Everything You Need To Know About Han Solo Before Watching Solo: A Star Wars Story

A recap for all you busy (and lazy) peeps out there.

This article does NOT contain spoilers from the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story.
It does contain spoilers from the original Star Wars trilogy as well as The Force Awakens.

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We’re just about a week away from Solo: A Star Wars Story, a movie that has been on the receiving end of polarizing opinions even before its first trailer dropped. Fans, yours truly included, wondered why we were getting a young Han Solo movie (set approximately 10 years before the events of A New Hope) when there are a billion more interesting Star Wars stories to tell, especially when the titular character isn’t going to be played by the one and only Harrison Ford. Nevertheless, we’re getting the movie.

If you’d like to know my take on the movie, you can click here for my SPOILER-FREE review here.

Han Solo is one of the most popular characters in the Star Wars verse, with a story that spans multiple generations. So, a history lesson might come in handy, especially for those of you who do not have the time or are simply too damn lazy, to rewatch the original trilogy and The Force Awakens. Luckily for you, I’ve got nothing else better to do with my life other than to sit on my ass and watch Star Wars all day.

So here’s everything you need to know about Han Solo before watching Solo: A Star Wars Story.

1. We first meet him in Star Wars: A New Hope… and yes, he shoots first!

We first meet Han Solo in the original Star Wars movie, Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), played by a then 35-year-old Harrison Ford. At this point, we know that Han is a criminal, who’s indebted to big-time mobster Jabba the Hutt, who has put a ‘dead or alive’ bounty on the charismatic scoundrel. At the Mos Eisley cantina, Bounty hunter Greedo threatens to kill Han, unless Han pays him the money he owes Jabba. After some back and forth banter, Han shoots and kills Greedo. YES, despite what George Lucas’ special editions will have you believe, Han Solo shoots first. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Han and his co-pilot Chewbacca accept a charter request to transport the likes of Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi along with their droids R2-D2 and C-3PO from the planet Tatooine to Alderaan. On board the Millennium Falcon they go. Note that at this point, Han isn’t doing any of this because he’s a nice guy who wants to help some strangers in need. He does it because he needs money.

In fact, after dropping Luke and gang to their destination, Han accepts his payment and decides to leave despite Luke and Leia’s attempt at convincing him to stay, as he simply does not want to get involved in the ongoing galactic war between The Empire and the Rebels. However, later on, Han has a change of heart. He and Chewbacca return during the climactic battle sequence and help the Rebel Alliance destroy the Death Star. For his heroics, Han gets presented a medal of honour, along with Chewbacca and Luke.

2. He gets frozen in Carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back. 

We see the charismatic scoundrel again in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Written by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett, it is in this movie where we see Han truly become a well rounded, three-dimensional character. While still remaining overconfident and braggadocious as he’s always been, the layers start to peel and we see the more warm-hearted side of him, like when he saves Luke from dying of cold.

We were teased with Han and Leia’s overflowing sexual chemistry in A New Hope. In The Empire Strikes Back, they fall in love.

Han and gang (minus Luke who’s at Dagobah with Yoda) eventually travel to Cloud City, the home of his just as charismatic old friend, Lando Calrissian, seeking repairs and shelter. However, Lando betrays Han and turns them over to the Empire. As Luke is absent, Vader takes Han captive instead and then freezing him in carbonite. Right before the freezing process, Han delivers the iconic line, “I know,” when Leia says she loves him. Vader hands over Han’s frozen (but alive, in hibernation) body to Boba Fett, who then hands it over to Jabba the Hutt.

After years of hunting down Han Solo, Jabba finally succeeds.

3. He’s made a general in Return of the Jedi.

The opening sequences in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is one of the best in all of Star Wars as Luke and gang attempt an elaborate rescue mission to free Han from the clasps of Jabba. And of course, their plan fails on multiple different levels and as usual, through improvisation and sheer wit, the gang manages to escape, not before killing Jabba in the process.

Back at the Rebel base, our heroes discover that the Empire is constructing another Death Star. Han is made a general in the Rebel Alliance and along with Leia and Luke who has now returned from Jedi training, they go on a mission to destroy the second Death Star. Han, Leia, Chewie and the droids are on ground duty at Endor, in charge of taking down the Death Star’s force field, while Luke deals with his father Darth Vader and the mother of all things evil, Emperor Palpatine.

With the help of the Ewoks — f**k my life — Han and gang successfully disable the force field, allowing the now repented Lando and the rest of the aerial strike force to blow the Death Star to shits.

And they all live happily ever after… right?


4. He dies in The Force Awakens

From the ashes of the Empire, the First Order rises! But first, let’s backtrack a little.

In the official Star Wars canon, Han Solo continued to lead the Rebel Pathfinders (basically a special forces unit) against the remaining members of the collapsing Empire, after the events of Return of the Jedi. He also went on to marry Leia Organa/Leia Skywalker and birthed one son, Ben Solo.

In The Force Awakens, we learn that just like his mother, his uncle Luke and his grandfather Anakin Skywalker AKA Darth Vader, Ben Solo was force sensitive. At a very young age, Leia sent Ben to his uncle Luke for Jedi training. There Ben grew more and more powerful. Unfortunately, young Ben Solo always struggled with the dark side of the Force. Eventually, he was seduced to the dark side by Supreme Leader Snoke, leader of the First Order. Disappointed by his failure to train his own nephew, Luke exiles himself. This is approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi.

Han is old now, played by a 72-year-old Harrison Ford. When we meet him, he has left the Resistance (Rebel Alliance rebranded) and went back to his old life of smuggling. We later learn that it’s his way of coping with the loss of his son to the dark side. He bumps into Rey, who’s desperate to deliver BB8 to the Resistance. Han agrees to help her. When the Resistance arrives, Han reunites with Leia after many years.

Leia tells Han to get their son back from the dark side (Also they have to rescue Rey and help destroy Starkiller Base). Han, Chewie and new character Finn arrive on Starkiller Base. There Han sees Ben Solo AKA Kylo Ren standing on a bridge. Han approaches his son and pleads with him to come back to the light side. And in perhaps the most emotionally harrowing moment in Star Wars, Kylo Ren ignites his fiery red lightsaber and stabs his father. That’s right, Han Solo is dead.

Okay, now that you’re all caught up, it’s time for you to win some Solo: A Star Wars Story merchandises. 

Here’s how you can win em!

For FACEBOOK users: 

  1. Like & Follow MovieDash on Facebook.
  2. Share this post on your Facebook page.
  3. When you share it, write a caption on what’s your favourite Han Solo moment thus far.
  4. Ensure your post privacy is set to public, otherwise we won’t be able to see it.
  5. Private Message the link to your post to MovieDash’s Facebook page.

For TWITTER users: 

  1. Follow @themoviedash on Twitter.
  2. Retweet the post that is pinned to the top of the page.
  3. Ensure your profile is set to publicotherwise, we won’t be able to see it.
  4. Private Message us once you’ve done it.

*Note: Merchandises will be given out to the winners at random, subject to availability.
*Note: Giveaway is only limited to participants living in Malaysia. 


Solo: A Star Wars Story is set to hit cinemas on the 24th of May.