Star Wars: 15 Secrets About Han Solo's Body

Han Solo's Body Star Wars Secrets

For decades now, the undeniably iconic character of Han Solo from the long-running Star Wars saga has represented a very specific kind of masculinity -- roguish, handsome, and charming beyond belief.

Everyone's favorite scoundrel has long been the man all the women want and the man that all men wish they could be like. His legacy has been an inspiring one in its own way to sci-fi geeks everywhere.

Played to pitch perfect perfection by Harrison Ford in the franchise's original trilogy, as well as in the first sequel movie, Han has become a larger than life character, a smuggler who stole the hearts of fans all around the world.

With the release of the middling Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han's importance has once again been re-stated, with a younger turn on the character portrayed by Alden Ehrenreich showing a glimpse of how Han became the no nonsense rapscallion we all know.

Over the course of his long life of adventures, Han took part in plenty of harebrained and devil may care stunts that a wiser man never would have dared attempt. Some of these stunts required intricate behind the scenes planning stories that even the most informed of fans may not have known about.

Likewise, Han went through various iterations in the earliest drafts of the franchise that would have resulted in a very different looking scoundrel with a heart of a gold -- and could have fundamentally changed the Star Wars saga as we now know it.

Here are the 15 Secrets About Han Solo's Body.

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Han Solo Star Wars Ureallian
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15 He was originally a large green monstrous alien

Han Solo Star Wars Ureallian

It's a guaranteed part of writing that creating characters will likely result in characters who are entirely different from their first ideas you had for their concepts.

Sometimes, main characters become secondary or tertiary characters. Other characters change genders, or become younger or older than they were initially imagined as being. Sometimes they gain siblings or spouses or children.

However, in the case of Han Solo, the original outline for the character in George Lucas's initial 1974 draft of The Star Wars revealed a much more outlandish -- and much less human -- character.

This first draft of The Star Wars featured a character named Han Solo who was a member of the Ureallian (or Youreallian - the spelling varies) race.

He was a large, monstrous green alien with gills instead of a nose, who was a roguish old ally of the old Luke Skywalker.

It's unclear how crucial a character this version of Han would have been, but what is clear is that his ultimate role in the franchise -- as a Rebel hero, and Princess Leia's eventual love interest -- would have to be totally changed.

It suffices to say that this idea for Han's character didn't make it past this initial drafting phase -- and we are thankful for that.

14 He survived both Carbonite freezing and hibernation sickness

Han Solo gets frozen in carbonite in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back

The scene in Empire Strikes Back, in which Han Solo is lowered into the carbonite freeze, is undoubtedly one of the most iconic moments in the entirety of the Star Wars saga.

It features one of the first interactions between Darth Vader and the other core characters of the series, as well as the key moment in which Han and Leia finally confess their feelings to one another in the way only they could – “I love you.” “I know.”

However, it also represents an impressive feat for Han Solo himself. He manages, somehow, to survive the carbon freezing process.

Once he is saved from the carbonite in Return of the Jedi, he shows symptoms of suffering from hibernation sickness – but nowhere near as severe as the usual cases of the sickness present.

According to Wookieepedia's entry on hibernation sickness, the disease "was characterized by exhaustion, weakness, dehydration, dizziness, memory loss, and temporary blindness. The most serious cases of hibernation sickness could result in death."

However, Han is somehow strong enough to bounce back quite quickly from suffering from it, only exhibiting slight weakness and temporary blindness.

In no time at all, he is once again helping the crew get themselves out of a real jam as they escape Jabba’s Palace.

13 He was once meant to be a black character

Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars Empire Strikes Back

Thankfully, George Lucas realized eventually that the character of Han Solo would play best as a human one, rather than any otherworldly space monster he may have initially envisioned.

However, before Lucas proceeded with casting the likes of Harrison Ford for the role, the image he had in mind for Han was much different.

Lucas initially intended for Han Solo to be a black character.

In fact, Billy Dee Williams even auditioned for the role, before eventually having the role of the smooth-talking, ever charming Lando Calrissian given to him for the trilogy's final two films.

While Williams wasn't chosen for the role, another African American actor very nearly was: Glynn Turman, who would go on to star in the likes of Peyton PlaceA Different World, and The Wire.

