Our wait for Solo: A Star Wars Story is finally over— the long-in-the-works prequel showing the origins of everyone's favorite galactic smuggler hit theaters on May 24, 2018, and fan anticipation, while tempered due to the film's troubled production, has reached its fever pitch.
Han Solo is one of the most enduring and endearing figures in pop culture, an anti-hero with a winning smirk, a flawed yet relatable soldier of fortune who offsets his selfish desires with moments of heroism, played to perfection by Harrison Ford.
It's interesting to note that for a character so iconic, that for a long time we didn't really know about Han Solo. When he first appeared in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, he was a fully-formed entity; a braggart who mostly backed up his bravado, but revealing little about his past, including his parents, which is odd given so much of Star Wars lore depends on father figures and offspring.
Given that he's a man of mystery, it can be easy to get confused or unsure of just what drives the character, from what led to his fateful meeting with Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, to why he came to such a tragic end.
Here are 15 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Han Solo.
15 He Was A Green Alien In The Original Script
Part of the entertaining dynamic between Han Solo and his Wookiee copilot Chewbacca, further explored in Solo: A Star Wars Story, is the inherent humor in seeing a human palling around with a "walking carpet." In director George Lucas's original script for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Solo looked just as outlandish as his best buddy.
In the first draft of the Episode IV screenplay, George Lucas had initially planned for Han Solo to look far different from Harrison Ford’s smirking anti-hero persona.
He was a member of an alien race called the Ureallians, which were towering 7-foot green beasts.
Oddly enough, the original Solo's native extra-terrestrial race were well-known for hunting down and eliminating Wookiees, not befriending them and taking them on as a first mate.
In the end, Lucas realized that an alien (or at least a non-human) Han Solo wouldn't be nearly as effective as someone the audience could relate to, as he could also form a more natural rapport to the other film's human characters.
Fans who always wanted to see Lucas's original vision were rewarded when Dark Horse Comics adapted his original shooting script for a mini-series, and finally revealed this alternate version of Han Solo at his green-skinned finest.
14 He Was Originally Created As A Jedi
When Han Solo used Luke Skywalker's light saber to slice open a Tauntaun and save his friend from hypothermia on the iceplanet Hoth, many fans of the franchise were confused. Was it possible for a non-Jedi to be able to even use a light saber? Wasn't it, like Thor's hammer, something which only a trained practitioner chosen by destiny could wield effectively?
This was never answered in the films - although other non-Jedi characters like General Grievous and Finn have been seen using the weapon in various installments - but the fact that Han never fought with one, merely using it as a tool, suggests that anyone in the Star Wars universe might be able to use it in a limited capacity.
We can't help but what if Lucas wrote that scene as somewhat of an Easter Egg, or as an unexplained homage to his original iteration of the character, who was not only a gigantic green beast, but was also written to be a trained Jedi as well.
In the end, it plays better that Han Solo is cynical and dismisses the Force with lines like "Hokey religions and ancient weapons for a good blaster at your side, kid," as it makes Luke Skywalker's naiveté and purity an effective counterbalance to Solo’s cynical, anti-hero persona.
13 Harrison Ford Wasn't A Lock For The Part
Harrison Ford created such an iconic performance as Han Solo, that it's made it difficult for many filmgoers to imagine anyone else playing the part, as one online contingent of fans have made very clear about Solo: A Star Wars Story, hesitant to give actor Alden Ehrenreich a chance to prove himself in the role.
However, the part of Han Solo was never specifically written with Harrison Ford in mind.
A host of other impressive actors were also considered for the part of the wisecracking pilot.
Who, you may ask? Let's run through the list: Al Pacino (who famously said he turned it down, because,“I didn’t understand the script"), Kurt Russell, Christopher Walken, Nick Nolte, Glynn Turman, Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Robert Englund (yes, that Robert Englund, of A Nightmare on Elm Street fame), James Caan, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase were all mentioned as possible actors to play the part.
In the end, to paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi, it was ultimately Harrison Ford's "destiny" to play the role. No matter how great (or bad) Ehrenreich's performance is, Ford will always be the actor associated with the part, even if one can imagine what could have been with other actors portraying the role.
