Han Solo is one of the greatest characters that has ever appeared in Star Wars. In fact he is the character that put Harrison Ford on the map and helped make him into the iconic actor that he is today. Now Han Solo is getting his own standalone film later on this year, further extending his marvelous story.
So today on The Defining Moments I’m excited to share the moments, so far, that have made Han Solo into the beloved character that he is to this day. Enjoy!
1. Meeting Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker
When we first meet Han Solo in A New Hope we have no idea who he is. He’s a smuggler, a supposedly fantastic pilot, and he’s the man who’s going to take these two mysterious folks across the galaxy to the Alderaan system. Han, at this time of his life, didn’t care about anything except for money and can you blame him? He had a debt to Jabba the Hutt and he knew if he didn’t pay it off he would be in big trouble.
He had no clue that this mysterious old man and this young kid would end up changing his life.
2. Rescuing A Princess
Han can sometimes be a scoundrel. He didn’t have anything to do with you unless you were going to pay him some money. When Luke told him that if they rescued this certain captured princess he would get paid handsomely for his deed he was all in on the idea. When Han met Princess Leia for the first time he tried to be the boss of the situation but she, of course, didn’t play that. He was stunned and immediately became attracted to the feisty princess.
He tried to pretend that he didn’t care about her wellbeing and that all he wanted was money but the truth was that he was infatuated with the princess and didn’t want to see any harm come to her, leading him to one of the most heroic moments in his life.
3. Saving the Day
Han tried to act like a heartless individual whose only love was money but the truth is he’s a good person at heart. He might not have wanted to admit it but he had ended up obtaining a great fondness for the young kid, Luke Skywalker, and he definitely liked the princess. He knew if he left them to their own devices against the Empire and ended up dying the pang of guilt would never leave his conscience.
He rushed back to help them and, as fate would have it, he appeared at the right moment, ultimately saving Luke Skywalker from Darth Vader and further aiding in the destruction of the first Death Star. Han was ecstatic. They had saved the day but most importantly he saved his newfound friends.
4. The Medal Ceremony
While Han was, of course, proud to obtain a medal for his incredible bravery and accomplishment for destroying the Death Star his focus was not on the ceremony but rather on the beautiful princess in front of him.
As Leia presented the medals resplendent in her white dress, braided hair, and silver necklace, he might as well have been salivating, in a Han sort of way. This scene, while it celebrates the blossoming of these new heroes, also subtly indicates the eventual relationship that Han and Leia will end up having.
5. Argument in the Hoth Base
A few years had passed since A New Hope and in that time Han and Leia’s relationship had become no less frictional, in fact, they were even more at each other’s throats. It’s a game they were playing and Han was determined to win. He knows Leia is attracted to him whether she wants to admit it or not and he can’t stand the fact that she keeps denying it.
When he’s set to leave the Rebellion due to some of Jabba the Hutt’s gangsters calling on him to pay his long overdue debt he confronts Leia. He knows she’s a second away from giving in and just ending their little feud but when she decides to keep pretending she can’t stand him he remains a very frustrated man.
6. Going To Save A Friend
When Han finds out that Luke never returned to the rebel base after his patrol he immediately goes out into the snowy tundra oblivious to the incredibly dangerous conditions. This shows how far he has come since we first meet him in A New Hope. Luke has become one of his best friends and he was willing to freeze to death to save him. That highlights the immense bravery of Han Solo as well as his good nature.
7. That First Kiss
It’s pretty obvious that one of the most memorable moments from The Empire Strikes Back was that first kiss that Han and Leia shared on the Millenium Falcon because of the suspense that led up to it. Han and Leia had been flirting with each other since they basically laid eyes on one another, in a strange, feisty way but they were flirting nonetheless. When they were forced to escape Hoth together Han took that as the perfect opportunity to make his move.
Leia had unknowingly trapped herself in that small room aboard the ship and Han knew it. He knew no matter what she tried to do or say she wouldn’t be able to get away this time and he was reveling in the fact that he finally had her where he wanted her.
As he leaned in closer and closer all of the fight slowly went out of Leia and when their lips touched the cat-and-mouse game that they had been playing was finally over. It was undoubtedly one of Han’s defining moments, for that kiss led to them becoming married and eventually having a child, the future Kylo Ren. *shudder*
This was a terrible time in Han’s life, for he had been betrayed by one of his old friends, Lando Calrissean, got tortured half to death, and then had to endure being placed in carbon freeze, not knowing whether he would live or die.
