Editorial: The Life and Times of Han Solo

Han Solo

One of the only Original Trilogy character we have glimpsed at clearly in The Force Awakens so far is Han Solo. The only other is Chewbacca, who stands next to Han Solo in the foreground of the Millennium Falcon’s corridors while Han declares, almost speechless, “We’re home”. I challenge any Star Wars fan to say they did not get either chills, goose bumps, or a little choked up the first time they saw that teaser the moment we heard Han’s familiar voice…



Han Solo appears to be playing a most prominent role in TFA, assuming from the glimpses Lucasfilm has given us so far, perhaps his role is the largest of any Original Trilogy characters. There has been much speculation over what is to become of our favorite scoundrel by the end of that film. There will be no spoiling here, only a little speculation over what he could pass on to our new heroes Rey and Finn (assuming they share the most screen time with him because of that Vanity Fair). Before we head down the way of speculation, it seems appropriate to examine the life of Han Solo.


Just a little preface: A portion of the material that will be used to draw on for this article falls under Legends. Going by the new Star Wars canon leaves us with almost nothing outside of the Original Trilogy. That being said, beware that a good portion of this article’s source material could change at any time as new canonical literature, comics, video games, and films add to Han’s continuing story and/or history. Personally, I feel like the Legends material is a good vein of information, but I felt it appropriate to mention it could change abruptly. Onward we go…



Han Solo 02

Han Solo was born on the planet Corellia. Legends material tells us he was an orphan that grew up to attend the Imperial Academy. Solo was expelled for saving the life of Chewbacca, who went on to be his best friend, as well as eventual co-pilot. Not long after making friends with Chewbacca, Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of sabacc (some form of card game).


We know that Han Solo eventually took his skills as a pilot (and mercenary of sorts) and applied them to smuggling. It’s never clearly stated what “spice” is, but one could guess it is some sort of illegal narcotic that Jabba the Hutt found Han Solo to be very good at smuggling. Judging from the somewhat playful encounter between the Hutt gangster and Han in A New Hope (Special Edition, just in cast you missed it in the last 18 years), Jabba considers Han the best of smugglers. The only specifics we are given over the incident that eventually leads to the more serious falling out we hear about in TESB and witness in ROTJ is that Han dumped a shipment out of fear an Imperial boarding and arrest. Jabba considers Han responsible for the cost and we all know how that turns out for Han by the end of TESB.


Han Solo 04

It’s funny to think that if Han had not dumped a spice shipment, he would not have been setback financially and probably not inclined to have some “old fossil” and a naive young man charter his prized ship for a trip to Alderaan. On this journey, and throughout a good portion of ANH, Han has nothing but disdain towards the notion of the Force. The first turning point we see in Han go from being a petty, cynical drug smuggler to the hero we come to know is when he wishes Luke a ceremonial “May the Force be with you” before the attack on the Death Star. Aside from the BIG reveal in the Marvel Star Wars comic series, we don’t have much character development for Solo that spans between the destruction of the Death Star and where we find him on Hoth. I won’t spoil that for you here, but I’m guessing you’ve heard about it, and it is still a loose end as of the writing of this article.


Han Solo 05

In TESB, we find a Han Solo that is much more toned down and subtle than the wild-man we saw chasing a platoon of Stormtroopers through the Death Star’s corridors while screaming at the top of his lungs. He is conflicted by his new home with the Rebels while still needing to settle his debt with Jabba the Hutt. It doesn’t take more than five-seconds screen time to see that the flirtatious nature of Han’s relationship with Princess Leia has become something much deeper. Han looks genuinely nervous when he is about to bid adieu to Leia, but as fate and a few AT-AT’s would have it, Han would not be going anywhere. We see that not only has a mutual attraction between he and Leia flourished; but his friendship to Luke Skywalker is much more important. Han risks his life to rescue Luke from certain death in the frozen wasteland of Hoth. Between that rescue, his bravery in trying to keep Princess Leia safe as they skip across the galaxy, and his final goodbye to be cast in the cliffhanging block of frozen carbonite; Han Solo is a changed man.


Han Solo 06

Harrison Ford thought the logical conclusion in ROTJ was Solo’s death. He has been quoted various times saying that it would have been the end of a journey for the character. The death would have been that of the sacrificial nature, most likely in Ford’s head Solo would be saving Leia, Luke, Chewie, or the Rebel Alliance. The death never came to fruition, and Solo once again proved himself heroic as he helped lead a small team of Rebels to assist in the destruction of the second Death Star…and presumably, the fall of the Empire as the galaxy knew it. The character seemed to be heading off into the sunset with Princess Leia. The Legends material has them married with children, as well as many other things.


