After seeing the movie, I was devastated (though not surprised) to see the death of Han Solo. Admittedly, Obi-Wan Kenobi is my favorite character in the Star Wars universe, but who doesn’t like Han Freaking Solo! As a warning, there could be potential spoilers in here that you wouldn’t know about if you only saw the movie. The book had much more detail and I highly recommend getting a copying and reading it!
Everyone knew that Harrison Ford didn’t necessarily want to reprise his epic role of Han Solo, so one way or another he wouldn’t make it through the end of The Force Awakens. However, I don’t think ANYONE thought it would be Kylo Ren, his own son, killing him with a lightsaber. (Having him fall off the catwalk and then the planet blow up was a great way to really make it final. We all know people can come back from the dead, a la Boba Fett and the sarlacc pit.)
I couldn’t handle that ending to the life and times of Han, especially given the robust life that was created for him in the Legends books. He seemed to have such a tough life since Episode VI in the Star Wars canon now. He married Leia, they had kid(s?), his son decimated the new Jedi academy set up by Luke Skywalker, he left his wife and went back to smuggling, and then as soon as he was reunited with this wife…BOOM his son kills him. That is just so depressing, I wish Han would have had a vibrant and exciting life.
After seeing the move a few times, I was pretty sure I had it all figured out. You see, Han left the Resistance base for the mission to destroy Starkiller Base, knowing he would not make it out alive. When Leia told him to bring back her son if he saw him, Han realized then that there was no chance he was coming face to face with Kylo Ren and living. As the mission goes on, you get a little hopeful that he might complete the task and get back to the Falcon in one piece.
Then, Kylo shows up and walks out to the catwalk. Surrounded by Stormtroopers, Han does what he has to do as a father and attempt to save his son. Heartbreaking. I started forming this idea in my head, before reading the novel, about WHO actually ignited the lightsaber. The obvious answer is Kylo, but I like to read into things way to much. Darth Vader was never able to kill a direct member of his family (Padme, Luke, sort of Leia) and I think that was one of the things that helped Luke bring him back to the light side at the end of Return. In my mind, it made perfect sense that Han knew this and wanted to save his son as best he could and keep him from crossing that line. Kylo Ren was truly asking his father for help on the catwalk because Han HAD to die or Snoke would know Kylo wasn’t committed and punish / kill him. The movie shows a slight struggle with the lightsaber once Kylo and Han have their hands on it, and then it is ignited. Han ignited it. To save his son and fulfill his promise to Leia of bringing her son back, not physically but from the dark side. In the moment, the best Han could do to accomplish that was to keep Kylo Ren from moving further to the dark side. I even speculated that further proof of this was that after he was stabbed, Han had a chance to lift his hand and caress his sons face before falling off into the abyss. If he had not been trying to save his son, wouldn’t he have tried to stop the reign of terror by grabbing Kylo Ren and pulling him down instead. Or not.
Then I read the book, where it clearly says Kylo Ren ignites the lightsaber. So, there’s that.
This is one of the things I love about the Star Wars universe, the endless ways you can interpret the movies, books, comics, etc. There is no right or wrong, unless the novelization points it out.
That’s what I got for now, a failed theory that was a lot of fun to discuss with my wife for awhile.