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How Did Han Solo Die?

How Did Han Solo Die?

A renowned smuggler and Rebel leader, Han Solo has been central to the Star Wars movies. As a reckless character, he could have died on many occasions.

In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, for example, Han could have died when battling a group of stormtroopers on the Death Star. Or, in Episode VII: The Force Awakens, he was nearly eaten by Rathtars. 

Star Wars 7 The Force Awakens Rathtar

But when Han Solo eventually died, it shocked audiences.

How did Han Solo die? As Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens reveals, Solo died at the hands of Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. Yet, some fans contend that he still lived on. 

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How Did Han Solo Die in Star Wars?

Han Solo, smuggler and pilot of the Millenium Falcon became a forefront leader in the Rebel Alliance. He was central to defeating the Empire. 

Han Solo image

Han eventually married Princess Leia Organa, and they had a son named Ben Solo. Ben Solo went to train with Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi but succumbed to the Dark Side of the Force. 

When Han Solo returns in The Force Awakens, he attempts to bring his son Ben [now Kylo Ren] home. Kylo stabs Solo with his lightsaber, and Han falls to his death in the depths of the Starkiller Base.

So, according to the Star Wars movies, Han Solo died at the hands of his son. 

However, in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, Han Solo appears to Kylo Ren in the form of a memory. During this scene, Ben replays Han’s death in his mind, but this time 

"Kylo Ren is Dead. My Son is Alive" Han Solo Saves Ben From The Dark Side | The Rise Of Skywalker HD

Ben redeems himself and proceeds to the Light Side of the Force. 

We may conclude that Han Solo lived on in a similar way to Force Ghosts (more on this topic below).

How Did Han Solo Die in Legends?

According to the comics and books published before 2014, or what’s referred to as Legends, Han Solo lived a different life than what the canon movies portray.

In Legends, for example, Han served as a general in the New Republic and Chewbacca was the one who died.

And Han did not die in Legends. Han lived on like Luke Skywalker and General Leia into the Second Galactic Civil War.

In one Legends comic book called Into the Great Unknown from 2004, Han does die, but at the hands of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Some accounts do have Han dying by other means.

According to the Dark Empire comic series, though, Han Solo not only lives on but kills Emperor Palpatine’s body for the final time. In The Empire’s End issue, Luke, Leia, and Han confront Palpatine, and Solo blasts the Emperor

How Han Solo Killed Emperor Palpatine | Star Wars Legends

Legends provides different trajectories than the Star War movies. In the movies, Solo dies. But does he live on as a Force Ghost?

Is Han Solo Really Dead?

Given these different ways of viewing Han Solo’s presumed death, we may conclude that he is really not dead. 

One article focuses on the scene of Han’s return in The Rise of Skywalker and whether Solo became a Force Ghost

The scene goes like this: As Rey and Kylo Ren are engaged in a lightsaber battle, Leia is about to die and communicates with Kylo/Ben. Through the Force, Leia projects herself outward to Ben to try to save him. 

Leia’s contact with Ben distracts him enough to allow Rey a chance to stab him with her lightsaber. Then Rey also realizes that Leia has died and uses the Force to heal Ben.

Right after this sequence of events, Ben questions his path to the Dark Side and Han Solo returns. Kylo accepts Han as his father and through their interaction, we may see Han more as a Force Ghost, rather than a memory.

If he is a Force Ghost, Han could live on in the way that Jedi who have perished do. 

However, this same article concludes that a Han is returning as a memory projection of Ben. If appearing only as a memory, then Han did indeed die. 

Han Solo's Death Scene -- Episode VII

Star Wars websites confirm that Han Solo is dead. For example, one article played with the idea that Han may have survived only to dismiss it. After all, the Starkiller planet exploded, leaving no chance of survival. 

Some articles say Han died for no good reason. It is not clear what lesson audience members were to take away from his death. 

Fan discussion posts further testify that Solo is dead, but point out why it was significant to the Star Wars movies.

One post, for example, specifies that Han’s death mobilized Rey into action and enabled her true Jedi powers to develop. Han’s death could have also helped draw Luke out of exile. 

Could Han Solo Have Died Earlier?

Star Wars fans have heard about how actor Harrison Ford voted for Solo’s death in the original trilogy.

Ford had recommended that Han die in-between Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Ford thought Solo could accidentally die from carbon freezing. 

STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Clip - Carbon Freezing (1980) Harrison Ford

Solo could have died in an earlier movie if Ford’s ideas had been pursued. Likewise, screenwriter and director Lawrence Kasdan voted for Solo to die in Return of the Jedi. 

Kasdan thought Solo should die heroically disabling the deflector shield on Endor. 

Ford also thought Han Solo’s death would be important for the film series. He commented that Solo’s “sacrifice for the other characters would lend gravitas and emotional weight.

Both Ford and Kasdan, like fans, saw Han Solo’s demise as a key element to moving Star Wars forward. 

The End of Han Solo

Star Wars movies and websites agree–Han Solo died when his son Ben stabbed him with a lightsaber. Han then fell into the pit of the Starkiller Base.

However, Legends comics indicate that Han either lived on or died in another way. Others see the return of Han in The Rise of Skywalker as evidence that Solo continued as a viable memory.

As Harrison Ford recommended, though, it seems that the end of Han Solo has come.

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