Han Solo and Pathos in the Star Wars Films

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Photo Credit: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back/LucasFilm Ltd. Image Acquired from Disney Media Distribution

An examination of pathos in the smuggler captain

Han Solo is an icon. He is known to Star Wars fans far and wide as a rugged and roguish ne’er-do-well who through wry cynicism and a pesky heroic streak managed to help save a rebellion and win the heart of a princess. We here at the Dork Side of the Force have dedicated the month of September to examining Han Solo, his accomplishments, his accomplices, and his lasting effect on the film franchise.

As with all great cinematic and literary characters there is more to Han Solo than just the initial persona presented. Yes, he shot first, and all that implies about who he was in that moment, but there is a another dimension to him that can be read. Amongst the core three heroes of the Original Trilogy, Han Solo offers a unique opportunity to examine the concept of Pathos as it occurs in Star Wars. Below we will further explore the character of Han Solo and detail how he is especially representative of pathos in the Star Wars diegetic universe.

A note on methodology: We will be pulling evidence from the main canonical films that feature Han Solo prominently. This includes the stand alone Solo film, the OT, and the ST. Additional sourcing will include the recent threads from Jon Kasdan who co-wrote Solo: A Star Wars Story. The intention is not one of subversion or character assassination, but that of deeper appreciation for the nuance of a complex anti-hero. It is not our contention that the material is somehow hidden, or even particularly subtextual. It lies merely overlooked.

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