|Star Wars character|
Harrison Ford as Han Solo in a
promotional image for Star Wars
|First appearance||Star Wars (1977)|
|Last appearance||The Rise of Skywalker (2019)|
|Created by||George Lucas|
Han Solo is a fictional character and protagonist in the Star Wars franchise. A primary character in the original film trilogy, Han is the captain of the Millennium Falcon, along with his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca. In the original Star Wars film, Han and Chewbacca reluctantly became involved in the Rebel Alliance's struggle against the Galactic Empire after being recruited by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his pupil Luke Skywalker to transport them to Alderaan. Over the course of the Star Wars saga, Han becomes a chief figure in the Alliance, a close friend of Luke and the love interest of Princess Leia. In the sequel trilogy, set 30 years after the original films, Han is Leia's estranged husband and the father of fallen Jedi Ben Solo, who turned to the dark dark side of the the Force and became Kylo Ren, the lead enforcer of the tyrannical First Order.
The character was portrayed by Harrison Ford for all three films of the original Star Wars trilogy. Following a 32-year hiatus, Ford reprised the role for Disney's sequel trilogy, receiving top billing for his work in 2015's The Force Awakens, and an uncredited cameo in 2019's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Mythologist Joseph Campbell said of the character, "He thinks he's an egoist; but he really isn't. ... there’s something else pushing [him]." In 1997, franchise creator George Lucas described Han as "a cynical loner who realizes the importance of being part of a group and helping for the common good".
A young Han appears as the main protagonist in the 2018 spin-off film Solo: A Star Wars Story portrayed by Alden Ehrenreich, which focuses on his early life, primarily how he befriended and partnered with Chewbacca, his first meeting with Lando Calrissian, and how he acquired the Millennium Falcon from him. Additionally, the character is the subject of many books, comics and other media based on the franchise.
- 1 Appearances
- 2 Conception and casting
- 3 Influence and critical reaction
- 4 Merchandising
- 5 Family tree
- 6 See also
- 7 Further reading
- 8 References
- 9 External links
A New Hope
Han Solo is introduced in Star Wars (1977),[a] when he and his co-pilot Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) accept a charter request to transport Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) from Tatooine to Alderaan on their ship, the Millennium Falcon. Han owes gangster Jabba the Hutt a great deal of money and has a high price on his head. Bounty hunter Greedo (Paul Blake) tries to deliver Solo to Jabba, dead or alive, but after a failed attempt to extort the money as a bribe for letting him go, Han shoots and kills Greedo. Han then prepares to leave Tatooine.
He and his passengers are attacked by Imperial stormtroopers, but escape by accelerating to light speed. When they arrive at Alderaan, however, they discover that the planet has been destroyed by the Empire. The Falcon is then captured and held within the Death Star, a moon-sized battle station constructed by the Empire. Han and company hide from detection inside the Falcon's smuggling bays, and infiltrate the station disguised as stormtroopers. They discover that Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is a prisoner on board, and Luke convinces Han to help rescue her by promising him a huge reward. They rescue Leia and escape, though Obi-Wan is killed by Sith Lord Darth Vader (portrayed by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones).
After delivering Luke, Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance, Han and Chewbacca receive a payment for their services and prepare to leave. Luke asks Han to stay and help the Rebels attack the Death Star, but he refuses, not wanting to get involved. Han has a change of heart and returns to save Luke's life during the film's climactic battle scene, ultimately enabling Luke to destroy the Death Star. In the film's final scene, Leia presents Han with a medal of honor alongside Luke and Chewbacca.
The Empire Strikes Back
Three years later, Han is still with the Rebel Alliance, and serving on the Rebels' base on the frozen planet of Hoth. While out on patrol with Luke, they witness a meteor strike the surface. Han returns to base while Luke decides to investigate. Han informs Leia that he must leave in order to clear his debt with Jabba the Hutt. Before he can depart, it is discovered that Luke has not returned from his investigation. Han rides out alone into the frozen Hoth wastelands, soon finding Luke near death from exposure. Using his friend's lightsaber, Han cuts open his tauntaun, providing Luke warmth while he builds a shelter until they can be rescued the next morning.
Later, Han and Chewbacca go to check on another meteor strike. They discover that the 'meteor' is actually an Imperial Probe Droid. The two succeed in destroying the probe, but not before the Empire is alerted to the location of the Rebel base. When the Empire attacks, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and C-3PO narrowly escape on board the Millennium Falcon. Han evades a squad of Imperial TIE fighters by flying through an asteroid field, and unwittingly flies into the mouth of a giant worm. Han and Leia fall in love during the long journey. They manage to hide from the Imperial fleet long enough to escape, but not entirely unnoticed; bounty hunter Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch), working for Vader, picks up their trail and follows them.
