When it comes to beloved characters in the Star Wars canon, it doesn’t get much better than Han Solo. Equal parts hero and rogue, Harrison Ford’s performance as the famed smuggler completely embodied the character throughout his tenure in the saga. And while Han will be missed following his exit in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we’ll always remember him for a handful of moments that defined him. Here are those moments, ranked in descending order.
10. ‘Who’s scruffy looking?’
It may not be the most impactful moment emotionally, but this one is still important nonetheless. In response to Princess Leia’s biting insult that labeled him stuck-up, half-witted, and scruffy, it was hilarious to say the least for Han to focus on the latter quality.
Ultimately, it’s an exchange that sums up their love-hate relationship wonderfully, setting them up for the eventual hookup at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
9. Han’s blaster-centric viewpoint on religion
“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side,” Han tells a young Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: A New Hope, it’s a line that sums up both his religious and philosophical views as the franchise’s resident scoundrel.
Bringing things full circle, we see him completely reverse his viewpoint in The Force Awakens, when he admits that “it’s true … all of it,” in turn showing how his character has evolved.
8. ‘Chewie … we’re home.’
The Millennium Falcon is inextricably linked to Han and his Wookiee counterpart, Chewbacca. Despite its status as an oft-broken piece of space junk, it’s far more than that to the iconic duo that flies it.
That being so, it just didn’t seem right not having them at the helm at the beginning of The Force Awakens. When they stormed in and finally found themselves reunited with their ship though, hearing Han say, “Chewie … we’re home” was the heartwarming moment we were all waiting for.
7. Han puts his life on the line to save Luke
Han and Luke may not have gotten along when they first met, but their shared journey bonded them forever as friends. We see that firsthand in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, when Han risks his life to search for Luke in the middle of a deadly blizzard. When someone tries to alert Han to the possibility that he won’t make it back alive, he gives the perfect response: “Then I’ll see you in hell.”
6. ‘That’s not how the Force works!’
We see one of Han’s more hilarious (and honest) moments in The Force Awakens, when Finn naively says that they can use the Force to rescue Rey. Knowing that Luke required years of training to become a Jedi, Han corrects the young former Stormtrooper, noting “that’s not how the Force works!”
5. Han shoots first
The scene with Han and Greedo in the Mos Eisley cantina is easily the most controversial segment in the entire Star Wars saga. Multiple re-edits from George Lucas tried to make it seem as though Greedo shot first, while many stalwart fans insist that it was supposed to be the other way around.
If Han did shoot first, it establishes him as a true scoundrel, willing to do whatever’s necessary to survive.
4. Han saves the day at the end of A New Hope
You wouldn’t have been wrong to count Han out going into the Battle of Yavin. He got his money from saving Princess Leia, and had all he needed to pay off his debts to Jabba the Hutt and be on his way. But when the Rebellion needed him most, he swooped in to save the day, giving Luke a clear opening to destroy the Death Star, and deal the Empire their first major defeat.
3. A long-awaited reunion in The Force Awakens
The Force Awakens may have mostly focused on our newer characters, but it still left time for a heartfelt reunion between Han and Leia. It’s one that was filled with subtext: Both are still reeling from their son’s turn to the Dark Side, and chose to cope with it in different ways.
Now, years after that heartbreak, they’re brought together once again, in a bittersweet reunion between two people destined to be together, but never to be truly be happy together.
2. Han’s final moments
It was sad to see Han leave once and for all in The Force Awakens, but director J.J. Abrams gave him the exit he so rightfully deserved. Han spending his final moments trying to help his son find his way back to the light was equal parts heartbreaking and telling of the considerable quality of his character.
1. ‘I know.’
Famously ad-libbed by Harrison Ford, Han’s response to Leia’s “I love you” has become one of the most iconic quotes in the entire saga. It summarizes their relationship in just two words, as the pair’s reluctance to show emotion couples with their deep affection for each other. Ultimately, it’s the line that truly defines Han Solo, and the one he’ll be most remembered for in the annals of Star Wars history.
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