A new age in Star Wars storytelling begins this week, but before it does, let's take a look back at the wildest ideas ever to get Lucasfilm's official seal of approval.
Most of these belong to the world of Star Wars tie-ins sometimes called the "Expanded Universe" and more recently called "Legends," which could also be described these days as "semi-canon" in that they can be used for inspiration in future Star Wars stories, but aren't written in stone.
But still, these aren't mere fanfic. Somebody got paid money by George Lucas or one of his licensors to write these stories. In a lot of cases, they would have been better off just buying the rights to the best of the fanfic instead.
Here are the 10 Weirdest Star Wars Stories.
10 Indiana Jones excavates Han Solo's corpse (Star Wars Tales #19, 2004)
A crossover between Indiana Jones and Han Solo sounds pretty cool. Both have low cunning and a sarcastic working-class charm, but have very different motivations: Han has no patience for hokey religions and ancient weapons, whereas Indy is all about the ancient and travels in pursuit of knowledge, without worrying about paying off any mob bosses. The chemistry between them could fuel a year's worth of stories.
So naturally, Dark Horse Comics instead opted to kill Han off(!) in 19th-century Earth so Indy could excavate his corpse. Finding "something familiar" about the body, Indy gets the hell out of there, abandoning his quest to find the Sasquatch - who is Chewbacca, watching over his friend's body over a century later.
9 Skippy the Force-sensitive, precognitive droid (Star Wars Tales #1, 1999)
Remember the first two droids Luke's family bought? It wasn't C-3PO and R2-D2, it was C-3PO and that one shaped like a Red Bull can, just so we could be worried for 45 seconds about our favorite pair of droid bros getting separated by the slave market. The other droid blew a gasket before the Skywalkers got ten paces with it, and it was never seen again.
In Peter David's retelling, that droid was actually the most powerful droid in the universe, capable of using the Force to sense the future, and willingly sacrificed its life so that Luke could buy Artoo, get Leia's message and ultimately save the galaxy. All hail the one who truly defeated the Empire. All hail Skippy the Droid.
8 Darth Vader and Princess Leia fight over finances (Star Wars #48, 1981)
It turns out that building X-wings costs even more credits than getting somebody to fly you to Alderaan, so Leia needs to go to the banking planet of Aargau to get a loan, and Darth Vader shows up basically to say "Nuh-uh." No, wait, he's actually there in a ridiculously convoluted plot to steal the Crown Jewels of Alderaan, after maneuvering her into putting them up as collateral.
He accomplishes this and leaves Leia powerless to tell anyone about it because reporting the incident would hurt her credit rating. By the way, Aargau has only three laws - concerning exporting, carrying weapons and defrauding the bank. Each of the laws is enforceable by death. Vader breaks all three.
7 Beldorion the Hutt Jedi-turned-Sith (Planet of Twilight, 1997)
Star Wars occasionally falls into the practice of "fantasy racism," assuming that all Wookiees are warriors like Chewbacca, all whatever-Yoda-is are Yoda-like like Yoda, and all Hutts are gangsters like Jabba. Once in a while, a story shows us that we decide our true destiny, regardless of race. The story of Beldorion... is not one of those.
Seriously, good on Beldorion for completing his Jedi training, but it didn't take him long at all to decide this Dark Side thing sounded pretty neat and to set himself up as ruler of a distant world. He also followed in Jabba's slime trail by capturing Leia... and getting killed by her. Because Yoda's "size matters not" rule doesn't apply when you're a four-ton slug trying to use your stubby little arms in a lightsaber duel.
6 Boba Fett falls into the Sarlacc Pit AGAIN (Star Wars #81, 1983)
Bringing back a popular character who might have died too soon feels like a no-brainer, but bringing back Boba Fett is a little more challenging. You'd only chip away at his best qualities - mystery and professional efficiency - the more times you brought him back so he could fail to kill Han Solo.
