Everything about Han Solo makes him the coolest guy in a galaxy far, far away—the swagger, the one-liners, the charm, the Wookiee best friend, the Falcon. Luke Skywalker may be the hero of the franchise, but Han Solo is who we all want to be. Plus, it helps that he’s played by Harrison freaking Ford. But part of why we like Han so much is that he’s got a dark side bubbling beneath the surface—so let’s take a peek at this legendary smuggler’s secrets.
Han Solo Facts
1. How Old Are You?
According to the Lothal Calendar, Han Solo was born in approximately 29 BBY (before the Battle of Yavin) and died in 34 ABY. That means the galaxy far, far away got 63 years of Solo—not nearly enough if you ask me.
2. Imitation Game
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so if you’re going to imitate anyone, why not the guy who is the epitome of cool? Both Chris Pine and Chris Pratt have stated that they based their portrayal of their characters Captain Kirk (Star Trek) and Peter Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy), respectively, on Han. Two out of four Chrises isn’t bad!
3. Unique Look
Han wasn’t always meant to be the smooth, dashing human that he ended up as. In fact, the original conception of the character saw him as a giant, green fish alien with gills. Honestly? I’m into it.
4. The Star Wars
Curious about the adventures of Han Solo, the green fish man? Well, believe it or not, there’s a comic for that! In 2013, Dark Horse Comics released The Star Wars, a comic series based on George Lucas’s original draft for A New Hope. In the books, our green-skinned smuggler teams up with the hero Annikin Starkiller to battle the evil Sith with the help of an old wizard named Luke Skywalker.
5. Jedi Knight Han Solo
Lots of people like Han Solo because he’s more relatable than Force users like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader—but the original Han (the green-skinned fish man) was actually a Jedi. In Lucas’s original draft, Han was a member of the Jedi Bendu, the emperor’s personal bodyguards and the most feared warriors in the galaxy.
6. Captain Jack Solo
At some point, Lucas decided that the green and gilled Han wasn’t the way to go. He wanted a human character who would be able to relate to Luke and Leia better—but Lucas’s next thought was to make Han a flamboyant, bearded, swash-buckling pirate!
7. Vegas Wedding
Han and Leia are one of cinema’s great power couples—but one comic reveals that Han was hiding a dark secret from Leia for their entire relationship. In one issue, Han and Leia are confronted by a woman who claims to be Sana Solo, Han’s wife! Han repeatedly denies the marriage, but Leia isn’t entirely convinced—and given his track record, would you believe him?
8. Behind the Scenes Drama
It seems like there’s been one constant with the Disney Star Wars movies: drama. And maybe the most scandalous production of them all was Solo: A Star Wars Story. First, directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller abandoned the DC Universe’s The Flash movie to work on the project. Fans were ecstatic about having Lord and Miller on the movie—but it would end in utter disaster.
9. “Creative Differences”
In a movie that shocked the movie industry, Lord and Miller left Solo about halfway through production. They cited “creative differences” as the reason, but later, a studio report revealed the truth. It turns out, there was a serious feud happening behind the scenes.
10. What Have They Done to My Movie?
Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, returned to write Solo, but when he saw what Lord and Miller were doing with it, he was absolutely furious. Lord and Miller stuck to their usual loose, comedic tone, while Kasdan wanted a more straightforward, serious approach. He complained directly to Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Lucasfilm.
Kennedy was hesitant to do anything at first—firing your director halfway through production is not something to be done lightly—but then came the final straw.
Kasdan wasn’t the only person who didn’t like what Lord and Miller were doing with Solo; several other production heads voiced similar concerns. Then, when there was a two-week break in production, Kasdan, Kennedy, and the film’s editor, Pietro Scalia, got a look at some of the duo’s footage—and they were shocked by what they saw.
They immediately went and fired Lord and Miller, replacing them with director Ron Howard, who took over and brought Han Solo over the finish line.
12. Impossible Task
Numerous up and coming actors, as well as ones who have been in the game for a while, auditioned for the coveted role of young Han in Solo. A few of those names included Dave Franco, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and Rami Malek. In the end, the somewhat impossible task of trying to channel a young Ford went to Alden Ehrenreich, but the studio ended up having second thoughts…
13. Not a Good Sign
Lucasfilm executives were not pleased with Ehrenreich’s performance initially, and they ended up bringing in an acting coach to help with his performance.
The production crew for Solo actually built a working speeder for Alden Ehrenreich to ride, complete with a V8 engine that could reportedly take it up to 100 mph! It couldn’t actually hover though, unfortunately.