12 He Was Once A Member of The Empire
One of many character revelations explored in Solo: A Star Wars Story is that Han Solo wasn't just an anti-hero, or a smuggler, or an ally of the Rebel Alliance. At one point, he actually used to work for the enemy. Or tried to, that is.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Solo director Ron Howard (who took the reigns after The Lego Movie’s Chris Miller and Phil Lord left the project), revealed that Han Solo originally enlisted in the Imperial Flight Academy, only to wash out later. This makes for a nice bookend, actually, given his son would later join the Dark Side - although some fans are holding out hope that Kylo Ren may still have capacity for good, despite the patricide.
Ultimately Howard says, the film is “really is a rite of passage. The story sends him on an unexpected journey that hurtles him into a dangerous world surrounded by charismatic but lawless characters. And that’s where he needs to try to make his way and gain his freedom. So, so much of this is about trying to satisfy that yearning to really be free, to really call his own shots in a very lawless part of the galaxy and at a time when it was wide-open.”
11 How Han Solo First Met Chewbacca
One of the most eagerly awaited plot-points of Solo: A Star Wars Story, is seeing the very first encounter between Han Solo and his Wookie co-pilot Chewbacca. It will likely prove the definitive explanation, as the details of how they first met have been murky at best, often relegated to fan fiction and online debate.
In the Star Wars book series, it was revealed that Han Solo first met Chewie when Solo was still an Imperial pilot.
After discovering an apparently abandoned slave ship, he finds a very wounded Chewbacca in the pilot seat. He's commanded by his superiors to skin the Wookiee alive, but defies orders, and the two join forces, even though they distrust each other initially.
Later Chewbacca returns the favor, saving Solo from a beating for breaking the rules, and they become fast friends and allies, eventually escaping from the Empire, and roaming the galaxy in the Millennium Falcon.
Whether this will be how their first meeting plays out onscreen is unknown, given much of what was considered canon, was jettisoned after Disney bought the property in 2012. Either way we can't wait to see how one of science fiction's favorite odd-couples wound up together. We're sure it will be both comedic, moving and unforgettable.
10 He's Not That Smooth
Any man who could woo someone as heroic and charming as Princess Leia Organ has to be charming, heroic and virtuous, right? Well, while Han Solo has certainly embodied those characteristics at times, there's just as many when he was less than honorable, or just plain intolerable.
Solo, for all his debonair swashbuckling skills, has messed up, plenty of times.
Take the Death Star raid in Episode IV: A New Hope where he blows his cover as a stormtrooper. Or the time he turned Leia off with his boastful line "sometimes, I amaze even myself."
Or in the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back where Solo's attempt to have Leia express her true feelings for him results in her retort "I'd rather kiss a Wookiee!" Or his repeated phrase of "It's not my fault," when his plans go terribly, horribly, wrong.
Maybe that's ultimately part of his appeal. Of all the characters in the Star Wars universe, Solo is the most glaringly human: not off on some quest of destiny like Luke, or selfless purpose like Leia, but someone just trying to get by the best way he knows how. By being the most flawed character in Star Wars, he's arguably the most beloved as well.
9 His Blaster Wasn't An Original Design
While Han's DL-44 blaster looks like a weapon made for science fiction, it has roots in reality. In fact it's based off a Mauser C96, a German pistol, developed in 1896, popular during the early to mid 20th century - Winston Churchill was a devotee of the firearm.
The Mauser pistol has been a fixture in many films predating Star Wars, including the 1972 western Joe Kidd (starring Clint Eastwood), but it first appeared onscreen in 1967's The Naked Gunner starring Frank Sinatra.
It should be noted that director George Lucas's appropriation of a real-life weapon for a science fiction/fantasy franchise was not an outlier: Star Wars is a cinematic universe filled with historical motifs. The final firefight between X-Wings and Tie Fighters in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope were based around WWII-era dogfights, and much of the Empire's attire lifts its look from Nazi soldiers.
In addition, Darth Vader's outfit drew from samurai elements (fitting, given one of Lucas's favorite films is Akira Kurasawa’s Seven Samurai), while much of the saga's wide vistas draw upon classic western's like The Searchers. By mixing the old and the new, it truly conjures the feeling of a story from a "long time ago in a galaxy far, far away."
