Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

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FaxModem1
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Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-07-23 12:48pm

In The Force Awakens, we see Han operating as more of a two bit scoundrel with a heart of gold, always one step away from being caught by someone who is after him, which is pretty much where he was in A New Hope, in which he is a two bit scoundrel with a heart of gold who is one step away from being caught by someone who is after him. In Empire Strikes Back, we see him as the reluctant hero, eventually facing death(or the equivalent of it as he is frozen in carbonite). In Return of the Jedi, he has become a full on General in the Rebel Alliance(promoted while in Carbonite no less). So, after the time skip he has returned to his roots, and is again a smuggler, working on his own, with no riches, titles, glory, honor, and viewed as a bit of a loser by everyone, until he is killed by his own son.

Should Han have changed, or is too integral to his character that he never got above being a failed smuggler who is routinely chased by those with whom he had deals with that fell through?

If so, what journey should he have taken? Would Han still be Han if he was a top general in the New Republic? Or head of some sort of Trade company? Or head of some sort of black market Smuggling empire? Or somewhere else? Where can you take the character?

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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-23 02:47pm

I think in a lot of ways, post ROTJ, Han got thrust into a situation he wasn't able to adapt well to-- being the spouse of, effectively, the new leader of the free galaxy. Given that the Disney-canon New Republic seems to have demilitarized very quickly, he was out of his generaling job, and had to fart about at various business ventures which weren't particularly successful from the sound of it. Plus his marriage broke down quickly due to the incompatibility of Leia's politician job and his ventures keeping them from spending enough time together.

Part of this, I think, builds upon Harrison Ford's open disdain for being on-screen in ROTJ; it requires a little reading into the character, but it's clear he didn't care about being there very much. He managed to hold up the plot thread of Han's relationship with Leia fairly effectively, but apart from that... he was there for the money.

So honestly I don't think TFA was an unrealistic point for Han to reach in his life, doing what he knew he was good at (flying ships around space).

Now if you include the Han Solo prequel, then that puts a little bit of a twist on it, and opens up the possibility of black-market criminal connections. However the ending suggests he was trying to run away to some degree from the Crimson Dawn (particularly after Qi'ra leaves him behind), and was shifting his attention to being a free agent.

Honestly though the space between ROTJ and TFA is pretty vague as far as current canon goes. I always liked the old canon idea that Han kept up being a general for some time until he married Leia-- makes good enough sense for me, if you're a decent military commander (never mind that the movies never really showed WHY he was a general) you might be able to make a career out of it. If he was a general because he was Leia's boyfriend though, that's another story.
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-23 04:17pm

I think Han's story makes sense given the events of the ST.

If his son hadn't fallen, if there hadn't been that between him and Leia, I think he would have kept fighting with the Resistance actively.

Han as a general... yeah, that could work. Though actually, I'd put Han either commanding a special forces team (as on Endor), or in some sort of law enforcement branch of the NR (who better than a former smuggler to catch smugglers?).
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-23 04:28pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-23 04:17pm
I think Han's story makes sense given the events of the ST.

If his son hadn't fallen, if there hadn't been that between him and Leia, I think he would have kept fighting with the Resistance actively.

Han as a general... yeah, that could work. Though actually, I'd put Han either commanding a special forces team (as on Endor), or in some sort of law enforcement branch of the NR (who better than a former smuggler to catch smugglers?).
The latter sounds reasonable, but I think one thing Leia might have wanted to avoid was looking like she was using her position to promote Han within the Republic. Remember how much of a flap royals marrying commoners could raise even very recently within our own history-- I imagine a similar situation could've arisen with Leia and Han.

I think if Han had been doing anything else, it would've given the ST a very different dynamic, whether for good or bad. If he was still a military commander for the NR, for example, there's the whole "fighting his own family" angle, it might have put the NR in official conflict with the First Order, there might not be a reason for the Resistance to exist, etc...
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-23 04:45pm

I don't think Han being a general would make the whole NR get off its ass and go to war.

