Solo: A Star Wars Story debuted in the U.S. on May 25, 2018. So who is this Han Solo guy, anyway?
In George Lucas's original script for Star Wars, Han Solo wasn't a square-jawed humanoid scoundrel. The first draft of Han was decidedly more ...green than the final cinematic version. A member of an alien race called Ureallians, this Swamp Thing-like creature was supposed to be the best pilot in the galaxy.
Years later, Dark Horse Comics eventually adapted the original script (pictured above), finally showing the world Han Solo's true origins.
That green monster was going to be a Jedi, at least until Lucas changed his mind. We like to think Solo's brief handling of a lightsaber in The Empire Strikes Back is a callback to this little-known piece of Star Wars trivia.
Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola was a friend of George Lucas's before Star Wars, and his smooth-talking persona inspired the feel of Han Solo. Like Lucas, he was an embattled young director creating world-changing cinema, so the homage is fitting.
Known to Star Wars fans as the DL-44, Han's famous blaster is actually based on a Mauser C96, a popular pistol in the mid-20th century and a personal favorite of Winston Churchill.
The original prop of Han's blaster wasn't built for Star Wars specifically. , dedicated fans trying to create the perfect DL-44 replica identified the gun used in 1967's The Naked Runner as the same one that would come to be strapped to Han's waist.
When Disney bought rights to Star Wars in 2012, it did away with a lot of established Star Wars canon. One of the most interesting bits of lore is that Han actually served in the Imperial Navy and helped save Chewie from a life a slavery. It would certainly help explain his disdain for the Empire.
Although the story remains that Han saved Chewie from the tyranny of the Empire, there is a new, in-canon novel called Aftermath: Life Debt that turns this long-accepted notion of Han as savior on its head. Han says in the book:
“I saved him, at least that’s what he says, the big fuzzy fool, but really, he saved me. I was on a bad path, and Chewie, he put me straight."
In a galaxy filled with a seemingly endless amount of planets and spaceships, it's a pretty incredible coincidence that the Millennium Falcon (also known as the YT-1300 492727ZED Corellian light freighter) is also from Hans' home planet of Corellia (pictured above).
Some fans may have been confused when Luke Skywalker gives Leia Organa Solo a pair of gold dice at the end of The Last Jedi. But eagle-eyed Star Wars acolytes have pointed out that those dice did in fact appear in A New Hope—they're just a little hard to see.
Star Wars #7-10 was the first original Star Wars story arc published by Marvel Comics (the first 6 issues recounted the events of A New Hope). Featuring a Magnificent Seven-type plot structure, the story followed the incredibly strange adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca as they traipse across the universe. Here's a brief if you want a better feel for how truly strange these four issues were.
La Guerre des Etoiles went through a fit of character renaming for the French audience. C-3P0 became Z6P0 and Chewbacca became Chiktabba. But Han Solo's Frenchification might be the most entertaining: Yan Solo.
So close...but so incredibly far at the same time.
A frustrated Leia famously decries Han as a "half-witted, scruffy-looking nerfherder." Han is more upset about the "scruffy-looking" bit, but did you ever wonder what a Nerf was? Turns out, they're space cows. In one particular Star Wars comic (pictured above), Han even has to transport some on the Millennium Falcon, finally fulfilling his destiny as a nerfherder.
Han Solo's exit from The Empire Strikes Back is undeniably cool (no pun intended), but the first script for the 1980 film had Han Solo going on an epic journey to hunt down his stepfather who supposedly had information vital to the rebellion. With already one major bit of family drama at the center of the original trilogy, it's probably best we didn't have another.
He survived scrapes with Boba Fett, carbonite, and Jabba the Hutt, but Han Solo's biggest enemy was actually the very actor playing him. As Ford explained :
"I thought the best utility of the character would be for him to sacrifice himself to a high ideal and give a little bottom, a little gravitas the enterprise, not that there wasn't some already but i just wanted in on some part of it."
To Ford's credit, the character arc of a selfish rogue turned venerated martyr would have been incredible to watch on screen, but we're happy Han Solo lived to fight another day.
Sana Starros makes an appearance in the canon Star Wars comic where she tells Leia that she's actually Han Solo's wife, a big strain on Han and Leia's relationship. However, a deeper dive into Sara and Han's relationship reveals that their "marriage" is just part of a past scam.
George Lucas originally to appear on the planet Kashyyyk, but Lucas eventually scrapped the idea as it spent to much time on what was essentially a fan service cameo. Thank goodness Han was spared from these forgettable films.
In the book Aftermath: Empire's End, we get a touching encounter with baby Ben Solo and his new father. It also gives a sense of ominous foreboding to Han's eventual fate:
"Hey. It's you and me, kid. Whole damn galaxy against us but we'll make it through okay. I'm not always gonna be the best dad—c'mon, I don't know what the hell I'm doing here. I can barely take care of myself. But I'll always keep us pointed in the right direction...even if we zig and zag a little to get there. There's your first lesson: Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't mean following a straight line."
In a brief moment during the opening bombing run of The Last Jedi—just before Paige Tico sacrifices herself for the Resistance—one bomb on the far right says "Han Says Hi" in the Star Wars language. It's a small but worthy piece of revenge.
Firefly's Malcolm Reynolds is essentially Han Solo for a new generation, and the show's creator Joss Whedon shows fans that he's aware of the similarities. Throughout the criminally short series, a statue of Han Solo in carbonite can be seen littered throughout the Serenity. It's a nice touch.