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Audiobook Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story (Expanded Edition)
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Solo: A Star Wars Story, Expanded Edition by Mur Lafferty

Solo: A Star Wars Story
Expanded Edition Novelization
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
Written by Mur Lafferty
Audiobook narrated by Marc Thompson
Publisher: Del Rey Books | Random House Audio
Release date: September 4, 2018

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the audiobook for the junior novel for Solo: A Star Wars Story, the first of two novelizations of the film released in conjunction with the Blu-ray Edition. I apologize that it took nearly three weeks to get around to this Expanded Edition, but, yanno, life and other Geeks of Doom reviews.

Much like I explained in the review of the Joe Schreiber junior novelization, Mur Lafferty‘s novelization is just that, a scene-by-scene retelling of the movie. The Junior Novel promised and delivered on a handful of deleted scenes that didn’t make the theatrical cut; the Expanded Edition promises and delivers on that and a whole ton more.

When you look at the run time of this audiobook, it is more than double that of the Junior Novel (4:35 vs. 9:32). I was having trouble mentally rationalizing how one could be so much longer than the other. So, I gave it a listen and, to be honest, I found most of the additional stuff to be highly unnecessary. If these were actually scenes in the original script, it’s completely understandable why they were cut. As weird as it might sound to say, given that Solo: A Star Wars Story is the most underperforming film of the Star Wars timeline and widely considered to be a box office failure (I enjoyed the film a lot, though!) and I didn’t find that the extra scenes in the Junior Novel added too much to the story, the theatrical version is very nearly the perfect cut of this particular tale.

I must qualify that last statement just a little bit, though. It is “very nearly the perfect cut” until you reach the epilogue of Lafferty’s book. That scene… oh, that scene! I would’ve killed to see that in theaters! I don’t want to say much more for fear of creating a spoiler, but the epilogue does such a beautiful job of tying this story into everything else we’ve seen. Yes, this despite the fact that the lead character of the book is one of the most famous heroes in this series of films, if not one of the most famous in the history of science fiction, and should need no help being “tied in” to a film chronology at all.

Aside from that, Marc Thompson is in top form narrating this book with his vocal depth and his ability to bring characters to life with distinctive voices. He performs a good Han, Qi’ra, and Dryden Vos, but he really comes into his own with his impersonations of Donald Glover’s Lando and Woody Harrelson’s Tobias Beckett… spot on! I’d love to be able to give him credit for Chewbacca, but I cannot without official confirmation. If he is performing Chewie’s grunts and snarls? Dang! Odds are, though, that they are audio snippets from the films. Simply put, unlike in my review of his performance in Thrawn: Alliances, this is the sort of work I’ve come to expect of Mr. Thompson over the years.

In all, Expanded Edition of the Solo: A Star Wars Story novelization is a good story that becomes a little bloated with additional fluff, but is made very worthwhile by the epilogue and Marc Thompson’s narration.

Official Synopsis:

Don’t miss the exclusive content in this thrilling adaptation of Solo: A Star Wars Story, with scenes from alternate versions of the script including Han Solo’s time in the Imperial Navy, Qi’ra’s past, the beginnings of the rebellion, and more!

Though Han Solo has thrilled Star Wars fans for decades, the notorious wisecracking scoundrel was chasing adventure and dodging trouble long before he walked into the cantina at Mos Eisley spaceport.

Young Han dreams of someday soaring into space at the helm of his own starship and leaving his home, the gritty industrial planet Corellia, far behind. But as long as he’s trapped in a life of poverty and crime—and under the thumb of the sinister Lady Proxima and her brutal street gang—reaching the distant stars seems impossible. When Han tries to escape with his girlfriend and partner-in-crime, Qi’ra, he makes it out—but she doesn’t. Desperate for a way to find his own offworld vessel and free her, Han enlists in the Imperial Navy—the last place for a rebellious loner who doesn’t play well with others.

When the Empire clips his wings, Han goes rogue and plunges into the shady world of smugglers, gamblers, and con artists. There he meets the charming and cunning high roller Lando Calrissian, makes an unlikely friend in a cantankerous Wookiee called Chewbacca, and first lays eyes on the Millennium Falcon. To snag his piece of the outlaw pie, Han joins a crew of pirates to pull off a risky heist. The stakes are high, the danger is great, and the odds are slim. But never tell Han Solo the odds.

Solo: A Star Wars Story Expanded Edition

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