I can see nepotism concerns, but frankly, Han's actions in the war ought to have more than proven his capability. He participated in the battles of Yavin, Hoth, and Endor, got Leia off Hoth, and destroyed the shield on Endor, allowing the Rebellion to, you know, win the whole war. He's more than proved his merit.
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-23 05:49pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-23 04:45pm
I can see nepotism concerns, but frankly, Han's actions in the war ought to have more than proven his capability. He participated in the battles of Yavin, Hoth, and Endor, got Leia off Hoth, and destroyed the shield on Endor, allowing the Rebellion to, you know, win the whole war. He's more than proved his merit.
Hang on, how the heck did he fight in the battle of Hoth? All he did there was shoot the probe droid. Hardly exceptional. 'Participate' perhaps if you start the battle from that point, I suppose.

Yavin likewise wasn't any particular act of generalship-- he showed up at the last minute and sucker-punched Darth Vader and his TIEs before they could pot-shot Luke. It's as if a French merchant ship showed up at the last minute of the Battle of Trafalgar and broadsided Admiral Nelson before he could complete his victory. Is the French captain suddenly going to get appointed an admiral in the French fleet? It could get him rank in the military, depending on how you look at him being addressed as 'Captain Solo' in ESB-- either it's 'Captain Solo' as in 'of the Millennium Falcon' or as in 'of the Alliance', I don't think it's ever said one way or the other.

Endor I grant you, he was in charge of that mission apparently, but one could question the wisdom of having a General command such a small force. There may have been other Rebel forces on Endor, particularly after the Rebel fleet arrived, but until the shield went down no ships were approaching the Forest Moon as far as I know. It does depend somewhat on how you interpret them having to get through the shield to land on the planet, whether the shield encompassed the moon or if it was just the official path of approach or whatever.

In current canon far as I know there's no real indication of military capability. Occasional heroism certainly, and a stint in the Imperial military as per the new film as a grunt, but no large-scale operations, no commanding of armies or fleets. The best interpretation I've seen thus far is that for whatever reason the Rebels considered the commando mission on Endor important enough to be commanded by a general, asked Solo to command it, and decided to promote him while they were at it. Something like that. Presumably when the comics get far enough along they may include some bits where he commands Rebel detachments before ESB, the comics are currently somewhere in the middle between ANH-ESB.

As for him in the NR military as an alternative character route: I say it might cause official NR involvement against the FO as it would be harder for the NR to ignore a legitimate member of their military engaging the First Order in battle, particularly a high profile war hero like Solo. I still think the whole demilitarization of the NR was kind of a bad background idea, but then there's so much I can nitpick about the background of the sequel trilogy it's just another thing...
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-23 07:07pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-07-23 05:49pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-23 04:45pm
I can see nepotism concerns, but frankly, Han's actions in the war ought to have more than proven his capability. He participated in the battles of Yavin, Hoth, and Endor, got Leia off Hoth, and destroyed the shield on Endor, allowing the Rebellion to, you know, win the whole war. He's more than proved his merit.
Hang on, how the heck did he fight in the battle of Hoth? All he did there was shoot the probe droid. Hardly exceptional. 'Participate' perhaps if you start the battle from that point, I suppose.
He blasted his way out through an Imperial blockade, and risked himself getting Leia out in the process.
Yavin likewise wasn't any particular act of generalship-- he showed up at the last minute and sucker-punched Darth Vader and his TIEs before they could pot-shot Luke. It's as if a French merchant ship showed up at the last minute of the Battle of Trafalgar and broadsided Admiral Nelson before he could complete his victory. Is the French captain suddenly going to get appointed an admiral in the French fleet? It could get him rank in the military, depending on how you look at him being addressed as 'Captain Solo' in ESB-- either it's 'Captain Solo' as in 'of the Millennium Falcon' or as in 'of the Alliance', I don't think it's ever said one way or the other.
IIRC, doesn't one of the Rebels refer to him as "Commander Solo" on Hoth? Unless I'm mistaken, that would suggest that he had received a rank equivalent to Luke's at the time(Luke was the CO of a fighter squadron).

In any case, neither Yavin nor Hoth demonstrate generalship, but they do demonstrate qualities (courage under fire, commitment to the cause, ability to improvise in a crisis) that might be prerequisites to higher rank.

