Before you read this, understand one thing.
THERE MAY BE SERIOUS SPOILERS in this piece. POSSIBLE, but SERIOUS SPOILERS.
I will be openly referring to things that might actually happen in the film.
Run away now if you don’t want to know what MIGHT happen in The Force Awakens based on internet rumors and such.
A lot of this is probably incorrect and based on rumor, so don’t get too upset with me or the film until you actually see it.
Still here? Ok, then…
The title of this piece is a bit misleading, I admit. I’m not really worried about the film’s quality. All signs point to this new film being ridiculously great. Unlike The Phantom Menace, it will probably live up to its hype. I was a little worried about Abrams in the director’s chair, not being a huge fan of his previous work, but again, all signs point to this film being well-handled from the start and the trailers look outstanding. It’s clear great care is going into this pivotal film. The Star Wars saga is in good hands.
So let me begin by telling you the reason why I’m a little bit worried. I stress the phrase “little bit.” I’m worried about the fate of a certain character. I’m worried that a certain character is going to die and I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to cope with this death. I’m purposely trying not to give it away too soon for fear of someone skimming the first few paragraphs and falling upon the name despite my warnings, but if you keep up with the rumor mill, you know whom I’m referring to.
Some characters are essential. They’re integral parts of the overall story and without them, things aren’t the same. Removing one completely changes things, for better or for worse. The filmmakers surely feel this death (if true) is for the better, being that it opens up all kinds of other, more personal story arcs for the characters who have to carry on. In other words, there’s lots of room for character development and many opportunities to explore personal feelings via dialogue about when so-and-so died and how to handle it.
How the characters cope with losing this character is as important as how we will cope with it. Losing an old friend is never easy. What do we say and do now? How do we move forward with our lives? How will we perceive the story going forward?
Well, knowing that there are going to be umpteen new Star Wars films coming out over the next umpteen years, we’re going to see how this all plays out when they (allegedly) take our beloved Han Solo from us.
When I first learned Solo would be leaving us (at least in the “main” storyline) I was so mixed up about it. I still am. It makes sense from Harrison Ford’s point of view, I suppose. He had ALWAYS wanted to kill the character off going way back to Return of the Jedi. There’s that famous quote he made where he suggested that Lucas kill Solo off and “give some weight to this thing.” He was convinced then and probably still is today.
Was it personal? Did he want to kill him off so he wouldn’t have to be bothered ever coming back and dealing with that role again? Did he really want to do it for the story’s sake? I’m not sure, but I do know that when he signed on for The Force Awakens, I was in a bit of shock. What could make him want to get into the Star Wars pool again, no matter how warm the water? I can almost see the conversation now…
Lucasfilm (Kennedy/Abrams/whoever): “Harrison, we’re doing new Star Wars films and we’d like to have you back. They’re sequels to the ones you did…”
Ford: “Well, I’m not really that interested in that stuff anymore.”
Lucasfilm: “Carrie and Mark are signed on.”
Ford: “Hmm, really… I dunno. How about this? Get me in there for one final film and then we kill off Solo so I don’t have to do any more.”
Lucasfilm: “Well, we’d really love to have the old trio back for one last romp through these next three films, at least.”
Ford: “Kill Solo or no deal.”
I’m making all that up, of course. It may have never happened that way and Ford might have been happy to return, but it’s fun to wonder. Ford was always crabby about even discussing Star Wars at press events over the years. Something had to have changed for him to want to do another Star Wars film. They got him for Indy IV, which was sort of a let-down, though it performed relatively well (although the same can be said for The Phantom Menace). He’s even signed on for a Blade Runner sequel as well. Is he feeling nostalgic in his old age?
Whatever the reason, he’s one of my favorite actors so to have him out there in any capacity makes me happy. Having him back for just ONE Star Wars film and then yanking him out from under us, though? THAT makes me sad and worried. WHY does he have to die? We’ll find out in the documentaries, I suppose.
If things go according to plan, some time in December of 2015 the Internet will completely break when everyone starts mourning Han Solo. I’ll say it again. It’s going to be like the loss of an old friend and I’m just not sure how I’m going to be able to watch the films that come afterward without him. They will certainly be dark and depressing, which is a tone I assume they’re going for judging by the trailers. They’ve taken a more Empire Strikes Back approach, it seems. It all makes sense. It looks like some new version (The First Order) of the Empire is rising back up after the Rebellion blew their toys up some 30 years before.
But wait! There’s another Han Solo rumor out there! One of the spin-off “Anthology” films will (possibly) tell the story of a young Han Solo as he makes his way through adventure after adventure in a galaxy far, far away. So don’t worry kids! Lucasfilm is taking away old Han and replacing him with young Han starring in his own adventures played by a fresh, young actor with big shoes to fill! Am I excited about that? You bet. It’s no consolation, however. Han Solo dying is not something I want to have to deal with, dammit.
I’m going to miss old, cranky Han Solo. He’s been my Star Wars companion since I was seven years old. This sucks, frankly. It’s very much a Joss Whedon move. Take someone you love and kill them off for no real reason (that we know of yet). Hell, I don’t even care what the reason is. Taking Solo away just sucks.
