Few friendships in not only Star Wars, but all of popular culture are more iconic than that of Han Solo and Chewbacca.
First introduced to the world in 1977, Han Solo and Chewie’s relationship has developed even further over time across the films and additional content in the Star Wars universe.
To honor their unique bond, we’re going to take a look at the top five moments of their friendship. In order to narrow down the choices, the moments have been purely restricted to the movies.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the defining moments of the friendship between everyone’s favorite scoundrel and Wookie.
TOKYO, JAPAN – JUNE 12: Alden Ehrenreich attends the premiere for ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ at Roppongi Hills on June 12, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Ken Ishii/Getty Images for Disney)
1. How they met
One of Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s greatest strengths was how the film nailed the essence of Han and Chewbacca’s friendship. This was achieved right from the get-go with how the two characters met in a pit on the planet Mimban.
Their initial encounter in the pit was rough to say the least, but it allowed them to earn one another’s respect. Beyond just proving they could be tough, they more importantly proved they could think outside of the box, from Han speaking Shyriiwook to their plan to escape the pit.
Their escape plan set the precedent for their friendship for years to come. The plan was innovative, incredibly risky, and brilliant all at once.
Whether it was in the world of smuggling or fighting the Empire and First Order, moving forward Han and Chewie trusted one another to be bold and resourceful enough to pull off all their future crazy schemes.
Photo Credit: [Solo: A Star Wars Story] Lucasfilm
2. Chewbacca chooses to stay with Han
After playing his part in helping Han and company acquire the unrefined coaxium on Kessel in Solo, Chewbacca had the chance to depart with Wookies he helped free from the Pyke Syndicate. It certainly would’ve been an understandable choice to leave with his fellow Wookies as they are Chewbacca’s people.
That’s what makes it so touching that Chewbacca decides to stay with Han. Earlier in the film Han translates that Chewbacca is searching for his family, or to be more precise, his “tribe.”
It’s not that Chewbacca is abandoning the Wookies he’s freed in that moment. He’s helped them escape and now that they’re on their way, he chooses to stay because he realizes Han is part of his “tribe.” For all Han’s swagger and talk of being self-centered, Chewie clearly sees that he is a good person who’s already stuck out his neck for his Wookie friend several times.
The life debt Chewie owed Han for helping him escape captivity on Mimban wasn’t the real reason Chewie stuck around for all those years. It’s because of how he connected with Han, and their mutual respect and love.
3. “Save your strength.”
Shortly before the legendary “I love you/I know” exchange between Leia and Han in The Empire Strikes Back, a crucial moment occurs between Han and Chewbacca.
Chewie is understandably freaking out about his best friend being frozen in carbonite. He channels his emotions by roaring and throwing Stormtroopers into the carbon freezing chamber.
It is in this moment that Han says to Chewbacca, “Save your strength. There’ll be another time. The Princess. You have to take care of her. You hear me? Huh?”
Han is the one about to be frozen in carbonite, a process where it’s important to remember didn’t guarantee survival as Darth Vader was testing it out on Han to make sure he could later use it on Luke and deliver his son to the Emperor “undamaged.” Even though Han is entering a situation in which he might not survive, he’s the only one who’s able to get through to Chewie.
Not only is he able to calm Chewie down, but he’s able to give him a purpose. He makes Chewie realize their fight is not over, that his friend’s strength needs to be saved for another time. They may have lost this battle against the Empire, but that didn’t mean the war was over. On top of all that, he centers Chewbacca by giving him the responsibility to help look out for Leia.
This moment is beautiful because it demonstrates how well Han understands his friend and that Han is far less self-centered than many presume. It might be the end for Han, but in this moment he’s still more focused on helping his friend.
Chewbacca did save his strength and used it to play a pivotal role in aiding Leia and the others in escaping from the clutches of the Empire at the end of the movie. He would also go on to crucially assist in the plan to save Han from Jabba the Hutt at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.
4. Return of the Jedi reunion
Just when Han thinks he’s free after being released from the carbonite by Leia, he’s thrust into one of Jabba the Hutt’s grimy cells. Fortunately he isn’t alone as Chewbacca is also there, eager to greet Han with a trademark hug.
It’s a bleak time for Han as he and his friends find themselves captives of the treacherous Jabba. Even Leia had failed to extricate Han.
Chewbacca makes the best of a bitter situation, showering Han with affection and making it clear how grateful he is to have his best friend back. No matter how horrible things might get as prisoners of Jabba, Chewie reinforces that at least they’re back together and have each other.
As they’ve proven countless times in the past, never underestimate Han and Chewie, no matter the odds.
5. “Chewie, we’re home.”
Anyone holding out skepticism for The Force Awakens had those feelings shattered at the end of the second teaser trailer as Han appeared next to Chewbacca aboard the Millennium Falcon and said, “Chewie, we’re home.”
When first seen in the trailer, this moment delivered tremendous nostalgia, and also relief that the galaxy’s greatest duo was still together.
After watching The Force Awakens, their entrance takes on even greater meaning, though. Han lost almost everything he held dear. He lost his son Ben Solo to the Dark Side. As Kylo Ren, Han’s son helped actualize the rise of the First Order, the successor to the Empire, the very thing Han once sacrificed so much to destroy. To make matters worse, Han and Leia found themselves estranged from one another in the wake of their son’s transformation into Kylo Ren.
When Han was at rock bottom, it was Chewbacca who was there for him, Chewbacca who reunited with his old pal. When Han says “we’re home” it’s with a sense of optimism, a belief that things will get better.
Even though they don’t know it in that very moment, it’s that attitude that will allow Han and Chewbacca to help Rey, Finn, and the Resistance take on the First Order and renew hope in the galaxy. This would not have been possible if Chewbacca hadn’t been there for Han, the two best friends reuniting and going on to inspire a new generation.
What’s your favorite moment of Han Solo and Chewbacca’s relationship? Let us know in the comments below!