It’s pretty much conventional knowledge at this point that the upcoming sequel, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will be a cinematic extravaganza where the torch is passed from the returning Original Trilogy cast to the new players. However, the exact way in which that torch does make its cross-generational movement is something that could potentially wreck the childhoods of a lot of grown men. Yes, as the latest rumor indicates, it looks like a pivotal sacrifice will be demanded and someone we’ve known and loved for a long time will end up "being one with The Force." Well, as sad as it potentially sounds, we think it NEEDS to happen.
WARNING: This topic is as SPOILER filled as it can possibly get. If dictionaries had an entry for the vernacular use of the word, "spoiler," this topic would be shown next to a picture of a sled called "Rosebud." PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
Remember that classic moment above? Old "Ben" Obi-Wan Kenobi who, for a brief time taught Luke the ways of The Force, bravely holds off his old wayward apprentice, Darth Vader. The valorous act was made for Luke and the gang, buying them enough time to jet themselves loose from the Death Star. It’s called sacrifice and it’s a critical stage in Joseph Campbell’s illustration of the Hero’s Journey. In this case, Luke losing Obi-Wan so early in his apprenticeship was the destruction of the last life preserver that kept him afloat to his old life on sandy Tatooine. He was now ensnared in his new reality as a hero and his path was fully set.
Well, according to the newest rumor report from Making Star Wars, we should expect a repeat performance of this act; one that analogously sets one of our new heroes similarly on to their own path. In this case, the report indicates that it will be none other than Han Solo who bites the laser blaster bullet this time around.
The idea that the Galaxy’s favorite scruffy-looking nerfherder gets blasted may cause screams of "blasphemy" for many Star Wars purists, but in actuality, it’s the only scenario that actually makes sense. It’s been known for a long time that Harrison Ford was extremely disappointed with the outcome in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, and his disagreement with George Lucas over Han’s fate is now the stuff of legends. As he recounted in the 2004 documentary, Empire of Dreams:
I thought Han Solo should die. I thought he ought to sacrifice himself for [Luke and Leia]. He’s got no mama. He’s got no papa. He’s got no future. He has no story responsibilities at this point. So let’s allow him to commit self-sacrifice.
Of course, Ford was likely still clinging on to the original conception of Han Solo as someone who, despite having the capacity to care for other people, was still essentially a rogue who probably lived the seedy kind of life that calls for a huge sacrificial redemption. Falling in love with a Space Princess, growing old and having Jedi children is probably not the future he had in mind. Interestingly enough, that very fate seems likely to be where he’ll find himself when The Force Awakens begins. However, it looks like he may still get the conclusion he wanted.
It’s important to note that the report is still an unconfirmed rumor. However, we think it contains a strong grain of truth. Han, in a move that clearly reflects Obi-Wan’s sacrifice and, to a lesser extent, Qui-Gon Jinn’s in The Phantom Menace, reportedly confronts the dark Jedi warrior, Kylo Renn in a mission "on the ramparts of The Evil Castle." Han, probably in repertory form as a smooth talker, distracts Renn long enough before he is "silenced forever." The act apparently allows a traumatized Finn, Rey, Chewbacca and BB-8 to flee a predicament that surely has them outnumbered.
This certainly sounds like the noble end that Ford has been long-clamoring to get for Han. It does make perfect sense that director, J.J. Abrams, a life-long fan, himself, would respect Ford enough to give him that gift, even if it wasn’t in the original script. As a matter of fact, Ford seemed to be extremely reluctant to jump on board this sequel project, possibly due to his lingering disappointment in the outcome of Han’s story. The prospect of a noble death scene may have been the concession that brought him back. In a 2010 interview with ABC News, he confessed:
I don’t think there’s a way to weave him back into the story and besides which, as a character, he was not so interesting. I thought he should have died in the last one, just to give it some bottom, some gravitas.
Ford would also humorously elaborate on his disagreement with George Lucas, saying that "George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys." Clearly, he doesn’t understand the depths to which Star Wars collectors will go.
From the standpoint of a fan, the prospective death of Han Solo will probably be one of those moments that will generate enough tears from the audience to double the volume of the watery planet of Kamino. Yet, it’s also something that needs to happen in order to move the story forward, while giving Harrison Ford the solution to his issue with Han that has seemingly nagged at him for 32 years. As we have seen, the Star Wars films always exercised a parallel play model when it comes to important beats in the trilogy storylines. SOMEONE was going to fall on his or her proverbial sword in this first chapter of the new trilogy. It might as well be Han.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens may be looking to see Han Solo finally stop doing the thing Luke said he’s best at -- taking care of himself -- when it hits theaters on December 18.