Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story revealed the origin of Han Solo's name - and it was... underwhelming, to say the least. Shortly after the young Han Solo movie started filming in 2017, Disney CEO Bob Iger inadvertently caused a bit of confusion when he revealed that Han Solo would get his name in this film. While it was believed that the movie would change Han's name, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy later clarified that there was simply "more" to his name that would be unveiled. As it turns out, Solo: A Star Wars Story is not just an origin story for Han as a character, but also reveals the origin of his surname.
In Legends (formerly known as the Expanded Universe), Han's past was kept a secret from a bounty hunter named Garris Shrike, who had found and raised Han in Corellia. Han eventually uncovered the truth about his family - that he belonged to the Corellian House of Solo - from a Wookiee named Dewlanna. Shrike maintained the secret for all those years so that he could essentially keep Han under his thumb, but that ended up backfiring on him. Of course, seeing as Legends is no longer considered canon, Lucasfilm - namely screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan - sought to give Han another backstory for his iconic name in this film.
Early on in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han enlists in the Imperial Army in order to escape capture on Corellia (eventually making his way up to the rank of corporal). Of course, he doesn't have a surname when he enlists, so the Imperial Officer who recruits him gives Han a last name: Solo. Why? Because he's alone; he has no family. He's... solo. That's all. Sure, Legends isn't canon anymore, but at least his name had a meaning to it besides Han being alone at that point in his life. So, after all these years, Han's last name wasn't actually anything special; it should've been taken literally.
What's interesting about this origin is that Han never bothered to change the name over the years, and it's not like he gave that name to himself. Throughout both the original and Star Wars sequel trilogies, Han continues to use the surname Solo, so much that it becomes as much a part of his character as the Millennium Falcon. (Han's son is even named Ben Solo.) But, Solo: A Star Wars Story is all about establishing Han's origin. He won the Falcon in a game of Sabacc, his iconic DL-44 blaster was literally tossed to him by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), and he gained a lifelong friend in Chewbacca by happenstance while on Mimban. So, why should his name's origin be any different?
But, here's the kicker: the movie is even named Solo: A Star Wars Story. A significant portion of Han Solo's legacy has been reduced to nothing more than an off-hand suggestion by a random Imperial Officer on Corellia. The only argument for the name Solo is that many surnames originate from professions or circumstances. However, to make Han's name special, it would've been better if Lucasfilm made a backstory for people named Solo, like Sand or Snow from Game of Thrones. At least, there's a meaning behind those names.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019