Not many franchises have enjoyed the same continued popularity and acclaim as Star Wars. Even though the sequel trilogy has been at the center of a lot of contentious debate among certain segments of fans, the galaxy far, far away doesn’t seem to be losing steam. While the new movies have introduced a new generation of heroes to a wider audience, the original trilogy has also maintained a strong place in fans’ hearts, thanks to its iconic images and characters. There is, of course, the poor farm boy Luke Skywalker, who fights his way to a greater destiny, the warrior princess Leia, and the Sith Lord Darth Vader, who redeems himself by saving his son.
However, plenty of other characters have captured fans’ imaginations over the decades, including the roguish Han Solo: a self-serving smuggler who quickly grows a heart of gold, all the while pretending he’s still a scoundrel. Born on Corellia, Han grew up pretty much on his own with very little means, and his circumstance forced him into a life of crime. He still goes on to become a general in the Alliance to Restore the Republic and marries everyone’s favorite Princess-turned-General, Leia Organa.
As with many characters in the franchise, Han is by no means perfect. He’s done plenty of unsavory things in the past to survive, and has performed other suspicious tasks simply for his own gain. The list below includes content from the original and sequel trilogies, as well as the now-decanonized Legends.
Here are 20 Things Wrong With Han Solo We All Choose To Ignore.
" shot first!" While it’s a mantra that fans chant at the top of their lungs and wear proudly on their shirts, you’ve got to admit that Han’s willingness to end lives is somewhat disturbing.
Of course, this moral ambiguity isn’t a problem that’s exclusive to Han. The Star Wars universe is chaotic and full of violence, but there are also characters who advocate for more peaceful methods. In fact, George Lucas changed the scene to have Greedo shoot first because Han’s lack of hesitance ran counter to the principles of the franchise. Part of the appeal of Han shooting first is that it amplifies his character development, seeing him grow from a cold-hearted criminal to a hero.
The romance in the original trilogy has seen its fair share of twists and turns. At first, it seems like Luke and Leia are set up as the lovebirds-- until it’s revealed that they’re siblings. (Let’s not think too much about their kiss.) Han and Leia soon fall in love instead, after a whole lot of bickering.
Their quarrels might add to the will-they-or-won’t-they dynamics of their relationship, but Han takes the conflicts a step further when he straight-up ignores Leia when she tells him to stop in Empire Strikes Back. All Leia wants to do is fix the Millennium Falcon, but Han corners her and holds her hands, even when she says “stop” twice. Sure, Han (correctly) thinks Leia is into him, but that’s no reason to ignore her protests.
Han and Leia’s first kiss is the most obvious indicator of Han’s disrespect, but there’s also a moment before that where Han disregards her. They’re both in the cockpit of the Falcon when the freighter starts rocking on the “asteroid," and Leia falls into Han’s arms.
Leia tells him to let go, and he ignores her the first time, shushing her to figure out what’s happening to the Falcon. That’s kind of understandable. The second time Leia says it, Han tells her not to get excited, and apologizes for not having time for “anything else.” Not only does Han ignore Leia’s protests, even when he does oblige, he follows it up with a fake apology and verbal harassment.
Whenever there’s a mystical element in a story, there’s also a skeptic who eventually gets won over. Han fills that role, dismissing the Jedi and the Force as a load of nonsense even when Obi-Wan stands right before him.
The odd thing about Han’s lack of faith is that he grew up at the height of the Jedi Order in both the canon and Legends timeline. You could argue that, as a kid living in poverty on the streets of Corellia, Han never gets contact with the Jedi. But considering how the Jedi have worked with Corellia— and even recruited younglings from the planet— Han would have caught wind of credible tales about the Force through his network.
Multiple characters are forced and pressured into joining the Galactic Empire, like Finn and Bodhi, both of whom end up defecting. As a young man, Han has very few prospects on Corellia, and joining the Imperial Navy is pretty much the only way to get off of his desolate homeworld and fulfill his dreams of becoming a pilot.
Although Han is influenced by his unfortunate circumstances, he never seems to regret his decision to work for the Empire. Plus, he doesn’t leave because he’s had a change of heart like Finn or Bodhi. Instead, he gets kicked out of the academy and drafted into the 224th Division of the Grand Army. He ditches the Empire only to escape execution by famished Wookiee.