Han and company eventually end up at the Bespin system's Cloud City seeking repairs and shelter from his old friend Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), the city's administrator. However, Fett had arrived first and alerted the Empire. Lando betrays Han to the Empire, and Vader has Han tortured as part of his plan to lure Luke to Bespin. Vader wishes to capture Luke by freezing him in carbonite, and subjects Han to the freezing process first to test its lethality. Han survives, and Fett leaves for Tatooine with his frozen body in tow to collect the bounty from Jabba.
Return of the Jedi
A year later, Han, still imprisoned in carbonite, is Jabba's favorite decoration at his palace on Tatooine. Luke attempts a rescue operation aided by Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, and a repentant Lando, but they are caught. Jabba sentences Han and Luke to die in the Sarlaac Pit. Luke, Leia, and Han overpower their captors and Leia kills Jabba, enabling their escape.
Retreating back to the Rebel Base, they discover that the Empire is building another Death Star, which orbits the forest moon of Endor. Following his return, Han is made a general in the Rebel Alliance, along with Leia. Reuniting with Luke after his return from Dagobah, Han leads the Rebels to Endor to take down the force field surrounding the battle station, which is still under construction. With help from the native Ewoks, Han and his team destroy the Death Star's shield generator, allowing Lando and his strike team to destroy the Death Star. Han then reunites with Leia and Luke on Endor to celebrate the defeat of the Empire.
The Force Awakens
In The Force Awakens, set approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi, Han has returned to his old life as a smuggler. Before the events of the film, he and Chewbacca had lost the Millennium Falcon to thieves, but they reclaim the ship after it takes off from the planet Jakku, piloted by the scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the renegade stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega). As mercenaries close in on them, Han takes the Falcon into light speed, and they get away.
When Han learns that Rey is looking for Luke, who disappeared years before, he takes them to his old friend Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o), who can deliver the droid BB-8 to the Resistance against the tyrannical First Order. They are forced to flee when First Order troops descend upon them. Han is impressed with Rey's piloting skills, and offers her a job on the Falcon, but she declines. When Rey is kidnapped by the First Order, Han sees her being carried off by First Order commander Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), whom Han seems to recognize.
Han and Finn meet with the Resistance, which is led by Leia, whom Han has not seen in several years. It is then revealed that Ren is actually their son, Ben Solo, who trained as a Jedi under Luke. However, he was corrupted by the First Order's Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), and turned to the dark side of the Force. As Kylo Ren, he betrayed the Republic and destroyed the Jedi—much like his grandfather, Darth Vader, had done decades before. Heartbroken by Ben's betrayal, Han and Leia separated. Leia asks Han to find Ben and bring him home, convinced that there is still good in him.
Han and Chewbacca go with Finn to the First Order's superweapon, Starkiller Base, to destroy the base and rescue Rey. There, he sees Ren walk onto the bridge above the reactor chasm. Han follows Ren onto the bridge, and calls out to him by his real name. Han pleads with him to abandon the dark side and come back with him, warning him that Snoke will kill him once he has taken control of the galaxy. Ren tells Han that he knows what he should do, but that he doesn't have the strength to do it, and asks Han to help him. Han agrees. After a moment, Ren ignites his lightsaber, impaling and fatally wounding his father. Han looks into his son's eyes and touches his face before falling off the bridge to his death.
The Rise of Skywalker
Han appears briefly in The Rise of Skywalker. After a near-fatal duel with Rey and the death of Leia, Ren experiences a vision of Han, who tells his son that Kylo Ren is dead, but Ben Solo is alive. Han urges his son to do the right thing and come back to the light side. In an allusion to their final interaction, Ren admits that he knows what he has to do but is not sure if he has the strength, while Han encourages his son and touches his face. Drawing his lightsaber, Ren turns and throws it away, becoming Ben Solo once more. When he turns around, Han has vanished.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
A film featuring Han Solo before the events of the 1977 film was released on May 25, 2018, starring Alden Ehrenreich. In the film, 19-year old Han is characterized to be an orphan on the planet Corellia. He and his lover, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), attempt to escape from a criminal gang and bribe an Imperial officer with a stolen sample of coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, in exchange for passage on an outgoing transport, but Qi'ra is apprehended before she can board. Han vows to return for her and joins the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet. He is given the surname "Solo" by the recruiting officer, apparently referencing Han's statement that he "has no people".