8 Luke Did Grieve His Passing
If there is one element of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi that majorly missed the mark, it's how Han Solo's demise was handled. Seeing him taken out by his own son was deeply affecting for fans, but the reaction from those who should have been deeply grieving seemed rather blasé.
This was one accusation leveled at Luke Skywalker, who seemed rather indifferent to the loss of his friend and former brother-in-law. Given all the triumph and tragedy they shared together, surely his old buddy deserved better?
Well, thanks to a deleted scene in the The Last Jedi (which is included on the Blu-ray release), we now know that Luke was indeed distraught after losing his friend. In an interview with director Rian Johnson for Entertainment Weekly, he explained the scene, which shows Luke crying with a similar shot of Leia mourning his passing.
“It’s both of them having the connection, and that also then led you to think that Leia was thinking about Han,” Johnson said, adding “It was a really lovely moment.”
Johnson said the scene was cut due to time constraints and that it broke the flow of the narrative, but given how long the scenes on the Casino planet drug on, it feels criminal it was omitted.
7 Han Solo Wasn't The Only Big Role Alden Ehrenreich Was Considered For
Given his most high-profile role to date was in the modest hit Hail Caesar, one could be forgiven for thinking Solo: A Star Wars Story was Alden Ehrenreich's first shot at the big leagues, but in truth, he almost nabbed another covet lead role.
Ehrenreich auditioned for the role of Spider-Man for the Sony reboots, but lost out to Andrew Garfield. Given how poorly both the Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2 were received, that's probably for the best.
Ehrenreich seemed destined for stardom though, because he was discovered by Steven Spielberg, at a bat mitzvah or all places.
"Me and my friend Johnny used to make these really stupid videos just to make ourselves laugh. So then this girl asked us to make one for her bat mitzvah and so we made this horrible video for her bat mitzvah where I’m sneaking into her house and I’m smelling her clothes and singing a song,” the actor explained in an interview with Us Weekly.
He said that "it showed at the [bat] mitzvah and Steven Spielberg was there and he saw me. I wasn’t there, I was at a Latin convention with my school. And then we got a phone call from Dreamworks and then they asked me to come in and have a meeting and that’s how I was able to start working.”
6 The Kessel Run Was Originally A Tall Tale
One aspect of Solo: A Star Wars Story that many fans most anticipated (or worried about, depending on how much fan-service mattered to them) has been seeing how Han Solo pulled off the Kessel Run, a daring maneuver of which he boasted to Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi that he made in "less than 12 parsecs" with his trusty Millenium Falcon.
In truth, every Star Wars buff should have shared Luke and Ben's look of distrust, which showed that the two Force users assumed he was exaggerating about his prowess. That's because in the original shooting script of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the Kessel Run was indeed made up— as it states Kenobi is "react[ing] to Solo's stupid attempt to impress them with obvious misinformation."
Regardless of how the now iconic Kessel run scene is portrayed in Solo: A Star Wars Story, it's clear it was initially never meant to be proven or disproven. Of course, Lucas likely never imagined when they were making Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (or as it was known then, simply Star Wars) way back in 1976 that, 42 year later, Han Solo would be getting his own blockbuster origin story.
5 Leia Wasn't His First Love... Or Wife...
Although never shown on-screen, Han Solo and Princess Leia did officially tie the knot, marrying just after the Battle of Endor in Return of The Jedi, as revealed in the canon Star Wars novel Aftermath: Life Debt, which Leia described as "We had a small ceremony, just those we trust. We didn’t keep it a secret but we didn’t make it public either."
While we learned that their marriage didn't last the test of time thanks to events revealed in The Force Awakens, it should be noted that Princess Leia wasn't Han Solo's first love - or even his first wife. This was a rude awakening for Leia, who discovered this revelation in the comic Star Wars #6, learning that Solo was the spouse of Sana Starros.
It obviously put strain upon Han and Leia's relationship, but Solo emphatically denied being married to Starros, even though she claimed they were married up to, and during, the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
In the end, it was never confirmed one way or the other if Han Solo did indeed have 2 wives, left for the reader to ponder for the rest of their days, at least until the release Solo: A Star Wars Story.
