Reflections On Han Solo in The Force Awakens
**Massive spoilers to The Force Awakens**
“And I know that it’s true.”
The Scoundrel’s curse. Living off the galaxy as a smuggler can be tough on the body. It takes a lot of steel to push down the anxieties attached. There is always a chance the authorities would get involved. There is always a chance you will be double crossed. There is always a chance you will run out of credits. You could die. But what happens after the job is done? After the war is over? When all that is left is the stillness in the room. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to distract all that built of tension. Musicians that tour or record, for years occasionally end up with massive depression or substance abuse after the lights go out. Others find another way to get that fast paced adrenaline feeling. To soar away from one’s cage. Han Solo fell into the latter category. When he was no longer a smuggler or a General, he became a racing pilot. He was always a dang good pilot. In the novel Bloodline by Claudia Gray, we learn that Han Solo had a racing team, and would be off constantly setting up his next race. His next distraction. In addition, he had a son, with Leia Organa shortly after the war against the Empire. A Force-sensitive, the son went away to train, with his uncle Luke Skywalker. To become a Jedi. The details as of now are unknown to how that went. We do know Luke resurrected the Jedi Order. Trained others in the way of the Force. Until the rise of the Knights of Ren. Until the slaughter of them all by the newly appointed Jedi Killer– Han Solo and Leia Organa’s son.
“And I know I’m saying goodbye.”
All the stability of the New Republic shattered. A boy. Han’s boy betrayed the galaxy. Was it because of the scandal about five years before The Force Awakens, when Darth Vader was revealed to be Leia and Luke’s father? It is unknown how it affected Leia’s son. The news ripped open the scar inside Leia’s heart, but it did not waver her determination to the New Republic. Han Solo was not as strong. He stayed, with his wife as long as he could. He tried to press on, but after the fall of the Jedi by his one true blood, Han was gone. Him and Chewbacca back in the Millennium Falcon… Back in shady cantinas… One such cantina cost him his ship! Han and Chewbacca soldiered on. Not out of bravery, but cowardice. His son lost to the dark side. He thought all that mumbo jumbo was over. Luke was gone. Leia was focused on building her Resistance. Resistance to the inevitable rise of the First Order. A threat the New Republic blindly ignored. And then there was Han. Did Chewbacca and Han try to find the Jedi Killer? Put all his chips on the table, and come up empty? The story is still being written. What was known was Han could not go back home alone.
“In my heart, there is a wind”
Desperation crept in. Years rolled by. Han and Chewbacca stuck on a wild gundark chase. Money ran dry. Hope gone. Surrender. After the tension rose to unbearable levels something had to change. Han Solo went back to what he did best. He went back to smuggling. Something he threw away long ago when he reluctantly joined the Rebellion. He burned a lot of bridges before he gave up that way of life. He went soft. The dim of conscience grew so loud that he stopped taking jobs. Now, around the time of The Force Awakens, he hoped the opposite would happen. He took out loans to the Guavian Death Gang. He borrowed money from Kanjiklub. He was working again! Along the way, he acquired a crew. They did not matter. He bought a new freighter. The Eravana was no Millennium Falcon. The ship did not matter. He just had to keep going to keep away the pain.
Finn, Rey, and The Falcon
On the final voyage of the Eravana, Han and Chewbacca was on a job, for King Prana. He had wrangle three monstrous beasts called Rathtars. Giant creatures full of nightmares, the cost of their capture was Han’s crew. With only his co-pilot, luck started to go Han’s way! The Millennium Falcon was found! Faster than a Loth-cat chasing its tail, Han and Chewie claimed their prize! Except there is always a cost… Two thieves and a droid ball full of heroic adventure– Rey, Finn, and BB-8. Before Han could get rid of them the Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub interrupted the friendly chat to collect on dues long past. Their only accepted currency was the head of Solo. Chaos ensued. Han, Chewie, Finn, Rey, and BB-8 escaped! However, there was no way Han could escape his fate. He gave away a blaster to Rey. (Was it a blaster Han wanted to one day give his son?) He offered her a job to join his crew of avoiding reality. Avoid going home… She turned Han down. Not because she wanted to. She had to get back to Jakku. A planet she escaped momentarily to help Finn and BB-8 return to the Resistance, with an item sought after by the First Order.
