Shazam! star Zachary Levi wants to join the Star Wars universe, and he already has a character in mind. Responding to a fan on Twitter, Levi named a popular character from the expanded universe as the Star Wars character he'd like to play: Dash Rendar. You may not recognize that name since Rendar has never appeared in a Star Wars film or television series. He was created for the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire multimedia project launched by Lucasfilm in 1996. Rendar is a hotshot pilot who teams up with Luke and Leia between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, while Han Solo was stuck in carbonite.
While Shadows of the Empire was removed from canon along with the rest of the expanded universe materials, Rendar does exist in the new Star Wars canon. This was confirmed by the Solo: A Star Wars Story tie-in book Tales From Vandor. The book is presented as the journal of the bartender Midnight, who got to know some of the Star Wars universe's most popular scoundrels during his time on Vandor. These include Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. The journal includes an entry where Midnight recalls talking to Dash Rendar about Han and Chewbacca, specifically that Rendar believed Chewie to be the brains of the duo. Here's what Rendar said:
"Han got that route from Chewie. And Chewie got it from the Wookiee scouts who helped the Republic back in the Clone Wars. Next time Hans's here, ask him and watch how fast he changes the subject. Han Solo, ha. If I'm around, you don't need that guy."
Dash Rendar. 💪 https://t.co/pdSE7CFLyi— Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) December 28, 2019
Dash Rendar is a divisive figure from the expanded universe. Some fans seem him as a Han Solo knockoff, created to fill in for Han during the Shadow of the Empire story. Others grew fond of him while reading Steve Perry's Shadows of the Empire novel or playing as the pilot in the Shadows of the Empire video game for Nintendo 64.
While Dash Rendar has never appeared in canon, his ship has. After Shadows of the Empire was released, Rendar's ship, the Outrider, was added to Star Wars: A New Hope as part of its Special Edition re-release. The Outrider can be seen leaving Mos Eisley as Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO and R2-D2 are arriving.
Rendar's personality was meant to be more of a Top Gun style pilot compared to Han. Rendar was blustery while Han was smooth. Based on his performance in Shazam!, Levi wouldn't be a bad choice for the role. Based on the Easter egg in Tales from Vandor, fans are left to wonder if Rendar may have appeared in one of the planned Solo sequels before those were put on indefinite hold. Given the corner of the Star Wars universe Rendar belongs to, he could make an appears in The Mandalorian.
Another popular Expanded Universe character, Thrawn, made the transition from Star Wars Legends status to Star Wars canon. It's hardly the new canon's only connection to the old expanded universe.
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