Now, I say that it sucks, but at the same time I can’t say that it’s a horrible move, story-wise. I mean, it makes sense. The classic trio of Luke, Leia, and Han is not the focus of this new trilogy of films. The new trio apparently consists of Rey, Finn, and Poe. This trilogy’s Vader will be Kylo Ren (and we have learned this is not his name, but more of a title – much like Darth Vader wasn’t Anakin’s real name). So having one or two of the old trio back in the mix for whatever happens after The Force Awakens is completely acceptable. They’re the supporting guys this time around. It makes sense – but it still sucks!
I know I’m all over the map here, but I’m emotionally conflicted. I trust Larry Kasdan with the script. I have come to accept Abrams with the direction, especially after seeing the footage we’ve seen in trailers and what not. It’s spectacular. I trust Kathleen Kennedy with the leadership of Lucasfilm and keeping a very watchful and respectful eye over the saga. I trust the actors involved. I think this film is going to shoot to the top of a lot of people’s lists. As my friend Rich Handley once put it, “In December 2015, people are going to forget that the Star Wars Prequels ever happened.”
So I’m “all in” for the film. I’m legitimately excited about it. I feel like a little kid. I’m more excited about this one than the last two prequels. (Admit it: EVERYONE was excited for The Phantom Menace BEFORE it came out.) It’s just this ONE thing that’s killing me (and Han). I’m having such a hard time moving past it.
We can only hope that he doesn’t go out like a punk. I mean, if the rumors are correct, it’s Kylo Ren that does the deed but apparently there’s more to it than that. I’m a little wishy-washy on the details of the rumors concerning Han’s death because while I read them on other sites, I tried not to read them with much conviction because I didn’t want to believe them. I’ve partially blocked some stuff out, you might say. They seem to state that Kylo Ren (and this ties into him having a “real” name) is actually a Solo and that’s why Han is trying to find him and talk him down from what he’s doing, which is causing evil havoc, and the like. It’s alternatively been rumored that Kylo Ren is actually hunting down Solo with some kind of personal vendetta to blame. If he’s a Vader-obsessed maniac, and Han Solo was hunted by Vader (and others) then that theory makes sense too. It would also mean that Kylo Ren is a bit off his galactic rocker. What’s more, is that Rey is possibly a Solo as well, which would make them possible siblings. Hopefully they’re not twins, like in the old books. Those kids were annoying, but if this is all true, they do have a few things in common, Dark Side temptation and all.
So if Han Solo is the father of both Kylo Ren and Rey (whose last name has been left absent on purpose), we once again have the whole Father/Son drama playing out. I mean, look at Kylo Ren. He resembles a Vader-type character. He looks like someone who is obsessed with Vader. He’s probably aware of his family’s past. He’s force-sensitive, with Leia possibly being his Mom and all. He has obviously tapped into the Dark Side of things. He made his own crazy red-bladed lightsaber. He’s the ultimate Sith copycat.
Maybe Uncle Luke (allegedly in hermit-mode for much of the film) is the only person that can stop Kylo Ren. But what could possibly bring Luke Skywalker, who has probably become politically neutral over the last 30 years, out of his self-imposed exile? You guessed it: the death of his good friend (and ours) – HAN SOLO. It will probably be a strong, defining, emotional moment. I’m betting Luke and Leia both feel it when it happens, much like Obi-Wan felt the destruction of Alderaan.
Speaking of Leia, it’s also been rumored that, contrary to our expectations, Han and Leia are NOT a couple anymore. According to rumors, their first scene in the film together is a bit awkward; like bumping into an ex. So who the parents of Kylo Ren and Rey are is something we still don’t know for sure and may not until closer to the film’s release, if not until the release itself. If Lucasfilm follows suit, they’ll release the novel before the film and we can all find out together!
All of this sounds SO intense that I’m loaded with goose-bumps writing about it, even if none of it turns out to be true. Can you imagine what comes after something like this? If it’s truly a family affair, then son kills father and that sets up uncle chasing down nephew, which then leads to some kind of ultimate confrontation between Luke and Kylo Ren. Will Old Wizard Luke win out over the younger, brash man in black? Does any of this sound familiar? Obi-Wan vs Vader on the Death Star? Will Luke close his eyes and give himself to the Force down the road? Will we lose Han AND Luke by the time we are through with this trilogy? Who will get a hand/arm chopped off? Will Chewbacca jump off a high building? Will LANDO have any friends left?!?!?! AHHHH!! I’m freaking out. Honestly.
So as you can see, I’m really excited about this film but I’m also really worried. I’m going to love it, I’m sure, but I’m also going to be really, REALLY upset. I’ve never once cried watching a Star Wars film. I mean, come on. It’s not emotional, tear-jerking storytelling to me. However, if they can pull off an end-of-E.T. type ending with Solo’s demise, I might just give in. I must be getting soft in my golden years.
Yin and Yang. Ashla and Bogan. Light and Dark Side. Black and White. Good and Evil. Duality. Co-dependence. Excitement and Worry. Bittersweet. It all makes sense. It all fits. It’s all Star Wars.
Damn you, Lucasfilm. I love you.
Much thanks to MakingStarWars.Net for all their fine reporting about the new films and more.