In a 2007 interview, Glynn Turman related his recollection of the entire experience: “Apparently George Lucas had me in mind for the role, and then thought that there might be too much controversy between a white Princess Leia and a black Han Solo— because those were the times— and he didn’t want to get into that. At the time, I had no idea. I just went to the audition, did it and got out of there.”

12 He grew nearly half a foot between age 22 and 32

Regardless of whether you think that Solo: A Star Wars Story is a necessary movie, or whether you think it was even a good one, or that they chose the right actor for the role of Han Solo, there is one incontrovertible issue the movie creates through the wonders of Hollywood casting.

In Solo, Han ranges in age from 19 to 22 due to the three year time lapse between the film's opening act and its primary action. Over the course of this segment of his life, he is portrayed by Alden Ehrenreich, who stands at around 5'9" tall.

However, ten years later in A New Hope, when Han is now 32, and all the way through to Return of the Jedi, when he is around 35 or 36, Han is now played by Harrison Ford, who is in fact 6'2" tall.

Therefore, by the magic of Hollywood logic and space, Han somehow growth spurts nearly half a foot between the age of 22 and 32, well after the traditional ages of human puberty and growth spurts.

It's a hilarious little goof that shows you just how important casting can be when it comes to carrying on a character's legacy, years after they've already been created.

11 Harrison Ford claimed he never did much training for the role

For action and science fiction movies such as Star Wars, actors usually have to undergo months and months of training to get in the physical shape that the stunts they will take part in require.

For the original trilogy, Mark Hamill likely had to undergo the most strenuous training, as Luke was always engaging in training in the swamps of Dagobah or lightsaber battles of some sort.

Carrie Fisher had her fair share of stunt work, whether Leia was saving the day by swinging with Luke across a chasm or riding through Endor alongside the Ewoks to take down Imperial forces.

Han Solo, however, didn't have a whole lot to do most of the time. He piloted the Falcon, occasionally fired his blaster, ran around corridors, and occasionally had a more strenuous adventure to take part in.

So when it comes to Harrison Ford's training regimen for the original trilogy, it isn't really a surprise that, in a 1980 interview, the actor claimed he never had to do much of anything to prepare for the part.

“I didn’t have to do anything very strenuous, and besides, I have an almost pathological aversion to exercise for its own sake. I’m not a physical fitness freak, as much as it’s fashionable at the moment,” he said.

10 Ford performed his own stunts in The Force Awakens despite an injury

Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It was quite the headline when it broke that, during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, production would be temporarily halted due to Harrison Ford sustaining an injury on the set of the Millennium Falcon.

The large door piece of the set fell on the actor's leg, fracturing it quite seriously, and eventually resulting in quite a large law suit in which the production company was found to be at fault for the injury.

HOwever, while Ford's injury was particularly serious, that somehow didn't stop him from eventually completing all the other stunt work that the role required of him in The Force Awakens.

As he explained in 2015, “I do running, jumping, falling down. I hit people, get hit – but I don’t see those as stunts.”

To be fair, Han's character doesn't really get a lot of stunt work in The Force Awakens -- barring running, jumping, and falling down. Of course, one particular falling down scene in the movie changes the future of Star Wars as we know it, but we digress.

The fact that Ford was willing to continue with these stunts during the filming process, despite his past injury on set, is really what's impressive here.

9 The original Han swagger was inspired by James Dean

James Dean in East of Eden

Well, we guess you could say he really is a rebel without a cause -- in space.

Han Solo has always been a character who displays bravado and confidence, despite his occasional moments of awkwardness and indecision.

He's full of himself without being consistently overbearing, smooth without being sleazy, and irreverent without being over the top. Cool and collected even when he's rarely calm, Han embodies all the hallmarks of a great suave hero -- and so, it's no surprise where George Lucas took his inspiration from for the character.

According to the final draft of the first Star Wars movie, Han was described as “a tough James Dean-style starpilot about twenty-five years old. A cowboy in a starship— simple, sentimental, and cocksure of himself.”

Some of those details would change -- namely, his age, which is still ever changing due to new movies being added to the canon -- but it's quite clear that Han is every bit a James Dean and cowboy hybrid with his roguish charm and finesse.

Decades after James Dean’s passing, his legacy as one of the coolest in all of Hollywood persists – and so, too, does the legacy of Han Solo, a character who remains larger than life after all this time.