“Chewie…we’re home.” That is all we officially know about Han’s role in TFA. Home is no doubt the Millennium Falcon, and the longing in Han Solo’s voice coupled with the relief in his expression, leads us to believe this is the first time in a very long time Han Solo has walked up that ramp. Let me say we are about to enter the portion of this article that is speculative and could very well end up being SPOILER. If you are avoiding that, stop reading now and just hope that Han Solo and his pal Chewbacca are going to have something heroic to do in TFA.


As stated before, I will not dare go into any major spoilers you may or may not have heard regarding Han Solo. What we have heard from various reports is that Han does play the most prominent role of the original cast. He is leading the charge of young Rey and Finn to find out what became of his old friend Luke Skywalker who is rumored to be absent from most of this film as well as the galaxy it takes place in. Somehow, Han ends up on the Millennium Falcon with both Rey and Finn, passing on his experiences to start them on their adventure through TFA and the rest of the Sequel Trilogy.


Han Solo 07

Moviegoers have a lot to look forward to as far as Han Solo is concerned. Not only is he a part of the Sequel Trilogy, Lucasfilm will be dedicating an entire Anthology film to the character. Almost nothing is known about the film other than it focuses on how Han Solo became the character we meet at the Mos Eisley Cantina. Lawrence Kasdan is handling the script and fans should take comfort in that, as his hand shaped the majority of Han Solo’s nuance. There are huge gaps of time to cover in the rest of Han’s story no matter how much screen he is going to get. It would not be outlandish to speculate Han getting his own comic or novel series a few years down the road. There is a lot of ground to cover and plenty of talented, enthusiastic writers out there who were raised on Han Solo one-liners.


Han Solo has served his purpose, thus far, as an anchor to the characters serving purposes that affect the entire galaxy. Luke was looking for something bigger, reaching out to the Force; Han had his back whether it was in the trenches of the Death Star or the woods of Endor. Leia was a freedom fighter, struggling with every move to lift tyranny from the galaxy; Han was the one who brought out some of the most human moments of her character. Whether it was his dry sense of humor or his abrasiveness, Han always came through for those who needed him most. He may not have been the heir apparent to the Jedi, but he was a hero and it will be very exciting to see where his story goes from here.


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Kyle Larson lives in Portland, Oregon. When he's not running trails, he's reading and writing.

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson lives in Portland, Oregon. When he's not running trails, he's reading and writing.

68 thoughts on “Editorial: The Life and Times of Han Solo

  • August 24, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    I did not get chills or goosebumps. Also I didn’t cry.

    • August 24, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Are you LOBOT?!

      • August 24, 2015 at 9:39 pm

        I’m a grownup. I did get little chills seeing the Star Destroyer in the sand and the flying Falcon though. Indeed, out of context, Han’s line seems a little cheesy to me too. Also I was never too keen on seeing old Han an Leia. Hopefully Ford and Fisher can pull it off, still I guess it won’t be what most people expect.

        • August 24, 2015 at 10:21 pm

          I hate to break it to you, but if you think being a “grownup” means that you can’t get goosebumps or cry over something nostalgic from your youth that in itself shows a lack of maturity. Perhaps you aren’t as much of a grownup as you think you are.

          • August 24, 2015 at 11:07 pm

            zzzzzzzz … hopefully

          • August 24, 2015 at 11:12 pm

            Thanks for proving my point

          • August 24, 2015 at 11:10 pm

            So if you think he’s immature..and he thinks you’re immature…who’s right?

          • August 24, 2015 at 11:57 pm

            I am. Now go to bed both of you. Its past your bed times

          • August 25, 2015 at 5:45 am

            Rock ,paper ,scissors?

          • August 25, 2015 at 3:14 am

            not a lack of maturity,
            perhaps compassion would be better wording

        • August 24, 2015 at 10:29 pm

          Im 41….and I teared up in 2 seconds flat and screamed with joy

          • August 24, 2015 at 11:14 pm

            That is because you have been infantilized by consumer capitalism.

          • August 24, 2015 at 11:26 pm

            Or maybe you have been purged of all emotion by a patriarchal society that tells us that emotions are weak and feminine.

            one or the other..