He attempted to hand off his unwanted passengers to an old friend. A wise old friend, who could see past the mask Han Solo wore– Maz Kanata. She was no help. She only reminded him of the sound of his conscience he had kept at bay. Not that it mattered. Everything went to hell. The First Order burst back onto the scene. That round ball of a droid BB-8 housed a map to the last location of Luke Skywalker. Something so valuable that the First Order destroyed a whole star system for! Those of the remaining New Republic must have felt such regret at not facing the First Order as a real threat.
“So I part and I’m oh so cold”
Life came full circle, for Han Solo. The Jedi Killer had shown up on the planet Han was on! Except Han’s son never even noticed his father as he kidnapped the girl Rey. The reasons didn’t matter. She was taken away. The First Order put Solo’s mind in focus. Gone was the haze of irresponsibility. The genocide caused by the First Order had to be stopped. Another Death Star. Another grand adventure filled with sorrow. But first, he had to face his crime. The crime of abandoning his wife, after their son turned to evil. An evil that Han thinks Leia must see in him. Yet, Leia still exhaled in relief at the sight of him. She was distant sure, but it was obvious both still cared so much.
At the Resistance base, Han learned about the new battle station of death– Starkiller Base. A base that destroyed a star to gain enough power to end the existence of planets. Great… After all the “great” news, a plan was formed, with Finn leading the crusade to Starkiller Base. A place Finn knew too well, as he was a former First Order Stormtrooper. A turncoat, who did not want the blood on his hands. Before the plan was sent into action, Leia asked only one thing of Han. The only thing he could not offer before– Bring their son home…
However, Finn’s plan ended up being a ruse, as he only dragged Han and Chewbacca to the planet to rescue his new friend Rey! The expletives Han Solo must have thought! The plan still moved forward. They found a way. The details didn’t matter. Heroes always triumphed. But at what cost? In a final gift to the First Order, Han and Chewbacca planted explosives on Starkiller Base. A breaking point that would allow the Resistance to destroy the battle station… Yet, there was always a calm before the storm. There was the cold stature of Han’s son standing nearby… On a walkway over a deep chasm…
“Ben!” Han shouted. His son turned. Words were exchanged between the two. A frantic father pleading to his disinterested son. Han Solo showed Ben his true face. Not the scoundrel. Not the general. Just a hopeless old man tired of evading his fate. An ocean of tormented thought was revealed on Ben’s face after his mask fell off. As the Jedi Killer, Ben had a purpose! As the son of Han Solo, Ben only had regret. A conflicted son pleading to his hopeful Father. The pain inside Ben could be cut away! Desperate to please his son, Han Solo agrees to help his son, with one tiny request. Deep down Han knew what it really was. The Jedi Killer did not want salvation. The Jedi Killer merely wanted to break his chains to the light. How long does it take, for the body to feel the coldness of a lightsaber after it melts the inside of the body? Long enough, for Han Solo to share one final embrace, with his son. Han would not see Leia again. Listen to her sarcastic banter as she gave him a wink. Han would never soar, with Chewbacca anymore in the Millennium Falcon. Han remembered who he was. He was a man, who got caught up in an ongoing battle against good and evil. He just hoped his friends and family would have a happier ending. As Han’s fingers glanced along the true face of Kylo Ren, he said goodbye. Not with words. Han Solo was not a man of sentimental words. Just the exhale of a dying father, who had found his son.
Will his friends and family have a happy ending? Leia through the Force felt the loss of her husband, Han Solo. Kylo Ren felt nothing but emptiness after the unforgivable act of patricide. Luke… Luke also through the Force must have felt the loss of his friend… And the beginning of his new adventure. Han Solo throughout The Force Awakens was saying goodbye. He may not have said it, but he clearly showed it. A song comes to mind that unintentionally fit Han’s story. It is “Going Down to Die” by Glenn Danzig. I strongly encourage you to listen and let me know your thoughts below.