Thursday, February 13, 2014

Han Solo (Star Wars Character Thoughts)

More Thoughts: Intro, C3PO, R2D2, Qui-Gon, Obi Wan, Anakin, Padme, Han, Chewy, The Emperor, Yoda, Vader, Luke

Han Solo was always everybody’s favorite character back when there were only three films. Actually, he probably still is. He is the character that every boy wanted to be and every girl had a crush on. He is the rogue, the “devil may care,” self-reliant anti-hero. He is the American ideal who is looking out for number one because no one else is going to do it. He has the coolest ship in the galaxy which means he has his independence. He has a best friend who has sworn a life debt to him—which translates into perfect, unquestioning loyalty—and who can’t speak English but understands commands and can fly and repair said ship. So, basically the coolest dog ever.

However, it isn’t all of that cool stuff that makes him the most beloved character. For the answer to his tremendous popularity, we have to look to his unprotected underbelly—his gooey center. Because we really have to admit that Han is a softy in spite of himself. Even though life has taught him to reject all attachments and simply look out for his own interests, he needs a community. Time and time again, Han makes the hard choice to face danger in order to help out his friends. He risks his own well-being, and the freedom he so craves, to protect those close to him. He joins the handful of fighters against a giant station. He heads out into near-certain freezing death to find Luke. He delays escape well beyond what is sensible to ensure that Leia is safe. He volunteers for the suicide mission to the moon of Endor. All because he belongs to a community that is more important than his own individual person.

He may mock the rebellion, and always have a good line about minding his own interests and safety, but Han Solo is a perfect example of actions superseding words. In a world where too many people speak a good game without the fear of ever being tested—or worse, fail those tests when the going gets tough—we need more people whose integrity is evident in their actions and not just a theoretical, party-line position.

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