The most impactful moment of this scene was not him becoming carbonite but rather what happened before the horrific sentence. After a passionate and possible last kiss Leia told Han that she loved him. It was evident that the two loved each other, it was why they were bickering and so forth, but the fact that she said it made it official. Han isn’t the type of guy to say, “I love you too” but he did let her know that he loved as her as well as he told her, “I know.”
Imagine the sorrow he felt as he helplessly was lowered down into that carbon chamber, his eyes locked on Leia’s, not knowing if he would ever see her again, and then the pain, oh the pain, that he felt as he literally was frozen into a carbonite block. That’s horrific.
9. Getting Rescued
Han was frozen for a very long time and just think how nice it was for him to find out that it was Leia, his love, who was his rescuer. He had been through many adventures and undoubtedly cut it close many times before but he was real close to being a goner. Han was lucky to have survived being carbon frozen.
10. “He’s My Brother.”
While Han knew Leia loved him he still wasn’t completely confident that he had her complete affection due to her obvious feelings for Luke. The rebels had destroyed the second Death Star and had defeated the Empire but while everyone was celebrating Han was worrying about Leia putting him to the side and enjoying the celebration with the true hero, Luke Skywalker.
Those worries were immediately swept away as Leia reassured him that she had his undivided love by telling him that Luke was her brother. He was immediately confused but then, as her words sunk in, he realized that it wasn’t a contest. Leia was his and there was no more worrying for him to do. It truly was one of the happiest moments of his long life. Unfortunately the good times wouldn’t last.
11. Refinding the Millenium Falcon
Han, in his older age, had returned to his life as a smuggler but during one of his adventures he ended up losing the Millenium Falcon. I can’t imagine how he felt having to trek across the galaxy without his ship so imagine the joy he felt when he found his old friend, the Falcon, once again.
Then he found aboard the Millenium Falcon two stowaways, Rey, Finn, and an astromech droid, BB-8. He had no idea that these two young adults would end up launching him into a wild, final adventure that would lead to his eventual destiny.
12. Seeing Ben Solo
During the Battle of Takodana Han Solo saw, to his horror, his son, Ben Solo as the evil agent of the First Order, Kylo Ren. He hadn’t seen his son in years. Imagine how he felt seeing how wicked his son had become and the monster that he now was. It was a tragic moment for him and the beginning of his eventual end.
13. A Reunion with Leia
Han and Leia, due to Ben’s turn to the Dark Side, had parted ways and hadn’t seen each other in years. Even though they had split under hard circumstances when they locked eyes once again no love was lost. Leia was still her tiny, feisty self that she has always been and Han felt a sense of solace seeing her again. Unfortunately the brief happiness between them was shortlived as he told her how he saw their son, Kylo Ren. They, at that moment, were reliving the nightmare of their son turning evil all over again and it was heartbreaking to watch.
14. A Final Goodbye
Han and Leia had squabbled many times throughout their relationship but at the end of every fight they still loved each other. As Han was set to leave the Resistance Base on D’Qar Leia basically told him, once again, that she loved him. It was a touching scene that harked back to a time when they were deeply in love and everything was much simpler in theri lives. As they hugged on the tarmac of the base he had no idea that he would never see Leia again.
15. Han Solo Meets His Fate
Leia asked Han, if he saw their son again, to bring him home to her and when the time came when he was in the presence of his fallen child he didn’t hesitate to try to make her wish come true. This scene is one of the most intense and heartbreaking scenes I have ever watched in my life.
Han confronted Ben Solo, telling him to remove his mask so he could see his son’s face. When he did see him he was relieved to see the unaltered face of the son he once knew and loved. At that moment he knew he had a chance to maybe make a difference and bring young Solo back to the light.
He told him the truth about Snoke manipulating him for his abilities, he told him that it wasn’t too late to renounce the Dark Side, but he also emphasized how much he and his wife, Leia, missed him. At that moment it seemed that Kylo was about to crack, that maybe he had gotten through to him and he would become their beloved son, Ben Solo again. This, however, was not to be.
With a violent thrust Kylo Ren ignited his lightsaber straight through Han’s heart, ending his life in the process.
Yet even with the grip of death upon him Han still loved his son and displayed to Ben Solo that he still forgave him as he stroked his face for the last time. I remember when I saw this scene for the first time. I cried like a baby. It was such a shockingly devestating way to end Han’s story but it was the most sensible ending to his life and it helped propel Kylo Ren’s story forward.
Now, with a Han Solo centered standalone film more of the smuggler’s story will be unveiled but until then these are the moments that have defined Han Solo as the remarkable character that we still love until this day.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day. May the Force Be With You.