USA Today has shared an excerpt from the upcoming Star Wars novel, The Princess and the Scoundrel. Set to be released on August 16, it's going to explore the immediate aftermath of Return of the Jedi, a period fans have been curious to explore in this new Disney canon.
Another recent excerpt revealed how Leia felt about Darth Vader's funeral, but we now know how Luke reacted to his sister, Princess Leia, marrying Han Solo.
At the same time, Luke offering her the chance to join him on his path to becoming a Jedi is also addressed. Leia clearly has little to no interest in exploring her connection to the Force at this point in time, and counters his offer with one of her own: come to Coruscant and work with the New Republic the same way the Jedi did years earlier.
There are a lot of reveals here that are very interesting, and we can't help but wonder what might have been had Luke and Leia made some different decisions at this very specific point in time.
Check out this excerpt from Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel below:
"You and Han, huh?" Luke asked her.
Leia felt a twist of nerves in her stomach as she waited for his response. What if he didn’t approve, what if this soured their friendship, what if—
"Finally!" Luke shouted, elation spread over his face.
"Really?" Relief flooded her senses.
Luke pulled her into a hug. "You should know," he said with a chuckle in his voice, "that Chewie was already threatening to kidnap you two and drop you off on some deserted planet until you could both figure out how right you were for each other."
Leia’s shoulders shook with laughter. "Wookiees aren’t exactly known for subtlety, I suppose."
"Not at all." Luke stepped back, eyes sparkling. "Seriously, I’m happy for you both."
"I told him," Leia said. "I told him what you told me, and he didn’t care."
"Of course he didn’t. Han’s one of the good ones."
Are we? Leia wanted to ask. How did the knowledge of their parentage not disturb Luke the way it did her? For that matter, how had Han’s reaction been so calm? He should have been disgusted; he should have been—
Concern washed over Luke’s features, but Leia ignored him, wrapping her arms around herself. A part of her wondered at how quickly Luke had come to this deserted landing. She’d sought out Han earlier, intent on reuniting with him after his mission with the Pathfinders. But Luke had seemed to arrive almost as soon as she’d thought of him. Had she somehow unconsciously reached out to him — or did he control their connection? She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Luke had told her that she could have the same power he did, but . . .
Her brother’s eyes searched hers, and she knew he didn’t need the Force to see the conflicted emotions coursing through her. "How do you feel?" he asked.
He was so different now from when she’d first met him. Years had passed, of course, but the boy she’d met on the Death Star, proclaiming he’d come to save her, had been boisterously excited, full of optimism and opportunities. This man before her now was the same Luke, but . . . calmer. He moved with purpose rather than crashing around, bursting through doors or bumbling across the galaxy. Leia almost mourned the change. She had seen it before, of course, over the years of the war — bright hopefuls who became jaded when they realized they were no longer shooting at inanimate targets. Luke held a deeper sort of stillness within him, like a tree growing on a moon with no air, no wind to shift the branches.
Leia walked away from him and stepped to the edge of the platform. Railings circled the landing, but they were built for the Ewoks’ diminutive stature. More than one pilot drunk on jet juice in the celebrations after the destruction of the Death Star had toppled over the barriers that hit them around knee height. Now Leia let the sturdy rails press against her legs as her toes, covered in leather slippers, curled over the edge of the wooden platform. "I feel like I’m on a precipice, "Leia answered Luke as she forced herself to look down, through the tree branches to the distant ground below.
She glanced over her shoulder. "I feel like that for all three of us. You, me, Han. This moment, right now, it feels like..." She turned back to the railing, but this time her eyes were on the tree-dappled horizon. "It feels like one step, and we’ll all scatter in different directions. Right now, we’re together. Right now, we’re safe."
And I just want to make this moment last forever, she thought, although she guessed that Luke understood her unspoken sentiment.
Luke didn’t move toward her; he stayed in the center, near the place where the fires had burned. "When you think of the future..."