4 "I Know" Wasn't In The Original Script
It's one of the most iconic lines in movie history: after Princess Leia expresses her true feelings for Han Solo (right before he gets frozen into Carbonite), he utters in classic stoic, scoundrel fashion: "I know."
Such a perfect cinematic quip would have to have come from the original shooting script by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett, right? Not exactly. In fact it was quite different, as the original script went like this: "Leia: ... I love you. I couldn't tell you before, but it's true. Han: ...just remember that. 'cause I'll be back."
But director Irvin Kershner wasn't satisfied with the exchange, as revealed in an on-set audio cassette recording, with Ford suggesting: “I think she ought to just say, ‘I love you,’ as I’m passing by her,” later revising it as “If she says, ‘I love you,’ and I say, ‘I know,’ it’s beautiful and it’s acceptable and it’s funny.”
While Kershner realized Ford's stroke of genius, Carrie Fisher was less pleased at first, as the she felt slighted for her lack of input, leading to an on-set fight.
Kershner would later say that "Harrison is a very fine actor. I regarded that scene as entirely his, which is why I gave him so much opportunity to tell me how he thought we should treat it. That led to a little tension with Carrie.”
3 Solo: A Star Wars Story Isn't Terrible
To say that Solo: A Star Wars Story has had a complicated journey to the silver screen is an understatement. Even from the first announcement it was greeted with wariness-- how could any actor replace (or channel) Harrison Ford's inimitable performance as one of the most famous and cherished characters in cinema history?
It seemed cursed from the start, with notes of production problems that eventually led to the ouster of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who were accused of ignoring the script in exchange for comedic improvisations. Reeplacing them with Ron Howard made fans worry it would be tonally uneven given his more mainstream approach to filmmaking. Then there were reports that Ehrenreich had on-set acting lessons.
This wasn't helped by the first trailer, which revealed so little of Ehrenreich that many thought Disney were afraid to show that he was missing the mark.
Judging by reviews, Solo: A Star Wars Story is actually more cohesive and entertaining than many thought possible, with a fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. Audiences certainly seemed willing to give it a shot, as ticket pre-sales surpassed those of Black Panther.
2 He Wasn't Guaranteed To Appear in Return of The Jedi
For many young Star Wars fans, seeing Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was a traumatic experience. Beyond learning that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's dad, we're left with one of the biggest cliffhangers in film, with Han Solo's frozen body taken by bounty hunter Boba Fett.
Would he survive being returned to Jabba the Hutt? Would he be in the next film? Would there even be a next film? It raised dozens of questions.
One reason for the cliffhanger was that Harrison Ford refused to sign on for more than one movie at a time.
Lucas ingeniously crafted an ending that could either serve as the character's swan song, or leave him the option to return for the third film.
While Ford did sign back on for a third film, he had personally wanted his character to perish in Return of the Jedi, telling Conan O'Brien that "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."
The actor finally got his wish in The Force Awakens however, losing his life at the hands of his son Kylo Ren.
1 Yes, He Shot First
It's been hotly debated for years: who shot first during the confrontation between Han Solo and Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina scene from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
While any fan who first saw the showdown in George Lucas's special edition of the film could be excused for thinking it was the nefarious Greedo that took the first shot, it's time to clear this up once and forever— Han shot first.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing the films in the original form can not only avoid the dated and dodgy digital effects Lucas added to the original trilogy, but also see Han taking Greedo out with his blaster before the green alien has a chance to respond in kind.
For anyone who still refuses to believe that our favorite anti-hero would do something that, given his personality, totally makes sense for him to do, his costar Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) ended the debate once and for all when he Tweeted a pic of the original screenplay, where it clearly states Han fired upon Greedo without warning.
So why did Lucas change the scene in the first place? He's stated in the past that he began to view Solo more as a legitimate hero than an anti-hero, and wanted his actions to reflect those changes. It's too bad, because it's way cooler to see Han take Greedo out with no hesitation.
What else doesn't make sense about Han Solo? Tell us in the comments.