Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Lesser Known EU Part II: The Glove of Darth Vader Series

The next series I'll discuss, and maybe you've heard of it, maybe you haven't, is the Glove of Darth Vader series. It was originally published as six smaller books intended for younger audiences and including some illustrations. I stumbled across them probably back around 2000 on a random trip to the book store where there were stacks of these books, on clearance for $3 a piece. And in this case it was two hardcovers that collected the whole series. How could I turn down $6 worth of Star Wars entertainment? Especially when I opened the books and flipped through and saw that Han and Leia were in them?

Being intended for a younger audience, obviously they are quick reads. They're not necessarily dumbed down, just very simply written. So, what is this series about? Han, Leia, Luke and Lando have now formed this group called SPIN (Senate Planetary Intelligence Network) designed for special missions. Almost immediately, Han does something that doesn't really make much sense to me. He basically leaves Leia. Huh? Well, it doesn't seem entirely permanent, but apparently his long-time dream was to live in a "sky house" and he acts as though he is adamantly against getting married. They share a sad goodbye and Leia doesn't fight much and Han gives her a cliche, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" and off he goes.

We meet the enemy and his name is Trioculous. Why? Because of that extra eye in the middle of his forehead. He must've had very creative parents. Well, speaking of parents, this guy claims to be the son of the Emperor and actually declares himself Emperor not too long after the war. It must be fun to just stand up and say, "All right, I'm Emperor now!" and have people believe you. Well, he wasn't the Emperor's son, and it was speculated that yet another three-eyed mutant actually was, but the truth is never really known. His name? Triclops. Couldn't they have just named him Steve or something? Well, apparently that glove that disappeared when Luke chopped Vader's hand off had some special powers, and for whatever reason, it was decided that the true heir would reveal himself with the glove that somehow survived the Death Star explosion.

That is not the end of the list of enemies. Also included is Zorba the Hutt, Jabba's dad. Think of Jabba if he had long, flowing, braided hair. And he's not so happy when he finds out that Leia killed his son. So of course he wants his revenge. Han is off enjoying his sky house with Chewie - because yeah, Han Solo would love a big, empty, floating house without Leia in it - and Luke goes to visit him and asks him if he had ever intended to marry Leia, and Han insists that although Leia would be at the top of the list, marriage just isn't his thing. Right... Luke tells Han Leia misses him, but of course Han won't admit anything back.

Luke winds up needing some medical attention and Han brings him back and runs into Leia. They share a less-than-satisfying reunion, although at least they get to share what is referred to as a long kiss. And Leia, "against her better judgment, didn't try to make it any shorter." Han sticks around for a while and Trioculous sees an image of Leia and of course, taken by her beauty, decides he wants to marry her. Seriously, who doesn't want to marry Leia in these books? Oh, right, in this case Han apparently.

Eventually Han has a housewarming party at his new, stupid house, and he and Leia dance - apparently Han teaches her to do the Space Pirate Boogie - and he of course says he's glad she came but doesn't really seem all that interested in her over the house. Then all hell breaks loose as they find out Zorba wants to get Leia and they need to get off Bespin - fast. Leia winds up being taken by Trioculous and he tells her he wants to marry her which she doesn't like the sound of very much. She gets to hit him, too. Well, they all get rescued and Han decides he's going to take Leia "somewhere romantic" which is an idea that she seems to like. He then gives her what is described as a very long kiss:

During this kiss Han starts thinking about the possibility of proposing to her. Not being able to come up with the right words, he decides to put it off for another day. Of course another day they are on some mission and back to arguing a lot and he wonders how he was possibly considering marriage just a few days ago. See, this is some of that juvenile, high school relationship stuff I despise so much.

They go on another mission, this time to Mount Yoda. Some stuff happens (sorry, I'm not going to recap everything!) and Han winds up being given this ancient ring for having saved some people that had belonged to the Princess of Corellia. Of course it is a wedding ring, and Han says that marriage isn't really in his plans, but he takes it anyway.

