Han Solo is introduced in
Star Wars (1977), when he and his co-pilot Chewbacca accept a charter request to transport
Alderaan on their ship, the
Millennium Falcon. Han owes crime lord
Jabba the Hutt a great deal of money and has a price on his head. Bounty hunter
Greedo tries to deliver Solo to Jabba, dead or alive, but after a failed attempt to get Han to give him the money he owes Jabba as a bribe for letting him go, Han shoots Greedo and Greedo is killed. Han then prepares to leave Tatooine. He and his passengers are attacked by Imperial
stormtroopers, but escape by accelerating to light speed. When they arrive at Alderaan, however, they discover that the planet has been destroyed. The Falcon is then captured and held within the
Death Star, a moon-sized battle station constructed by the Empire. Han and company hide from detection inside the Falcon's smuggling bays, and infiltrate the station disguised as stormtroopers. They discover that
Princess Leia Organa is a prisoner on board, and Luke convinces Han to help rescue her by promising him a huge reward. They rescue Leia and escape, though Obi-Wan is killed by
After delivering Luke, Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance, Han and Chewbacca receive a payment for their services and prepare to leave. Luke asks Han to stay and help the Rebels attack the Death Star, but he refuses, not wanting to get involved. Han has a change of heart and returns to save Luke's life during the film's
climactic battle scene, ultimately enabling Luke to destroy the Death Star. For his heroics, Han is presented with a medal of honor alongside Luke.
The Empire Strikes Back
Han returns with the Rebel Alliance to Echo Base on the frozen planet of
Hoth. While out on patrol with Luke, they witness a meteor strike the surface. Han returns to base while Luke decides to investigate. Han informs Leia and the General of Echo Base that he must leave in order to clear his debt with Jabba. Before he can depart, it is discovered that Luke has not returned from his reconnaissance. Han rides out alone into the frozen Hoth wastelands, soon finding Luke badly injured and near death from exposure. Using his friend's
lightsaber, Han cuts open his
tauntaun, providing Luke warmth while he builds a shelter until they can be rescued the next morning.
Later, Han and Chewbacca are sent out to investigate another meteor strike. They discover that the 'meteor' is actually an Imperial Probe Droid. The two succeed in destroying the probe, but not before the Empire is alerted to the location of Echo Base.
When the Empire attacks Echo Base, Han, Chewie, Leia, and C-3PO narrowly escape on board the Millennium Falcon. Han evades a squad of Imperial
TIE fighters by flying through an asteroid field, and unwittingly flies into the mouth of a giant worm. Han and Leia fall in love during the long journey. They manage to hide from the Imperial fleet long enough to escape, but not entirely unnoticed. Bounty hunter
Boba Fett secretly follows the Falcon during this getaway.
Han and company eventually end up at the
Cloud City seeking repairs and shelter from his old friend
Lando Calrissian, the city's administrator. However, Fett had arrived first and alerted the Empire. Under threat of death, Lando betrays Han to the Empire. Vader wishes to capture Luke by freezing him in carbonite, and subjects Solo to the freezing process first to test its lethality. Solo survives, his captors are satisfied, and Fett leaves for Tatooine with a frozen Han in tow to collect the bounty from Jabba.
Return of the Jedi
Han, still imprisoned in carbonite, is now Jabba's favorite decoration at his palace on Tatooine. Luke attempts a rescue operation aided by Leia, Lando, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2D2, but they are caught. Jabba sentences Han and Luke to die in the
Sarlaac Pit. Luke, Leia, and Han overpower their captors and Leia kills Jabba enabling their escape.
Retreating back to the Rebel Base, they discover that the Empire is building another Death Star which orbits the forest moon of
Endor. Following his return, Han is made a general in the Rebel Alliance along with Leia. Reuniting with Luke after his return from
Dagobah, Han leads the Rebels down to Endor to take down the force field surrounding the battle station, which is still under construction. With help from the native
Ewoks, Han and his team destroy the Death Star's shield generator, allowing Lando and his strike force to destroy the Death Star. Han then reunites with Leia and Luke on Endor to celebrate the defeat of the Empire.
The Force Awakens
The Force Awakens, set approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi, Han Solo has returned to his old life as a smuggler. Before the events of the film, he and Chewbacca had lost the Millennium Falcon to thieves, but they reclaim the ship after it takes off from the planet
Jakku, piloted by the scavenger
Rey and the renegade stormtrooper
Finn. As mercenaries close in on them, Han takes the Falcon into light speed, and they get away. When Han learns that Rey is looking for Luke, who disappeared years before, he takes them to
Maz Kanata, who can deliver the droid
BB-8 to the Resistance. They are forced to flee when First Order troops descend upon them. Han is impressed with Rey's piloting skills, and offers her a job on the Falcon. She declines his offer, but comes to think of him as a mentor and father figure. When Rey is kidnapped by the First Order, Han sees her being carried off by First Order commander
Kylo Ren, whom Han seems to recognize.
