Saturday, March 11, 2017

From the Archives: Been There... Done That...

This post originally appeared HERE on July 19, 2011 and was written by Push

Do you ever feel like everything that's anything that could happen to Han and Leia has already been written and written well?  It's almost like when they remake a movie that was perfectly awesome to begin with (like Arthur - IMO), it almost seems doomed to failure from the start - always to be compared to the original or to someone who had done it better.

This is definitely how I feel about trip to Bespin stories.  I have read so many spectacular stories for that trip that I feel:  1) that I could never do any better and 2) that there isn't anything new to add to it.  But then I read someone else who has braved that time period and they add something new to it that I had never seen or thought of before and I think, hmmm - it is possible (just maybe not for me!)*

And then that is what I think is so great about writing.  How we all bring our own unique perspective, personality and voice to our stories and that is why I always encourage anyone who even has an inkling to write something down, to just do it.  I know it's difficult to look at a string of words that you have laced together and not find fault in them, or think that they aren't worth another person's time to read.  But, believe me, in the majority of the cases that just isn't true.  If you have something to say, chances are there are people who will enjoy listening to you.

I guess my favorite time period for Han and Leia is the time between ANH and ESB.**  It's a good chunk of about three years where their relationship blossomed from strangers to two people who obviously have strong feelings for each other that are fighting in the middle of a busy corridor.  I guess the possibilities of what could've happened between them during those three years are just about endless.

After then, of course, you have post-ROTJ where the world really just opens up for you because you are not restrained by the confines of the movies any longer - at least not like you are when writing during or in between the movies and trying to keep your story 'canon'.  But just that open-ended possibility can be intimidating/daunting as well.  I mean, they could live anywhere, do anything, and meet/mingle with anybody.  Which brings us to the the EU story line.  This might curtail your freedoms, but it also gives you some characters and story lines to work with that can make it a little easier.***

I sometimes wonder how other writers decide what they are going to work on.  For me it is usually the story that comes to me first and I am not intentionally trying to write in a certain timeframe.  Except, I guess, for my post-ROTJ storyline where I am diligently trying to come up with 'what happened next?'.  How does it happen for you guys?  Do you let the story guide you?  Or do you start with the timeline and brainstorm ideas?  

2017 Footnotes by Zyra:

*I had always said that I would never write a trip to Bespin story, ever, for exactly this reason. What else is left to say, and do people even want to read trip to Bespin stories anymore? I was writing this exact thing to someone very recently and in the middle of it realized, OMG, I'm totally right in the middle of writing and posting a trip to Bespin story. So, I guess never say never.

**Push always loved that time frame to write in. I tended to stay away from it in favor of having Han and Leia already be happy and together, because it was much easier for me.

***I'm still sad that the EU is basically dead and something that people probably don't want to read about anymore, which could very well be one of the reasons that story I'm writing, which includes Jacen and Jaina, does not get much attention. It's a shame to just erase all those characters.


  1. I have had the exact same thoughts, particularly about the trip to Bespin. The most prominent stories that cover that period are so firmly entrenched in my mind, it's really difficult for me to come up with anything else to fill that gap. I definitely feel like it's all been done very well already, so it's a summit conquered in the fandom, and there's no point in me writing about it.

    And then new stories come along, like your time-travel tale, which shows the whole thing from a completely different perspective, or GreyAthena's "A Journey of a Thousand Miles", which covers the same time period in a slightly different way. And I realise that it's not so much that there's no point in writing about that era; it's just that I'm not creative enough (or brave enough?) to come up with anything new myself. Although I have written numerous sketches of scenes/conversations that take place during the trip, I don't think I'll ever attempt to tell that story from start to finish. It's too daunting and I think I'd just wind up mentally comparing anything I might write to what has been written already.

    But as a reader, I think there's plenty of room for more stories covering that trip, or any other slice of time anyone wants to tackle. I have room in my heart for a million more such stories. I adore the characters and I cherish fan fiction for giving me more time with them. I will happily gobble up any and all well-written stories about my favourite fictional people.

    As for the EU being dead.... well, to my mind it's no more dead than the OT (which isn't dead at all and never will be, in my heart). That is, the new Disney canon has essentially rejected --- and attempted to erase --- quite a lot of what we saw on screen, especially in RotJ, in terms of character development. And, as much as I grieve over TFA+ being the "official" version of the tale these days, I'm now better able to see everything produced post-RotJ as just another AU, which merely exists alongside all of the other AU stuff in fan fiction and the now-AU events in the EU. Obviously, Disney canon is much more prominent and widely accepted than any fanfic story, but really it's just one person's version of events. Or, uh, the version of events according to one "story group", idk. There are plenty of fanfics out there that I've read and rolled my eyes at, you know? Stuff that clearly doesn't fit with GL's version of these characters in any way, shape or form. I never had trouble rejecting those AUs. I'm trying hard to treat Episodes VII-VIII-IX the same way.

    So, there's no reality in my mind anymore about "what really happened" (they're fictional characters, after all), and I can imagine the whole of the EU canon as existing right alongside the current Disney version of events, as well as alongside my own AU headcanon, and alongside those AU versions of things produced by many other writers. They're like different highways leading out from a central point, each worth travelling for its own sake, according to my mood and mindset on any given day. I guess that's the same capacity that allows me to enjoy an endless number of stories about the trip to Bespin! :)

  2. I've been debating my own au-Bespin idea for a while and I'm still slightly nervous about posting it, but it's different most of what I've seen before, so I hope it goes over well.

    It always is amazing to think you've read every Bespin story spin there could be, but then something crops up that is just so different and really explores things in a way that hasn't been used before. I don't think I could ever get tired of Bespin stories.

    As for the EU, I think everyone around here is aware of where I stand. I've written plenty of EU-based one-shots and I always get different ideas for them.

    Also, I am NEVER letting the EU go. Jar Jar will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands himself.

    1. Very intrigued by your Bespin AU Jaina!

    2. Thanks! I realized just this morning that I've been posting about it on Tumblr, but I don't think I've actually really explained what it's about yet. Whoops.

  3. I will click on every Bespin story I come across. Of COURSE people still want to read Bespin. And here's a weird thing, I have mostly written short, fluffy things, but I have written 4 longer, more serious stories. Two of them are Bespin stories and two of them are in the NJO, after Chewie's death. My stories are very different and unrelated, it's just that those two timelines spark something in me and off I go. I like how Push said "chances are someone will want to read it", even if we can't all write an Into The Fire, we can all bring something new. Okay? Everybody go write Bespin stories now.

    Do people really feel their freedoms curtailed by something in the cannon or EU? I am a great bender of stories. If the movie or book doesn't fit the way I want it to in my story, I "bend" it until it does. Problem solved.

    Oh please don't say the EU is dead! Just because it's dead in the mainstream doesn't mean it's dead with fans.

