This legacy character’s cameo in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker creates an emotional scene that makes the sequel trilogy feel more cohesive.
Warning: There are SPOILERS ahead for Star Wars:The Rise of Skywalker.
Before The Rise of Skywalker came out, I was not crazy about the idea of a Han Solo cameo. He couldn’t return as a Force ghost and The Force Awakens did an effective job of concluding his arc. More than enough would be happening in the final film of the Skywalker saga without shoehorning in a cameo from Han.
After seeing the movie twice, I can confidently say that I was wrong. Han Solo’s cameo actually creates the best scene of the film.
One of the biggest issues with The Rise of Skywalker is that it makes a lot of the sequel trilogy feel incongruous. What’s refreshing about the scene featuring Han is that it’s one of the few moments in the movie that actually makes the sequel trilogy feel more cohesive. Much of the dialogue that passes between Kylo Ren and the memory of Han is the same dialogue that the two characters shared in The Force Awakens, even including the way Han touches his son’s face. Han risked everything then and allowed himself to be vulnerable to try and save his son.
Despite this, Han was killed, and the Kylo Ren identity was further embraced. Kylo chose wrong and it’s a choice that’s haunted him ever since. It’s not only clear in the subtext of Kylo’s actions and words, but in how other characters recognize the conflict and agony it’s created within him. In The Last Jedi, Snoke admonishes Kylo by saying, “The deed split your spirit to the bone.” At the end of that same movie, Luke Skywalker delivers the powerful line, “Strike me down in anger and I’ll always be with you. Just like your father.”
In The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo gets a chance to relive the memory of his last moments with his father, only this time he makes the right choice and earns the forgiveness that he’s been seeking.
By coming full-circle with this pivotal scene from the first film in the trilogy, the scene does justice to the overarching narrative and to the development of Ben Solo. It’s the perfect ending to Han’s development as it ensures his sacrifice was not in vain. He died thinking he failed and that his son had forever turned to the dark side. Han’s final action lived on, though, as his son revisited that moment, and now chose to hurl his red lightsaber into the watery depths and reclaim his identity as Ben Solo.
The Han and Ben Solo scene is also great because it’s one of the only “quiet” scenes in The Rise of Skywalker. Most of the film is packed with nonstop action sequences. These sequences are fun, but it’s essential to have quieter scenes with characters simply talking, forming connections, and being introspective. That’s how genuine character development often occurs.
Leia’s sacrifice, the deep empathy Rey showed when she healed Kylo, and what she said about wanting to take Ben Solo’s hand put him in a mindset where he was finally able to fully confront his inner conflict, the choices that still haunt him, and what this means for his future. This made it a natural point for the Han cameo to happen. Without this scene, the transformation from Kylo Ren to Ben Solo and his overall redemption wouldn’t have felt genuine or earned.
It was a perfect sendoff for Harrison Ford’s portrayal of Han Solo and a fitting evolution of the Kylo Ren/Ben Solo character played by Adam Driver.
What did you think of Han Solo’s cameo in The Rise of Skywalker? Let us know in the comments!