If you watched the latest trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story and thought to yourself, “May 25 cannot get here soon enough,” then you need a Han Solo and Lando Calrissian fix stat. You can rewatch the original Star Wars trilogy, The Force Awakens, and the Star Wars Rebels featuring Lando, sure, but if you want to spend more time with the characters, turn to the page. Both Legends (formerly known as the Expanded Universe) and the current storytelling universe included books detailing some of their choice escapades—adventures they go on together and separately. Put these Han and Lando books on your to-read list:
The Han Solo Adventures by Brian Daley
I don’t want to oversell Brian Daley’s The Han Solo Adventures, but they’re some of the best Star Wars books ever written. The books in the trilogy, Han Solo at Stars’ End, Han Solo’s Revenge, and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, were among the first Star Wars books to be published, hitting shelves in 1979-1980. Each book has a different MacGuffin, and while the romps are all fun, what I most enjoy about these Legends stories is the way they love Han and Chewbacca and dig into their exhilarating, one-jump-ahead-of-death-or-capture lifestyle. Since the stories are set before A New Hope, Han isn’t thinking about the Alliance. He’s completely enamored with his profession.
As an added bonus, the trilogy features a memorable droid duo in Bollux and Blue Max.
The Lando Calrissian Adventures by L. Neil Smith
Han doesn’t get all the capers. Lando stars in his own trilogy by L. Neil Smith, titled The Lando Calrissian Adventures. Featuring Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon, and Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka (yep, seriously), the Legends books from the early ’80s catch up with Lando after he’s won the Millennium Falcon. As you might guess from the titles, they’re a little campy and all kinds of pulpy. They lean into the fantasy aspect of Star Wars‘ space fantasy.
And it’s a small part of the series, but the first book introduces the card game sabacc.
Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn
Picture this: Ocean’s Eleven in Star Wars. It’s an oversimplified description for Timothy Zahn’s Scoundrels, but it’s accurate. This Legends story puts Han in a position to land the biggest score of his smuggling career. But though he prefers to work solo, he needs a team to break into an estate’s supposedly impenetrable vault to steal millions of credits. Each team member has special skills, and Lando’s the Saul Bloom to Han’s Danny Ocean. The pace races along, joyous and dangerous, and though the ending is not my favorite, the journey’s well worth it.
The Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin
If you want to visit the Legends timeline at about the same time as Solo: A Star Wars Story will take place (around nine to ten years before the Battle of Yavin), try The Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin. This Han trio includes The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn. The books detail how Han has spent his childhood and teenage years learning from a con man who found him on Corellia, Garris Shrike. He had a hard knock life under Shrike, but he learned how to survive. Shrike’s lasting influence looms over Han’s coming of age story in these books.
Last Shot by Daniel José Older
The only canonical story on this list, Last Shot by Daniel José Older makes Han and Lando leap off the page. The timeline jumps around a little, from years before the Battle of Yavin to after the Battle of Jakku. It features dad Han Solo (you should read this excerpt), suave as hell Lando Calrissian, Chewie, and a mission to find an elusive and powerful transmitter. Bonus: you can learn more about Lando’s droid pal L3-37 and Han’s former “wife” Sana Starros. Last Shot is available on April 17.
What Han and Lando books or comics would you recommend to others? Share your lists in the comments.
Images: Lucasfilm, Del Rey, Bantam Spectra
Amy Ratcliffe is an Associate Editor for Nerdist. She likes Star Wars a little. Follow her on Twitter.