We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who is Han Solo?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In Star Wars lore, Han Solo is an important character, created by Star Wars writer, George Lucas for the 1977 film Star Wars, later called Episode IV. Harrison Ford plays Han Solo, and the role garnered Ford incredible popularity, essentially giving him superstar status and launching his film career. Han’s role is an essential aspect of the three Star Wars films in which he appears, as he becomes, almost unwittingly, increasingly involved in the rebel efforts to overthrow the Galactic Empire.

The audience first meets Han Solo when he is hired by Obi Wan Kenobi to take Kenobi and Luke Skywalker to Alderaan on a mission to deliver stolen plans of the Death Star to Princess Leia. We quickly learn that Han is evading capture by several bounty hunters, and that he has worked as a smuggler in the past. He’s especially interested in avoiding anyone who works for Jabba the Hut, a sluglike underworld figure who has been attempting to exact retribution on Han for dropping a load of smuggled goods when he flew too close to an Imperial ship. Han is eager to get out of Tatooine, where Jabba resides so he can make some money to repay him, and agrees to take Kenobi and Skywalker on his ship the Millennium Falcon.

Han Solo is a brilliant foil to the young hero, Luke Skywalker. He represents Luke’s opposite in many ways. He’s arrogant, jaded, has no belief in spiritual concepts, and is primarily motivated by acquiring money. When Skywalker and Solo must rescue Princess Leia, Solo and Leia spend much of the first film verbally sparring with each other. Leia despises Han’s very overstated goal of only working for profit. The first film hints at a possible romantic alliance between Luke and Leia, later discarded by Lucas in films V and VI because the two are actually twin siblings. Instead, Leia and Han become romantically involved in the The Empire Strikes Back with every indication that an eventual marriage will take place between them by the end of the trilogy.

Aside from plot devices that Lucas later conceives, the turning point of apathy toward Han in Leia’s mind is that Han can’t resist becoming involved in the rebel alliance, despite his stated rogue ways and “all for profit” attitude. Ultimately, though he begins as a jaded rather world-weary character, he ends Star Wars as a hero, albeit a reluctant one, who is instrumental in helping Luke to destroy the Death Star.

Since Star Wars and its sequels have been compared to the hero’s journey, it’s valuable to understand the mythological importance of Solo in the Star Wars legend. Han is as much a hero as Luke, but his journey takes place on the physical plane. He’s there to gradually transform into a moral character who ultimately gets the girl, and he’s comparable to characters like Sir Gawain in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Grail Legend Parzival. Luke’s hero quest is largely spiritual, a transformation of self, and the path of the shaman. Han Solo ultimately respects Luke for this path, but knows he’s far too anchored to the earth to take the same route.

There’s considerable controversy about the Han Solo character since Lucas revised and reedited the first Star Wars trilogy. Lucas chose to redo the scene where Han shoots the bounty hunter, Greedo, in the beginning of the film. In the original version, though Greedo is depicted as reaching for his gun, Han shoots Greedo first, before Greedo gets a chance to point the gun at him. Lucas edited this to have Greedo aim at Han, shoot and miss him. Many diehard fans of the films believe this changes the essence of Han’s character. He is definitely a shoot first and ask questions later type of guy.

Since this editing, Lucas changed the film so that both Greedo and Han shoot at the same time, but this still is unsatisfactory for many. Han knows his life is in danger since Jabba has placed a bounty on his head, which plenty of unsavory characters would like to collect. In the early stages of the film, there’d be little to no way that Han Solo would wait for an invitation to shoot someone who is clearly there to kill him. The phrase, “Han Shot First,” has become something of a cultural phenomenon in the 2000s, and is printed on t-shirts and bumper stickers. Further Joss Whedon describes his smuggler character Captain Malcolm Reynolds, from the series Firefly and the film Serenity as similar to the "shoot first" version of Han Solo.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Reminiscence — On May 13, 2014

Han Solo was my favorite Star Wars character, hands down. I had the Han Solo toy, Han Solo t-shirt, Han Solo outfit and a Han Solo poster on my bedroom wall. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up, so I practiced my swagger when no one was around. I actually cried when Jabba the Hutt ordered him to be frozen in carbonite. I never thought they would kill off a major character like Han Solo. I was relieved when a character said he was still alive inside the casing.

By mrwormy — On May 12, 2014

When I first saw Star Wars back in 1977, I never saw Han Solo as a money-driven mercenary with a fast ship. It may have been the way Harrison Ford chose to play him, but I thought he was more of a lone wolf cowboy. As I grew older and watched the movies again, I could see where Han Solo and Luke Skywalker were two sides of the same coin.

I guess since Han Solo had Chewbacca as a cohort, he wasn't completely anti-social. He was capable of forming at least one long-lasting friendship before he met Luke and Leia and Obi-Wan.I suspected all of his claims of only being in it for the money were just tough talk. He couldn't let Luke die if he could do something to stop it.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.