Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars: Poe Dameron Annual #2
Han Solo and Poe Dameron never met in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but a new canon comic shows they did work together before the movie began – and how Han and Chewie were secretly looking out for Leia and her Resistance.
That second twist isn’t a shock, since the new Star Wars films made it clear Han and Leia never stopped loving one another. But in Star Wars: Poe Dameron Annual #2, seeing the proof is sure to hit a soft spot for the longtime fans. Not to mention the confirmation that Han was also looking out for his successor as the Rebels’ new hot-shot pilot, Poe Dameron.
Harrison Ford and Oscar Isaac didn’t get to share a scene that was all their own, but the comics do the next best thing.
- This Page: Han Solo & Poe Dameron Cross Paths
- Page 2: How Han Solo Secretly Saved Poe Dameron
The Star Wars comics have been filling in a few gaps in the movies recently, like explaining where Poe’s X-wing fighters were during Last Jedi. But more often than not, a comic book Annual is used to tell one-off, self-contained, and usually fan-pleasing short stories. That’s the case in Poe Dameron too, with Leia sending her star pilot and his Black Squadron on a different kind of top secret mission than fans are used to.
The job? To intercept a deal between a black market trader named Mek Nu’Tiv and the First Order. Exactly what it is that Mek is selling to the Resistance’s enemy isn’t clear – only that it’s old, may contain “ancient superweapon blueprints,” and will be of incredible value due to the precious metals it’s cast from. It’s a target as vague as the logic behind C-3PO now planning heists, but Poe only needs to hear that a superweapon may fall into the First Order’s possession, and scrambles his team.
Threepio is apparently capable of a LOT more deception than most fans would expect, since his plan for this job requires Black Squadron to ditch their X-wings in favor of older model starfighters. Ideally, the team will arrive at Mek Nu’Tiv’s cruiser undetected to interrupt the deal, fire weapons designed to cut power (and lights), sneak on board, and sneak off with the package before anyone is the wiser. Should one of Mek’s team spot them, no connection will be made to the Resistance.
There’s just one thing that Poe and Leia don’t know, which the reader is let in on before the job goes off. Mek Nu’Tiv may believe she’s selling a priceless item to the First Order… but it’s actually Han Solo masquerading as a First Order officer.
At first, the issue doesn’t explain why Han and Chewie are stealing a First Order uniform and dropship from the newly introduced Fuzhi Clan, or how it will help them land a serious payday (to pay off one of the gangs sure to be hunting them down for debts owed… that will sure come back to bite them later).
Their plan was as simple as Poe’s: Han boards Mek’s cruiser, uses a hacked datapad to show a phony credit transfer to the trader’s account, and flies off with his First Order cover intact before she’s any the wiser. Of course, two simple plans working against eachother soon lead to chaos. So what comes next?
Well, the first case of Han and Chewie fighting to keep the Resistance’s ace pilot alive to complete his mission for Leia… without anyone realizing it, of course.
How Han & Chewie Secretly Saved Poe Dameron
Han and Luke relied on Stormtrooper uniforms to infiltrate the Death Star in the very first Star Wars, but since then, the art of disguise has proven to be unreliable, at the very best. So, no surprise, Mek catches onto Han’s scheme once she deduces that Han is using a slicer to forge his purchase – hoping to be away with the package by the time the actual transfer was revealed as a con. Lucky for him, he has a trigger-happy Wookiee to back him up. And lucky for both of them, the very moment the deal goes sideways is the same one that Poe and his squadron arrive to launch their own attack.
While Han and Poe are equally confused as to what kind of a double-cross they’ve strolled into, they also share a common ambition to make the best of any bad situation. So as Mek’s henchmen try to fight off two different assaults (which they obviously assume is a coordinated ambush, and not a Solo-brand bit of unexpected adventure), Han and Chewie track down the package they came to buy. But as far as they know, the item is merely a collection of weapon plans that would be valuable to the right buyer.
Once Han cracks the lid, he realizes that Mek has come into possession of something far more valuable. Instantly, Han realizes that Leia must be on the other end of this ambush. And as flashbacks of their happiest moments together flood his mind – including their first days as parents to their son Ben a.k.a. Kylo Ren – Han knows the job just became a new kind of mission.
Writer Jody Houser and artists Andrea Broccardo and Stefani Renee clearly have some fun with the fan desire to have seen Han and Poe share a scene, teasing their paths crossing to an almost painful proximity. Still, thanks to Poe Dameron Annual #2, Star Wars fans know that canonically, Han Solo and Poe Dameron did come as close as occupying the same hallway long before The Force Awakens. And while Poe Dameron never found out who the mysterious figures were that cleared out his exit route and even took out the criminal who had him dead to rights… Leia might have connected the dots.
Poe relays the details to Leia upon his return, explaining that the impostors had more than enough time to open the case and take it for themselves, but chose to leave it behind, while broadcasting Resistance as they fled the fighter battle raging outside of the cruiser. Impostors who were using older style energy projectile weapons. And apparently realized that the Alderaanian history contained in the package should find its way to Leia directly.
Its hard to tell if it’s a full-blown smirk on Leia’s face as she concludes they “will never know” the identity of their good Samaritan. But for the Star Wars fans whose hearts fluttered when Han and Leia first reunited in The Force Awakens, this is more than a one-off, heartwarming moment. The fact that Han and Leia never got their happy ending was painful to accept.
But if this is how Han spent the missing years of his movie story – as a smuggler with Chewie, silently letting Leia know he was still looking out for her and her people – it definitely makes the Star Wars canon a bit less tragic.
Star Wars: Poe Dameron Annual #2 is available now from Marvel Comics.