8 A behind the scenes mishap during Solo explains why he shouldn't wear a cape

Alden Ehrenreich as Han and Emilia Clarke as Qira in Solo A Star Wars Story

Capes are a big part of a lot of the most iconic Star Wars costumes. Jedi wear their traditional cloaks and robes, which adds dramatic effect to plenty of moments when they cast them off and engage in a fight, or when they billow in the air around them in a windy moment.

Villainous characters such as Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and Kylo Ren have also worn their own mysterious, imposing black capes and cloaks, adding to the impressive and looming figure they cut.

Characters such as Han Solo, however, are probably better off without wearing a cape of any kind.

An early scene in Solo, in which Han is taking part in a firefight from an Imperial trench, features the young, panicked future smuggler wearing a cape.

However, as Alden Ehrenreich recalls, that scene in particular was all too dangerous to shoot: at one point during filming, the cape caught fire as he acted out the scene, and though he tried to discreetly tamp out the fire before it spread further, it was to no avail.

That's the story of why characters who are as rebellious and impulsive as Han Solo should never wear capes: way too many hazards.

7 Solo's train sequence took months to film due to all of the stuntwork

The attempted train heist of coaxium was a lengthy, harrowing sequence early on in Solo that quickly raised the stakes of the movie.

Two of the newest and most likable additions to the cast -- Val and Rio -- were quickly taken away. It also introduced the mysterious and seeming threat that came in the form of Enfys Nest -- a figure who would eventually prove to be far more of an ally than a foe.

However, amongst all of the character change and plot that came with the scene, there was also a whole lot of intricate stunt work that had to be undertaken.

As Beckett and his gang navigated along the moving train, they each found themselves rappelling from one location to another, using their brain and brawn in equal measure.

With so unwieldy and lengthy a scene, set in such a precarious location, and with a combination of real life actors, mo-cap performances, and a Wookiee, one can only wonder how much work went into a scene like this.

According to both Woody Harrelson and Alden Ehrenreich, this scene alone took up months and months of training and filming time out of the movie's lengthy shoot.

Also, judging by the finished product, it truly shows.

6 Ehrenreich's Han was inspired by Bruce Springsteen

The Han Solo of the original trilogy is a much more finished product than the Han we meet in Solo: A Star Wars Story. When we encounter Han in Solo, he's a street kid struggling to get by, rebelling against the man, and trying to make a name for himself however he can.

While Harrison Ford's Han may have taken cues from James Dean's rebellious nature, Alden Ehrenreich apparently took his inspiration from a more recent young upstart rebel with a bone to pick: The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen.

In an April 2018 interview with The FADER magazine, Ehrenreich explained, "In terms of growing up in circumstances that are hard, and that you hate, and then dreaming of a better life for yourself, and then getting out — Bruce would be it."

He continued: "There is definitely a relationship. That’s not only coming from me, that’s also coming from the writers. [Han Solo’s home planet] Corellia is a ship-building planet. You know, kind of an industrial world. Basically, there’s a lot of crossover [between Bruce and Han]. That was a big thing."

He would even go on to jokingly acknowledge that Corellia could be seen as a space version of New Jersey. Make of that what you will.

5 Ehrenreich did require an onset coach to help embody Han -- but not just for acting reasons

It was one of the biggest scandals that plagued the making of Solo: A Star Wars Story: the report that surfaced midway through production that Alden Ehrenreich's performance was so far below par with Lucasfilm's expectations that they had hired an acting coach to help ensure he would turn in a performance remotely resembling Han Solo.

The fandom at large quickly descended into hysteria, wondering just what sort of movie could possibly be produced where the studio lacked all apparent faith in the lead they had chosen after so thorough a screening process.

In an April 2018 interview, Alden Ehrenreich finally tried to set the record straight regarding some of the rumors that had been swirling about for so long: "'From the first screen test on, we played around with it a lot,' he said, explaining that [Lord and Miller's] process 'was yielding a different movie than the other factions wanted.'"

In terms of his own performance, he maintained, "I knew what I was doing, but in terms of what that adds up to, you’re so in the dark as an actor. You don’t know what it’s shaping up to be, how they’re editing it, so it’s kind of impossible without having seen those things to know what the difference [of opinion] was, or exactly what created those differences."

