18. Han Solo
(Write-up by Kyle Warnke, Dork Side of the Force Assistant Editor)
I’ve always been dissatisfied with how we left Han. Going back all the way to that cantina shootout in A New Hope, in which he may or may not have taken the first shot, Han has displayed the most significant transformative arc of the three leads. But it never quite finished the way it was supposed to, like reaching the top of the rollercoaster only to have the ride stall on you.
Harrison Ford wanted Han to die in Return of the Jedi, but he was shot down in real-life by George Lucas, for reasons we’ll never know but can probably suspect are tied to merchandising. It would have been a wrenching story development for fans, but one can ponder that it might have elevated the reputation of Return of the Jedi, which is often derided for some of its silliness in the wake of the darkness of The Empire Strikes Back.
Ford himself has had the most success post-Star Wars but he’s also played a rogue when it comes to the Star Wars community. He usually skips the convention and the reunions, and even if his plane accident hadn’t happened, I doubt he would have attended Celebration this year. Which is kind of amazing when it’s his line in the trailer that sold the whole thing.
This makes it odd that he would be willing to return to the role that he wanted to end so badly in 1983, although perhaps he felt “drafted” just like Mark Hamill. Or perhaps J.J. Abrams will finally let him go out his own way, exactly like he wanted to in the first place.
Next: The Ithorian with a heart