From everything we’ve seen of him, Han proves himself to be a free spirit who plays by his own rules, for his own gain. When he signs up to join the Empire, he readily accepts the surname that recruitment officer Drawd Munbrin makes up for him. Han explains that he doesn’t have a surname, so Munbrin, ever the clever fox, calls him “Solo.” Get it? Because Han is alone-- flying Solo, if you will.
Maybe it’s an attempt at self-preservation, making sure he doesn’t anger the first Empire employee he meets, but why would Han continue to use the surname given to him after he leaves? He has the chance to completely reinvent himself and start a new life, but chooses to keep the name “Solo” instead.
Fantasy and science fiction make smuggling sound cool, so it’s easy to forget that it’s not exactly the most ethical trade. Han’s status as an outlaw is part of his appeal, but if you think about it, it’s actually kind of unsettling how selfish and driven by greed he is.
Pretty much all of his life choices are based on how much money he can earn, at least earlier on in his life. His fateful encounter with Luke and Obi-Wan in the Mos Eisley cantina is a financial exchange. In A New Hope, Han even tells Leia that he’s only in it for the money, and couldn’t care less about peace and justice in the galaxy.
When we first meet Han in the cantina in Mos Eisley, he’s quickly confronted by Greedo, who threatens to take Han’s life if he doesn’t pay off his debt to Jabba the Hutt. He fails to pay off this debt for years, despite already being in possession of a new fortune, even ending up encased in carbonite and kept as Jabba’s trophy.
By the time we see Han again in the sequel trilogy, he’s also neck-deep in debt, this time with multiple creditors like Kanjiklub. One would’ve hoped that starting a family with royalty would’ve taught Han a thing or two about fiscal responsibility. Maybe he just really likes to live life on the edge.
There’s truly nothing that can justify Kylo Ren’s poor life decisions, especially when he’s been given chance after chance to redeem himself. Plenty of characters have tough childhoods, yet go on to become good people, like Rey and Finn.
However, it is still fair for Kylo to call Han out on being absent during most of his upbringing. Leia becomes a prominent Senator, keeping the peace in the galaxy. Han could’ve stayed close to support her and help manage their new family, but travels extensively for work instead. Sure, he races for charity, but that’s no excuse to neglect his son Ben, who has to deal with not just puberty but also his burgeoning Force sensitivity.
In Aftermath: Empire’s End, it’s clear that Leia and Han’s marriage is already beginning to fray. Han feels restless now that he lacks a purpose in life without the Rebellion and other grand adventures. Leia, on the other hand, is actively engaged in politics and still striving to liberate various planets.
Perhaps the biggest blow to their marriage is Ben Solo turning to the dark side and becoming Kylo Ren. Han insists that there’s nothing they could’ve done to salvage their son, whereas Leia still sees the light in him. While the separation seems to be mutual, with Leia agreeing that they both had to cope in their own ways, it’s still heart-wrenching to know that they split.
After leaving Leia, Han goes back to his former life as a smuggler, claiming it’s the only thing he has ever been good at. His intense grief over losing his son to the dark side and his crumbling marriage prompts him to seek out something familiar to him.
Han could’ve stayed with his honest job as a successfully racing pilot and owner of a shipping company. His work takes him across various systems anyway, meaning he would’ve gotten to pilot with the same amount of freedom as he gets as a smuggler. Smuggling is far from the only thing Han is good at, and mourning is no excuse to go back to smuggling illicit goods.
The original timeline has Han’s birth year as 29 BBY, and Leia’s as 19 BBY. That puts a whole decade between the two. The new canon has since updated Han’s birth year to approximately 32 BBY, increasing their age gap to 13 years.
By the time of the events of Empire Strikes Back, Leia is 22 and Han is either 32 or 35, depending on which timeline you go by. Of course, it’s not impossible to have healthy relationships with a large age gap, but such a big difference in age does influence the relationship dynamics. In Han and Leia’s case, their age difference only makes Han’s advances even more inappropriate, further complicating their tumultuous relationship.
As a smuggler, Han lies and employs every dirty trick in the playbook to maximize his income, with no trouble breaking promises. In the Star Wars comics, Han goes to Stenness to get back at a crime lord who has a reputation for double-crossing spice smugglers. In order to make his ruse seem more legitimate, he marries fellow smuggler Sana Starros.