In another strange turn of events, Han and Leia are on some planet and Han and Artoo get buried in a rock slide. Leia helplessly watches it happen and initially thinks that Han is dead, but realizes she can feel he isn't. After some bulldozing, she gets them out, and they're fine. Han makes some comments about how he thought maybe he wasn't going to see her again and that it would've ruined all of his plans. Leia asks him what plans, and he shrugs her off. Jeez, Han, just say it already!

Well, he doesn't wait that long to say it, actually. He announces that they will now be headed to Hologram Fun World. That sounds like a third-rate amusement center in Orlando or something. You know, the $10 entertainment when you can't really afford to go to Disney World. Why are they going there? To elope, Han announces. Yes, this particular Han can't just ask for what he wants:

"Wha... what?" Princess Leia stammered.

"Well, uhm, it's just that, uhm..."

"Are you asking me to marry you, Han?" Leia asked.

"I guess you could look at it that way, if you want," Han said. "I mean, that's what it usually means to elope, doesn't it? To fly off somewhere in a hurry get get, you know..."

Leia was speechless.

Han gave a deep sigh and continued. "Don't act as if this comes as such a big shock, okay? I told you when you saved my life that all my plans for us were almost crushed by those rocks. That just started me thinking, I guess."

"Thinking about me?" Leia asked.

"Thinking about the fact that I'm not getting any younger, and if I ever want any pip-squeak Solo kids running around my sky house tugging at my boots, well, it just wouldn't seem right unless you were their mother." Han gazed into her eyes. "Does that make any sense?"

"Perfect sense," she answered.

Then, as expected, they kiss:

Threepio apparently is not into being a voyeur. Leia mentions how she had always dreamed of having a big wedding, and Han, being impatient, mentions that it'd take months to plan that and anything could happen, so maybe after they elope they can just have a big party for their friends. Leia seems okay with that, and they set off. Yes, two proposals in the EU and neither one is much good, or really even exists.

Well, they get to Hologram Fun World with the intention of getting married that night. Leia picks out and buys a ring for Han, Han gets a tux and Leia gets a dress. But then they run into Lando, who now of course has a business there, and he tells them they can't get married without their birth certificates. Han's is apparently at his sky house and Leia's, as you can imagine, was destroyed on Alderaan. For Star Wars, flimsy (paper) birth certificates just seem ridiculous. But Lando assures them they can get back-ups and be married the next day.

You can imagine a delay here would not be a good thing. They go to a magic show, and Leia goes up on stage to participate and... disappears. Except they don't bring her back. Even worse? Zorba now has her, and of course he is not happy.

In this case it's good to have more than one enemy, because Trioculous takes Leia from Zorba because of course he wants to marry her and doesn't want her killed. Leia tells him that she has already accepted a proposal from Han and Trioculous says he can't possibly offer her what she deserves (wow, this theme is used a lot.) As you can imagine, Leia's posse comes and rescues her, but Trioculous actually thinks he's about to marry Leia. Until laser beams start coming out of her eyes like Superman's heat vision. They sent in a decoy Leia, a human replica droid. (wouldn't Han have fun with one of those?) She kills Trioculous, although she also winds up being destroyed.

The kicker is that the series ends with Leia walking down the aisle at their wedding and taking Han's hand. So... Han and Leia get married twice. And this one takes place much earlier, since this series is supposed to be about a year after the movies. It's all very confusing from a canon standpoint because if you read timelines, there are elements of this series that they consider "official" but of course, how could Han and Leia have gotten married in this book only to not be married later?

There is some speculation that maybe the wedding was interrupted since we don't actually see it take place, and they didn't get married and were forced to wait. I hate when they try and justify all of these continuity errors that screw everything up. Just admit that this book was published first and nobody had decided what would happen later so it's sort of an alternate version! You think if Han and Leia's wedding was interrupted they would just forget about it for a couple of years? Anyway, these are quick reads and you can get them super cheap. They are not fine literature, but again, fun little books and some cute pictures of Han and Leia kissing :) They were some of the first EU books back when there wasn't much to choose from, so keep that in mind.