Still, you probably could've come up with a better idea than having an amnesiac Fett escape the Sarlacc, get mistaken for and stored as a droid by the Jawas (didn't he need to eat?), get rescued by Han, get his memories back and try to kill Han again for about four minutes, then crash-land right back into the Sarlacc's jaws. This wasn't even the last time he'd fall into the Sarlacc, but enough already.
5 Introducing Jaxxon the talking green rabbit (Star Wars #8, 1977)
As Marvel moved from its crazy successful adaptation of Star Wars to a regular series, Lucas laid down the law: they couldn't use too much of Luke and Leia. Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin responded by pairing Han and Chewie with some new characters: most memorably with a green-skinned alien version of Bugs Bunny. (Bugs used to nickname other people "Jackson," hence the name.)
Though Jaxxon was fondly remembered enough to show up in a variant cover for Marvel's newer 2015 comics series, Lucas wasn't exactly thrilled to have such a silly character concept running around the Star Wars universe, and Jaxxon's appearances were pretty sporadic after his first. This same George Lucas would later bless the world with Senator Jar Jar Binks.
4 A moon falls on Chewbacca (The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime, 1999)
After a while, the chain of Star Wars novels got kind of depressing, as galactic crisis after galactic crisis made the celebration of lasting peace at the end of Return of the Jedi look like something of a grim joke and Han and Leia's kids got some Dark Side issues of their own. But at least none of the original cast (who were still alive at the end of Jedi) met any violent deaths, at least until Sernpidal.
It seems the planet Sernpidal houses some exotic creature who pulls the moon on top of the planet, and evacuation efforts left Chewie stranded. His last moments were spent howling his defiance at the descending moon, almost as if he were some sort of werewolf-like creature.
3 Luke Skywalker's ghost girlfriend possesses the corpse of his suicidal Padawan to be with him and he's cool with this (Children of the Jedi, 1995)
Callista Ming was a Jedi ghost haunting The Eye of Palpatine, an old empire ship, rather than just turning up anywhere like Ben Kenobi's Jedi ghost. When Luke and his student Cray Mingla hopped on board, the ship roared into autopilot, threatening to destroy the very planet that Han, Leia and Chewie were investigating.
Luke and Callista fell in love and saved the day thanks to Cray's last-minute sacrifice, but since Cray was ready to die to be with her lover anyway, maybe "sacrifice" isn't the best word. So then Callista is like "Sweet, free body!", possesses Cray's vacated meat sack, and then she and Luke start knockin' boots.
2 The worst-ever Star Wars novel (The Crystal Star, 1994)
What exactly is the weirdest thing about The Crystal Star? Is it how all the characters are idiots except Han and Leia's five-year-old twins, who are practically Ph.D. physicists? Is it the reverse character development that turns father-of-three Han back into a scoundrel and Jedi Master Luke back into a whiny brat? Is it the use of centaurs and werewolves - oh, sorry, "wyrwulves" - as mere set dressing?
Is it the fact that the bad guy's master plan to get back to his home dimension involves eating someone very Force-powerful, and his first choice is a baby?
No, it's got to be the fact that the bad guy sends out his Force-powerful flunky to kidnap said baby, not realizing until the end of the book that he could save himself a whole lot of trouble by just eating the flunky. So he does and then either goes home completely unpunished or dies for no reason. It's not really clear.
1 The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
If you knew about this, you knew that #1 was always going to be this.
If you didn't, the plot revolves around trying to get Chewbacca to his home planet so he can celebrate Wookiee Christmas, er, "Life Day." This special featured all the first movie's significant characters, was the first appearance of Boba Fett, introduced the Wookiee homeworld, and featured Carrie Fisher singing a song set to Star Wars' original theme tune.
That sounds great when it's put like that, doesn't it? But much like the Matrix, no one can be told how embarrassing and soul-crushingly boring the Star Wars Holiday Special is. You simply have to experience it for yourself. But really, why would you?
Can you remember any other weird Star Wars stories from the Expanded Universe? Let us know in the comments!