    1. Ooh! I would love to read those NJO or Bespin stories if you have them posted anywhere!

    2. I'm kind of embarrassed, and have planned to go over it again but haven't got the courage to look at my old work yet. But my first NJO story is on useakiss under this name, and other is in the works. An old Bespin story is somewhere on NHP...I haven't dug it up for a few years. When I find time I'll try to post them on ff net. They're from my old days, so maybe that's why now, in a new fit of writing inspiration, I'm able to tackle the same timelines again. Okay, everyone take note of my bravery because I'm actually sending this, THEN I'm going to find the stories. I shall then cringe in private. ;)

    3. Links for convenience:

      Drabbles on NHP

      I just read both pages and I think you ought to add them to your FFNet page asap! I just followed/favorited you, too, for updates. I love the way you write them. I didn't enjoy the EU notion of Han taking off for a year after Chewie died, but I appreciate the opportunity in fanfic for some sweet reunion angst/fluff/smut, and you handle that very well. In your drabbles, I especially like Leia's inner thoughts and how fiercely she keeps trying to keep her attraction to Han under control. Poor thing. She doesn't stand a chance! =D

      I didn't keep up with the EU books after a certain point...I don't even know exactly when I bailed out. But I really didn't like what they did with Han and Leia's kids, or the moon-drops-on-Chewie storyline (and Han's subsequent withdrawal from Leia and his children). To respond to your question above, no I don't hold myself constrained in any way, shape or form to anyone's canon but my own! Like you, if there's something in the current official canon that doesn't fit with my vision, I just ditch it and dust my hands off. I had a much harder time doing that with TFA but after more than a year of trying determinedly to get it out of my head, I'm finally getting there. I can dismiss Disney canon now almost as easily as I once dismissed, say, CoPL. They're much the same in terms of sheer absurdity, imho, which makes it a little easier to ignore. I just pretend it never happened, and write (or read) AU stories.

      Just as I don't want to read about Leia being a victim of rape, I really don't want to watch (or read about) Han and Leia being selfish, immature, neglectful, dishonest, irresponsible, deceitful or otherwise crappy partners and parents whose only child turns into a monster and murders Han (and untold numbers of others). That is not fun or relaxing for me and it doesn't make me happy, so I am determined to carry on in Erinland and in other writers' Alternative Universes from here on out.

    4. Can't wait to read those old stories when I have a minute, jedi of grace. You should definitely put them up on!

    5. Wow! Thank you for the compliment of taking the time to link to my stories. I will post them, but I'm working on a new one in the same timeline as Reacquaintance and don't want the two muddled together, since they're quite different. Anyway. I'm glad you liked them. Imnotthere, be careful reading someone else's beta work! ;)

      I just read Balance Point again and am now reading Recovery. They're well before those kids start to have problems, and it's really not too bad how Han and Leia are in these books. If you feel like sticking your toes back into the EU, I would recommend them. As for TFA, it is hard to just dismiss it. I can read and write outside of that storyline, but in the back of my head...if anything, in my mind their destiny is unknown. Do they end up happy as we see them in...(can't remember the name of the last book in the Fate of the Jedi series, but I thought it ended really well with a happy Han and Leia) or is it TFA...? Maybe it's like at the end of Back to the Future 3! Anything is possible! The future is unwritten...or in this case, written many different ways. Yes. I like that idea. At least it gives us something to think and talk about. I, for one, am not sitting here writing stories about how Marty McFly and Jennifer end up. So here's to endless possibilities.

    6. @JediofGrace, I just read Reacquaintance and thought you got it just right! Your Drabbles had great UST; looking forward to reading more of your work!

    7. Wow, @JediofGrace, I just got around to reading Reacquaintance. I loved it! I never read the book(s) that the fic references (though I'm familiar with the backstory) but I didn't think it was necessary to appreciate the situation Han and Leia find themselves in. You should definitely post it to FFDN so we can all comment on it. I loved that Leia noticed how much more muscular Han had become while he was away, and his hesitance around her. And how enjoyable to read about how much she wanted him, craved him, after such a long absence! Whoo hoo... all the shippy feels. It was so lovely at the end! Wonderful work!

  4. I'm so glad to have found this blog! (and how to get Firefox to let me join in) Having a common space to talk with a bunch of people is better than randomly knocking on someone's inbox with a "hey, may I talk to you about this?" Last year I had a Han/Leia space that was fun for a while, but then didn't work out so much. So I appreciate this and any efforts to spark up a conversation :)

    Being a new fan in a fandom that has been around for forty years made the idea of writing for it daunting from the start. Who was I to play here?? But because I already wrote fanfiction, I think the itch was stronger than the fear. My first fic is from March last year and a Yavin-post-Death-Star missing moment where Leia smokes, because I had an idea I wanted to explore and I went with it. I read a lot of fic during the first few months, and I wrote some more, but most of my ideas were post-RotJ related to Disney canon, because... yeah, I'd read missing moment fics during the OT and did I really think I had something different to add?

    The Bespin trip was definitely still too intimidating to tackle. But as it turned out, while all of the fics I read about it were interesting in their own unique way--and very hot--they all seemed to share a pattern, in my opinion, that I wasn't fully convinced of. I thought, why don't they react like /this/ instead? And that was my cue to writing it the way I wanted to see it. I didn't want to set out to write the whole trip (multi-chapters... that's what's daunting to me), but I kept writing short fics that connected with each other and today I have a lot of trip to Bespin fics that one day I might put together as a multi-chapter. The same goes for post-Jabba and Endor fics. As a reader, I don't get tired of reading them, so if I have a different idea to write, I go for it.

    I usually get ideas for missing moments, which is why I've had so many for Disney material, as it's what I'm reading the most. Sometimes it's just a random thought that sparks a story. I'm writing a lot of self-indulgent stuff lately, so plot is scarce, lol.

    About the EU, for me it's just that I don't have an emotional connection to it. I didn't grow up with it, and I started reading about it when there was already another alternative. Of all the EU books I've read so far, I've only really liked Razor's Edge and Tatooine Ghost. The Thrawn trilogy are the only books I've read where the kids (kind of) feature, and I'm not a fan of everything there, and because I know more or less what happens later, I'm not eager to keep going in that direction. In terms of worldbuilding, I like the Disney altenative better. It doesn't help that I don't see them having more than one or two kids and naming one of them Anakin. So I think I consider both the EU and Disney as AUs; minus TFA I like Disney better; I'm willing to read for either but I lean more toward Disney because EU fics usually include events/worldbuilding I'm not as familiar with, and I write my own thing taking elements mostly from Disney for the same reason.

  5. That's a question I've never considered - I haven't consciously thought "what happened here" - I think it's been more, hey, I have this idea, let me run with it. Except after Endor - I will read any story that explores how the three of them are at the party and right after. Bring me all those stories!