Also, the Rebellion was probably perpetually strapped for good officers, considering its rag-tag nature in its early years.
Endor I grant you, he was in charge of that mission apparently, but one could question the wisdom of having a General command such a small force. There may have been other Rebel forces on Endor, particularly after the Rebel fleet arrived, but until the shield went down no ships were approaching the Forest Moon as far as I know. It does depend somewhat on how you interpret them having to get through the shield to land on the planet, whether the shield encompassed the moon or if it was just the official path of approach or whatever.
I suspect that the general rank was given partly as a reward for his services in getting Leia off of Hoth in one piece. It is rather high for the size of the force he was commanding.
In current canon far as I know there's no real indication of military capability. Occasional heroism certainly, and a stint in the Imperial military as per the new film as a grunt, but no large-scale operations, no commanding of armies or fleets. The best interpretation I've seen thus far is that for whatever reason the Rebels considered the commando mission on Endor important enough to be commanded by a general, asked Solo to command it, and decided to promote him while they were at it. Something like that. Presumably when the comics get far enough along they may include some bits where he commands Rebel detachments before ESB, the comics are currently somewhere in the middle between ANH-ESB.
Yavin and Hoth (as well as his breakout of Leia from the Death Star) demonstrate proficiency as a pilot and commando, personal courage and ability to improvise under pressure, and in the case of Yavin and Hoth, commitment to the Rebels. Not generalship per say, but certainly military ability. Solo also shows that he served a stint in the Imperial military. That much combat experience ought to qualify him for a lower officer rank, such as commander. The generalship was probably in recognition of the fact that he had got Leia off Hoth and then spent months as Jabba's trophy as a consequence. Though he could have, and probably did, command small units in other engagements during and after the OT, off-screen.

His stint at Endor was his first on-screen mission as an officer leading men in the field. He performed quite well, considering. I don't know if general is the right rank for Solo- I certainly don't think he belongs behind a desk all day in an administrative post. But as a commander of star fighter squadrons or small commando squads in the field, he's fine.
As for him in the NR military as an alternative character route: I say it might cause official NR involvement against the FO as it would be harder for the NR to ignore a legitimate member of their military engaging the First Order in battle, particularly a high profile war hero like Solo. I still think the whole demilitarization of the NR was kind of a bad background idea, but then there's so much I can nitpick about the background of the sequel trilogy it's just another thing...
If Han were to lead an attack on the First Order without authorization, he'd presumably be disavowed and court-martialed, just as, say, a Canadian general would be if he decided to launch a unilateral strike on North Korea.

And Leia, also a war hero and a major political power for a time, wasn't able to persuade them. Why should her husband have any more success?
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by Imperial528 » 2018-07-23 07:32pm

Consider as well that there's a good three years between ANH and TESB. It's implied Han was with the Rebellion that whole time, so there should be plenty of chances for him to have proved himself in battle, even if we didn't see them.

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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-23 08:10pm

Imperial528 wrote:
2018-07-23 07:32pm
Consider as well that there's a good three years between ANH and TESB. It's implied Han was with the Rebellion that whole time, so there should be plenty of chances for him to have proved himself in battle, even if we didn't see them.
They are exploring this in the current run of Star Wars comics by Marvel, which are fully canon (IIRC the old comics by Dark Horse were a little more sketchy in early canon, particularly the very early Marvel Star Wars series).

Anyway: I also don't think 'blasting through the Imperial blockade' is particularly impressive either. Nothing much about hot-rodding past a bunch of Star Destroyers, without even shooting at them, really suggests 'military' to me... just his old smuggling tricks writ large. Likewise, there was nothing particularly military about Yavin; he ran away from the fight, had second thoughts, came back and took a few shots at the TIEs chasing Luke's IFF. That's about it. He gets points for affirming a certain commitment to the Alliance and joining their cause (however temporarily that proved to be), but pretty much until ROTJ his commitment is pretty tenuous. It's less about ideals and more about personal interests; there's a cute girl, a guy he's sorta friends with, and he can be pretty sure bounty hunters won't try to nick him out of military bases.

I cannot say one way or another (haven't looked into it too much) if the Alliance gave him an official rank in their military before ESB; I'm fairly sure the reference is 'Captain Solo', but I could be wrong (been a really long time since I watched the OT).