          • August 25, 2015 at 12:04 am

            Criticizing a grown man for crying at a SW trailer in no way requires a “patriarchal” view of emotions. Most women agree that grown men weeping and screeching at SW trailers is infantile.

          • August 25, 2015 at 12:15 am

            You can cry all you want. It’s okay. Cry me a river baby.

          • August 25, 2015 at 12:48 am

            ^Big man hiding behind his computer.

          • August 25, 2015 at 12:54 am

            What makes you think Im a man?

          • August 25, 2015 at 12:46 am

            Nobody said anything about weeping and screeching, but keep exaggerating to support your point.

            I’m glad you are able to confidently speak for all women, but even if you are right it is beside the point. Our entire society is forcefed this view of men, women included. Girls are told they are weak because they are all weepy and emotional. Boys who show emotion are told to stop acting like girls….They are literally called “pussies”.

            Why do you think it is that most mass murderers are male? One of the reasons is because they have been taught that feeling is weak…They are dehumanized.

            Emotions are human, not just for infants and women.

          • August 25, 2015 at 12:55 am

            And Jesus loves you all.

          • August 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm

            This is true: women hate “emotional man”. They want a quiet, protective, imperative and strong one. One can have all the emotion he wants but keep it to himself.

        • August 25, 2015 at 6:30 am

          Same here, I thought the Millenium Falcon flying into the Star Destroyer engine was far cooler than “Chewie we’re home,” don’t get me wrong, it IS significant. But, come ON. Star Destroyer Engine. :O-some!

    • August 25, 2015 at 3:03 am

      Yeah pretty soon comedians are going to start making fun of Star Wars fans crying at every drop of a hat.

    • August 25, 2015 at 3:17 am

      I teared up for sure. The way the music built up, so did my emotions right along with it. Then Han and Chewie top it off? UUUUUh Yea I’m a sincere “phanatic”! A grown ass man crying like a baby? YYYYEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

      • August 25, 2015 at 5:47 am

        I cried because there was no Jar Jar

  • August 24, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    First time it was just awkward. I thought Chewie looked weird and Han’s line didn’t give me the feels the way it did for many fans. I just didn’t think it was a zinger to close the trailer with, it was more advertisement – look we have Han and Chewie!

    After fifty or so times though I still think it’s cheesy but now I do get goosebumps.

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      Most of the lines from Leia and Han have always been cheesy. I think JJ and Kasdan did a great job of bringing those cheesy lines back. Hopefully, we get a lot of those cheesy pieces of dialogue between Han and Leia in TFA! ‘I love you. I know…’

  • August 24, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Nice Job Kyle!!

  • August 24, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Totally teared up…I admit it. The hairs on my arms stood up, and I thought I’d stroke out. Glad that initial excitement is over and that I survived. Great article Kyle. I laughed a little bit to myself as I read the bit about Han smuggling spice. As a kid I always thought spice was something people used to cook with, and I remember thinking how weird that was that he was transporting that for Jabba. As I grew older I began to read a lot of the EU novels, and discovered in the Jedi Academy Trilogy that Spice is in fact a narcotic that is mined in Kessel (hence Threepios comment about being sent to the “spice mines of Kessel”). As an adult, this made a lot more sense for a gangster like Jabba to be dealing in narcotics. With this though, came the realization that Han was in the best light possible – a drug trafficker – which gives his turnaround in the films that much more significance IMO. It seems I read something in one of the novels or comics recently in the new canon that alluded to spice being a drug, so I assume this is in fact what it is. Kind of makes me wonder how kid friendly a movie about a young man who deserts his post in the army, swindles his buddy out of a ship, and gets rich on drug dealing will be. Good luck Disney. Lol.

    • August 24, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      Here’s an excerpt from Tarkin (pg. 44) Definitely a drug…apparently you dip it like tobacco.