    I've tried an Empire AU but a friend of mine did a far better job, so I sort of put mine aside since I could never get the story to gel. I may go back and finish it one day. I ended up writing two post Jedi stories - one SkySolo and one OT3 in a vee, because of two writing challenges last year.
    My TFA fix it had to fit canon - well, sort of, but while I try in my writing to line up with what was onscreen, I do write a completely non canon pairing so I pick and choose.

    It's interesting, last year I and a friend wrote a big long story that's after Jedi that fits neither EU nor Disney, just because we started the story, picked a timeframe and went "oh, wait, where are the kids?" And went blithely on anyway. No one cared. I think what's fun in Star Wars is that people are up for your EU story, your DisCanon, your make your own adventure.

    The EU never really did much for me although one of these days, i do want to write a coda to Crucible because it seems so unfinished at the end. I have read more of the books lately, but I really can't get into them (here's an example that blows my mind - Luke's up flying and pretty chill the day after fighting the Emperor when I started Truce at Bakura and that threw me right out of the story). Disney canon for me is right out - I don't want to know how we get to the hellscape that is TFA or pay Disney for the privilege. So I forge my own way.

    But I haven't read all the Bespin stories so I'm always up for a new one. I love stories between New Hope and Empire. I'll read post Jedi stories - one of the best I read is in Disney canon - sort of. Luke brings Ben home - he's a traumatized Force sensitive kid. Hell, I'll read post TFA - if the summary is intriguing or I know the author, I'll take a chance.

    It's like that cartoon that goes around Tumblr where the author puts down their cake next to the pretty one and theirs is kinda lopsided and not pretty and they're sad. The audience however comes in and says excitedly "two cakes!"

    All of this is a big ramble to say "bring me all the cake!"

  6. I love every and all Bespin version stories!

    Okay... well on second thought, not all. I have a hard time with the "Leia was raped on the Death Star" Bespin stories that deal with her sexual trauma and Han helping her "overcome" it. Not that there's anything inherently bad about going that route, but honestly, I am into Han and Leia for UST and the inevitable delicious and satisfying resolution of said tension. Recovering from sexual abuse is very real and important, but I love this couple for the fantasy/fun element, and having Leia so traumatized is just too draining for this reader. I just don't have the spoons!

    But I guess beyond those Bespin stories, it's hard to think of one that I really didn't like. I enjoy it when fic writers bring something new to the table, and if it includes Han, Leia, being cooped up on the Falcon, and some eventual sexy time, how can I say no? Please. Tell us your version new and old fanfic writers. And tell us some more. In great detail. (Of course staying away from sexy-time no-go topics and phrases as covered by this blog... I think Zyra wrote... pubic hair grooming habits and... what was that other one...? @Zrya? Oh, and someone else mentioned "lapping up juices"... yeah... OMG... ew... I like sexy time without just being gross...)

    @Erin Darroch, I'm also enjoying Grey Athena's "A Journey of a Thousand Miles." I think the twist of having Leia and Han so sweet on each other before they get to Both is kind of fun and refreshing. Also, having Leia so enamored with Han early on is unexpected, but works for the story.

    Right now my favorite retelling of the OT era is Knitzkampf's "Nobody But Yourself" on FFDN. Yes, I will keep plugging this story until it picks up more readers. Because yes it's that awesome! I don't want to spoil it for anyone else reading, but there are so many cool little twists and observations packed in there that are just right, get the characters so well, and hey, it's Han and Leia, but from Luke's perspective, which is so much fun!

    Anyway, I'm with cv73. "Bring me all the cake!" What can I say. I'm a glutton.

    1. ::virtual high five::

      I am loving Nobody But Yourself - I love the dynamic of the three of them.

      Journey of a Thousand Miles is really great too.

      Also agree on your Bespin story no go - yeah, I'll agree with that one for sure!

    2. I'm with you on the sexual trauma trope. Mind-probing and chemical torture, yes, but nothing in ANH makes me believe in any way that Leia was raped. I usually avoid those stories, since it's mentioned in the summary or A/N; I only read it in Bridges, which contrary to popular opinion isn't my favourite trip to Bespin fic (though I'm trying to re-read it and see what I think of it now that I'm less of a H/L fic virgin), and mentioned in "Identity" because madame.alexandra has it as part of her universe. They handled it well, but I think it's a topic that tends to go like... oh, he's gonna be real tender with you and heal all your trauma just with his loving touch. I'm not a sexual assault survivor, but I want to be respectful and mindful of that; I think recovery takes a lot more than someone going down on you or being gentle, and even if it's done with respect and a lot of care, it's not something I want to read about. It's just not something that I want to have happened to Leia, since canonically it didn't. She suffered enough!

    3. I just went back to re-read "Bridges" and I have to say, I agree. Even if it's expertly written, I don't really enjoy reading stories that depict Leia as a survivor of rape(s) aboard the Death Star, not just because it's further abuse of a character who has been lumbered with so much loss and pain already, but because it means her first sexual encounter with Han is something she has to "get through" with gritted teeth. That's not fun or enjoyable for me to read (and I read fanfic mainly to feel happy). Not to say I don't like some angst now and then, but the rape thing is just a step too far for me....

    4. Ah, I'm glad this has been brought up. I'm with you guys about that kind of subject matter, and Channel19's stuff in particular. And I don't like saying that, because if you go back through the history of Han and Leia writers, she is one that usually gets mentioned as near the top of the heap in terms of admired writers. I do think she is a very talented writer and deserves that credit, but I just can't get behind stories that deal with that sort of thing. And don't forget she is also one of the ones who had Leia cheat on Han, and Han had been married before. Just a lot of very "real" and traumatic stuff, a much darker take on their lives going forward. And again, I don't like to say negative things about those stories because they are coming from a really talented writer and handled in the best possible way, but those just aren't the kinds of stories I want to be reading.

      And as was also mentioned, the whole thing I think can maybe be handled almost a little too easily. I haven't experienced sexual assault, thankfully, either, but I am not sure it would be quite as easy as it is usually made out to be.

      Perhaps it's a cop out, I just prefer limiting the amount of terrible obstacles these two have to overcome once they finally get together. After all, they've both already been through quite a lot anyway. I just plain don't WANT to see them having to overcome more difficulties than they've already been through. And I also just like the idea that of all the things that Leia has been through, she can at least have all of her sexual experiences be positive ones.

    5. It's funny because a similar thing happens for the fandom of my other OTP ship: something that you see as OOC, bordering on wrong for any reason, yet the fandom loves it and the authors who do it become classics and are loved by everyone. If you hate it, you have to be very hush-hush about it because it's almost heresy. I recently asked people on Tumblr what were some things the fandom generally did in writing that they liked and things they hated; the rape and cheating for H/L weren't on my list because I haven't come across many fics that do that, thankfully. But something that has always bugged me for my other ship is that the characters are under 18 for most of the canon (though in the universe they're of age at 17), and it's a series aimed for young adults, right? A lot of adults have become enamoured of this ship (something I'm not against), and a favourite scenario is to write very explicit smut while they're still in school! There are a lot of fics that are considered The Classics where the summary is "the characters are in sixth year and need to have sex for this ridiculous reason that serves as the plot". It's really frustrating both because it's wrong, pointless and generally very OOC, and because there are wonderful writers who write wonderful fics that aren't nearly as remembered as this teen erotica nonsense. And the same happens with cheating. I get that it makes for... somewhat interesting drama and a journey of getting back together? But if I wanted to read about that, I'd pick just about any novel or tv show, with characters I don't have an emotional connection to. That's not to say I just like fluffy, "vanilla" stuff; I like drama, angst, obstacles, even dark stuff... but there are things I just can't take, and cheating is one of those.

