The galaxy's most beloved scoundrel met his end in The Force Awakens. Han's estranged son Ben Solo truly embraced the Dark Side of the Force as Kylo Ren when he murdered his own father on Starkiller Base. The mad scramble of events between the Resistance's destruction of the First Order's newest planet-killer and the rebels' evacuation of their base on D'Qar at the start of Episode VIII left director Rian Johnson with no time to depict Han's friends and family burying their fallen comrade.
In The Last Jedi novelization, author Jason Fry details that cathartic missing moment where the Resistance gathers to lay Han Solo to rest prior to evacuating D'Qar. Of course, Han's wife General Leia Organa fittingly speaks at the funeral on his behalf. Leia's eulogy evokes her deep love of Han and shows that she truly understood what kind of complex but fiercely heroic man her husband was:
I once told Han that it was tiresome watching him do the right thing only after he'd exhausted every alternative. But sooner or later, he'd get there. Because Han hated bullies, and injustice, and cruelty - and when confronted with them, he could never stand down. Not in his youth on Corellia, not above Yavin, not on Endor, and not at Starkiller base.
It's intriguing that Leia brings up Han's youth on Corellia, where he learned to be a pilot, with his goal to be the "best in the galaxy." Leia didn't meet Han until he was an adult, but this offers further insight from the princess on how well she truly knew Solo and the life he lived:
Han fancied himself a scoundrel. But he wasn't. He loved freedom - for himself, certainly, but for everyone else in the galaxy, too. And time after time, he was willing to fight for that freedom. He didn't want to know the odds in that fight - because he'd already made up his mind that he'd prevail. And time after time, somehow he did.
Besides being a touching eulogy that tugs at the heartstrings, Leia's speech hypes fans up to see Han in Solo as that rebellious youth with a secret heart of gold she describes. The princess touched on the famous facade Han perfected: that he feigned being someone who only cared about himself but in truth, he was a man who "hated bullies, injustice, and cruelty." After all, Solo will show fans this heart of gold is what caused Han to meet Chewbacca, who would become his most loyal friend-for-life, and the many relationships he made along the way. Han definitely relished his bad boy notoriety, but deep down, he really cared about people - so much that he committed most of his life fighting for freedom for the entire galaxy.
The Last Jedi novelization's brief funeral scene is not only a fitting farewell to Han Solo - it's also a clever way for story elements of the last two Star Wars movies to bridge to the next Star Wars movie. It's great to see the franchise's synergy in providing bookends to the life of Han Solo as we prepare to meet the beloved scoundrel again in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018