"I don’t want to think of that," she said, her tone pleading. "I want this moment to last. When we’ve won. When we’re all together." And, if she were honest with herself, getting married right now would give the moment permanence. To her, if nothing else. Endor was not just the place where the war ended...because, after all, the fighting wasn’t over yet. The war wasn’t over. It might never be over, not if the Empire continued operating despite the Emperor’s death. But getting married now, here, turned the battle-that-wasn’t-actually-the-end into the day she forgot about the war and chose love instead.
"I think..." Luke’s voice trailed off. Leia searched his eyes. His brow crinkled in a smile that belied the gravity of the moment. "I think you’re forgetting that the end of the war didn’t just buy the galaxy peace. It bought you time."
Leia shook her head, confused. In answer, Luke took her hand, pulling her away from the edge. "You are right," he conceded. "The three of us have many different paths we could take. And this moment is a deciding one. The choices we make now will . . . linger." He paused. "But following this path doesn’t mean you can’t follow others. You have the freedom now to pursue any route you want to explore."
" don’t know if I want..." Leia’s voice trailed off. She knew what Luke was offering, but as much as she was curious about what the Force could offer her, she also knew that every step closer to it was a step closer to the power that had twisted Darth Vader into a monster.
Pain flashed over Luke’s face, and Leia realized she had missed the point Luke was making. He wasn’t thinking about power at all. He was thinking about her. She wasn’t the only one who’d lost family. Luke had, too. He had told her about his aunt and uncle. Leia’s heart lurched — had they been her aunt and uncle as well? Luke’s home had burned, and with it, everything that had represented his past. Tatooine still existed, but to Luke, it was as gone as Alderaan.
Leia leaned in, tucking a lock of Luke’s hair behind his ear. Always scruffy, these boys.
"I can help you learn," Luke said, taking her movement to mean acceptance. "After you’ve had some time with Han, you and I can start training. I have heard of places where I can find more Jedi lore. Yoda is gone, but I can train you as he trained me. And there’s so much I still don’t know. Yoda called me a Jedi Knight, but I know in the past, Jedi trained from the time they were younglings. There’s more for me to learn, too. We can do it together."
His voice trailed off as Leia shook her head. "I don’t care about the Force," she said softly. "I would want to go with you because I would like to be with you. I would like to get to know my brother as my brother."
Luke kept telling her that she had time to decide, that it wasn’t one or the other. But it felt like she had a choice to make. Go with Luke and choose a family of a sibling pair, exploring the unknown elements of the galaxy, discovering the Force and all it meant. Or go with Han and choose a family of her own making, discovering nothing more than herself."
"We could do such great things together," Luke said, his eyes unfocused, as if he could see a different future from the one Leia envisioned.
How lonely it must be, she thought. She was among the last Alderaanians, but he was the last Jedi. "You could come with us," she offered.
Luke snorted. "On your honeymoon with Han?"
"No." Leia laughed. "I mean you could help us form the new government. My father told me how the Jedi once served alongside the Senate, how they were a part of politics, too. When the new republic is fully formed, you could work with me at the capital. We could build something together." You don’t have to be alone. For one shining moment, Leia allowed herself the fantasy of a capital city, gleaming and new, with a glorious Senate Hall. She could advocate and bring peace through politics, and then come home to her husband and — perhaps — a youngling or two. Dinner with her children’s uncle. A home for them all to center on.
She didn’t need to plan every moment of her life as she had on Alderaan, but that stability had enabled love and families to flourish together. It would be nice.
"There’s so much left to learn and discover," Luke said, his words shattering her fantasy. "I don’t know where I’ll be going, but I do know I’ll be gone." It was like when he’d disappeared after Hoth, chasing Yoda on a far-flung planet, unable even to comm and let them know he was safe. He searched her eyes, trying once more: "You could go with me."
"I don’t think I can," Leia said gently. Luke might believe she could choose multiple paths, but Leia wasn’t so sure. Following him would mean chasing power, and that power could help shape the type of galaxy she’d worked her entire life to build. But if she had to choose between power and happiness, she would choose happiness.
Because that was what the choice really was. Going with Luke, becoming a Jedi—it would be an adventure. It might give her the power he tempted her with.
But she had given her whole life to power.
And she was ready to choose, for the first time, what she wanted for herself.