    6. I don't even think about it that much in terms of being wrong or out of character, because it seems more like just a different way to explore the characters. It's just not subject matter I really want to read about. I want them to be able to be happy without having these horrible things always looming in their pasts. They already have enough tough stuff in their pasts to deal with without adding extra things.

      It's interesting that more than one of the most highly praised Han and Leia writers happen to add this kind of stuff in. But in a way I suppose that is part of what separates those stories from things we normally see, and it makes things more INTERESTING I suppose, too.

      Very weird about the explicit sex for underage characters. I feel like I should point out maybe that that isn't just sort of icky, it also might be kind of illegal, isn't it?

    7. Yeah, for me it depends on the subject: Leia being a victim of sexual assault and Han helping her "overcome it" is something I don't share or want to read about, but if it's handled respectfully I don't think it's OOC or wrong per se. If it was Han assaulting Leia, though, I would see it as OOC. And in the case of cheating, it depends on how it's done, but generally I don't see either character doing it, so that counts as OOC for me.

      I was reading the "What's your tolerance level?" post, and mine is generally low because of what I particularly seek in fic. I don't read Earth AUs just because they're not my thing, but I like AUs in general. I hate cheating and I'm not inclined to read fics where one or the other rebuilt their lives and has a new partner, but if it's well done and you know they'll end up together, I'll give it a shot (like "From a certain point of view", or "Into the future"). I don't multiship, so I stay away from "he/she has feelings for/was with this other main character" and polyamory fics. I like angst, both derived from the author's own plot or from missing moments, and I do like DisCanon-related angst, too but pre-TFA (so, Idk, insecurities about being parents and the possibility of having a dark child, but I don't want to read about that child actually being dark or murdered fathers.) I read a couple of fics where Leia died and met Han after Carrie because I was in a bad place and needed it, but otherwise I won't go for that or for stuff that has Leia dreaming about her dead husband or whatever.
      I also personally don't like fics where they have sex right after the Yavin ceremony; maybe they're written in character, but the situation itself is OOC to me, and given that they barely know each other, the age difference is icky.

      Yes it is, but you're forgetting that writing gross stuff doesn't mean you approve of it in real life *rolls eyes* There's also the matter that both characters are the same age, so it's not pedophilia (but... the people writing it are adults), and since legal coming of age is 17 there, they can do it while in 6th year and have it be both legal and kinky. There's a smut drabble fest right now and I feel weird not being part of any event revolving around the ship, but some of the categories are icky--legal, but barely, and... I've just lost tolerance for adults writing Very Young People having sex--so I'm not even promoting it. Just being salty about it in private with my Salt Mate friend, lol


    8. I have more to say about the other topics raised (probably), but insufficient time so for now I jus want to add:

      -Yes to both Journey of a Thousand Miles and Nobody But Yourself!!!! Both are excellent reads!
      -A current Bespin WIP I'm enjoying is onwardintolight's "The Opening." The Leia POV is very strong, as is the writing. I'm glad I didn't let myself get turned off by the self-harm trigger warning, as it wasn't what I thought/feared it would be and was handled with maturity. Overall it also strikes me as a very healing fic (but we do have yet to see!). If you haven't looked at it yet, I HIGHLY recommend it!

    9. Oh I also can't stand rape or cheating stories. The rape is just hard and too personal a topic for a fic that's supposed to be fun, as others have said. As for cheating, MY Han or Leia would never do such a thing, and I don't like space taken up in my brain that says otherwise. The CLOSEST I'll get to it is Knightedrogue's NRI series, because it's not cheating, they just might have to kiss someone else and I love how that plays out beteeen the two of them. Fanfic is definitely all about the fun.

    10. I don't like reading about Leia being raped because the poor woman has gone through so much let's not traumatize her sexually as well! I think that's where realism vs fiction come in - in reality it's a sad fact that most women POW are raped. But anyway this is settled canon wise - in a Princess a Smuggler and a Farmboy they go through Leia's torture from her POV and she does not mention rape. (By the way if you haven't read this book go do it now! It has a bunch of shippy moments between Han/Leia. Squeee!)

      On the cheating aspect, I agree it would be OOC for either of them to do it. Don't get me started on COPL, grr. But question - is it still cheating during the six year period they're broken up before TFA and after Bloodline? They're technically still married but they're separated, do either of them have an obligation to be faithful? Again it's a matter of realism vs fantasy - realistically it seems for someone like Han Solo to be celibate for six years. I can see it for Leia because she was never with anyone before Han presumably and after they broke up she probably just spent all her time working on the Resistance, but I can't really buy Han remaining celibate the entire time. Does it count as cheating?

    11. It would definitely count as cheating in my book. Han just wouldn't do that. He would hold hope that they would get back together. He wouldn't set out for 6 years of celibacy, it would start slow and somehow become 6 years... haha, just ask me. I apparently know all about it. :)

      Just went and was able to download the audio of that book from my library. Yay!

    12. By the time Han and Leia separate in TFA they're like, old. And we all know in Hollywood, and therefore the GFFA, especially Disney's GFFA, old people do not have any romantic or sexual life unless they're part of an old married couple, so for in my head canon neither Han nor Leia are having anything on the side while they're apart! Because. I mean, they're just too old at that point! (Uh, yeah that's my excuse!) I guess though, seriously, I just don't want to think about them with other people and whether or not Han in his sixties would decide to be celibate or not. It makes me too sad. I guess Harrison as TFA Han is still pretty good-looking for an old guy, but can we really imagine him chasing young girls in the nearest cantina at his age? Maybe he's just wallowing in too much despair at that point to pursue sex. And Leia... poor woman has been hurt so much through life, and to have her son go bad, and her brother and husband disappear on her? Oh... gawd... sad. I can't think about it anymore!

      I know this is going to sound really uncharitable, but while I think Chanel19 is a very, very talented writer, I find the universe they created for Han and Leia to just be too depressing for me. Han and Leia are kind of/sort of in character for me in the earlier stories, but then post-ROTJ they just sort of go into this really dark and dysfunctional place, with Leia always on the edge of a total breakdown or retreating into a hard brittle shell and Han left demoralized and robbed of his agency, essentially a kept man, whose primary symbolic function is to keep Leia from leaping off of cliffs. Plus you add Leia's gang rape by Stormtroopers, her torture, her psychological and physical scars, and Han having been married and widowed, and having an illegitimate child and the world these characters inhabit becomes a nightmare! Oh gawd, and I just was writing about how sad TFA made me, and yet Chanel19 could give Disney a run for their money!

