I have so many thoughts about how the
rebellioncivil war (people started calling it a civil war around Endor, once winning actually looked like a possibility—Han still finds this funny) gets translated into history and urban legends and gossip, given the enormity of space, and the fact that the Empire controlled all the official news outlets.
Not just the whole idea of the “Lost Princess of Alderaan” but all the rumors and misinformation that spread out in the wake of every battle. Han’s the one they send out for information-gathering in the seedy cantinas and watering holes and the back alleys of the galaxy, and he comes back with a dozen variations of how the Death Star was destroyed, what went down on Cloud City, how Jabba died, what Luke’s powers actually are, whether Leia is secretly married to Chewbacca.
(Han spread a few rumors of his own, to be fair. Mostly because he got sick of the blank looks, some Carthasian at the bar asking “who the hell is han solo?”)
Plus, the Empire is still insisting Leia is dead, which means it’s just Luke and Han on the wanted posters—their faces had to be pulled from Imperial security feeds, grainy shots that could pass for any light and dark-haired humanoids of average height. Imitators run rampant, especially once the Jedi stuff gets out there. (Jabba’s cronies might be scum, but scum are ferocious gossips.) Luke and Lando always end up giggling while they tell the story about how they once met “Luke Skywalker” in a lifttube.
(Leia and Luke once spent a week on Yavin IV laughingly referring to one another as “brother” and “sister” because Han told them an old-timer on Ione had insisted they were siblings, children of Darth Vader and his forbidden love.
In hindsight, this is not as funny as it was at the time.)
And then once the war is won, the sheer pop cultural impact that Luke, Han and Leia all would have had, the weight of them on the public imagination. Once the Empire is definitively defeated, their faces are plastered on every screen from Chandrila to the Outer Rim, kids on Tattooine turning to one another during a speech over the holoradio and asking, is that—Luke? but—
Everything Leia wears is immediately declared the height of fashion, which she finds simultaneously entertaining and exhausting. Entertaining because it hasn’t been her focus for—well, ever, and so to suddenly be a fashion plate is a little thrilling. Exhausting because the holonews segments on ‘why does princess leia organa look so tired & disheveled?’ never seem to end, or hit on an answer.
(No one ever thinks to ask. If they did, Leia would tell them she was up at an ungodly hour nursing her infant son and reviewing suggested new republic statutes. There, done, mystery solved.)
Han is through with public life pretty quickly—he’d much rather be at home with Ben, or in the Falcon with Chewie, he frowns when people refer to him as ‘General Solo’ and gets shirty with important dignitaries. (The number of times Leia finds him hiding in the kitchens and playing sarlacc with the staff…) But Lando is charm itself, a natural diplomat and comfortable amid the flow of politics, and so Leia ends up bringing him to a lot of important events.
There are still a lot of reaches of the galaxy that think Leia Organa is married to a different Corellian scoundrel, who squint at Han when he shows up and ask, aren’t you a little….scruffy to be Han Solo?
There are sixteen holobooks about them (specifically, not just the Rebellion, but them) written in the three years following the Galactic Concordance. Most are about Luke, but even Chewie has an unauthorized scholarly depiction of his involvement and motivations. The “Lost Princess of Alderaan” holoserial premieres when Ben is seven, and those are fun conversations, explaining to him that no, his friends are wrong, that’s not how that happened—
(Twenty years later, Poe and Rey and Finn are all sitting at a table in the mess comparing notes. I thought, Finn starts, frowning, trying to remember what exactly the endless conditioning props had said. Once upon a time, he’d been able to breathe in time with the script—but the further he gets from being a Stormtrooper, the fainter the words get. I thought General Tarkin triggered the self-destruct to stop the Death Star from falling into the rebels’ hands?
no, no, Poe says, who was raised on the holoserials and the stories they tell in the Academy, Wedge Antilles and Shara Bey invoked like patron saints. Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star with good, old-fashioned piloting, was able to nail it with proton torpedoes in the exhaust port. He was a crack shot!
don’t be stupid, Rey says. The stories that make it to Niima Outpost are touched by strangeness, something to be told by firelight while the desert howls around you—stories of falling and rising again, monsters unmade. It was the Force, he never could have done it otherwise. What idiot would design the Death Star with such an obvious weakness? It had to be the Force.
Finn finally plucks up the courage to ask Luke Skywalker himself—but he only smiles, says, sometimes, the stories are more important than the truth.)