Han being NR military in TFA: I say it depends on how the alt-plot handles it and how the factions play it up in-universe. "Admiral Solo Viciously Attacks First Order" is rather different from, say, "Admiral Solo Saves Valiant Resistance Base from First Order Tyrants". And of course if Kylo Ren still kills him, he's not going to get court-martialed, now is he? Particularly if Starkiller Base is still a thing (remember we're talking about alternate plots here) and blows up Hosnian anyway.

Hell you could even play with most of TFA's plot without changing it too much. When Rey and Finn flee Jakku on the Falcon, they're picked up by a Republic naval flotilla that just happens to be commanded by Solo, playing border-protection duties; they go to a Republic base, maybe on a named planet from the OT or PT like Dantooine, insert Rey's little Force-vision moment; Hosnian goes boom; wacky shenanigans happen involving the First Order attacking; Rey captured, etc, the Resistance shows up to reinforce them; Han decides to take his flotilla to reinforce the Resistance attack on Starkiller Base since the Republic's general staff is gone anyway so he's the man in charge now; he decides to take one last ride in the Falcon for old times' sake to Starkiller Base ... and proceed. The Resistance attack on Starkiller Base isn't a total knock-off of ANH now because there's a fleet action, we get to see more of the FO military and the Republic military, the small-scale movie becomes a wee bit bigger. I see minimal issues here. Beyond those that were already there ;)
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by ray245 » 2018-07-23 11:54pm

Han being a military leader actaully helps Leia. Leia can act as the political leader training her protege, while Han can be a military leader with Poe as his protege.
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by MKSheppard » 2018-08-01 07:41pm

Off the top of my head:

Han Solo cannot lose the Falcon for years

Sure, he might temporarily lose it at the start of an adventure, but by the end, he's got it back; instead of spending years drifting through space as a hermit looking for his lost beloved ship.

The Falcon by TFA is one of the most famous YT-1300s in the galaxy -- it is in other words, "too hot to handle" for a ship thief.
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-08-01 07:46pm

Hadn't thought of that, but yeah. Its probably THE most famous ship in existence, considering it belonged to a general, the husband of a major politician, and made two Death Star attacks and survived.
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by MKSheppard » 2018-08-01 07:52pm

Basically, if I was a shipjacker working on a random outer rim world, and I broke into a YT1300 and realized that it was the goddamn Millennium Falcon, I'd be booking it out of there as fast as I could, because in addition to the known famous escapades (DS1, DS2, Hoth, etc), there are probably scores of other minor adventures where someone went up against Han and the gang and lost, big time.

So...a big NOPE.JPG.
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by ray245 » 2018-08-02 07:03am

MKSheppard wrote:
2018-08-01 07:41pm
Off the top of my head:

Han Solo cannot lose the Falcon for years

Sure, he might temporarily lose it at the start of an adventure, but by the end, he's got it back; instead of spending years drifting through space as a hermit looking for his lost beloved ship.

The Falcon by TFA is one of the most famous YT-1300s in the galaxy -- it is in other words, "too hot to handle" for a ship thief.
You're putting far more thought into the story than JJ Abrams did. All they did was to make sure they get a good trailer shot of Han saying "We're home".
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-08-02 05:11pm

To be fair, I don't think they've ever said how he lost the Falcon in the first place. Being such a famous ship, it would have been no little thing for someone to steal, but it's possible if they knew what they were about. Or, he could have simply lost it gambling. Easy come... easy go.

While it's indeed improbable that he would have lost the Falcon, and that it would've passed notice for a decade-plus if not longer, it's not really impossible.
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Re: Should Han's character have gone a different direction?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-08-02 06:00pm

It could be indicative of how far Han has come down in the world, with the loss of his family's prestige in the NR. He's no longer Han the famous general and war hero, married to Leia the famous politician and brother in law to Luke the famous Jedi. He's just a shmuck smuggler again who's past his prime, and who's friends and family are either dead, discredited, evil, or in hiding. Sure, the Falcon was famous once, but thirty years is a long time, even in the real world. Memories fade. Glory doesn't last.

Its depressing, but maybe Han and the Falcon just aren't that important in-universe any more.
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