Here is a random, funny little article I found when researching this little post:

So check it out if you're interested, but you're not missing anything major if you don't feel like it. Those of you with younger kids can probably get away with giving these to them to read but secretly sneaking into their rooms at night and taking them to flip through yourselves. But don't expect great Han and Leia characterizations, because you won't get it. It's not quite as bad as COPL, but still.


  1. Wow. That sounds like bad fanfiction. (not that large portions of the EU DON'T sound like bad fanfiction or anything, but wow... Han leaving Leia for no good reasons, ultra-creative place names like Mount Yoda and characters like Tri-whatever... definitely bad fanfiction!) I'd heard of these back in the day but never got around to reading them. And of course I'm all for "just admit it's a different version!"

  2. Maybe they got a secret divorce between their two marriages.

    I discovered the existence of these books a week or two ago. I really don't know what sounds worse, this or COPL. Though I guess I could forgive them a bit for being kids books. But yeah, totally something straight out of bad fanfiction.

    The pictures of robo-Leia shooting lasers from her eyes crack me up.

  3. It is definitely sort of like bad fan fiction, although there is a LOT of plot I left out that has to do with Luke looking for the Lost City of the Jedi and making friends with this kid who is even in the wedding.

    Secret diviorce? Blasphemy! And if they did divorce, again, I wouldn't have expected Han to take all the crap Leia puts him through in COPL (that is for tomorrow's rant) There are a few cute pictures in this I didn't put here. Even one at the end with Leia walking down the aisle. Flip through it at the book store if you want to save some money. You can also see Han working on his sky house.

    And yes, robo-Leia's eyes are quite funny.

  4. I was wondering where some of the pictures on f--kyeahhandleia have been from.

    A rant on COPL? I'm shocked! =) Just wait. I have quote from there to rant on.

  5. Wow. What am I doing in this fandom again? Unbelievable. Maybe I'm also in a bad mood because I just finished COPL. Double Wow.

  6. I'm pretty sure this series was written after Heir to the Empire revived the Star Wars novels and was the first "young adult" series done at that point but was written before Courtship of Princess Leia. The wedding business is confusing because Heir to the Empire established that they were were married but didn't give any details about the wedding, even how long they had been married, making room for the Courtship book.

  7. Given the choice I would take this wedding over COPL anyday. Yes a lot of it is woefully bad, but it has a couple of good points. Although I don't like how Han runs off to build his skyhouse (oh please!) without Leia, at least he comes to his senses and you actually feel he wants to marry her because he loves her, not because Prince Fabulous might beat him to it.

    And this is set much earlier in the timeline, which makes much more sense than them waiting 4 years to get married.

    The writers claim the wedding in this would have been interrupted in the next book ( which was cancelled) and wouldn't have gone ahead. Think that's just an excuse put out to cover up the diabolical state of EU continuity in the early days.

  8. Claire, I agree. Yeah, there was some out of character stuff in this as well, but at least occasionally they acted sort of like Han and Leia and at times actually acted like they wanted to get married. We can just ignore the whole thing about Han running off to build his sky house and acting like he wasn't the kind of guy who got married.

    I've read that too about them saying it would've been interrupted. It drives me nuts. Why can't they just admit when sometimes they didn't have a grand plan for everything and it doesn't all have to fit perfectly?

  9. The story was brought to a conclusion in that last book as far as I can see, the wedding is the logical ending. If they really did have another 2 books planned as they claim then surely there would be a lot of loose ends hanging around to clear up.

    I agree, they messed up, and tried to fob us off with a really lame excuse.

    Sorry, I don't buy it.

  10. Wow. I was looking through my bookshelf for The Last Command and found a copy of these. Apparently my husband bought anything SW related until part of the way through NJO and the Vong. It may be bad but man, i have some obscure items.