      I have the same feelings about the “Identity” verse Madame Alexandra created. Her verse is very similar to/inspired by Chanel19, with some differences, but thrives off of the same basic premise, that of Leia’s primary challenges stemming from the trauma inflicted on her on the Death Star, and Han being the long-standing/long-suffering stalwart keeping her from falling apart. Madame Alexandra’s Leia is healthier than Chanel19’s and the storyline is less grim, but… yeah. Rape on the Death Star is just not my thing. I can often overlook it in a one-off, but in a verse that heavily dependent on that head canon it starts to get to be too much personally.

    13. continued from above...

      Needless to say, I don’t know why it’s more “realistic” for some people to have Leia as a rape survivor on the Death Star, but not to have Leia raped (probably if we’re going to be “realistic,” by many beings, cross-species, non-human and human alike, and in the most disgusting of possible ways) while captive at Jabba’s? I mean… GROSS. Not my scene, and no thank you, but it’s weird how so many writers will go there with the Death Star, but not go there with Jabba, when the possibilities are so much uglier and “realistic.” In canon Leia’s still wearing her senatorial robes and is well-coiffed and groomed. At Jabba’s she’s had an obvious change of hair and clothing, and has a freakin’ CHAIN around her neck! (Ugh. Ew. That’s me shaking my head… so gross. More ew…) There are some writers who will allude to some kind of rape at Jabba’s, but far fewer than the number who write about rape on the Death Star. Not that I’m looking for any more stories of either kind, but why is that? Is it just the entire level of comparative horror of either scenario? (Even though, what’s to compare? They’re both so horrible, it’s just too much to contemplate… which is why I don’t usually like to!)

      Anyway, originally I was going to write something else entirely different in response to this subthread. And now look… too much of the sadz. The reason I prefer Leia to not be a survivor of sexual abuse is because I like the thought of Leia being stuck with Han, her only thought about sex and Han being “Hot damn. Hot man.” ‘Cause you know, that’s what I think at least when I see Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Hahaha!

    14. I doubt that book would mention it if it'd happened, as it's targetted towards a young audience (but I still don't believe it happened based on movie cues.) It is a lovely book, though!

      Same here. They're not divorced, but it doesn't seem like they sat down and said, "we're on a break, let's go our separate ways" either. In the TFA universe, Han left because he didn't want to hurt Leia by reminding her of their son, not because he stopped loving her, so I don't think he would want to be unfaithful to her. You don't need sex to live, and maybe he slept around before Leia (maybe he didn't), but after being married to her for +30 years I don't think /sex/ is what he primarily missed and wanted. Whether it counts as cheating or not, I just don't see either of them wanting to move on with anyone else, not even as a one-night stand.

    15. @LoveThis I can't speak about Chanel19's work (though that sounds horrific, tbh), but I read Identity and while, yeah, Leia's Death Star trauma is present, I didn't feel it was a big plot point of the story, probably because she developed it more in other fics which I haven't read. Bail's return was the main conflict of this story and I understood it as such. And Han... yeah, his role in this story is mainly as Leia's support, but the plot does affect Leia more than it does him, so that was bound to happen. Yet he also has conflicts and their relationship is very much a main point. I didn't think M.A. used him just as a prop; both him and Leia were very in character imho, but I see what you mean. I'm not reading The Naberries, but it's another plot that very much involves Leia more so than Han, so even if it's interesting, I see how it could easily turn into "yet again Han is there to support Leia in whatever heartbreaking things she goes through".

      As to your question, I think the appeal is that the generally accepted headcanon is that Han and Leia slept together during the trip to Bespin, so their first time would be after the sexual assault, and there's a "juicy" narrative there for how Han got her to sleep with him and became her healing hand. Her being raped at Jabba's isn't as interesting, I suppose, if you believe they've already slept together. I mean, it would take a lot for Leia to want to have sex with Han again, but it wouldn't be Their First Time, so it's not as... magical *insert sarcasm*

    16. Okay, I hear what you're all saying. I'm not a fan of the cheating or rape myself. I do really love Identity and The Naberries, however.

      I'm trying to think back to Identity. She talks about Leia's torture a fair amount, but I don't remember her talking much about rape (I'm not saying she doesn't, just that I don't remember particular scenes). In a recent chapter, she referred to Leia's torture, but talked just about the probe droid. I absolutely love her writing and I enjoy the snippets of Leia's torture that she features.

    17. I loved Identity, too! I'm not reading The Naberries just because I have other things I want to read first and because I try not to get into more than one or two multichapters at a time, but I really liked the Identity universe so I might give it a go some day.

      Well, the rape is brought up there mainly because Bail doesn't know and Leia doesn't want to tell him, but he finds out anyway, and Bail thinks maybe she's stuck with Han because she believes she's ruined and he's the only man who'll take her. So, see, to me M.A. handled it well, but it can be a background problem when you run with this trope, as it might lead people to actually romanticize the fact that oh he's so good, he's the only guy who loves her still. And it also appears once or twice when Leia has a nightmare or something and Han makes sure to ask if it's okay to touch her, because if she relived the rape she will react badly.

    18. To clarify, I really enjoyed "Identity." It's just hard to keep reading in a 'verse that is fundamentally based on Leia being a rape survivor. There are a ton of other fics by the same author that use the same general head canon and operate within that world, not just the multi-chapter fic by that name. (There are also a ton of other ones that don't exist in that 'verse, which I enjoy immensely.)

      The Identity-verse is definitely a much less dark and less bleak than Chanel19. And yeah, in the multi-chapter "Identity" the problems start when Bail shows up alive, but the challenges all stem from unresolved issues with her rape, torture, and the destruction of Alderaan on the Death Star, as well as being Darth Vader's daughter. Basically the contrast between the Leia she was as Bail's daughter/Princess of Alderaan and the Leia of the Rebellion and sundry traumas. A lot of the basic features of both 'verses are pretty similar: Rape on the Death Star, Leia was a virgin, Han is Leia's solace from the rest of the world, Leia is more mentally ill than she lets on to others, except Han. There are tribunals for Imperials, Leia's assault becomes public knowledge, a crazy revealing backless gown is worn to a formal event, though in one 'verse the death tag is hidden, and in the other 'verse the bruises that never heal are revealed. Han's father is unknown, he's raised by a struggling single mother who dies when he is young. No rape takes place at Jabba's, apparently.

