A History of Han Solo

in Star Wars

han solo

Credit: Lucasfilm

Pilot. Smuggler. Rebel. General. Han Solo wears many hats in the Star Wars universe, but perhaps his most important roles are Princess Leia’s lover and Chewbacca’s best friend. There’s certainly more to Solo than meets the eye — he’s far from the “scruffy nerfherder” the Princess finds herself contending with early in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Here, we dive into Han’s backstory and discover exactly who the Millennium Falcon pilot really is.

harrison ford han solo
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Han Solo’s origin story

What events does Solo, the movie, cover?

Even after the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), relatively little is known about Solo’s formative years. He alludes to the fact that he was on his own on the rough streets of Corellia from a very young age, but the film picks up when young Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his then-girlfriend, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), leave Corellia to escape the clutches of Lady Proxima.
han solo with cloud riders
Credit: Lucasfilm

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The film details a wild series of events that see Solo leaving Qi’ra behind when she is detained, deserting the Imperial military to join a rogue band of criminals who, it turns out, are working for Maul’s (Ray Park) Crimson Dawn crime syndicate via Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), and, ultimately, aiding the Cloud-Riders, led by Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman).

The group is led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), who ultimately talks Solo and his new Wookiee friend, Chewbacca, into making the Kessel Run to steal coaxium from Kessel — yes, it’s shades of Millennium Falcon – Smugglers Run for all of you Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge fans.

chewbacca and sagwa
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Who Is Lando Calrissian?

Once on Kessel, the group — which includes Solo’s famous frenemy, Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), and his droid, L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) — end up not only obtaining the unstable coaxium they need, but launching a daring rescue of numerous slaves, including Chewbacca’s Wookiee friend, Sagwa.

Ultimately, following Vos’s death, it is revealed that Qi’ra has aspirations to move up within the Crimson Dawn organization. Since there is no Solo 2 planned at this time, per director Ron Howard, it is not known if we will ever see more of Qi’ra’s story in the current Star Wars canon.

(from left) chewbacca, lando, qi'ra, han in millennium falcon cockpit
Credit: Lucasfilm

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With so many streaming series in the works for Disney+, however, a continuation of the tale is certainly not out of the realm of possibility at some point, though nothing has been confirmed.

The official description of the standalone Star Wars movie reads:

Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an epic action-adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, beginning a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes. 

donald glover as Lando
Credit: Lucasfilm

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How old is Han Solo in his first appearance?

Solo’s age is never directly stated in any Star Wars movie. However, thanks to some detective work and some knowledge of the Star Wars timeline, it is possible to determine the character’s age at various points throughout the Skywalker Saga (and during Solo).

alden ehrenreich as han solo
Credit: Lucasfilm

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ScreenRant did the heavy lifting, noting:

Based on the chronological timeline presented in Star Wars, Han’s earliest appearance came in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which featured Alden Ehrenreich in the role. While Han’s age in Solo was a bit unclear, the official guide book for the film stated that the character’s birthdate was around 32 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin). Based on this fact, Han was born on the planet Corellia during the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and he was 13-years-old by the end of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Han would have been around the age of 19 during the early events of Solo, seeing as the movie begins in 13 BBY. It was then that he managed to escape from his home planet, but his girlfriend, Qi’ra, was forced to stay behind. Han reunited with her three years later in 10 BBY, indicating that he was 22 when he joined Tobias Beckett before sympathizing with the Rebels.

princess leia and han solo kissing on endor
Credit: Lucasfilm

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ScreenRant then went on to note Solo’s age during the events of George Lucas’s original trilogy:

By the end of Solo, Han and Chewie declined an offer to join the Rebel Alliance, and instead, the pair set their sights on Tatooine [and Jabba the Hutt’s criminal organization]. For the next decade, Han became a skilled smuggler, leading to the start of the first Star Wars film, which was set in 0 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin). At this point, Han was 32-years-old, making him the oldest of the trio at the center of the original trilogy. When Han was frozen in carbonite by the demand of Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, three years had passed. Therefore, by the time Han participated in the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, Han was 36 since it was the year 4 ABY.

han solo force awakens
Credit: Lucasfilm

This means that by the time septuagenarian actor, Harrison Ford, reprised his role as Han Solo in the Star Wars sequel trilogy between 2015 and 2019, the character was 66 years old. Unfortunately, as all Star Wars fans know, Solo never reached the age Ford was when he last played the Star Wars icon…

What major events was Han Solo present for?

Because Han Solo has been part of the Star Wars story since the first Star Wars movie, Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), he was present for most major events, including the Battle of Yavin, the Battle of Hoth, the Battle of Endor (and the destruction of the second Death Star), and, in Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015), preparations for the destruction of Starkiller Base.

starkiller base preparation the force awakens
Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

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Furthermore, since Solo is older than his original trilogy (and sequel trilogy) companions, Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), he would have been a child when Emperor Palpatine executed Order 66, though he would have been too young to fully understand the implications of the transfer from Republic to Empire at that time in his life.

You can discover more about Han Solo’s canon timeline here:

Where is Han Solo from?

Han Solo hails from the planet Corellia, where he was orphaned as a small child. Wookieepedia describes Corellia as:

Corellia was a planet located in the galaxy’s Core Worlds known for its ace pilots and large starships. Vessels such as the Millennium Falcon and Imperial starships were built on Corellia.

Corellia was located in the Corellian sector in the Core Worlds. It had a temperate climate and was covered in forests, jungles, and urban centers. One major city was Coronet City (also the planet’s capital), which was home to shipyards used to build TIE fighters and Star Destroyers for the Galactic Empire.