      “Perhaps. But nausea doesn’t account for the fact that the thumb and index finger of your right hand bear yellow-ocher stains, which are often the result of pinching plugs of spice that hasn’t been sufficiently processed. I observe, too, that your left eyetooth reveals what appears to be a nascent cavity, such as might be caused by dipping spice. Finally, your record indicates that you have recently been late in reporting for duty, as well as inattentive when you deign to report.” Tarkin paused for a moment. “Have I forgotten anything?” Embarrassment mottled the midshipman’s face. “Nothing to say for yourself, Ensign?” “Nothing at this time, sir.” “I thought not.” Tarkin swung to a female officer standing at the opposite end of the row. “Chief, Ensign Baz is relieved of duty. See to it that he is escorted to the crew berth and confined to quarters for the remainder of the voyage. I will decide his fate once we reach Coruscant.” The petty officer saluted. “Yes, sir.” “Also, alert Commander Cassel that the vehicle pool has become a rendezvous area for spice users. Tell him to perform a flash inspection of all barracks and personal lockers. I expect him to confiscate all inebriants and other illicit substances.”

      And another from Dark Disciple…

      Vos made a sour face. Ventress supposed she couldn’t blame him. Vos was almost annoyingly cheerful—no, she amended, strike the “almost”—and the Pykes were not anybody’s idea of fun. The Pyke Syndicate liked to call itself a family, but it was driven by anything other than familial love. It was a crime syndicate whose focus was on the distribution of highly illegal spice of all types, from the mild to the mind destroying. “A barrel of laughs, being your partner.” “No one says you need to stick around,” Ventress offered. “Ah, but you’d miss me. You know you would.” She didn’t reply, only arched a brow. But she had to admit, if only to herself…he was right.

      Moff Mors from Lords of the Sith was a Spice user…

      Mors held up a finger to forestall Belkor’s advance while she concluded her business with the Hutt. Watching the exchange, Belkor was struck by the similarities between the two. Both woman and alien looked like overfilled sausages, only Mors was wrapped in a wrinkled uniform rather than leathery skin. Her watery eyes and vaguely slack expression showed that she was in a spice haze. The Hutt’s watery eyes and slack expression showed that he was, in fact, a typical specimen of his kind.

      • August 25, 2015 at 3:30 am

        Thank you! I’ve read all of those and missed all of those! Must have been on too much “spice” 😉

        • August 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm

          I apologize for the massive post (#sorrynotsorry). But I thought it was interesting to note what the new canon says about it as I think the nature of what Spice really is adds to the fact that Solo really didn’t care about anybody or anything prior to his involvement in the Rebellion – whatever it took to make a buck, he was good with. I’m kind of a canon junkie and I enjoy the minute details and tidbits I can pull from the material. It’s kind of a problem I have…lol… I guess you could say my dream job would be sitting across the table from Chee and Hidalgo.

    • August 25, 2015 at 6:34 am

      I’m sure plenty of people would be fine with Breaking Bad / Star Wars’ love-child. They should get Bryan Cranston as a villain or druggie-wan Kenobi sort of character.

  • August 24, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    They really should have killed him in Jedi. Harrison’s performance was so great in IV-V then was basically a neutered househusband in VI like being in carbonite for so long had stolen his balls. If this is his last film then I hope we don’t see an even more watered down version of the character.

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      It’s called character development. He wasn’t “neutered’ in Jedi, he grew from a boy into a man. He learned there were bigger things to dedicate himself to…his friends, their cause. He was no longer selfish.

      If you think that makes him less of a man that likely says more about your character than Han’s.

      • August 24, 2015 at 11:09 pm

        This is likely also the reason Ford wanted Solo to die in ROTJ; it would have brought the character to a poetic conclusion. He would have gone from a selfish outlaw to a man willing to die for a noble cause.

        • August 25, 2015 at 12:15 am

          And to proove so he actually HAS TO DIE? The only reason FOrd wanted Soli die was the actor´s delutions of Grandeur… 🙂

  • August 24, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    “Chewie, we’re home…”

    Seems legit, coming from a guy famous for saying, “I know…”

    • August 24, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      One of his most memorable traits was his attachment to the Falcon.

      “She’ll hold together. Hear me, baby? Hold together.”

      • August 24, 2015 at 10:31 pm

        That also factored into his character development. In ANH the Falcon was the only thing he seemed to care about apart from himself.

        When he lets Lando take the Falcon into battle it shows that he has grown. He is willing to risk his beloved ship for the Alliance.

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      also, who knows what happens right after.. he may say “chewie, were home, now lets get rid of the garbage” and blast some bad guys.

      ya never know.

  • August 24, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    I wonder if Luke gets so little screen time, in part, so that he and Han don’t overshadow Rey, Finn and Poe.

    Similar to how Spock Prime AND Kirk Prime would’ve overshadowed Spock and Kirk in Star Trek ’09, so they just went with Spock Prime (Han).

