For die-hard Star Wars fans, there’s no shortage of ways to indulge that obsession. Over the decades since A New Hope’s 1977 release, the Star Wars franchise has exploded into a multimedia empire that encompasses movies, shows, books, comics, games, and more. If you’re a fan who has never really dived into Star Wars beyond the surface layer of the movies themselves, you might have missed out on one of the more memorable bits of Star Wars miscellany: the radio dramas produced during the ‘80s and ‘90s and aired on NPR. In the spirit of those programs, now there’s a new Star Wars audio drama called Smuggler’s Gambit, focusing on Han Solo and Chewie during the years of the original trilogy.
Smuggler’s Gambit was written by Kyle Newman and F.J. DeSanto, and Newman also directed the show. (Newman is no stranger to the world of Star Wars fandom: he directed the movie Fanboys, about a group of friends who sneak into Skywalker Ranch so their dying buddy can see The Phantom Menace before he passes away.) The cast (seen above) includes many actors from the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series: Sam Witwer (Darth Maul), Tom Kane (narrator), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsako Tano), and Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker).
Smuggler’s Gambit was performed in front of an audience of almost 2,000 Star Wars fans at Celebration VI in Orlando, Florida this past August. You can download the full show as an mp3 right here.
Smuggler’s Gambit is a throwback to the classic Star Wars radio dramas aired on NPR during the ‘80s and ‘90s. They included Star Wars actors such as Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels alongside lesser-known actors filling out the cast. If you’ve never heard them, they’re definitely worth a listen, as they expand the backstory and include lots of stuff not seen in the movies but still considered canon within the Expanded Universe. You can pick up the radio dramas for A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi via Amazon and other places.