Earlier today, we brought you details about General Hux’s backstory, courtesy of the in-canon Star Wars novel Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, which was released today. Now that the book is out, we know even more about how certain parts of the canon differ since much of the Expanded Universe has become an altered deal. WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
Back in the Expanded Universe days — when we wore onions on our ammo bandoliers — the “life debt” Chewbacca owed Han Solo was due to Solo saving Chewie from enslavement when Solo was in the Imperial Navy and the Empire had occupied Kashyyyk. Chewie was always at Solo’s side to loyally help out because he felt he owed his life to the man. Aftermath: Life Debt doesn’t seem to stray far from that best friend origin story, although Solo is already living on the Millennium Falcon when he meets Chewie.
In the novel, the Empire has enslaved Wookiees, and Solo described their cruelty, as transcribed by Screen Rant:
“I’ve seen what the Empire has done. They ripped down trees. They put cuffs and collars on all the Wookiees. Some of them they cut open. Others they ship off to work the worst jobs the Empire has on offer. They took his home from him. I can’t abide by that. I don’t have a home anymore besides the Falcon, but him? He does. And he deserves to go home. He has a family too, you know.”
Solo’s conscience, which has always been heavily influenced and strengthened by Chewie’s presence throughout the films, gets the better of him, and he helps smuggle this particular Wookiee off the planet. Chewbacca sees this as owing his life to Solo, but Solo goes all Blindside about it. (To paraphrase Sandra Bullock with a mouthful of rocks, “I didn’t save that boy’s life; he’s saving mine.”)
“I saved him, at least that’s what he says, the big fuzzy fool, but really, he saved me. I was on a bad path, and Chewie, he put me straight. Saved my shanks more than once too. He said it was part of some life debt… It means that he owes his life to me… He doesn’t owe me. I owe him. I got a debt to Chewie to get him his home back.”
At the end of the novel, Kashyyyk has been freed from Empire occupation and Chewie can return to his family while Solo leaves to start a family with Leia. Chewie wants to start being his co-pilot right away, but Solo tells him they’ll meet again, because “I’m gonna be a father and no way my kid won’t have you in his life.”
(Via Screen Rant)