Star Wars is undoubtedly one of the most beloved franchises of all-time; it's shattered records, created pop-culture icons and given lasting memories to an entire generation. This iconic franchise introduced us to characters we’ve loved, hated, and forgotten, but the characters we have grown to love have gone down in film and media history more so than those whom we’ve grown to despise - we’re looking at you Jar Jar.
Out of the trio of heroes we follow in the original trilogy, Han Solo is seen as the anti-hero of the series, with a penchant for heroics but a bit of an irreverent attitude. For decades, we’ve been quoting, emulating, and gushing over our favorite galactic smuggler, played by the unforgettable Harrison Ford.
Taking a closer look at our vest-wearing, smart-mouth pilot, here is Screen Rant’s 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Han Solo!
11 Han Has A Wife (maybe) And She Isn't Leia
With Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and all things Star Wars, they began rolling out television shows, books, and comics in order to establish the new Star Wars canon in preparation for the new trilogy of films they have planned. During their comic Star Wars #6, Han’s backstory was given a huge change: he was actually married during Episode IV. At the end of the comic, a woman with a bone to pick with Han shows up - and she’s claiming to be Han’s wife, Sana Solo.
Han vehemently denies Sana’s claim, but both women are furious with him regardless. As of now, it isn’t clear if Sana really is Han’s wife or if he is simply denying it now because of his growing feelings for Leia. Hopefully, in a coming comic or the new film it will be revealed whether or not they truly are married.
10 Han Didn’t Always Have The Millennium Falcon
The one thing that is most associated with Han Solo, and is perhaps even more popular than the character himself, is the legendary Millennium Falcon. Most might think that Han must have always been in possession of a ship that is so close to his heart, however he wasn’t always the pilot of the Millennium Falcon.
The Millennium Falcon has undergone many changes in ownership over the years, but the two most famous owners are Lando Calrissian and Han Solo. Lando had won the ship in a game of Sabacc, a galactic card game. Years later though, he wagered his prized ship during a game of Sabacc with Han. Lando lost the ship back to Han and handed over ownership of what would become one of the most famous ships in the Rebel Alliance.
Han then lends the Millennium Falcon to Calrissian during the events of The Empire Strikes Back.
9 Han Completed The Kessel Run In Less Than 12 Parsecs
Big deal, right? Wrong. This may seem like just a throwaway line to build credibility for Han while most of us don't actually know what he’s talking about, but the Kessel Run is no small feat, especially when done in under 12 parsecs!
You may be wondering just what the hell that famous sentence even means, given that parsecs are a measure of distance in the Star Wars universe, rather than time, but don’t worry, we’ll break it down so you can truly appreciate just how incredible Han is at flying the Millennium Falcon.
The Kessel Run is a route used by smugglers to bypass Imperial Forces. The run itself is treacherous - it runs through a cluttered asteroid field and is dangerously close to the Maw black hole cluster. Being common amongst smugglers, there was a route used by most that was the “safest” and shortest way to navigate the run, however Han was able to navigate the shortest distance by getting closer to the black holes, thus making the measurement parsecs rather than a standard unit of time. His navigation skills and the Millennium Falcon’s ability to perform in these hazardous conditions are what make him and this claim so impressive.
8 Han Was Almost A Green-Skinned Alien Jedi?
The original Han Solo was intended to be a large, green-skinned, alien Jedi who had gills instead of a nose. The artwork that showcases this version of Han is reminiscent of versions of Swamp Thing. Although George Lucas later decided to make Han human, this version of Han would have definitely changed the entire lore.
It would have undoubtedly been more difficult to cast a character as important to the films who needed to be caked in makeup and prosthetics from head to toe the entire time. We may not have ever seen what this green-skinned Han would have been like, and maybe that’s a good thing, but it would still be interesting to think just how different Star Wars would be if our smart-mouthed smuggler was an alien with no nose instead of Harrison Ford. How would fans have reacted to seeing a romantic relationship between that version of Han and Leia?
7 Han Wielding A Lightsaber Is No Easy Task
As all casual fans of Star Wars will know, a lightsaber is the weapon of choice for most force users, like Jedi and Sith - Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and many others. Some may not know that this weapon is about more than just looking cool and slicing your enemies, but often require the strength and focus of a force wielder’s abilities. Sure, there have been some who have made the lightsaber their main instrument, despite not being force sensitive, i.e. General Grievous, but these people are very rare. Basically, lightsabers are dangerous for all but experts.
However, Han Solo was the first non-force sensitive person to wield one of these magnificent weapons on screen. He may not be the first in the canon to do so, but his use of Luke’s weapon back in Episode V definitely made an impact on the subsequent canon. Although Han doesn’t use the lightsaber to fight, he is able to use it with enough precision to cut open the Tauntaun to save Luke’s life.
