It feels like forever since we've gotten our last Star Wars novel fix, but thankfully Claudia Gray's Star Wars: Bloodline hit bookstores yesterday. It's a Leia Organa-centric novel set in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens as she struggles with trying to restructure a galaxy in turmoil.
As is usually the case when a new Star Wars book comes out — all of which are canon now, thanks to the streamlined continuity that Disney has created — there are cool little elements of Star Wars lore that get filled in.
One of the most exciting in Bloodline is Gray's in-canon introduction of Leia's legendary status as "Huttslayer," an almost Arthurian reference to Leia's famous confrontation with Jabba the Hutt, where she left him gasping for breath with his tongue wriggling and a chain around his neck.
Gray told Entertainment Weekly:
"Right around when I was working on this part of the book there was a movement that went around in some Star Wars fan circles – a lot of talk about how much people don’t like the ‘Slave Leia’ outfit. That’s her most powerless moment in the entire thing… It was a dancing girl outfit, but it gets called a slave outfit. I believe it was a young lady named Angie P, who said, 'I petition that we call it The Huttslayer outfit,' and I was like, 'That is a great name and that is going to happen right now.'"
Though a totally vindicating moment for the fans to watch, Gray said that Leia isn't necessarily as gung-ho about what she had to do:
"She doesn’t regret doing it, but it’s not like something she took a lot of satisfaction in either. It was just an ugly thing she had to do."
Another cool reveal in the novel addresses a long-running point of conversation (and jokes) for fans: Leia's shifting accent in A New Hope. When we first meet her, she speaks with an English accent that later disappears forever.
However, what was once a continuity gaffe is now a great character moment. Gray explained:
"In interviews, Fisher laughs at herself for that scene she has with [Grand Moff ] Tarkin in A New Hope, because Carrie Fisher has an English accent in that scene, and she doesn’t in any other scene in the movie. She sort of laughs at her younger self for being so influenced by Peter Cushing. But I thought: I’m gonna use that. So there’s an explanation in ['Bloodline'] that she’s actually making fun of Tarkin. She’s mocking his accent in that moment. She remembers that’s what she was doing. So that moment has been explained. It’s no longer a problem."
So that's that; thank the Force for retcons. And if you haven't yet read Gray's YA Star Wars novel Lost Stars, I implore you to do so. It's fantastic, and I'm psyched to dig into Bloodline.
Star Wars: Bloodline is available now.