The planet’s human inhabitants were called Corellians[14] and were known for their wanderlust. Besides humans, Corellia was also inhabited by several alien species including Barbadelans, Besalisks, Czerialans, Grindalids,[8] Kel Dor, Pa’lowicks, Rodians, Sullustans, Twi’leks, and Ugor. In addition, Corellia was also home to several native creatures including Corellian hounds and fleek eels.

corellia coronet city
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Han Solo’s love interests and friends

Chewbacca

han-and-chewie
Credit: Lucasfilm

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The official Star Wars Databank describes Han Solo’s best friend and copilot as:

A legendary Wookiee warrior and Han Solo’s longtime co-pilot, Chewbacca continues to serve as faithful first mate to carry out daring missions against the First Order behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon. Known as Chewie to his closest friends, he was part of a core group of rebels who restored freedom to the galaxy during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Known for his short temper and accuracy with a bowcaster, Chewie also has a big heart and unwavering loyalty to his friends.

Luke Skywalker

luke skywalker in the mandalorian
Credit: Lucasfilm

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The official Star Wars Databank describes the young Jedi who, more often than not, found Han treating him like an older brother (who can forget the Tauntaun situation?) as:

Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known. Along with his friends Princess Leia and Han Solo, Luke battled the evil Empire, discovered the truth of his parentage, and ended the tyranny of the Sith. A generation later, the location of the famed Jedi master was one of the galaxy’s greatest mysteries. Haunted by Ben Solo’s fall to evil and convinced the Jedi had to end, Luke sought exile on a distant world, ignoring the galaxy’s pleas for help. But his solitude would be interrupted – and Luke Skywalker had one final, momentous role to play in the struggle between good and evil.

Princess Leia Organa

princess leia a new hope
Credit: Lucasfilm

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The official Star Wars Databank describes the love of Han Solo’s life — and the mother of his only child, Ben Solo — as:

Princess Leia Organa was one of the greatest leaders of the Rebel Alliance, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the Empire’s tyranny. Daughter of Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, sister of Luke Skywalker, and with a soft spot for scoundrels, Leia ranked among the galaxy’s great heroes. But life under the New Republic proved difficult for her. Sidelined by a new generation of political leaders, she struck out on her own to oppose the First Order as founder of the Resistance. These setbacks in her political career were accompanied by more personal losses, which she endured with her seemingly inexhaustible will.

Lando Calrissian

lando calrissian rise of skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

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The official Star Wars Databank describes the swaggering Cloud City Administrator made famous by Billy Dee Williams as:

Lando Calrissian may have come late to the fight against the Empire, but his role in destroying the second Death Star cemented his reputation as a hero. In his youth, Lando was a sportsman seeking a fortune at the sabacc tables. After he lost his beloved ship to Han Solo, Lando spent years living the high life and pursuing get-rich-quick schemes, with uneven results. He went semi-respectable as the baron administrator of Cloud City, only to be drawn into the fight against the Empire. After a personal tragedy, Lando sought solace in isolation on Pasaana, unaware that the galaxy would need him again.

Ben Solo/Kylo Ren

adam driver as kylo ren
Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

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The official Star Wars Databank describes Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (nee Ben Solo) as:

The son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, Ben Solo was seduced by the dark side of the Force and renamed himself Kylo Ren: leader of the Knights of Ren, champion of the First Order, and apprentice to Supreme Leader Snoke. Driven to destroy the past, Kylo killed his father and his master, supplanting Snoke as Supreme Leader. But he remained haunted by his father’s death, his connection with the mysterious Rey, and the pull of the good in himself. In time, all three would help Ben Solo return to the light.

Bounty Hunter Boba Fett

boba fett boom
Credit: Lucasfilm

Although notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett wasn’t a friend or companion of Solo’s, he was ultimately responsible for seeing the unlikely hero encased in carbonite — and he could still encounter Solo again in the upcoming series, The Book of Boba Fett. The official Star Wars Databank describes Fett as:

With his customized Mandalorian armor, deadly weaponry, and silent demeanor, Boba Fett was one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy. A genetic clone of his “father,” bounty hunter Jango Fett, Boba learned combat and martial skills from a young age. Over the course of his career, which included contracts for the Empire and the criminal underworld, he became a legend.

Han Solo’s death

The Han Solo death scene is, especially for fans of the rakish pilot, one of the most difficult scenes to watch in all of Star Wars — it even made Kylo Ren actor, Adam Driver, feel “sick to my stomach” during the premiere of The Force Awakens.

han solo and kylo ren the force awakens
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Ren, before the redemption arc that saw him return to the light side of the Force, killed his father with his red-bladed lightsaber, much to the shock of Star Wars fans, Han Solo himself, and, of course, Chewbacca. The Wookiee witnessed the murder and let out a blood-curdling scream.

Father and son do have one final interaction during Harrison Ford’s brief appearance in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, just before Ben Solo travels to Exegol to help Rey (Daisy Ridley) to defeat Palpatine’s clone cult once and for all.

Star Wars movies Han Solo is in

Han Solo appears in six Star Wars movies in total. Harrison Ford played the character in five Skywalker Saga films, while Alden Ehrenreich played young Han Solo in Solo. A chronological list of appearances — per the Star Wars ABY/BBY dating system — can be found below:

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
  • Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
  • Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
  • Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
  • Cameo appearance in Star Wars: Episode IX  – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) 

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