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12 Interesting Facts About Han Solo

12 Interesting Facts About Han Solo

Everyone loves Han Solo. He made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, his best friend is a furry oaf, he hates odds, and at one point he was going to be a green-skinned fish monster. Here are some facts about the iconic Star Wars character made famous by Harrison Ford.

Ask any actor playing an adventurer who his or her biggest inspiration is and you’ll probably hear “Han Solo.” Both Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in Star Trek (2009) and Chris Pratt as Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) say that Han Solo had a major influence on their characters.

Despite his swagger and devil-may-care attitude, Han met his partner in crime, Chewbacca, by having a heart of gold. The 1997 novel The Hutt Gambit explains that Han met Chewbacca on a slave ship, where he was instructed to skin the Wookiee by a commanding officer. When he refused, Chewbacca swore a “life-debt” to Han.

Their first meeting looks different in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), but it’s still heartwarming. In the prequel film, Han meets Chewie after being thrown into a pit where he’s meant to fight the “beast” to the death. Instead of killing each other, they decide to help one another escape after learning they both speak Shyriiwook, the language of the Wookiees.

You’ve probably seen the phrase “Han Shot First” on the t-shirt of a Star Wars fan. It’s a reference to a scene in Star Wars (1977) where Han casually shoots Greedo, one of Jabba the Hutt’s bounty hunters. Director George Lucas later said it was an act of self-defense, and when an altered version of the movie was released in 1997, the magic of moviemaking and a couple of digital effects backed up Lucas’s assertion. But that’s not what happened in the 1977 film. And when the original script for Star Wars made its way to the internet, it was clear that Han shot Greedo first, and was unprovoked.

Harrison Ford isn’t the only Hollywood legend with whom Han Solo shares some character traits. Lucas was so impressed with Francis Ford Coppola’s swagger and smooth-talking skills on the set of Apocalypse Now (1979) that he wrote some of that charm into Han as well.

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Harrison Ford in the role of Han Solo, but he wasn’t the only name on the list of actors the filmmakers considered. Al Pacino, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, and Kurt Russell are among the other actors who could’ve played Han.

At the end of Return of the Jedi (1983), Ford thought it would be best if Han was killed, stating, “I thought it would give more weight and resonance. But George Lucas wasn’t sympathetic. He didn’t want me killed by those teddy bear guys.” (We think you mean Ewoks, Harrison.)

At least if you look closely enough. Firefly’s set designers hid a model of Han frozen in carbonite in multiple scenes throughout the show’s short-lived run.

In addition to countless works of fan fiction, Han Solo has a life outside the movies via several books, including Brian Daley’s The Han Solo Adventures and Timothy Zahn’s The Thrawn Trilogy, which expand upon the Star Wars universe and where Han and Leia are married with three kids. In 1994’s The Last Command, Zahn introduces one of their kids, Jacen Solo, who ends up becoming a Sith Lord.

Jacen never made it into the movies, but in the sequel trilogy Han and Leia do have a kid who turns to the dark side. After changing his name from Ben Solo to Kylo Ren, Han’s son eventually becomes the Supreme Leader of the First Order.

Lucas originally wanted Han Solo to be a large, green, gilled fish monster. Fortunately, he had worked with Ford on American Graffiti (1973) and eventually realized it may be best to have Han be human, so he changed the character’s description to a “young Corellian pirate.”

Harrison Ford once famously complained to George Lucas about his dialogue in the most Han way possible, stating, “George, you can type this sh**, but you sure as hell can’t say it.” That may be why Solo’s response of “I know” to Leia’s “I love you,” in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was ad-libbed by Ford.

Before Solo hit theaters in 2018, Star Wars creator George Lucas had been interested in a prequel centering Han Solo for years. Lawrence Kasdan, the co-writer of several Star Wars films, told Entertainment Weekly he was asked to put together a Solo-focused project even before Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012. Following that acquisition, focus shifted toward the sequel trilogy, but Lucas didn’t forget about his Han movie. With his enthusiasm for the project, Solo went into production and premiered between The Last Jedi (2017) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) ends with—major spoilers for the sequel trilogy—Han Solo dying at the hands of his son, Kylo Ren. While Harrison Ford makes a cameo in the series’ final installment, Han Solo doesn’t appear in The Last Jedi—at least not in the flesh. After studying close-up shots featured in Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary, fans noticed a cheeky message from the character. One of the “magna bombs” the Resistance uses against the First Order is scrawled with Aurebesh words that translate to “Han says hi.”

Source: Star Wars, Entertainment Weekly