Our favorite Star Wars characters

5 of 13

Photo Credit: [Star Wars: Return of the Jedi] Lucasfilm

Han Solo

Appearances: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens

Defining Moment: Coming back to save Luke and the rebellion solidifying his place in the fight


I remember the first time I responded to my now wife’s “I love you” with “I know” and sleeping on the couch later that night. I couldn’t blame her, she grew up in Indiana. To paraphrase the great Obi Wan, “That place is more territory than state”.

While we all loved Luke as kids growing up with the OT, Han Solo was who I wanted to be. A pilot with an incredible ship, his best friend was a giant Wookiee, and he was the coolest guy in the galaxy. Plus, he got the girl while Luke got to carry an old man and start a fire.

Han Solo was a cynically smug pirate who charmed fans and princesses alike. It was clear that Luke was the hero of the saga, but Solo was someone who lived in between the light and the dark, the whole while we didn’t understand where the boundary was. At times he could be sarcastic and other times heroic. But each time you saw him on screen you knew he was going to be great.

Between the three main heroes (Sorry, Chewie), Han Solo had the most to overcome internally. He was more antihero than hero making his character relatable to every Star Wars fan. Luke was always meant to become a Jedi, like his father. Leia already tough as nails and no nonsense, grew in her role in the Rebellion, only softening for her love of Han.

Han starts outside of both the Empire and Rebellion. A rebel with a cause. Money! Looking for a payday to save his hide from Jabba. Once the Rebels pay him for is role in rescuing Leia, he is off, thankfully searching within to help Luke destroy the Death Star. In Empire Strikes Back he is ready to leave again, only to find his good outweighing his selfishness to save Leia and C3PO from impending doom. And by the end when he is about to become a Han-sicle, his coolness returns (pun intended) with his classic retort to Leia’s profession of her feelings.

Han is probably the most relatable of all the Star Wars characters. He can be charming, cynical, a rebel, yet deep down is an all-around good guy. Unless he is backed into a corner. Then he shoots first. But he also tips on his way out. Exactly the guy an 8-year-old me wanted to be. He represents the dichotomy that resides in all us. I can’t think of a more likable character. Maybe Jar Jar…

Oh and how did it end up with my wife? I made it my mission to indoctrinate her in all things Star Wars after that and thankfully she understood my fan boy love. We now have an “I love you, I know” piece of artwork that hangs outside our bedroom so it is the first thing we see every morning. Next is to explain what icing is in hockey. Wish me luck.

–Graig Stephens