- "Have I ever not delivered for you before?"
- ―Han Solo and the boarding parties
Shortly before the skirmish Han Solo and Chewbacca managed to recover their lost starship, the Millennium Falcon, which the First Order fugitives Finn and Rey had escaped from the planet Jakku on. Their joy was short-lived however, as parties of the Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub boarded the freighter to collect the debts owed to them by Solo. While Han tried to talk the boarding parties down, Rey accidentally released a trio of vicious rathtars from the cargo hold. The rathtars stormed through the freighter, killing several gangsters and giving Han, Chewbacca and the fugitives a chance to escape on-board the Falcon. Launching away from the freighter at lightspeed, they managed to escape the freighter and kill a rathtar that had attached itself over the cockpit.
- "Oh, don't tell me a rathtar's gotten loose."
- ―Han Solo
Han Solo and Chewbacca, at the point where they found their old ship, were undertaking a contract to transport three rathtars, hideously dangerous beasts, to King Prana, who was hoping to upstage a rival. Having lost most of his crew when the rathtars ate them, Han's situation was further complicated by the arrival of the Guavian Death Gang, a criminal group who had loaned him 50,000 credits for the job. Telling Rey and Finn to hide below, also keeping BB-8 with him as leverage so they didn't try and run off, Han greeted the Guavian representative Bala-Tik and his escort, who were seeking their investment back after learning that Solo had also cut a deal with Kanjiklub. Despite Han's attempts to deny this, Kanjiklub themselves showed up and things began to turn sour. Bala-Tik, noticing BB-8, recognized him as the droid the First Order was looking for along with two fugitives and began searching the freighter. Rey, in the vents below, formulated a plan to stop both gangs by closing the blast doors in the corridor. Unfortunately, she hit the wrong fuses; instead of closing the doors, she inadvertently cut the ship's power and opened everything that was previously closed, including the pens holding the rathtars. The freed beast's horrible cries echoed throughout the freighter, to everyone's consternation.
Bala-Tik, hearing the roars, decided to simplify things by simply killing the two smugglers and taking the droid by force. Right before they could shoot, however, the Guavians were suddenly attacked from behind by one of the rathtars, which announced its presence by howling and seizing two of the soldiers whilst the rest of them scattered or ineffectually tried to shoot it. At the other end of the corridor, Kanjiklub were in the same predicament with the second rathtar, while Han and Chewie took the opportunity to flee while being pursued by the rathtar that had been attacking the Guavians. They managed to shake the creature, however, by tossing an unfortunate Kanjiklub member into the creature's maw. Meanwhile, Finn and Rey emerged from the vents and ran through the corridors seeking safety. As Rey inquired as to what rathtars looked like, having never seen one before, they rounded the corner to find one in the middle of devouring three gangsters and quickly fled back the way they had come, only for the third rathtar to seize Finn and drag him off. Rey briefly gave chase, but quickly realized that she stood very little chance against the creature even if she caught up to it and instead managed to free Finn by closing a blast door on the tentacle holding him.
Meanwhile, Han, Chewie and BB-8 were trapped against a blast door to the hangar by some Guavians, who managed to injure Chewbacca with a shot to the arm before they were dispatched. Using Chewie's appropriated bowcaster to blast open the door, they met up with Rey and Finn and boarded the Falcon in order to escape. While Finn attempted to tend to the injured Chewie, Han and Rey prepped the ship for take-off, which was complicated somewhat by a rathtar that had latched itself onto the cockpit window and was attempting to bite through it. Deactivating the compressor preventing the hyperdrive from engaging, the Falcon then made a jump to lightspeed from within the hangar (a feat generally regarded as impossible), the extreme acceleration literally ripping the unfortunate rathtar (which was still clinging onto the ship) asunder. Witnessing the escape, Bala-Tik informed the First Order that the droid they sought was with Solo.
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: A Junior Novel
- The Force Awakens Read-Along Storybook and CD (Mentioned only)
- The Force Awakens Golden Book
- Han & Chewie Return!
- The Force Awakens, Part II
- The Force Awakens, Part III
- Finn's Mission
- The Adventures of BB-8
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded