There’s so many Han Solo moments that I love, because I just think he’s a cool character. But there are a few moments that exemplify his true character (despite what he might say) and make me love him:
Giving the coaxium to Enfys Nest (Han Solo: A Star Wars Story).
Although Han Solo had just recently insisted to Q’ira that he’s “an outlaw,” her assertion that he’s one of the good guys is proven true when he gives the stolen coaxium to Enfys Nest and her crusade against the Empire and criminal syndicates. He could have given the coaxium to Dryden Voss, or kept it for himself, but he chose to give it to this young woman who had suffered at the hands of bullies. He can deny it all he wants, but he’s got a heart (even though it’s been broken by Q’ira).
Last minute assist with blowing up Death Star 1 (A New Hope).
This is another moment that proves Han’s a softie; thought long-gone with his reward money, he makes a surprise appearance to rid Luke of the TIE fighters dogging him so he could focus on blowing up the space station. He did it, of course, as only Han Solo could: making himself look like a hero (and of course, he is). Still, it’s a great moment–once you see the Millenium Falcon appear, you just want to cheer.
Navigating the asteroid field (The Empire Strikes Back).
When Han decides to fly into the asteroid field as they try to evade the Imperials, his crewmates look at him as if he’s insane. And maybe he is, just a little bit. Crazy like a fox, that is: he thinks the Imperials would be crazy themselves to follow them into it. But they do, and the Falcon ends up hiding in a cave that turns out to be a space worm that wants to eat them, and…oh well. They make it out alive, Han does a few shifty maneuvers, and they hide in plain sight on one of the Star Destroyers, floating away with the rest of the garage when it’s released. Even though they’re followed to Cloud City by Boba Fett and….oh well. Even Leia admits that Han has his moments (not many of them, but he does have them), and this is one of them.
On Endor with Leia (Return of the Jedi).
This is a great little scene that shows just how much Han loves Leia–he’s willing to let her go if it would make her happy. After the Death Star 2 blows up, he senses her worry about Luke. He also senses that maybe she loves Luke, and asks her that question. When she replies that she does, he misunderstands and tells her that when Luke gets back, he won’t get in the way. When we first meet him, it’s clear Han Solo’s favorite person is Han Solo. The fact that he cares more about Leia’s happiness than his own here shows how he’s grown as a character and a human being since ANH. And it’s just so damn sweet. Also, the look he makes when Leia tells him that Luke is her brother is priceless.
Facing Kylo Ren (The Force Awakens).
In TFA, Han Solo is older and more emotionally battered, but still has that Solo charm. He drops it all when he confronts his son, Ben Solo, who’s now calling himself Kylo Ren. He’s lost his son to the dark side, and when he steps onto that bridge to confront him, he must know he could very probably die. But it doesn’t matter. I think most parents would do whatever it takes to snatch their child from the abyss, and Han doesn’t hesitate. There is a heartbreaking moment when he thinks he might have broken through, that Ben will come back home with him. But then the sun on Starkiller Base goes out, the light disappears and darkness sweeps in, and Kylo makes his choice. This was one of the hardest moments for me in Star Wars, as my childhood idol was killed by his own son. I was shocked into speechlessness; did that just really happen? I kept thinking. Then I was angry. I hated Kylo. I cursed the powers-that-be that allowed this to happen. WTF???
But then I read later that Harrison Ford himself wanted the character of Han Solo to be killed off–not because he hated the character, but because he wanted to lend Han Solo more “emotional weight.” And it makes sense in a weird kind of way. Han Solo had always been the charming rogue, the swashbuckler, the scoundrel–and we loved him that way. But here, at the beginning of the end of the Skywalker saga, just like Luke, he needs to be different. Characters can’t stay static, especially after thirty years. He’s a father now, a man who’s come to understand that the Jedi, the Force, the dark side are real, not just “simple tricks and nonsense.” Evil has snared his son, and this was his chance to do something about it. It didn’t work–not in the way he’d hoped or that we could see–but it’s such a crucial scene as it plays an important part in Ben Solo’s redemption in The Rise of Skywalker. This is the scene that Kylo plays over and over in his mind–of his slain father touching his cheek in love as he falls to his death. Han Solo’s last act is to love his son, even as that son has killed him. I’d say that’s a lot of emotional weight.
Honorable mention: This gesture.
So those, in my opinion, are Han Solo’s best moments. What do you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!