|"Into the Great Unknown"|
- "When I called Blackman about "Into The Great Unknown," he told me that it was one of the most fun Star Wars tales he's attempted."
- ―Frank DiGiacomo of Vanity Fair
"Into the Great Unknown" is a ten-page non-canon comic story that was written by W. Haden Blackman. It was published in the comic book Star Wars Tales 19, which was released on May 14, 2004. The story is notable for being the first officially-licensed work to include both Han Solo and Indiana Jones, two characters portrayed on film by Harrison Ford in the 1970s and 1980s. The idea to write a story featuring the two was floated by staff at Dark Horse Comics, who then asked Blackman to write it.
Within the comic's pages, Solo and his co-pilot Chewbacca flee blindly into hyperspace from an Imperial fleet and end up crashing onto an unfamiliar planet. Solo is attacked and killed by a primitive group of Humans, and 126 years later, his skeleton is discovered by Indiana Jones. Blackman intentionally inserted references to both film franchises into the story, hoping to appeal to a wide range of fans.
- "…the idea had actually been kicking around for a while at Dark Horse Comics."
- ―Frank DiGiacomo, transcribing a phone call with W. Haden Blackman
In 1999, Dark Horse Comics began publishing Star Wars Tales, a monthly series of comic books that featured several short Star Wars stories in each issue. Leland Chee, the keeper of the Holocron continuity database, declared that most Tales stories were S-canon, which rendered them non-canon unless referenced in a source other than Tales. Any completely outrageous or intentionally comic stories would be definitively non-canon, however.
With the freedom to tell apocryphal stories, staff at Dark Horse began tossing around the idea of telling a story that involved Han Solo and Indiana Jones, both of whom were characters created by George Lucas and portrayed by Harrison Ford. Solo was a Star Wars character while Jones was not; the two had respectively been main characters in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie franchises in the 1970s and 1980s. Although Jones had previously made a cameo in the computer game Star Wars: Yoda Stories, he and Solo had never been involved in a crossover together. Eventually, Dark Horse contracted author W. Haden Blackman to write a story featuring both characters.
- "It's almost like tying together four worlds. There's our world; there’s Indy's world, there's Han Solo's world. But then there's that weird impossible-to-find fan world that has all that information about all those stories."
- ―W. Haden Blackman
While conceiving the story's plot, Blackman recalled stories from the set of the 1983 film Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The stories claimed that Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Han Solo's sidekick Chewbacca the Wookiee, was required to be accompanied by crewmembers who wore brightly-colored vests while in the forests of the Pacific Northwest (specifically California) filming scenes set on Endor, so as not to be mistaken for Bigfoot. Working from there, Blackman crafted a story that involved Solo and Chewbacca landing in Earth's Pacific Northwest, Solo dying, and Chewbacca being mistaken for Bigfoot while roaming the forests in the proceeding years. Taking the long life spans of Wookiees into account, he decided to write Indiana Jones as discovering Solo's remains over 100 years later.
Blackman included several explicit references to both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films in the story in an effort to appeal to fans of both franchises. Solo utters the line "I have a bad feeling about this place," a variation on a line spoken in every Star Wars film, and just before dying, tells Chewbacca "I'm going first into the great unknown," echoing a line spoken by Jones's friend Wu Han in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Solo even compares the planet he and Chewbacca land on to Endor, referencing the fact that Return of the Jedi's Endor scenes were filmed in the Pacific Northwest. The story's title also comes from Wu Han's line, and is written on the first page of the comic in the style of the Indiana Jones franchise logo. As both characters were played by Harrison Ford, Jones describes Solo's remains as "familiar."
"Into the Great Unknown" was published in the nineteenth issue of Tales. The issue was published on May 14, 2004, and was later collected in the trade paperback Star Wars Tales Volume 5. In 2008, the story was re-published in the comic Star Wars Fan Club Special 2008.
Han Solo was created by George Lucas as a primary character in the 1977 film Star Wars, and was played by Harrison Ford. Indiana Jones is another character of Lucas's that Ford portrayed, and the idea to publish a story involving both characters existed at Dark Horse Comics for some time before the development of "Into the Great Unknown".
After fleeing blindly into hyperspace from an attacking Imperial fleet, Solo and his co-pilot Chewbacca crash their starship, the Millennium Falcon, into the forests of an unfamiliar planet. After leaving the downed vessel to search for a settlement, they are attacked by a group of primitive Humans, who fire several arrows at Solo and pierce his skin. He realizes that he is going to die, and asks Chewbacca to bring him back into the Falcon so that he may spend his final moments there.
