans, seeing Chewie finally get the hug he deserves after The Force Awakens will be enough. And then, of course, there are five more issues to look forward to.