Yep. The man himself. Han Solo. Whether the name is uttered in guttural Huttese or shouted across a castle by a small alien with large eyes, the name evokes so much emotion in long-time Star Wars fans.
He’s a dashing smuggler with well-tuned (but not that well-tuned) survival skills. You get the feeling he’s a Hufflepuff under it all. Once he’s friends with you, he’ll go the wall for you, even braving an assault on a Death Star to help get you home. (Luke says ‘thanks,’ by the way.) And rather than going to pay off the price on his head, he stays with Leia and Luke. These are the actions of a man ruled by his heart, his gut, not his head. He wants to be a hero. At least, I think he does. And you know what? He is a hero; he gets the girl, and they have a baby, a beautiful, bouncing Victory baby boy.
We thought they’d live happily ever after.
We were wrong.
Fast forward to Bloodline, set six years before The Force Awakens. Leia is alone on Hosnian Prime, fighting the good political fight. Han isn’t a fan of politics and that life, so he’s off mentoring students in the equivalent of the Galactic Cannonball Run. He shows back up when Leia’s in real trouble, but they are separated even then. I didn’t get the impression it was a hostile separation or anything. But they certainly weren’t a stereotypical married couple. Ben is already off with Luke, training. He’s 23 or so, for the record.
Then, TFA lands, and Han sees his son for the first time in over six years. And what’s he doing? Carrying an unconscious Rey onto his ship. But he’s not worried about Rey. Did you notice? Fast forward to 7 minutes in – you’ll see what I mean. He just looks a bit grim, sad, even. But he’s not scared for this girl who has so impressed him. In short, it’s the look of a man who’s seeing his estranged son for the first time in years.
Unfortunately, this extended clip doesn’t show us is his reaction to Finn’s panicked response to Rey’s abduction. He basically responds with “yeah, yeah, I know,” and waves his hand, brushing off Finn’s concerns.
Would he have reacted that way if he was afraid for Rey? I don’t think so. Instead, he’s already turned his attention to his impending meeting with Leia. Remember what I said? This guy is a Hufflepuff. He had just offered her a job; he sincerely likes and respects Rey. If he was scared for her, he wouldn’t be waving Finn off this way.
I’m pretty sure Han knows that his son isn’t going to hurt her; he thinks he’s got time to get her back.
I think Han knows that under all the black, deep down, his son is still in there. And he’s confident enough in his son that he doesn’t worry too much when he sees Kylo carrying Rey aboard his command shuttle like a bride into their new home.
But then, Kylo thrusts his lightsaber into his father’s chest. He was wrong, wasn’t he? Proof there was no light left under the black.
But if you watch that scene…that’s not true either. He knows that, and he forgives Ben instantly. You saw how he cupped Ben’s face – that wasn’t anger. That was sadness, forgiveness, and even a touch of hope.
I might be reaching, but I have a sneaking suspicion this act of horrific patricide will be the single act that will set Kylo Ren on the path to redemption. If it doesn’t, then Han Solo has sacrificed his life for nothing.
And as a fan of the Original Trilogy, I cannot accept that Han died for nothing.
Kylo’s redemption is coming.
Welcome back, Ben Solo, welcome back. We have missed you, and we didn’t even know you.