Chewbacca and Han Met on the Front Lines of Battle in Early Drafts of Solo: A Star Wars Story - Star Wars News Net | Star Wars News Net
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Chewbacca and Han Met on the Front Lines of Battle in Early Drafts of Solo: A Star Wars Story

Han Solo’s relationship with Chewbacca didn’t exactly start off on the right foot. As we saw in Solo: A Star Wars Story, the two met under involuntary circumstances but began working together rather quickly. Well it turns out Han and Chewie’s introduction to one another wasn’t always mapped out the way we saw it unfold in the final version of the movie, as there was a completely different idea in the first draft of the script.


We’ve long heard about the “life debt” that Chewie owed Han, which is still firmly established as canon, fortified by the Chuck Wendig novel Aftermath: Life Debt. But in the earliest drafts for Solo, Han and Chewbacca actually met mutually on the front lines of battle fighting against the Empire, with Chewie ultimately saving Han at one point, contrary to the story we are used to hearing. The explanation of this comes from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) Senior Art Director Aaron McBride, who according to Screenrant, said Kasdan’s original meeting of the two characters:

saw Han Solo become a pilot in a fleet resisting the Empire. Unfortunately, Han’s cocky demeanor led to his making a critical mistake…Solo crashed his damaged fighter into a hangar. This early script saw Han brought before a tribunal, who sentenced him to Mimban. There, he fought not as an Imperial soldier but against the Empire. Han’s army was imagined as one made up of countless alien races, all united in their opposition to the Empire. McBride explained that this version of Mimban would have been inspired by World War I trench warfare; “bleak muddy battlefields, burnt broken trees, and a sky overcast with smoke.” Han and Chewie, who were partnered together, wound up going up against Imperial mech walkers. There, in an unexpected twist, it would be Chewie who rescued Han from Imperial fire, establishing an inverted version of the famous “life debt”.



Now granted first drafts of scripts are just that – first drafts. There is a reason why our hero in A New Hope wasn’t Luke Starkiller aided by a reptilian alien pilot named Han Solo (who in initial drawings looked like what they wound up using for the look of Zeb in Rebels). But nonetheless it is interesting that this take was out there in the early formation of the story for the Han Solo movie.


Lawrence Kasdan has not been shy to admit that he does not pay much attention to canon outside of the films. This is likely where the Lucasfilm Story Group comes in to help Kasdan establish canon-continuity, ultimately shaping Han and Chewie’s meeting to how it was eventually presented in the final draft of the script.



Solo: A Star Wars Story SPOILERS AHEAD


As we saw in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han and Chewie met under involuntary circumstances. Both were imprisoned, the difference being Han was merely supposed to be Chewbacca’s next meal. Han was chained and thrown into a pit where Chewbacca, also imprisoned, fed on prisoners provided to him due to their disobedience or misconduct.



Scripts are often tweaked during the production of a film, so this is not some sort of conspiracy or surprise. A first draft having a big moment like this mapped out differently isn’t out of the norm, even for an origin story with a previously alluded to “life debt” as we know. The shape of a film’s story is a very interesting part of production.


Lawrence Kasdan knows how to write Han and Chewie’s relationship very well, so it would have been interesting to have seen that initial idea fleshed out (and perhaps introduce the life debt at a later point), if merely to view it once. But ultimately the two best friends the galaxy far, far away has ever known met on different sides of quite the messy imprisoned predicament, which as we know immediately sparked a bond that would endure until Han’s fateful end in The Force Awakens.



John Hoey

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”



John Hoey is the Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net and the host of The Resistance Broadcast podcast

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”


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