      I guess for me the turning point in this 'verse for me was reading a one-off with Leia asking Han in Cloud City (I think) to be rough with her during sex. Now, who is to say what a survivor of rape should, or shouldn't enjoy, but I have to admit, I was totally taken aback. I mean, don't get me wrong... rough sex with the right guy, someone you trust... getting a little wild... sure! I'm all for it! But.. asking for it from the first guy you've really ever been with, after surviving a brutal sexual assault, and after having sex with that guy for not really that long (however long it took to get to Bespin) I just needed more development to get there. Like a lot more. I was actually horrified. And it so killed the sexy that I have a hard time reading about sexy time after rape. Like I'm not a survivor, but I felt traumatized! So... anyway...

    19. Ahhh, I remember now. When Bail found her file?

      Me and multichapters? Let's read them all at once! I'm so sorry, onward.

    20. On Leia potentially being raped at Jabba's, the old EU there's this scene where Jabba's henchman brings Leia to Boba Fett for the night and basically tells him to "have her for the night", but Boba ends up telling Leia he doesn't believe in premarital sex so she's safe. But it definitely implies she was given to Boba for that purpose. I'm sure there's some disgusting fics on Shabby Blue about her getting raped at Jabba's, but I'm not going to go look them up. Realistically, the girls at Jabba's palace were probably also forced to perform sexual favours, but the books/comics don't really get into that since they're PG. In the HST Bria mentions that a lot of Imperials keep paid prostitutes around and she goes in disguise as them to get info from Imperials though.

      On Han staying faithful to Leia after they split, in the new canon he's away half the year and he's a famous hotshot racer who presumably hangs out in cantinas all the time and has super hot young groupies coming onto him constantly, so if he can resist that temptation while he's away half the year from Leia I'd like to think that he would be able to stay celibate while they're split for several years.

      Has anyone seen the new movie Logan? (No spoilers here, but I will discuss the background of the movie). Wolverine in it reminded me a lot of Han in TFA - having lost everything, a broken man and as shell of what he used to be. He's not chasing tail in that movie even though he's single, he's just wallowing in his misery and getting through the day. We all know the love of his life is Jean Grey who isn't around any more, so it seems like he just gave up living life like he used to, the same way Han's fallen so far in TFA. That's kind of how I see Han acting in that time period.

    21. @LoveThis Yeah, I totally understand your points. I've read one-shots from her both within that 'verse and not, but I'm reaaally picky with the smut I take from her because some of the summaries already tell me it's not something I'll enjoy. Like that Bespin fic. I might be wrong, but I think there was a reference to Leia sometimes wanting it to be rough /because/ of her rape in Identity? I remember there was something there that rubbed me the wrong way. And yeah, I thought it added something more to the story, but I'm not inclined to reading any more stories, in or out of that 'verse, that have her being a rape survivor. Especially if it's smut, because then it feels like a kink... (also wow, didn't know there was that much fic inspiration going on there)

      @Ewokkey That's what I was thinking, and I haven't seen any Wolverine movies but THAT is how I see Han being between Bloodline and TFA. Maybe outside he still looks like the smuggler who's only in it for himself, but that's just a mask. He's very clearly not gone back to ANH Han, and it's not just the years that show. He's not trying to rebuild his life, he's just trying to get by and... atoning, for whatever he feels he has to atone.

    22. Ewokkey, yes, I see Han before TFA that way too. I wrote him that way in my fix it, he even says at one point that he's just making it through the day and the next, missing Luke and Leia. You can hear it in his voice in that speech about Luke. I can't see him cheating either.

      I also skip the "Leia was raped on the Death Star/Jabba's Palace/Cloud City" stories (although wasn't that sort of enshrined as canon in Bloodline??) I mean, these folks have been through enough onscreen, they don't need more trouble (although there's a story to be written of Han running off slavers from Leia and Luke when they're on some mission (or all three of them getting caught!) because who wouldn't go after them?

    23. No there's nothing in Bloodline that says or implies Leia was raped, not even close. In fact the torture in the new canon book about ANH the torture is actually way milder than I expected it to be - it's done through a mind serum or something so she's not even physically tortured but experiencing pain in her mind. And no mention of rape.

    24. Which part?? There are several scenes where Leia thinks about it and there are details like the heaviness of her metal collar, her fear for Han and Luke, the smells, etc. but I don't remember ever saying that she was raped or anything of the sort, there or in the Death Star, though I might be wrong

    25. Oh good - I swear I read that somewhere - I'm going to come to you all for the true wisdom from now on!

      I thought somewhere someone had put that in a canon novel about New Hope, that she had been beaten, etc. I never thought in either Bespin or Jabba's palace she was, although I know there are stories out there.

      Which brings me to today's question. Okay, we see Han tortured on camera in Empire. Luke clearly says "Han! Leia!" in his vision - that his friends were in pain.

      So what's everyone's head canon about what happens to Leia?

    26. You know this discussion made me remember that in the radio drama of ANH, Leia's Death Star torture actually sounds pretty brutal. There is a very drawn out scene where she is screaming in pain. To be fair, just because of the fact that the medium they are using has to rely only on audio, they really have to express most things excessively verbally and through sound effects. But it was more like, they didn't actually do anything physically to her, Vader would just tell her things like, "Your skin is burning!" and she would be screaming in pain, feeling like her skin was burning and stuff.

      I mean, whether or not anyone would consider that "canon" is probably up for debate, but it is out there already.

      As for Bespin, for some reason I just never give much thought to what they do, if anything, to Leia there. I guess I more buy into the idea that has probably largely been put out only by fanfic writers, that Leia's torture was having to watch Han being tortured. She just doesn't look like someone who's just been tortured when they bring her back into the cell.

    27. @cv That's why I don't read review posts of H/L stuff from random people on Tumblr. I'm just gonna assume a Reylo said that, who knows for what purpose. Her torture is described in the ANH retelling, and they use a chemical truth serum to make her confess. A couple of days ago I read a post from someone who had gone through chemo, and said it might be similar to that. I thought it was bad enough, but again, as it's a book for younger readers they wouldn't go for anything too extreme. Here's the scene from the book:

      “No!” she shouted. Leia knew what that was—an interrogation droid. They were illegal, considered too inhumane for use. Stars, she was an idiot. Nothing was too inhumane for the Empire.
      “This is your last chance, Your Highness,” Vader warned. “If you will not tell me where the plans are and where I’ll find the Rebels’ fortress, I will force the answers from you.”
      Leia’s breath came in rapid bursts. Holding out against interrogation had been part of her self-defense training, but this—this was so much worse than anything she could have imagined. Pain and humiliation could be pushed away, boxed up inside, but a truth serum?
      There was nowhere to run. Leia bolted toward the door, but Vader’s arms locked around her, swinging her back into the interrogation droid’s path. The pain that lanced through her arm as the needle punctured her skin and the serum seeped into her system was unbearable.
      She collapsed back against the wall, shaking her head. It felt light enough to float away. Her vision blurred at the edges, making her feel as if she were walking through an early morning fog on the palace grounds, the soft sunlight warming her skin—but no, no, that wasn’t right. Leia wasn’t on Alderaan.
      A voice floated to her through the clouds. “Your Highness, you’re safe. You can trust me.”
      Leia shook her head, turning her face against something cold, hard, smooth. Cell. She was in a cell. On the—on the—Why couldn’t she hold on to a thought? Her pulse was pounding in her ears again. She pressed her hands against them. Not safe. Not safe. Not safe.
      Death Star…the words floated up to the front of her mind. That’s where she was. Not on Alderaan. The thought made pain streak through her. Made her dizzy. Why wouldn’t it stop? Where was her father? She wanted her father—
      “I’m with the Rebel Alliance,” the voice continued. “I need to know what you did with the Death Star plans. You must tell me. You must trust me.”
      There was a bad taste in her mouth, a pounding in her skull. Leia was so sure she was going to be sick, she bent at the waist, ignoring the way fire seemed to stream through her blood. Words popped like bubbles in her mind.