6 Thank You For Your Contributions Corellia!
Corellia is the birthplace of some of the greatest people and objects in all of the Star Wars universe. Corellia’s contributions to the galaxy cannot be understated - they gave us not just famed Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles, but also smuggler turned Rebel Alliance General, Han Solo.
Not only is Corellia the home of Han Solo and other Rebel Alliance members, but they also commissioned what would become Han’s greatest tool in the fight against the Galactic Empire - The Millennium Falcon. Now, we’ve talked all about just how amazing this ship and it’s pilot are, but if it weren’t for Corellia’s craftsmanship and position during the war we would not have gotten these two indispensable assets to not just the Rebel Alliance, but to the films!
5 Man’s Best Friend - Chewbacca
Han’s best friend and partner in crime - Chewbacca, the Wookiee, has become just as iconic as his human counterpart. The two are a galactic dynamic duo. Chewie always follows Han into battle and although he may give him some grief here and there, Chewie has Han’s back no matter what. For the more casual fan, you may just accept the fact that they are just great friends and therefore are ready to die for one another, but their relationship goes much deeper than that.
In what is now called “Star Wars Legends” - the Star Wars stories that are no longer canon - Han saves Chewbacca from Imperial slavery and defects from his position as Lieutenant in order to save Chewie and himself. However, in the new canon, the backstory is similar - Han still saves Chewbacca from slavery, but now the details are a bit more vague. Regardless, once Han saves Chewbacca’s life, Chewie swears a life debt to Han and that is why he is always at his side. The galaxy’s biggest bromance is more than a simple friendship!
4 Han Shot First... Or Did He?
This is a point that has been hotly debated for decades now - who shot first: Han or Greedo? Everyone who loves Star Wars has an opinion on this famous scene in the Cantina, but who is right? Well, the answer may not be as simple as one might think.
In the original, untampered version of the original Episode IV, the answer is clear - Han takes the first and only shot at Greedo. Greedo dies without ever firing a shot, despite having his blaster pointed right at Han. So, you may be thinking, “Ok it’s settled, Han shot first,” but again, it’s not that simple. George Lucas famously went back and altered scenes from the original trilogy years later, to the dismay of fans everywhere, and one of the scenes that Lucas added his own flavor to was the altercation at the Cantina. In Lucas’ version, Han actually leans down and dodges the first shot fired by Greedo only to then fire a fatal shot.
So, while both answers - Han or Greedo - may be correct, truly Han shot first. In the first, untouched version of Episode IV, Han shoots the first and only shot, and therefore that should be considered the true answer.
3 Anti-hero Or Hero?
Han Solo is known around the globe as one of the greatest anti-heroes to ever be created, and deserves all the recognition he gets as being one of the galaxy’s best bad boys, but is he really as morally questionable as we’ve thought for all these years?
To be an anti-hero, one must lack the qualities that would make them a hero: courage, morality, selflessness, leadership, etc. Now, when we first meet Han in the Cantina, he is very much a selfish smuggler who is the type of person to shoot first, as we’ve established. However, Han really has many more instances in which he acts as a hero rather than an antihero. He may come off as reluctant when he helps Luke and the Rebel Alliance, but his good deeds precede even those we see in the film. As we’ve stated, Han has the decency and morality to save Chewbacca from slavery at the risk of his own life. Then, during the original trilogy, he goes well out of his way to risk his life to save those around him, i.e. rescuing Luke on Hoth in Episode V.
Even though Han is seen as smug, this is very much a front for his true heroic nature. Han truly embodies every characteristic of a hero, while only momentarily showing those of an anti-hero.
2 Harrison Ford Wasn’t The Only Possible Han Solo
It may be hard to grasp the thought of anyone else playing Han Solo other than Harrison Ford, but we were close to getting a very different Han. Several actors were in the running for the part and two even screen tested for the role! George Lucas, of course, would go on to choose Ford as our Han, but these other actors might have also been interesting in the role.
Perhaps someone that would have brought a very similar flavor to the role, Kurt Russell actually screen tested for the role. You can find his audition on YouTube and it actually sounds pretty great. The other actor who screen tested was none other than Christopher Walken. Christopher Walken is a great actor, but Han Solo just seems like such a far stretch from his usual roles. A few others were Al Pacino, Nick Nolte, and Sylvester Stallone. While all of these actors are great, George Lucas likely made the right call in casting Harrison Ford.
Obviously we all love Han Solo and are anxiously waiting to see more of him in the incredibly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but hopefully you learned something new about your favorite smuggler. Please let us know which fact you found most interesting, and tell us which facts you knew. Thanks for reading!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters everywhere on December 18, 2015!