Dork Side Duel: Should Han Solo Die in ‘The Force Awakens’?


In the Star Wars universe, only Sith deal in absolutes. But on Dork Side, we don’t discriminate against Force-users who take a stand. In Dork Side Duel, two members of our writing staff wield words instead of lightsabers and argue over the most controversial topics concerning a galaxy far, far away. It doesn’t matter who shoots first, as long as they choose their targets wisely. 

The Light Side

David: No, Han should live through all three movies, and even then, he should have a clone of himself made so that he can live on throughout the rest of the Star Wars timeline. I’m only halfway kidding. Look, there are few characters in the Star Wars universe that elicit such a strong emotional response from fans than Han Solo. I’m not ashamed to admit it: I cried at the end of the second The Force Awakens teaser when he utters “Chewie…we’re home.”

Besides that, I don’t even want to see Chewbacca react to Han’s death. I liken it to Where the Red Fern Grows, and one of the dogs die, so the other does too, because of a broken heart. I can’t even…I just cannot be put through that kind of emotional sabotage. I mean, I had to sit through the credits of Marley and Me, just to compose myself and stop the full body shaking — uncontrollable sobs.

Also, the galaxy needs Han Solo. They need his special brand of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants piloting. All those trained X-Wing pilots had nothing on Han’s expert maneuvering around the Death Star. And, who will deliver those amazing one-liners? Luke? I know that at some point, Han Solo will have to die, I get it. But, I don’t want it to happen in The Force Awakens because it’s just too darn soon. J.J. Abrams just gave Han back to us, would he really be so cruel as to rip him away? I hope not.

“I love you.”

“I know.”

The Dark Side

Kyle: Let’s be honest: Han’s death has been overdue for about 30 years.

This goes all the way back to Return of the Jedi. The assault on the Second Death Star was supposed to be Han’s heroic last stand, the moment where he sacrifices himself for his friends and finally fulfills his character arc. Harrison Ford pushed for Han to bite it before the end credits, but he was rebuffed by George Lucas, who didn’t think it was appropriate for potential toy sales the character’s trajectory.

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You can see how disappointed Ford is with how his role in Episode VI turned out. Han is still great in the movie, but Ford is so out of it and disinterested that it neutralizes the satisfaction of seeing Han grow into a true man and hero.

That’s why Han needs to die in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Not only is it right for the character, who by all accounts has turned into a shadow of himself that we were never really meant to see, but it’s also what Ford deserves. This is the chance for the actor to finally put a cap on a role that’s clearly turned into more of a burden than a badge of honor. This is the chance for Abrams to display the courage that Lucas lacked 30 years ago.

And it’s not like that will be the last we see of the smuggler. He’s got his own movie coming out in 2018, and while that make Disney hesitant to kill him off, I think it would add a touching emotional resonance to a story that looks back on his younger years.

Han may have shot first, but he doesn’t need to shoot last. It’s time to hang up the blaster.

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