15. We Owe You One, Harrison
Remember the uncanny young Leia at the end of Rogue One? Well, we were almost treated to a similar abomination at the end of Solo. The original plan was to have the movie end with a digitally de-aged Harrison Ford so that the story could transition directly into the events of A New Hope. The idea was even floated past Ford—who refused, sparing us all from that disaster.
16. Keep Your Distance
Harrison Ford was noticeably absent at the premiere for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Fans theorized like crazy why the famously cranky actor was a no show, and many assumed it was because he hated the movie, but Ford eventually revealed the truth: He saw the movie and loved it, but he didn’t want to steal Alden Ehrenreich’s spotlight, so he decided to stay away.
17. You Tell Em, Ford
After The Rise of Skywalker saw Han return for a scene, fans online debated whether or not Han was, in fact, a force ghost. An interviewer asked Ford to weigh in, and his response was priceless: “Don’t tell anyone…I have no [expletive] idea what a Force ghost is. And I don’t care!”
18. No Repeats
When George Lucas set out to cast his Han Solo, he knew one thing for sure: he didn’t want to use Harrison Ford. Ford had already worked with Lucas on American Graffiti, and the director didn’t want to re-use any of the same actors for his new project. Still, Harrison Ford was undeniable. Lucas called him in just to rehearse lines with other actors, and he was so impressed that he broke his one rule and cast Ford.
19. A Wooden Actor
Landing a part in American Graffiti didn’t allow Ford to kiss his day job goodbye. In fact, he was working as a carpenter when casting for Star Wars began. He was working on Francis Ford Coppola’s office one night when he ran into his old boss George Lucas. They struck up a conversation, Lucas asked him to read some sides, and the rest is history.
20. Lil Han
We saw a young Han in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but wouldn’t you really like to see an even younger version of him? George Lucas thought so, and he originally planned to show a 10-year-old Han Solo in Revenge of the Sith. The young whipper-snapper was going to help Yoda track down General Grievous on Kashyyyk, but George bailed on the idea before an actor was even cast.
21. What a Way to Go
For anyone who was upset that Han Solo was killed off in The Force Awakens, send your angry letters to J. J. Abrams. In his early drafts of the movie, Abrams didn’t feel like Solo was contributing much to the story. He also needed a way for Kylo Ren to earn the mantle of Darth Vader’s successor. Having Kylo kill his father was Abrams’ way of killing two birds with one stone.
22. You Talkin’ to Me?
Getting Han Solo almost lost Ford another huge role: Indiana Jones. Stephen Spielberg wanted Ford from the get-go, but Lucas tried to dissuade him. He didn’t want Ford to “become [his] Robert De Niro,” in reference to Martin Scorcese and De Niro’s longtime partnership. I can only imagine Spielberg told him that was stupid, because Ford was cast and the world is grateful.
23. Ye of Little Faith
Ford didn’t exactly have faith that Star Wars was going to be a hit. When he first read the script, he thought the dialogue was absolutely ridiculous and told Lucas: “You can’t say that stuff. You can only type it!”
24. Who Knows?
“I know.” It’s now one of the most iconic lines in cinema history—and it was all Ford’s idea. The original script for The Empire Strike Back had Han reply to Leia with “I love you, too.” Ford thought that “I know” was a far more compelling response, and he convinced Irvin Kershner to use the line.
25. Look Closely
Is it considered a cameo if you’re not physically in the scene? Fans of the TV show Firefly may have noticed that a model of Han frozen in carbonite can be spotted in the background of multiple scenes in multiple episodes of the beloved and short-lived TV show. So, would Han or Ford get the cameo credit?
26. Down Time
Marvel Comics released a five-part Han comic book series in 2016 that takes place between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, and sees Han and Chewy participate in a starship race that is inspired by the film The Cannonball Run. Oh man, I hope they met space Burt Reynolds!
27. It’s a Hard-Knock Life
Maybe one of the reasons why Han and Rey bonded so quickly in The Force Awakens was that they shared a similar upbringing: they were both orphans. But while Rey hails from the desolate Jakku, Han was born on the core planet Corellia. It’s hard to imagine a more fitting origin for Han—Corellia is famous for two things: ace pilots, and massive shipyards, where ships like the Imperial Star Destroyers and even the Millennium Falcon itself were built.
28. Francis Ford Solo
Han Solo is actually partly based on one of the most legendary filmmakers in history: Francis Ford Coppola. A close friend of George Lucas, Coppola has a certain “swagger” on film sets, and Lucas was thinking of him when it came to writing Solo.
