Episode VIII is around the corner and the Han Solo movie is waiting right behind (May 2018!). There is as much mystery surrounding it as there can be, but it isn’t the first time the famous smuggler’s youth has been mapped. Among the plot points Star Wars writers have invented for him in the past, there are however some that should better stay buried. Here is a short list of the most notorious ones.
The Previous Rebel Lover
One thing I definitely hope the new movie won’t recycle is making Han Solo’s female love interest (it’s obvious there has to be one, right) too clear forerunner of Leia. A.C. Crispin’s famous Han Solo Trilogy included several women Han had met and had a romantic relationship with. The chief among them, however, was Bria Tharen who (spoilers) abandoned Han for the Rebellion, and he was too much of a scoundrel back then to follow her and give up his smuggler’s life for a cause. This was obviously interpreted as laying some ground for falling in love with Leia in the future, this time with everything that came along.
Whereas it might not be bad as a plot, it is one of the things I am hoping not to see. First of all, it is very unimaginative and it is one of the worst clichés of romantic stories. I am personally hoping for something different, something we haven’t seen yet, not just in Star Wars, but preferably also not among the mainstream archetypes of main heroes’ love interests. If we are already having one, make it unique.
Yet Another Orphan Boy
In the old canon, Han’s parents were unknown, he was raised as an orphan. I fear this old cliché might be re-used in the new movie as well. With Luke, Anakin and Rey, there are already too many orphans running around the Galaxy. I have a reason to fear this plot might actually be used: one of the original ideas for Episode III was to include little Han among the Wookiees, raised like a little Tarzan, if you will.
It’s a cliché, made worse because originally Han was supposed to actually belong to a rich Corellian family. If the orphan part was an old cliché, this is ten times worse. The worst thing that could happen to the Han Solo movie would be discovering our smuggler is actually secretly a prince. That is the plot of many old, old stories and I very much hope it will be avoided.
This is actually a point I am lukewarm about. If Han doesn’t meet Vader head-on, it might just as well be perfect. I am mentioning it only in hope Han doesn’t meet Vader face to face.
Han “meeting” Vader in the second book of A.C. Crispin’s trilogy was actually one of the best scenes in the old SW book canon ever. What happened was that Han managed to strike a deal with a corruptible Imperial governor in order to get out of a rough spot. After the deed was done, they had a final meeting, which had to be interrupted because the governor received an unexpected “important visitor”. Han was told to hide in the neighbouring room, the governor promising to conclude the meeting once the visitor had left. That, of course, never happened: the scene described suggestively from Han’s point of view featured only him hearing the visitor’s name – Vader, then the governor being reprimanded for his corruption, some strange hard breathing, rustling of what might have been a heavy cloak, then a thud and silence.
Including Vader in some similar manner (not unlike his cameo in Rogue One, but it could be even smaller) would satisfy the Vader fans and give us a potentially great epic moment. Thing is, in the original trilogy, Han acts in a manner that he knows who Vader is before actually meeting him. Of course he would know: it is like you meeting your prime minister; you’d also know who they are without meeting them beforehand in person. But the way Han talks about Vader in the films does not rule out the chance that he is in some way familiar with him on a personal level (in the same way, Vader referring to him as “Captain Solo” in a tone which also sounds like it doesn’t have to be familiarity just based on military reports). Let me also point out that previous encounter would add a special value to the (often forgotten) moment when Han sets Vader’s TIE into a spin just before Luke blows up the Death Star.
The Force And Strange Things
We all know the legendary quote: “Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful force controlling everything.” It would be very interesting to have Han Solo see “lots of strange stuff”, however obviously, he can’t see things that would make him believe in the Force.
Rogue One gathered some controversy from the fact that unlike all other Star Wars films, it didn’t include very much of the Force. It is a “historic necessity”, of course: there simply weren’t any Jedi around. But what is a Star Wars movie without the Force? It would be all too tempting to include a Force user and make Han just not believe it. I believe, however, that Han should just stay away from including any “hidden Jedi”. There is just too much suppression of disbelief required in such a case. Personally, I hope the makers utilise “strange stuff” as a substitute for the “supernatural element” in the movie.