    • August 24, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Man you’re kinda like Sherlock Holmes aren’t you?

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Kirk Prime didn’t want to do it. Because Shatner.

      • August 25, 2015 at 3:32 am

        I thought Shatner wanted to be in Star Trek ’09.

  • August 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    This article has the tone of an eulogy.

    Is this Solo’s last adventure? Perhaps his finest hour.

  • August 24, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I wont be making a judgements until i see episode 7 before i decide whether or not i continue on with this saga … im pretty sure EU fans wont be too much happy with it cause of all their heros , stories not canon… but if any EU fans want to blame or hate anyone, then blame Lucas not Disney… Lucas said ok to the sales of the EU and sold it to fans as a star wars brand, milking as much money he could from it, then selling it off to Disney…. And everyone knows when it comes to Disney, they re write every dang thing they have…. So we shall wait and see what they have in store for us…

  • August 24, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Amazing analisys..well done…

  • August 24, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    I’d like to take Daisey Ridley out for a nice seafood dinner and… call her back the next day..

    So fine..

    • August 24, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      Oh yeah, I’d drop her home at a reasonable hour.

      • August 24, 2015 at 11:29 pm

        Oh you dog

      • August 25, 2015 at 3:02 pm

        Wow. Chivalry really is dead. Sexist humor… not so much.

  • August 24, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Artoo and Threepio have been seen clearly don’t forget about them. They are OT characters too.

  • August 24, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I just discovered this guy Anthony Ingruber on Youtube. He does impressions of Harrison Ford that are as good as the real thing. I think we’ve found our new Han Solo, gentlemen.

    Just Kidding!!!

    • August 24, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      Chris Pratt would be the new Han Solo. He has it all.

      • August 25, 2015 at 12:27 am

        no. stop. Chris has the same kind of behavior, but Ingruber instead does REALLY even LOOK like han. Chris diesnt even resemble harrison as han. I can see him as Indiana jones though.

      • August 25, 2015 at 12:29 am

        Matthew Davis would send both Pratt and Ingruber out the airlock. He’s the spitting image of young Ford.

        • August 25, 2015 at 3:07 pm

          Matthew Davis does have the look down. But is he a decent actor? I’ve never seen him in anything.

  • August 25, 2015 at 3:37 am

    Han Solo has been wearing the same shirt for 30 years! He can’t be that cool.

    • August 25, 2015 at 5:54 am

      No, he’d be smelly

      • August 25, 2015 at 3:11 pm

        Harrison Ford sweats cologne. The man smells like a god!

  • August 25, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Excellent write-up.

    But it should be “canon” instead of “cannon”.

    You’re not the first and definitely won’t be the last. ; )

  • August 25, 2015 at 3:48 am

    The discovery of the new characters was much more exciting.

  • August 25, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Han’s new jacket looks significantly less cheap than his original Black Vest.
    Just look at the old vest, it’s just cloth sown together in a vest shape.

    His new jacket looks like an actual article of clothing with hem-lines and pockets and everything, it may even have buttons/zipper.
    #Living the good life!

  • August 25, 2015 at 8:10 am

    this is a great article. reading it got me even more excited about the next movie if thats possible.

  • August 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Did anybody read the Han Solo novels written by Brian Daley? I liked them

    • August 26, 2015 at 1:09 am

      Haha, I liked them a lot, actually. Kind of forgot about them in the wake of the new canon. Probably my third favorite series in the EU after the Thrawn trilogy and X-wing: Rogue Squadron series.

      Wish we had gotten to keep the old canon a little bit longer, that way maybe they would have made a few more unabridged audio versions of the books I loved so much growing up! At least the Thrawn trilogy is unabridged…

  • August 25, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Han Solo is a pretty enigmatic character. In some ways, I can see why Ford seemed to prefer Indy over Han back in the day. I think Indiana Jones is a more grounded character with clear motivations and passions. Han is more like a rough sketch that worked well ensemble, but may lose something the more the character is fleshed out.

    I guess you could say that the characters in the SW Universe are designed to serve the arc of the plot more. I think that’s where the whole ‘Space Opera’ thing comes in. It’s a serial with cliffhangers and twists. Han is our favorite wild card. He keeps you guessing, and wondering, and that is the great mystique of his character.

    Too much information could spoil that. Just my two cents.

    btw- Great article. Thanks to all who contribute to this wonderful site!

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