      There's a bit here about her mentally fighting it back, and then this, which I think is similar to the mind-probing Kylo did on Rey:

      Without warning, the fire in Leia’s body was blown out, replaced by an icy grip. Fear wound its way through her, snaking down into her stomach. The feeling was so different from the light-headed dream of the serum. There was…power behind each of his words. They nudged at her. They prodded as sharply as any knife. So Leia did the only thing she could—she pulled back. Physically, toward the wall. Mentally, to a place the voice couldn’t find her. An unfamiliar warmth wrapped around her, a protective blanket that didn’t let any of the darkness nudge through.
      The freezing pressure on her mind was thrown back. The rumbling voice made a sound of surprise and was quiet for a long moment. “If you do not tell me where to find the Rebels, lives will be lost! All of the Rebel deaths will be on your head!”

      And then she keeps fighting it back until Vader lets her go with a threat.

    28. I agree that Leia seems in better shape than Han on Bespin, so I don't know if they did anything to her except giving her a wardrobe change (which never made sense to me.) As they didn't want to get any information from them, just to put them in enough distress to lure Luke, maybe they thought having Leia watch Han's torture would cause her enough distress to work as a beacon? I've thought and read fic about it, but I don't have any set thoughts on what exactly happens there yet (which means I'm open to more fic)

    29. Well, Luke was already seeing the future. And if he hadn't shown up, Leia and Chewie might have been stuck going with Vader. Although not really, because Luke didn't save them, Lando did. But still. Basically I don't have a good answer. Maybe Vader would've prevented them from leaving if he hadn't been distracted fighting Luke.

    30. The thing I don't get is on the Death Star Leia is in her cell wearing the same dress, same hairstyle, and same make-up she was at the start of the film. But on Cloud City she has a noticeable costume change from her red jumpsuit and tan cloak to her white Hoth suit and at Jabba's she goes from wearing her Boush disguise to a metal bikini and collar with totally different hair, and of all places the Death Star is where most fic writers go on to assume Leia was sexually assaulted? LOL. Really though, Cloud City or Jabba's is where you'd think based on what we see in the movies that anything untoward happened (even though personally I am cool with assuming nothing happened anywhere, again because it's just too dang heavy to think about.)

      Anyway, @OtterAndTerrier, to be fair to M.A. I think she was trying to go for empowerment for Leia in her story, the one about rough sex... that surviving rape doesn't have to forever about tiptoeing around one's sexual self or of depriving oneself of the full range of sexual experience. But still... it just didn't work for me. And really, in general the whole dichotomy between Leia surviving rape and then having this filthy good sex life with Han afterward never really felt comfortable to read. At best I would kind of forget about it and not notice it in some fics, but after that... I was just like... oh... yeah... um... now the sexy is dead. Killed. Never to be resurrected. Buried. Gone. Disappeared. Because maybe it could work if it was something that happened after ROTJ and she and Han are a steady couple and settle into a new normal sans Empire and Vader still out there in the world, but even though they get a fair amount of sexy time in on the trip to Bespin, it's just not long enough IMO to go all the way from being afraid of intimacy to "f**k me from behind against a headboard" and do it rough (*facepalm*). Like I said, I need more to get there. SO much more...

      Chanel19's fic though with Han "punishing" Leia for sleeping with King Denid wasn't much better. Sheesh. Talk about gross. So she sleeps with another guy while Han is in carbonite and when Han is back post-ROTJ and finds out he's pissed and basically takes it out on Leia with a night of non-stop copulation all over their apartment. And Leia consents! (SO GROSS now that I think about it!) Like seriously WTF. She's also a rape survivor in that world too... ew...

    31. Re Leia's torture on Bespin, in the novel, when she is pushed into the cell with Han, it says something like "like Han, she looked tired and disheveled." Which always puzzled me and it seems to leave it kind of open ended, like maybe she came from the same place as Han? But obviously she can walk so...shrug. I just wrote a fic that explains her outfit change. It's a ways from being done, but there's a preemptive shameless plug. :)

      I came across a story one time that had Jabba himself raping Leia....I didn't read enough to know what was going on. I was so stunned and disgusted. I think for the majority of us, we want our princess and scoundrel to go through hard times, but find love and happiness at the end. And for crying out loud, don't we want happily ever after? TFA seems to have missed that memo. We had lived in bliss these past years with ROTJ being our last bit of canon, where we merrily assumed Han and Leia lived happily ever after.

    32. More re Leia's torture on Bespin. I am not getting my dishes done with this topic in my head! I would add that it makes sense to me that she would have...something happen (I do not mean rape. No rape anywhere at all). Watching Han would be torture, especially as we see the two of them at this point in the movie, but would the cold, heartless Empire feel that way? At that point Vader is only focused on getting Luke to come, I don't know that he would bother "sparing" the princess any physical torture. I think he was all in at this point, and would go to every extreme to accomplish his goal.

    33. Good point about them still being married. I don't think Han would chase tail himself, but I do think a guy as good looking as Harrison Ford, who's going to be hanging around cantinas all the time, used to be a hotshot racer is going to attract a lot of female attention. After years of not getting any, would he be able to resist a gorgeous fellow smuggler coming onto him in a cantina with some alcohol in him? It's not something I'd like to think about, but I'm not sure it's realistic that he'd be able to stay celibate for all the time he was separated from Leia. I don't like to think about it but I'm sort of bracing to see some love interests come up in the EU during that time :( I really don't see Leia getting involved with anyone else though, given her workaholic personality that the EU gave her. Then again, the EU seems to like to pair Leia up with other men (Isolder, Xizor, Prince Denid), so who knows what they'll do?

    34. I have read Poe Dameron and Han hooking up back, written back when it was a 15 year separation ;-) It actually was pretty well written too. Interestingly, I haven't seen any Han/OC female for that time period...

