As with media tie-ins for The Force Awakens, comics and novels dressed with “The Road to The Last Jedi” have been popping up in bookstores and comic shops over the last few weeks to set the stage and build anticipation for this season’s Star Wars blockbuster. This week’s one-shot The Storms of Crait, by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and Mike Mayhew, shuttles us back to the original trilogy for some backstory on that visually arresting salt-coated planet from the latest movie.
The book picks up immediately following Episode IV, and the Battle of Yavin, with the Rebel forces in dire need of a new command headquarters. As we know from Empire Strikes Back, Hoth housed the Rebellion until the probe droids tracked them down. What we didn’t know, until now, was that other remote planets supposedly “devoid of human forms” were vetted as well. In this case, the dead world of Crait.
Acker & Blacker’s story succeeds as one of those little mid-trilogy tales that serves to fill in the gaps between movies while doing something that is now painfully impossible in the new trilogy: a reunion of Luke, Leia, and Han. And they do this while explaining why a desolate frozen rock full of Wampas was a preferable option to Crait.
What makes this book truly worthwhile, however, is Mayhew’s fully painted photorealistic magic. Sure, some of those expressions look traced right off a movie still, but damn it’s like being transported back to the 80’s! The iconic ships, the beloved characters, all back for a few pages. As if we didn’t get enough of original trilogy “echoes” in The Last Jedi (I mean, seriously? Am I the only one that wants some new plot points and character motivations? The only thing TLJ was missing from Empire was a gaggle of bounty hunters), these comic book and novel tie-ins, brimming with familiarity, help remind us why we love this universe so much.