**SPOILERS AHEAD** While some of us are concerned about some the film’s adherence to the story templates and themes we’ve seen before, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” does make some very bold moves, particularly in regards to two of its most cherished, legacy characters. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is a shell of his former shelf, a damaged Jedi who only gets one scene in this movie (with no dialogue), at the end, after we’ve learned villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was a former pupil who deeply betrayed him, and turned to the Dark Side. And then there’s Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Kylo’s father, who is killed by his son’s hand during one last attempt to bring him back into the light. And it’s the latter plot turn that perhaps surprised fans most over the weekend, and now free to talk about it, J.J. Abrams reveals that the decision to go down that narrative route was borne of want to give the ‘The Force Awakens’ real consequences.
“It’s this massive tradeoff. How can we possibly do that!? But… if we hadn’t done that, the movie wouldn’t have any guts at all. It felt very dangerous,” he told EW.
Michael Arndt, the first writer on the movie, had a very different approach in his vision of the movie, which did not include Han dying, a development that came out of questioning his role in the story.
“I had thought Han’s story and Leia’s story was just about them coming back together. At the end of the movie they would have reconciled and gotten over their differences. And you would have said, ‘Okay, bad stuff happened, but at least they’re back together again,” Arndt said. “J.J. rightly asked, ‘What is Han doing in this movie?’ If we’re not going to have something important and irreversible happen to him, then he kind of feels like luggage. He feels like this great, sexy piece of luggage you have in your movie. But he’s not really evolving. He’s not really pushing the story forward.”
Nevertheless, deciding to kill off such a key protagonist still created some hesitation for Abrams, who took solace that franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan was also involved in making it happen.
“You wrote some of the greatest lines that Han ever spoke, so there was a level of comfort in the danger,” Abrams told his co-writer. “You were willing to go there, which made me feel like it wasn’t necessarily the worst idea.”
Are you gonna miss Han? Did he get a proper send off? Weigh in below.