Han and Finn meet with the Resistance, which is led by Leia, whom Han has not seen in many years. It is then revealed that Ren is their son, Ben Solo, who trained as a Jedi under Luke. However, he was corrupted by the First Order's
Supreme Leader Snoke, and turned to the dark side. As Kylo Ren, he betrayed the Republic and destroyed the Jedi – much like his grandfather, Darth Vader. Heartbroken by Ben's betrayal, Han and Leia separated, while Luke went into exile. Leia asks him to find Ben and bring him home, convinced that there is still good in him.
Han and Chewbacca go with Finn to the First Order's battle station, Starkiller Base, to destroy the base and rescue Rey. There, he sees Ren walk onto the bridge above the reactor chasm. Han follows Ren onto the bridge, and calls out to him by his real name. Han pleads with him to abandon the dark side and come back with him. Ren tells Han that he knows what he should do, but that he doesn't have the strength to do it, and asks Han to help him. Han agrees. After a moment, an unrepentant Ren ignites his lightsaber, fatally wounding his father. Han looks into his son's eyes and touches his face before falling off the bridge and into the reactor, to his death.
A film featuring Han Solo before the events of the 1977 film is currently in production. Actor
Alden Ehrenreich is portraying Han Solo in the film, which is directed by
Ron Howard and written by
Lawrence Kasdan and
Jon Kasdan. The film is produced by
Lucasfilm and distributed by
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film also stars
Emilia Clarke, and
Forces of Destiny
Han appeared in the
Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Season 2 episode, "Tracker Trouble", where he was voiced by
Han is a main character in the 2015
Star Wars comic series. Issue #6 introduces
Sana Starros, an associate of Han's who has previously posed as his wife.
Star Wars: Han Solo is a five-issue mini-series focused on Han entering a race called the Dragon Void Rule.
The Star Wars Holiday Special
Star Wars Holiday Special, Han helps Chewbacca join his family on the Wookiee homeworld Kashyyyk. He faces Imperial forces on Kashyyyk, and later joins Luke, Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, and other Wookiees for their holiday, Life Day.
Novels and Comics
In April 2014, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film
Star Wars were rebranded by Lucasfilm as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise.
Brian Daley wrote a series of novels (
The Han Solo Adventures), first published in 1979, exploring Han Solo and Chewbecca's smuggling adventures, and
Ann C. Crispin's
The Han Solo Trilogy (1997–1998) further develops the character's backstory.
 Crispin's books depict Solo as a beggar and
pickpocket throughout much of his youth. He becomes a pilot and, in the process of undermining a religious fraud, falls in love with Bria Tharen, who disappears before Solo joins the Imperial Navy. Solo loses his commission and is
cashiered when he refuses an order to skin Chewbacca for commandeering a ship carrying Wookiee children destined for
slavery; Chewbacca, in turn, swears a "life-debt" to Solo. The two become smugglers, and help repel an Imperial blockade of a Hutt moon. Solo soon thereafter wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a card tournament. Tharen, now a Rebel agent, reappears and asks for Solo, Chewbacca and Calrissian's help in attacking a slave colony. After succeeding, Tharen's troopers steal the smuggler's valuables to aid the Rebel Alliance. To compensate their losses, Solo and Chewbacca accept a smuggling job from Jabba the Hutt; but Imperial ships force the smugglers to jettison their cargo, invoking the debt Solo and Chewbacca owe the Hutt at the beginning of Star Wars.
Solo plays a central role in a couple of Star Wars stories set after Return of the Jedi. In
The Courtship of Princess Leia (1995), he resigns his commission to pursue Leia, whom he eventually marries. Solo and Leia have three children: twins
Jacen and son
Anakin. Han Solo was the general in command of the New Republic task force assigned to track down Imperial Warlord Zsinj and his forces, in the 1999 novel
Solo Command. Chewbacca dies saving Anakin's life in
Vector Prime (1999), sending Solo into a deep depression. In
Star by Star (2001), Anakin dies as well, compounding Solo's despair. At the end of the series, however, Solo accepts the deaths of his son and his best friend, and reconciles with his family.
Legacy of the Force series, Jacen Solo becomes the
Sith Lord Darth Caedus and plunges the galaxy into a bloody civil war. Solo disowns Jacen, but is still devastated by each new outrage his son commits. He and Leia adopt Allana (Jacen's daughter) after Jacen's death in the novel