Three years later, Han has been expelled from the Imperial Flight Academy for insubordination. While serving as an infantryman during a battle, he encounters a gang of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). He tries to blackmail them into taking him with them, but Beckett has him arrested for desertion and thrown into a pit to be fed to a beast – a Wookiee named Chewbacca. Able to speak Chewbacca's language, Han persuades the Wookie to escape with him. In need of extra hands, Beckett rescues the two and enlists them in the gang's plot to steal a shipment of coaxium, which goes awry. Han and Chewbacca then accompany Beckett to explain their failure to Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), a powerful crime lord in the Crimson Dawn syndicate and Beckett's boss. They also find Qi'ra, who is now Vos' top lieutenant. Han suggests a risky plan to steal unrefined coaxium from the mines on the planet Kessel; Vos approves but insists that Qi'ra accompany the team.
Qi'ra leads them to Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), an accomplished smuggler and pilot who she hopes will lend them his ship. Han challenges Lando to a game of sabacc, with the wager being Lando's ship. Lando cheats to win but agrees to join the mission in exchange for a share of the profits. The team boards his ship, the Millennium Falcon, and heads for Kessel. The theft is a success partly thanks to Han piloting the ship through a dangerous uncharted route, but Han and Qi'ra become sympathetic to the Rebel Alliance, who are trying to prevent the syndicates and the Galactic Empire from gaining greater domination over the galaxy. They try to trick Vos, but Beckett has already alerted him to the double-cross. Vos sends his guards to kill the rebels, but having anticipated Vos' strategy, Han warns the Rebels, who kill the guards instead, leaving Vos defenseless. Han then tries to take the coaxium, only for Beckett to betray Vos, escape with the coaxium and take Chewbacca hostage. Though pressured to kill Han in order to prove her loyalty to Vos, Qi'ra instead kills Vos and sends Han after Beckett before contacting Vos' superior, Maul (portrayed by Ray Park, voiced by Peter Serafinowicz).
Han catches up to Beckett and kills him, and he and Chewbacca turn the coaxium over to the Rebels. Their leader, Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman), offers Han a chance to join them; when he declines, she gives him one vial of coaxium, enough to buy a ship of his own. Han and Chewbacca track down Lando, who abandoned them in the Falcon when confronted by the Rebels earlier, and challenge him to another game of sabacc, once again wagering the ship. Han wins this time, having stolen the card Lando was using to cheat, and he and Chewbacca leave for Tatooine in the Falcon, where a gangster is putting together a crew for a heist.
In the Star Wars Holiday Special (1978), Han helps Chewbacca join his family on the Wookiee homeworld Kashyyyk. He faces Imperial forces on Kashyyyk, and later joins Luke, Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, and other Wookiees for their holiday, Life Day. It includes an animated segment, where Ford voices an animated Han Solo.
Comics and novels
Han is a main character in the 2015 Star Wars comic series. Issue #6 dramatically introduces Sana Starros as Han Solo's wife, although a few issues later she is revealed to have only posed as his wife as part of a scam.
Star Wars: Han Solo is a five-issue mini-series focused on Han entering a race called the Dragon Void Rule.
In April 2014, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded by Lucasfilm as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise.
Solo plays a central role in many Star Wars stories set after Return of the Jedi. In The Courtship of Princess Leia (1995), he resigns his commission to pursue Leia, whom he eventually marries. Solo and Leia have three children: twins Jaina and Jacen and son Anakin. Han is the general in command of the New Republic task force assigned to track down Imperial Warlord Zsinj and his forces in the 1999 novel Solo Command. Chewbacca dies saving Anakin's life in Vector Prime (1999), sending Solo into a deep depression. In Star by Star (2001), Anakin dies as well, compounding Solo's despair. At the end of the series, however, Solo accepts the deaths of his son and his best friend, and reconciles with his family.
In the Legacy of the Force series, Jacen becomes the Sith Lord Darth Caedus and plunges the galaxy into a bloody civil war. Han disowns Jacen, but is still devastated by each new outrage his son commits. He and Leia adopt Allana (Jacen's daughter) after Jacen's death at Jaina's hands in the novel Invincible.