29. The Name Game
There’s another strange connection between Han Solo and Francis Ford Coppola. Ford actually appeared in Apocalypse Now, albeit in a small role. Coppola wanted to include a nod to his friend George Lucas in the movie, so the character that Ford plays is named “G. Lucas.”
30. This Guy Looks Familiar
Ever wonder what would happen if someone from a galaxy far, far away came to our own? Well, one ridiculously meta comic explored just that. Han and Chewy land on Earth, where Han is then promptly killed. Chewy gets away and takes to a secretive life in the woods, becoming the famed Sasquatch. Years later, worlds collide as Han’s corpse is found by, you guessed it, Indiana Jones.
31. Parental Guidance
The death of Han Solo was the climax of The Force Awakens. Kilo Ren became irredeemable in that moment—but some fans think that there was more going on in that scene than met the eye. Many fans theorized that it was actually Han to turned on Ren’s lightsaber, effectively killing himself to save his son from Snoke’s wrath.
My guess is that theory was mostly held by people who really wanted Reylo to happen, but hey, that’s just me.
32. Other Choices
Before Ford landed the role of Han, various other top actors auditioned, including Christopher Walken, Kurt Russell, and Nick Nolte. There are also a number of actors who were offered the role but turned it down, such as James Caan and Al Pacino. Which one of those movies would you have wanted to see the most, because I honestly can’t choose!
33. Not Chewie!
In the Star Wars novels, Han lived an entire life after the events of Return of the Jedi—and during that time, he faced terrible tragedy after terrible tragedy. First, he was forced to watch his best friend and co-pilot, Chewbacca, die while saving his son Anakin’s life. Han was devastated…but the worst was yet to come.
34. The Death of a Son
Not long after Chewbacca’s death, it turned out it was all in vain. Not long after, Anakin Solo sacrificed himself in a desperate last stand to save his friends. Faced with the deaths of his friend and beloved child, Han fell into a deep depression.
35. The Nightmare is Only Beginning
Unfortunately for Han, the tragedy was only beginning. Little did he know, he was going to endure the most painful betrayal of all. His older son, Jacen Solo, was seduced by the dark side of the force. He planned to become a Sith Lord, but first, he had to prove himself with an unthinkable atrocity.
36. In Cold Blood
To prove he had what it takes to become a Sith Lord, Han’s son Jacen committed one of the most shocking murders in the history of Star Wars: he kills Luke Skywalker’s wife, Mara Jade. Even worse, Ben Skywalker, Mara’s son, was Jacen’s devoted student. After the crime, Jacen Solo was no more. From then on, he was known as Darth Caedus, terror of the galaxy.
37. But Where Were the Knights of Ren?
In case you couldn’t tell already, the story of Jacen Solo, while erased from the Star Wars canon by Disney, was a huge inspiration when it came to developing Ben Solo, AKA Kylo Ren.
38. Family Violence
Han Solo had to watch his son become a monster, but Darth Caedus was eventually stopped by his own sister, Han and Leia’s daughter Jaina. The two siblings had a feverish lightsaber duel, both suffering terrible injuries before Jaina managed to slice her brother’s Achilles tendon, crippling him. She then cut him down once and for all, ending his reign of terror—and making her the last remaining Solo child.
39. You Can’t Change the Past
One of the coolest introductions to any character in film history is Han in A New Hope, when he shoots Greedo point-blank—and yes, we can say once and for all that Han did indeed shoot first! Sure, Lucas may have awkwardly altered the footage when he re-released the film years later, but a copy of the original shooting script that fans discovered a few years back reportedly makes it clear that Han killed Greedo in cold blood.
40. Harrison Hates Han
Most people don’t realize how much Harrison Ford seems to hate Han Solo. While he’s always been eager to discuss his other famous character, Ford often becomes prickly when discussing Solo. In one interview Ford stated that he would never play Solo again because he believed he’d “outgrown” the character. Even as recently as 2010, Ford said, “I’m done with him” and “as a character, he’s not that interesting to me.”
41. Harrison Love Money
So what brought Ford back into the Star Wars fold? What else: money! Though the exact details of Ford’s contract for The Force Awakens have never been made public, it’s estimated he made upwards of $34 million for the film. Heck, I’d let Adam Driver stab me with a lightsaber for that.
42. It’s a Secret
Harrison Ford always had some dark thoughts about Han Solo: he actually wanted Han to die in the original Star Wars trilogy. He says he always thought the character was “a little thin,” and that killing him off would add extra weight to the movie. He tried hard to bring George Lucas around to the idea, but Lucas stood firm and Solo lived.
At least Ford finally got his wish in The Force Awakens.