If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens yet, then you probably shouldn’t read any further. Because SPOILERS. No getting mad at me if you decide to keep reading. I warned you. See? Right there. It says, “Spoilers.”
The first time I watched Star Wars, I was a goner. Everything about it was amazing. The way the characters were written. The special effects. The gorgeous scenery. It was all perfect. The whole thing. Perfect.
Okay. So. Mostly Han Solo was perfect. I mean, yeah, the movies were wonderful, but Han Solo was everything.
Growing up, I never really did the whole celebrity crush thing. I did, however, do the fictional character crush. I fell hard for the people in my books. It was a pretty normal occurrence, actually. What wasn’t normal? Falling over cliffs for people in movies.
Enter the Millennium Falcon, and one Scruffy-Looking Nerf-Herder.
I envied Leia for getting *that look* from him.
I envied Chewie for getting to be his best mate.
I even envied Luke for getting to bicker with him.
There was nothing about the man that I didn’t think was the most amazing thing ever. The way he didn’t care what anyone thought about him. How he was totally willing to just take people out when they threatened his security or autonomy. The fact that he knew who he was, and was true to himself. But also that he was willing to admit when he was wrong (eventually), and how he stood up for his friends, and couldn’t just leave them hanging (at least not for long).
Han Solo was my ideal partner in crime.
He was older than me.
He was tougher than me.
He could totally teach me how to pilot a spaceship, and he had awesome friends.
I wanted to move into the Falcon and be his best bud. I wanted to travel across the galaxy with him having crazy adventures, and defeating evil. If he wanted to kiss me, that would be fine too. I’d totally kiss him back.
Years passed with me revisiting Han Solo regularly. Whenever I packed, Star Wars was on my TV. Whenever I wrapped presents, or worked on papers for school, or played video games, basically whenever I was alone and wanting company, Han was there.
So, you can imagine how excited I was to see my old chum again on the big screen when I went to see The Force Awakens on opening night. He was right there, up to his old shenanigans. He looked amazing. He sounded amazing. Older, yes. But also, somehow, with more swagger, and more of something that made me want to hug the stuffing out of him.
He walked onto the scene and made me remember why he has always been my favorite.
His character has transformed a bit. There is more grief behind his eyes. More pain. He and Leia aren’t what they once were, they lost their son to the dark side, that would change anyone.
The way he interacts with Rey hints at a parent who wishes they could start over. He revels in her eagerness to prove herself to him, and you can see his pride and affection developing for her as the movie progresses.
And then… then he does the one thing that rounds out his character perfectly from his Han shot first days. The one thing I desperately didn’t want to happen, but the thing I felt coming pretty early on, and fought hard not to believe.
The moment he sees his son. After Leia tells him to bring him home to her. That moment. It broke me.
He hesitates. There is a second when you see him contemplate just walking away. But then he screams his name. His real name. The name he gave him. He offers his son forgiveness, a fresh start, anything he needs. He looks into the eyes of someone who has been responsible for countless deaths, someone who is willfully trying to bring back the thing he risked his life to destroy, and he offers him a lifeline.
Han knows this can only end one of two ways, and I get the feeling that he’s pretty sure it won’t end well. It’s in his posture, in that moment of hesitation before he yells, “Ben,” at the top of his lungs. But he still steps out onto that thin bridge that will leave him no escape.
And, right then, I fell in love with Han Solo all over again.
As I sat in the theater, I went back in time. I was tiny, round-faced Krissy, sitting in front of her TV, all wide eyes and out of control emotions, seeing Han for the first time. Falling so completely over the edge for him, that I knew it was going to take a while to recover.
And let me tell you, I’m not sure when, or if, I’ll recover.
I woke up the morning after feeling morose, full of ennui. I loved the movie. It’s arguably the best of the entire franchise, and surely the best of them since Empire. But still, it was like watching one of my best childhood friends, the one who I always secretly hoped would pick me up, take me away on grand adventures, and tell me I was his favorite, be ripped from my life.
There will be no more Han Solo. No more future adventures to ride along on.
I can’t lie. I’m sad. Really sad. It was the perfect send off, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t rip a piece of my heart out.
I’m sure there are other things I’ll write about this movie eventually. How the female characters made me so over the top happy. How women pilots, and storm troopers, and generals made me want to skip around in circles. How the friendships were just so great. But right now I can’t. Right now I’m just going to miss my fictional friend. Rest well, Han. You were so amazing.