The Wookiee Chewbacca appeared in all three films of the original Star Wars trilogy as Solo's non-Human sidekick and the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. When Blackman was crafting "Into the Great Unknown"'s plot, he recalled stories about Peter Mayhew in his Chewbacca costume potentially being mistaken for Bigfoot while filming Return of the Jedi, and used them as his starting point.
Chewbacca is flying with Solo as the Falcon lands on the unfamiliar planet, and kills all of the attacking Humans with his bowcaster and with brute strength, although he is too late to save Solo from dying. After Solo passes away, Chewbacca begins roaming the nearby forest and is referred to as "Sasquatch" by the natives. He is still present 126 years later, watching over the Falcon.
Harrison Ford gained great renown and popularity for playing Indiana Jones in a 1980s trilogy of films. Staff members at Dark Horse Comics wanted to publish a story involving both Jones and Solo for some time, and eventually contracted Blackman to write it.
126 years after Solo's death, Jones and his partner Short Round are drawn to the forest where the Falcon lies by reported sightings of a monster. They are guided by a Human who shows them the starship, and after they board it, Jones discovers Solo's skeleton and finds something familiar about it. He decides to leave it, and the supposed monster, be.
Short Round, also known as Shorty, played a major role in the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as Indiana Jones's sidekick. "Into the Great Unknown" only refers to him by his nickname.
Short Round accompanies Indiana Jones on his expedition to the forest, and boards the Falcon with him. When Jones remarks that Solo's skeleton seems familiar, Short Round asks if they should continue looking for the supposed monster.
- "Always thought it would be you… getting killed…saving me or my kids…trying to repay that damn life-debt…but I'm going first into the great unknown…"
- ―Han Solo's dying words to Chewbacca
Han Solo and Chewbacca, respectively the pilot and co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, run afoul of an Imperial fleet after leaving Hovan 99. As they evade a Star Destroyer and TIE Fighters, Solo takes the Falcon blindly into hyperspace rather than spend the time calculating jump coordinates. The ship emerges in an unfamiliar system that contains several planets and moons, and the pair lands on a blue world after detecting life on it.
The ship's rear repulsorlift controls give out on their way into the planet's atmosphere, causing the Falcon to crash into a forest that reminds Solo of the moon of Endor. As they search for a settlement, Solo and Chewbacca are attacked by a group of Humans who wield spears, bows, and axes. Chewbacca fights them off using his bowcaster and his own strength, but Solo is struck by several arrows and begins to slowly bleed to death. Anticipating that he will not survive, he asks his co-pilot to return him to the Falcon, where he passes away in the captain's chair.
126 years later, the archaeologist Indiana Jones and his sidekick Short Round are being led by a Human guide through the same forest, searching for a legendary monster that has been sighted in the area. Chewbacca watches from afar as they come across the Falcon, board the ship, and discover Solo's skeleton. The skeleton feels familiar to Jones, and, rather than continue his search for the monster, he decides to leave it as part of the "great unknown."
Although Blackman conceived of "Into the Great Unknown" as taking place in Earth's Pacific Northwest, the planet in the story is never identified as Earth. Its system, however, is mentioned as being "no longer far away," a play on the events of Star Wars taking place "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…" Similarly, Indiana Jones is never explicitly identified, only being referred to as "Dr. Jones." However, Blackman confirmed that the character was Indiana in an interview.
Due to its merging of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, "Into the Great Unknown" has received significant attention on several websites. Frank DiaGacomo of Vanity Fair wrote an article on the story in the site's "culture" section, and contacted W. Haden Blackman to find out more about the story's development. Comicgasm.com also spotlighted the comic in 2009. The blog io9 wrote an article on the comic on May 25, 2011, which highlighted what they saw as its depressing story. Although it is the first officially-licensed work to include both Solo and Jones, two creations of George Lucas, Blackman has posited that Lucas is likely unaware of the story's existence.
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Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 Star Wars Tales 19
- ↑ Star Wars Tales #1. Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved on June 28, 2010.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Leland Y Chee (Jun 4, 2006 3:05 AM). Holocron continuity database questions. Starwars.com Forums.
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 Frank DiGiacomo: Indiana Jones, Meet Han Solo. Vanity Fair. Retrieved on June 28, 2010.
- ↑ Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- ↑ Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- ↑ Raiders of the Lost Ark
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- ↑ Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- ↑ Star Wars: Yoda Stories
- ↑ INDIANA JONES: OFFICIAL SITE. Retrieved on June 28, 2010.
- ↑ Star Wars Tales Volume 5
- ↑ Star Wars Fan Club Special 2008
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 Empire of Dreams
- ↑ The Essential Atlas
- ↑ Story Time: Into the Great Unknown. Comicgasm!. Retrieved on June 28, 2010.
- ↑ The lost Indiana Jones-Star Wars crossover was really depressing. io9. Retrieved on May 26, 2011.