It has been well over a year since Star Wars: The Force Awakens stormed into theaters and very successfully relaunched the franchise. While many questions from that movie have been answered, there are still a lot that remain ambiguous. For one, why were Han and Leia no longer together during the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? It looks like the upcoming novel, Star Wars: Aftermath - Empire's End is going to explore just that, as teased by a recently released excerpt from the book.
StarWars.com recently published a brief excerpt from author Chuck Wendig's upcoming Aftermath novel, the third and final of his trilogy. While it isn't explicitly said in the text, reading between the lines, it is clear that the seeds of what would ultimately drive Han and Leia apart are in this bit from the upcoming novel. Essentially, the excerpt see's a pregnant Leia, presumably with Ben Solo who would go on to become Kylo Ren, confronting Han about her need to slow down and take care of herself with a baby on the way. Han, for his part, is trying to help and brought her some jogan fruit. Outside of just trying to be helpful, it is revealed that, since Han no longer has reason to be a smuggler and isn't fighting with the Rebellion, he is becoming restless. Here is the most revealing bit from the excerpt.
"It's been hard for Han. He won't say it out loud, but she can see it on his face. Her husband needs something to do. He's bored. Chewbacca's back home, looking for his family. Luke's searching the galaxy for old Jedi teachings. Han Solo's got nothing to smuggle, nowhere to gamble, no foolish Rebellion to fight for. He's like the Falcon: retired to a hangar somewhere, waiting for something, anything, to happen. So he buys fruit. Lots and lots of fruit."
In the original trilogy of Star Wars movies, Han Solo was always right in the middle of the action with Chewie, which kept him pretty busy and kept his life interesting. In the comics and in other parts of the Star Wars canon, and also heavily implied in the Star Wars movies, he kept busy and led a very interesting life as a gambler and a smuggler. So, the idea of him truly settling down and not having much to do must have been tough. Not to mention that his best friend isn't around. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it seemed like Kylo Ren turning to the Dark Side of the Force was what really pushed them apart, but this makes it clear that there was more to it than that.
Sadly, because Han Solo was killed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and because Carrie Fisher recently passed away, making Star Wars: The Last Jedi her final appearance as General Leia, we won't really ever get to explore this part of their relationship on screen. That could make Star Wars: Aftermath - Empire's End absolutely essential reading for hardcore Star Wars fans, since it seems like that will be a thread Chuck Wendig decided to pull.
"Following Star Wars: Aftermath and Star Wars: Life Debt, Chuck Wendig delivers the exhilarating conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy set in the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens."
We will next see Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15. It is very likely that her relationship with Han will be talked about, given that his death wasn't really explored much after it happened in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As for Han Solo, though Harrison Ford is done with the character, filming just started on the young Han Solo anthology movie, which is due out next year, so we will still get to see the legendary Star Wars figure in his smuggling days. You can check out the full excerpt from the novel at StarWars.com. Star Wars: Aftermath - Empire's End comes out on February 21.