Brian Daley wrote a series of novels (The Han Solo Adventures), first published in 1979, exploring Han Solo and Chewbacca's smuggling adventures, and Ann C. Crispin's The Han Solo Trilogy (1997–1998) further develops the character's backstory. Crispin's books depict Solo as a beggar and pickpocket throughout much of his youth. He becomes a pilot and, in the process of undermining a religious fraud, falls in love with Bria Tharen, who disappears before Solo joins the Imperial Navy. Solo loses his commission and is cashiered when he refuses an order to skin Chewbacca for commandeering a ship carrying Wookiee children destined for slavery; Chewbacca, in turn, swears a "life-debt" to Solo. The two become smugglers, and help repel an Imperial blockade of a Hutt moon. Solo soon thereafter wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a card tournament. Tharen, now a Rebel agent, reappears and asks for Solo, Chewbacca and Calrissian's help in attacking a slave colony. After succeeding, Tharen's troopers steal the smuggler's valuables to aid the Rebel Alliance. To compensate their losses, Solo and Chewbacca accept a smuggling job from Jabba the Hutt; but Imperial ships force the smugglers to jettison their cargo, invoking the debt Solo and Chewbacca owe the Hutt at the beginning of A New Hope.
Conception and casting
In the earliest version of the initial draft for Star Wars, Solo was a Ureallian with green skin, no nose and enormous gills, also being a member of the Jedi Bendu and being acquainted with General Skywalker. The following draft saw Solo as bearded, flamboyant pirate, Lucas settling on making him a human to better develop the relationship between the three central characters (Luke, Leia and Han) and Chewbacca instead being used for the part of the alien sidekick. By the time of the third draft, Solo had developed into the "tough James Dean style starpilot" that would appear in the finished film. Lucas also used Humphrey Bogart as a point of reference in his development notes.
Harrison Ford was not immediately cast for the role of Han Solo, as George Lucas had already used him in the film American Graffiti and wanted somebody new for the role. He hired Ford to rehearse lines with other actors and he was so impressed by the actor's performance that he eventually gave him the role. Other actors that were considered for the role include: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Robert Englund, Nick Nolte, Burt Reynolds, Chevy Chase, and Perry King (who later played Han Solo in the radio plays). Mythologist Joseph Campbell said of Han, “He thinks he's an egoist; but he really isn't. ... there’s something else pushing [him]." In 1997, franchise creator George Lucas described him as "a cynical loner who realizes the importance of being part of a group and helping for the common good".
During the early development of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Han was originally considered to make an appearance helping Yoda to locate General Grievous at Kashyyyk. Some concept art of a 10-year-old Han Solo was made, but Lucas decided to omit the character's appearance from the film before any actor was cast, or considered for the role.
Ford, believing his character should die, was reluctant to sign onto the sequels of Star Wars. Han Solo's death in The Force Awakens came about when writer/director J. J. Abrams felt the character wasn't evolving or contributing to the story's development; he believed that Kylo Ren killing his own father would give him a chance to develop into a worthy successor for Darth Vader. Solo's appearance in the film was influenced by that of Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) in True Grit (2010) during early concept development.
Influence and critical reaction
Han Solo is a reckless smuggler with a sarcastic wit; he is "a very practical guy" and considers himself "a materialist"; but the adventures in the first Star Wars movie evoke his compassion, a trait "he didn't know he possessed".
The American Film Institute ranked Solo as the 14th greatest film hero. He was also deemed the 4th greatest movie character of all time by Empire magazine. Entertainment Weekly ranked the character 7th on their list of "The All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture". On their list of the "100 Greatest Fictional Characters", Fandomania.com ranked Solo at number 15. IGN listed Han Solo as the second greatest Star Wars character of all time (behind Darth Vader), as well as listing him as one of the top 10 characters who most needed a spin-off, saying he was "Arguably the coolest character in the Star Wars universe".
Prince of Persia producer Ben Mattes explained that their "inspiration was anything Harrison Ford has ever done: Indiana Jones, Han Solo". The antihero of the Japanese manga and anime Space Adventure Cobra has been compared by reviewers to Solo. In preparing to play James T. Kirk, Chris Pine drew inspiration from Ford's depictions of Han Solo and Indiana Jones, highlighting their humor and "accidental hero" traits.
Solo has been merchandised in multiple media, including action figures, video games, and other collectibles. A Han Solo action figure with "human proportions" was released in 1977 to follow with the initial release of the original Star Wars films, while a figure created for the films' mid-1990s re-release was criticized as "unrealistically muscled."
In June 2018, Han Solo's blaster from 1983's Return of the Jedi was auctioned for $550,000. Ripley's Believe It Or Not bought the item at the Hollywood Legends auction at Planet Hollywood casino-resort in Las Vegas.
Skywalker family tree
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