The plan is successful, but Han runs off with Sana’s share of the earnings as well. This is pretty hypocritical of him, even though it’s in-character. Sana ends up hunting Han across the galaxy to get revenge, and claims to be his wife when asked. At one point, she’s even confronted by Leia, making for a particularly awkward exchange.
Starros is far from the only romantic interest that Han messes with. In Legends, Han has an on-and-off fling with Bria Tharen. The two have an extensive history together, but long story short, Bria is lured to Ylesia by a religious order that turns out to be a scam to enslave workers. Han eventually helps Bria escape, falling in love in the process, and Bria joins the Rebellion.
Fast forward a little, and Bria teams up with Han to help with a Rebellion mission. She double-crosses him at the last minute, taking the smugglers’ share of the earnings in order to fund the Rebels as much as possible. Han is less than thrilled, threatening to end Bria’s life, even though her cause is justified and he has double-crossed people before, too.
Han isn’t about to be crowned Dad of the Year any time soon in canon, but he’s arguably an even worse parent in the Legends universe. When Chewie passes away in Legends, Han actually blames his son, who is named Anakin, for the Wookiee’s demise. Chewie sacrifices his life to save Anakin, who pilots the Falcon to safety along with Han. Father and son eventually reconcile, but the whole ordeal put a significant strain on their relationship.
Han’s grief is more than understandable; he and Chewie have been pals for years and have gone through a lot together00 but Anakin is only fifteen years old during the incident.He doesn’t deserve to hear his father blame him for something out of his control.
King Prana hires Han to deliver three rathtars for his personal zoo, and Han agrees to take on the job. Han is fully aware of how dangerous rathtars are, having encountered a new-hatched baby rathtar before. Plus, there’s also the infamous incident on Trillia in which rathtars devoured countless beings.
The result? When Finn questions how Han and Chewie managed to get three rathtars onto the Eravana, Han simply says that he used to have a bigger crew. That’s right: in order to get a reward from King Prana, Han knowingly takes on a highly dangerous job and is nonchalant about losing his crew to the rathtars. You’d think fighting with the Rebellion would’ve made him just a tad more concerned about others, but apparently not.
There are few things— or people— that Han loves as much as the Millennium Falcon. He positively dotes on the old freighter, adding onto the modifications that Lando had already made when Han won the ship from him. It’s an element that exemplifies Han’s shaky and even playful relationship with Lando, but Solo: A Star Wars Story adds a darker dimension to their race for ownership of the Falcon.
Lando’s droid L3-37 is severely damaged on Kessel, and Lando is clearly distraught, showing how close the two are. Lando then removes L3-37's neural core and merges it with the Falcon. Despite knowing full well that Lando’s favorite droid is part of the ship now, Han takes the Falcon without hesitation.
Solo: A Star Wars Story has already clarified that Han boasting about making the Kessel Run in 12 seconds is, in fact, a reference to him going through a shorter but more dangerous route. However, let’s be honest here: it’s probably a writing mistake from the original movie that needed to be ironed out, like Lando’s weird pronunciation of Han’s name.
Before Solo came out and fixed the problem, how did Han not know that a parsec is actually a unit of distance? It’s odd that a pilot as skilled as Han is would make such a big mistake when his life depends on intricate calculations.
Leia and Han’s relationship may be a touch problematic in the new canon, but it’s even creepier in Legends. In The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton, Han straight-up abducts Leia out of jealousy.
The Hapes cluster sends a delegation to the New Republic, offering Leia a bunch of amazing gifts, including a marriage proposal. Leia almost agrees to marry Prince Isolder, son of the ruler of the Hapes cluster. Han is so desperate that he goes off to gamble and thinks he wins a worthy present for Leia, Dathomir. That’s right, he’s so freaked out he thinks he’s won an entire planet. Isolder then criticizes the Falcon and offers Han a new ship to give up Leia. Han then "steals" Leia.
Han may seem like a roguish scoundrel with no care in the world but himself, but it turns out he’s not as carefree as everyone thought. He grows up on Corellia with his girlfriend Qi’ra, and the two try to get off of the desolate planet to start a new life. When Qi’ra fails to get through the emigration gate, Han swears that he’ll come back for her.
In fact, the plot of Solo pretty much hinges on Han’s enduring love for Qi’ra, and her ultimate betrayal obviously is a pivotal moment in his life. Yet by the time A New Hope rolls around, he seems to have all but forgotten about his lost love.
What other problems do we ignore about Han Solo in Star Wars? Tell us in the comments!