In 10 BBY, during the early reign of the Galactic Empire, the criminal Tobias Beckett and his outlaw crew carried out a heist on Vandor to recover coaxium from an Imperial conveyex on the planet Vandor for Dryden Vos, leader of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. The criminals faced a small group of range troopers guarding the transport, which forced them to detach several of the conveyex's carriages to lose them. The group was later ambushed by Enfys Nest and her Cloud-Riders, who intended to seize the cargo for themselves.
Tobias Beckett was a seasoned gunslinger and smuggler from the planet Glee Anselm. By the Imperial Era, Beckett had established a gang consisting of the Ardennian pilot Rio Durant and the human woman Val, a skilled saboteur. While Beckett and his associates were stealing an Imperial AT hauler on the planet Mimban, they also recruited the Imperial deserter Han Solo and the Wookiee Chewbacca.
Seeking to repay his debts to the Crimson Dawn crime lord Dryden Vos, Beckett enlisted his associates' help in stealing refined coaxium from an Imperial 20-T Railcrawler conveyex transport on the snowy, mountainous Mid Rim planet of Vandor. Beckett targeted Vandor because the planet was home to a secluded Imperial vault. Solo and Chewbacca agreed to help in return for Beckett giving a share of the money to them so that they could buy themselves a starship.
Beckett's plan was for Rio to drop him, Solo, and Chewbacca onto the wagon carrying the coaxium. Rio would jam the Imperials' communications while Val would blow up a nearby bridge, allowing them to fly away with the coaxium on an AT hauler. Unknown to Beckett and his gang, Enfys Nest and her Cloud-Riders wanted to steal the coaxium to finance their insurgency against the Empire and the Five Crime Syndicates.
The attempted heist
While Val set up position on a nearby bridge overlooking the tracks, Rio dropped Beckett, Solo, and Chewbacca in the AT-hauler onto the Imperial conveyex transport. Their presence drew the attention of several Imperial range troopers led by Captain Denwade Banevans, resulting in a gun battle. Dodging gunfire and the dangerous cliff-ace, Solo and Chewbacca managed to separate the coaxium wagon from the rear line, which was carrying the range troopers.
Rio, who was circling nearby in the AT hauler, then lowered cables to capture the coaxium wagon. Before they could proceed with the rest of their heist, Beckett's gang was attacked by Enfys Nest and her Cloud-Riders, who were riding swoop bikes. During the gun battle, Beckett's gang managed to shoot down several of the Cloud-Riders' swoops. However, Rio was fatally wounded while repelling boarders from his AT-hauler.
While Chewbacca worked on detaching the coaxium wagon from the front section of the conveyex transport, Solo returned to the AT-hauler and took the dying Rio's place. Meanwhile, Val fought several Imperial 11-3K viper probe droids which had been dispatched to the scene. Realizing there was not enough time for her to abandon her position without letting her comrades steal the Imperial coaxium wagon, Val blew the bridge up and was killed in the ensuing explosion.
The destruction of the bridge also destroyed the rail line, exposing the Conveyex transport to a deep gorge. While Beckett fought with Enfys Nest, Chewbacca managed to detach the coaxium wagon from the Conveyex transport's front line before it fell into the deep gorge and exploded. Though the AT-hauler was still holding on to the coaxium wagon, the Cloud-riders attached grappling hooks to the wagon.
Due to the volatile nature of the coaxium, Solo was unwilling to risk the lives of Chewbacca and Beckett. He convinced Chewbacca to evacuate with an unwilling Beckett before letting go of the cable. The coaxium wagon and several attached Cloud-Rider swoops fell into a deep gorge and exploded the Luftgriff Peak in half.
The failure of the heist on Vandor placed Beckett in a difficult position with Dryden Vos and the Crimson Dawn. While grieving over the loss of his lover Val and Rio, Beckett lashed out against Solo, castigating him for preventing him from paying his debts to Vos. Seeking to make amends, Solo and Chewbacca agreed to help Beckett in return for receiving their share of the money.
Beckett, Solo, and Chewbacca rendezvoused with Vos' yacht First Light, which was visiting Vandor. While Vos was displeased with Beckett's failure, Solo and Qi'ra, Beckett's lieutenant and Solo's old friend from Corellia, managed to convince Vos to let them steal unrefined coaxium from the Pyke Syndicate, who owned spice mine on the Outer Rim world of Kessel. Vos acceded to their plan in return for the Crimson Dawn's plausible deniability.
After hiring the services of Lando Calrissian's ship, the Millennium Falcon, Beckett's gang and Qi'ra managed to steal the coaxium with the help of Lando's droid L3-37, who inspired a slave and droid revolt. After making the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs, Solo brought the Falcon to the planet Savareen where the coaxium was refined.
Enfys Nest managed to convince Solo and his team not to give the coaxium to Dryden Vos, seeking to use it to finance their insurgency against the Empire and crime syndicates. Working with the Cloud-Riders, Qi'ra and Solo managed to defeat the Crimson Dawn and kill Vos and Beckett, who had betrayed them. After delivering the refined coaxium to the Cloud-Riders, Solo and Chewbacca parted company with Qi'ra.
Behind the scenes
The Heist on Vandor was featured in the 2018 Star Wars Anthology film Solo: A Star Wars Story. The sequence was present in every draft of the film's screenplay, though it sustained several changes.
Earlier drafts of the film's script, according to writer Jon Kasdan, featured Enfys Nest's Cloud-Riders pirate gang attacking the conveyex with Bantha-II cargo skiffs, but former directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller ultimately choose to replace the Bantha-II cargo skiffs with swoop bikes. Initial iterations of the scene, however, had no coaxium as cargo but rather an extremely dangerous criminal being transported to a maximum-security prison, having Beckett's gang being hired by the criminal's gang to release their leader. The idea was that once saved, the criminal and his gang would have departed wordlessly and would eventually return in a potential Solo sequel in which they would rescue Han Solo at a crucial moment.
In the DVD commentary of Solo, the filmmakers revealed that for the explosion of the conveyex at the end of the heist, they used firecrackers underwater and then filmed it with high speed cameras to later play it in slow motion. Before filming, the original script had Val surviving the explosion that takes out her life in the finished cut by falling out afterwards. However, when the scene had to be filmed, the crew decided to kill Val off instead of building the large set-piece necessary for the scene, much to the displeasure of Val's portrayer Thandiwe Newton and Jon Kasdan, who felt in retrospect that watching Val dying in the scene felt a little like a cheat.
- Star Wars Battlefront II (Mentioned only)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (First appearance)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition audiobook
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Read-Along Storybook and CD
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Meet the Crew
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Train Heist
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation 2
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation 3 (Indirect mention only)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation 5 (Indirectly mentioned only; in the opening crawl)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation 6 (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures – "Han and Chewie - A Lifelong Partnership"
- Choose Your Destiny: A Han & Chewie Adventure (Indirect mention only)
Notes and references
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Lando - Double or Nothing 5
- Per the reasoning here, the second occupation of Geonosis lasts from 21 BBY to circa 9 BBY.
- The timeline provided in Solo: A Star Wars Story The Official Guide places the Heist on Vandor nine years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. As that film takes place in 19 BBY according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas, the heist on Vandor must take place in 10 BBY.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story The Official Guide
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: Tales from Vandor
- Solo: A Star Wars Story DVD commentary