This post contains minor spoilers for Solo
Solo: A Star Wars Story co-writer Jon Kasdan reveals one of the film's more controversial moments was an integral part of his pitch to Disney. Well before Solo was stirring up conversation with its underwhelming box office returns, there was some uproar when Bob Iger revealed the film would detail how Han got his name. Some thought that was in reference to a young Han establishing himself as one of the galaxy's most infamous smugglers, but as it turns out, Solo answers that question in a very literal sense. In the beginning as Han signs up for the Empire and tells his recruiting officer he has no people, he's registered as Han Solo.
Viewers are split on this reveal. While some don't mind it, others found it to be an eye-rolling explanation and wondered why Solo simply couldn't be Han's surname from the jump. Typically, if a scene is in a movie, it means it serves some sort of greater purpose. In Kasdan's mind, the naming sequence was vital to Han's character - so much so that he used it as a lynchpin of a presentation to Disney's higher-ups.
Related: Comparing Solo To Rogue One
In an interview with CinemaBlend, Kasdan explained why he felt this scene was so important, giving the outlet a look into his pitch:
Five years ago, when I came onto the thing -- and Disney wasn't on when I came on, then three weeks later, they owned the company -- and they came up to Marin and Kathy [Kennedy] got the people who were already working on it to make a five-minute presentation to Bob Iger and Alan Horn and everyone. My presentation was, [Han] comes to an immigration spot and someone asks, 'What's your name?' It's not just that he doesn't have a name, which tells you a lot about his history. He says 'I have no people.' That to me is so forlorn and so isolating and rife, and the guy fills in his name. Bob Iger said 'Alright, I'm in.' That was it. That was the moment. He reacted to it the way I reacted to it, which was, it's very moving. This was a guy who has nothing. Someone plants a name on him. He doesn't even know the guy. It sticks for the rest of the saga.
As Kasdan alludes to, Solo was in development prior to Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm. This meant the Mouse House had to be convinced it was a movie worth putting on their slate post-merger. While there are more obvious selling points to Solo (Millennium Falcon action, Han and Chewbacca banter), it's interesting Kasdan went with a smaller scene to drive his point home. When viewed through this lens, it does paint Han in a rather sympathetic light. He's scrapping to survive without even a name to call his own, desperate to change his fortunes. Him being called Solo connects to one of the overarching plot points in the movie, as even Han knows he could use a place of belonging and a co-pilot. For the longest time he believes that person is Qi'ra, but of course, it ends up being Chewie.
This probably isn't going to sway opinions about the scene, but it at least shows there was some thought put into it and how it could tie with the rest of the film. It's obviously a bit Kasdan was very passionate about, since he hung his hopes and dreams of making Solo on it. Five minutes isn't a particularly long time for a presentation, so it speaks volumes Kasdan felt that was the moment to use on Iger. Star Wars always works better when there's a strong emotional core at the center of the movie, and Han trying to find his path makes for a nice foundation.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019