I’m not racist, I just hate Rodians or: “Han Shot: A brief summary of the Galaxy’s greatest scoundrel.”

By Ben

“I’m Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon.”

And so we are introduced to the man that will someday be one of the greatest heroes in Galactic History. A smuggler, gambler, Rebel leader, owner of the fastest piece of junk in the galaxy, and a damn fine pilot to boot, Han Solo is cemented in history as one of the greatest reluctant heroes. From a troubled childhood to throwing away a career as an Imperial Officer, to having a huge part in taking down the most vile tyrants the galaxy has ever seen, Solo has demonstrated that even a scruffy looking nerfherder can become one of the most beloved characters in history. What follows is a (fairly) brief biography, and case of serious hero-worship, of what I personally consider the greatest of fictional heroes.

 

Now even casual Star Wars fans know a good portion of who Han Solo is. The cocky braggart who has a terrible habit of writing a check he can’t cash, yet still manages to come out ahead of the game and even lands the girl. Unless you are familiar with the Han-centric books in the Expanded Universe, however, you only know a fraction of who the man is and how he came to be the Star Wars Universe’s number one bad boy.

Born on Corellia with no idea whom his parents were and what his heritage was, Han found himself involved in a group of vagabonds led by a despicable small time bandit name Garris Shrike. Shrike, who had a small crew of pirates on his ship the Trader’s Luck, made his means by using orphans as beggars and pickpockets. The young Han was a standout member, however, and won favor enough to be part of the Luck’s crew. During his time on the Luck, Han finally found a kindred spirit in the Luck’s cook, a female wookie named Dewlanna. Dewlanna took it upon herself to raise the boy as If he were her own blood. She taught him Shyriiwook, protected him from the crew’s bullying, and eventually gave her life to allow him to escape the pirate ship and gain his independence. The sacrifice Dewlanna made had a lasting impression on Han, one that would mold his future as a Galactic scoundrel.

Eventually finding himself enrolled in the Imperial Academy, Solo showed promise as an officer and exceptional ability as a pilot. For once in his life, Han was content. That was until a fateful experience with one of the darker sides of the Galactic Empire, their extreme stance on non-humans in the galaxy. Witnessing the atrocities the Imperial Navy was committing during their campaign on Kashyyyk and witnessing the Wookiee’s enslavement by the Galactic Empire Han recalled the sacrifice Dewlanna had made all those years early and lashed out against his commanding officer, striking him with an electric whip and freeing the Wookiee Chewbacca. And thus, the most famous of dynamic duos was formed, albeit with Han’s reluctance in the beginning.

Fast forward to a time more familiar with the fans. Having turned to smuggling and making his name as one of the best pilots in the galaxy, Han found himself under the employment of Jabba the Hutt. It was the beginning stages of his syndicate and Jabba could afford no mistakes, and could tolerate no one’s failure. Thus when Han found himself in a chase trying to outrun Imperial Cruisers, he had a decision to make that would pull the successful smuggler out of his familiar world and into a deal with a ragtag group of rebels seeking to take down the tyrannical Galactic Empire.

Having had to dump his delivery of glitterstim spice during his escape from the Empire’s cruisers, Han now owed Jabba an immense debt, a debt he knew he could never repay on time. The Hutt would want his head, and Han knew every bounty hunter and underworld slime would be after him.

Taking time off at a little speck of dirt of a planet, far outside the regular patrol of the Empire, by some coincidence, or workings of the Force, Han’s best friend and First Mate Chewbacca happened upon a grizzled old Jedi and a young farm kid looking to hire out a good pilot with a fast ship. And thus, the gears were set into motion for the greatest tale of the rebel with a heart of gold, and the transformation of a smuggler out for only himself, to one of the greatest heroes the galaxy had ever known.

If you couldn’t tell from this little biography, Han Solo stands out to me above and beyond all other characters in Star Wars and indeed most works of fiction. Han embodies the persona nearly every young boy wishes he could grow to be: the suave, confident, ladies’ man that takes crap from no one and always seems to have the coolest one-liners and the best toys. The living example of badassery and the epitome of cool, to young men Han is a representation of the greatest qualities within them. Yes he is a cad. He is out for only himself and his own means, and to heck with the Galactic Empire’s battle with this so called Rebel Alliance. Unless he gets paid, he couldn’t care less. But beyond this façade of pride and self-centricity there is a man who knows what is right and what is wrong. He is a man who cannot stay on the sidelines and watch good people die fighting a cause that he knows to be just. And so, in a demonstration of what it truly is to be a hero, Han discards his bad boy persona and demonstrates the kind of courage and loyalty that all good heroes display. Yes it takes him more time than it should for him to come to this realization, but having come from a life where you can only trust yourself taking this leap of faith, and aiding these seemingly doomed dissenters, Han shows what a man really is. And let’s face it, his willingness to help the greater good is an integral part of the victory the Rebel Alliance had against the Galactic Empire. Plus, in the end, he got the girl. Not only that, if you look at it, he was the only one to get the girl. And all the while, he still shows himself to be the baddest guy in the galaxy with one line. As he is being lowered into his impending carbonite freezing, Leia for the first time openly acknowledges her love for Han. Always the smart aleck Han utters the single most amazing line in all of the Original Trilogy. It is two simple lines that would forever define what it means to be a hardcore rogue: “I know.” Top that Romeo! You got nothing on Han-frakkin’-Solo!

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