      Thanks OtterandTerrier for the actual quotes ::g::

      Leia changing clothes in Empire always bothered me too, and what happened to her (originally it was supposed to be her tortured to bring Luke, and then they switched it to both of them, although I guess it was better to have Harrison scream his head off since we'd see Leia tortured in ANH (and wow, he screams really well)). I always wonder about that time because that is really the heart of Empire - Han and Leia are together - not fighting (the forehead kiss!) and their connection and then it being turned back on them to get Luke. I was reading the old novelization the other night and Yoda tells Luke where they are, where the movie makes it seem Luke is really homing in on them with the Force...I think I really fix on that sequence because it says so much about the ties between the three of them - Han managing to get up from being tortured and slug Lando when it seems like all of them have been set up for destruction is such a great moment.

      As for Jabba's palace, I never got that anything happened to her outside of humiliation to be put in that outfit and then watch her friends die. I think the rest was coming later - I know there's a fic somewhere where Luke and Han do die, which, yeah, not so much! I'll take bad things happening to my faves but not that.

    35. Yeah I wouldn't want to see/hear Leia scream. Harrison absolutely does a good job of it, but it is hard to watch. I really don't think it's implied in the movie that she was tortured, but I think if we step outside of what is shown, it's quite plausible.

      And yes, I totally agree with what you said about the two of them being the heart of the movie. Hence the reason we're all reading this blog, almost 40 years later.

    36. (don't you hate it when you have something all typed down and the power goes out?)

      @LoveThis oh gawd, you're going to give me nightmares! Sure, I agree it can be done as a positive thing, to portray strenght and recovery. But I still think it might border on using a very real trauma as a kink if you do it over and over in fics that are mostly smut. The last fic you mentioned though... just no.

      And yeah, of course it implies more to have her wearing a different outfit. But I still think choosing the moment of sexual abuse in fic depends not on what seems more plausible based on what is shown, but on what is more narratively meaty. You have more material in "first time having sex Han/Leia where Leia was still a 19 year old virgin when she was raped and this is her first sexual encounter" than in "more-or-less established couple Han/Leia trying to reconnect and recover from sexual trauma", you know?

      @Anon Yeah, but like we said, Han was already a famous, handsome, young pilot before the split. In Bloodline, Leia thinks someone might believe she's available because Han hasn't been seen around in a while, so the same might have happened to Han. Wedding rings don't seem to be a thing in the GFFA, so who's to know? Given the nature of his jobs, Han was also already probably hanging around in cantinas with younger people. After they split, he doesn't have more or less chances of being considered attractive and available, just the same as before. I just don't see pre-TFA Han in a place when he'd be interested in that kind of thing.

  7. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for the shoutout, imnothere24! <3

    So yeah, hi everyone, I'm new here (though I know a few of you from tumblr — thanks for directing me here!), and I'm currently writing a trip to Bespin fic. I was really nervous about writing it (and still am), because so many people have done it and done it extremely well, and I'm a relatively inexperienced fic writer. I do feel like I have something unique to add though, a story I want to tell of hope and healing that has great personal meaning to me, so I decided to go for it despite my fears, and even if no one else reads it or likes it, at least I'd have done it for myself. Reading this post and all these comments is really encouraging and a reminder that there's always a place for those of us with a passion for writing and something to say.

    While, again, I'm relatively new at this (despite a few fics-which-shall-not-be-named from my early teens), I do have a lot of story ideas that I'd like to play around with in the future. My starting point isn't really the timeline — I have ideas spanning pretty much everything — but rather, something that highlights a character's emotional landscape or inner journey (or that of multiple characters, like Han and Leia both). Sometimes these are missing moments from the movies, other times they're just taken out of my own headcanons from before or after the OT.

    As for fics with Leia as a victim of sexual abuse, for me it really depends on the fic — since I'm writing and reading as much for the inward emotional journeys and character arcs as for Han x Leia happiness, I appreciate some of these when written well. I really like a lot of Chanel19's work (though I draw the line at the cheating). Even more so, I love SerenLyall (weary-hearted-queen)'s oneshots that deal with the issue of sexual assault. It's a dangerous subject though, and one that should be approached with sensitivity, care, an awareness of its unique horror and complexity, and respect for the experiences of the many people who have gone through it. That's partly why I don't plan on writing about it myself — I personally haven't gone through anything like that and I think I lack the proper knowledge to do it with enough respect and sensitivity.

    I agree with most of you though that Leia has been through enough trauma without also being the victim of sexual assault and if I get to pick, I'd rather her not go through that. Like Zyra said, with everything she's been through — with everything they've both been through — I want Han and Leia's sexual relationship to be something overwhelmingly beautiful and good, and relatively trauma-free.

    On the EU: While I have utmost respect for everyone who prefers to write in the old EU canon, I'm honestly not that into it myself. I voraciously read some of the books when I was 10 or 11 but they just never truly felt like "Star Wars" to me (however, I did read Tatooine Ghost recently, and I will fully admit that one was amazing). After I heard about Chewie dying and some of the other events in the NJO books I haven't had a lot of motivation to pick any of them up.

    On the other hand... the new canon. What can I say? They really messed a lot of things up and there's a whole lot that I'm super upset about, though I guess unlike many of you I'm not necessarily ready to dismiss it all completely. I like what Jediofgrace said about story "bending" — I think that's how I approach it all too: if something doesn't seem to fit the characters I know and love, I bend it with my own headcanons until it does. That being said, I absolutely respect the decision of many of you to dispense with the new canon entirely and while I may not be ready to do the same, I support you and can sympathize with your reasons for doing it.

    I'm looking forward to checking out some of the fics that people have recommended!

    Also, thanks cv73 for the cake metaphor — that's perfect (and a good reminder)! :)

    1. Hey, there, onward! I have to tell you, I'm so glad you pushed on despite your fears because your story (I read too much fanfic! I know what your story is about, I remember leaving reviews on it, but I can't remember the name!) is absolutely beautiful and amazing and I envy the insight you offer not only into Han and Leia's relationship, but also Leia's experiences coming out of what she's been through. So, kudos and thank you for sharing that beautiful-ness with us!

    2. I actually like the basic premise of Disney's post-ROTJ, pre-TFA world. Leia as a senator and Han running a shipping business and flying as a professional racing pilot is IMO awesome. I never did buy Han as a career General. They just mucked it up when they decided to let their only son go bad and then split up our OTP! Bad Mouse. Bad. But if I can plug my ears and yell "LALALALALA..." once we get to TFA-time then it really isn't so bad!

    3. Same. That's why I prefer to run with Disney 'verse. It's not like they were very present parents and partners and had a perfectly happy ending in the EU, either, and I like Leia going back to the Senate and Han being a racer/shipping company owner instead of whatever they're doing in the EU 'verse. It's depressing to think that a) the Senate ended up being useless?? how, and b) once again it had to be THEIR kid being the bad guy. But I'm with you all about bending what's out there, so I take the general universe without buying TFA+

  8. It's funny, this talk of people dropping the EU at various points for various reasons reminded me that my brother used to read the books with me. Except when Chewie died, he immediately was like, I'm out! I don't think he's read a Star Wars book since.