Finally, the so-called expert acting coach was, in fact, a writer and director that Lord and Miller reportedly brought in to help out with the entire production.

4 Ford's Han stunt double also served as his Indiana Jones double

Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford may not have needed much stunt training for the first two movies in the original trilogy, but Han's role took on a bit more active, stunt-seeking aspects in Return of the Jedi, especially in the process of trying to get away from Jabba's Palace and being held captive by Ewoks on Endor.

So for Return of the Jedi, Ford did, indeed, have a stunt double -- a man named Vic Armstrong, who would then go on to serve as Ford's double in his other most beloved and renowned role: Indiana Jones.

Beyond his involvement with Ford, Armstrong would go on to become one of the most renowned stuntmen and stunt coordinators in the business.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Armstrong has had the most prolific stuntman career ever.

Armstrong began his career in 1966, putting him at an over 50 year career so far. His IMDb alone boasts over 120 roles that he was credited and not credited for, both in performance and coordination.

Now 71 to Ford’s 73, Armstrong is still working steadily in the business, with his most recent stunt coordination credit being Avengers: Infinity War. He clearly has no intentions of slowing down any time soon.

3 The making of the Carbonite mold was a very complicated process

Lando Calrissian looking at Han Solo frozen in carbonite in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back

The image of a frozen Han Solo trapped within carbonite, both at the end of Empire Strikes Back and in the earliest scenes of Return of the Jedi, has become one of the most easily recognizable emblems of Star Wars.

As it turns out, however, the behind the scenes creation process for this famous set piece was particularly complicated.

It was a multiple step molding and casting process that involved not only Harrison Ford being fitted for a facial mold cast, but another actor having to suit up for a full body casting as well -- Alan Harris, who portrayed the minor character of the bounty hunter Bossk.

Harris recalled the complicated process in a 2010 interview with the fan-run site Star Wars Interviews: "Irvin Kershner had the idea. We were in the props room where they put a shroud over me and two drinking straws through my nose so I could breath."

He continued: "They later cut my face out and put Harrison Ford’s in. Irvin Kershner and I looked at the finished product on the set and Harrison came over. He said he was thinking of turning one of these into a coffee table. I don’t know if he ever did."

2 His final moments recapture some of his iconic past

Han Solo Star Wars Iconic Pose The Force Awakens

Over time, a very specific pose has become known as The Han Solo Pose, thanks to promotional materials produced for the original trilogy and reprised for Han's turn in The Force Awakens.

In this signature pose, Han stands with his legs spread apart, one arm raised behind him and the other extended in front of him, blaster held high in his hand.

He's leaning forward in the pose, a determined look on his face, and for all intents and purposes, he's the veritable emblem of a man ready for action.

Some eagle-eyed fans have since noticed that, in the very final moments of Han's existence in the Star Wars franchise in The Force Awakens, his body assumes a version of this pose -- but now, everything is wrong.

He's a man lurching forward for action, but his body is in freefall. His arms are still raised on either side of him, and his legs are still spread. However, he has no control over himself.

He's a man ready for action who will, very soon, never be able to act again.

Whether the visual symbolism of this moment is intentional remains to be seen, but the impact remains all the same.

1 Could he be Force-Sensitive?

Few characters in the Star Wars franchise are as skeptical of the Force, the Jedi, the Sith, and all of it as Han Solo once was.

His disbelief in all things related to the mysterious mystical power was a central trait of his character in the original trilogy, as well as his preference for things he could see and feel, such as a blaster by his side.

However, some fan theories have suggested that there's a chance that Han could just be protesting too much -- and may actually have been a Force user all along.

His repeated use of the phrase "I have a bad feeling about this" could suggest some nature of being in tune with the universe in a more intimate way.

His ability to fly the Falcon out of any tight situation could also suggest some super human abilities, especially when he refuses to acknowledge the odds that are stacked against him.

His moments of charm could in fact be seen as the persuasion used in a Jedi mind trick, and his impressive reflexes -- such as when he shoots Greedo - could be suggestive of his ability to tap into some higher, all knowing power.

Of course, this is just a fun fan theory and likely nowhere near the truth. However, that doesn't make it any less fun to wonder.


What other fun facts do you know about Han's body and all the behind the scenes work that went into it in Star Wars? Let us know in the comments!

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