Thanks to TV shows like Lost and Game of Thrones, major character deaths are no longer a huge surprise to any of us. But when it comes to deciding to kill off characters who are as beloved as they are iconic, the choice certainly isn't easy — as was the case for Han Solo's death in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
It's hard to imagine Star Wars without the three major characters that defined the whole franchise for years — Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo. The decision to kill off any of them is almost unthinkable, but anyone who has seen #TheForceAwakens knows that Han Solo dies tragically at the hands of his son Kylo Ren. Han Solo's death was so monumental that not only did the audience have a difficult time with it, but even the creative team had a tough time making the call. So tough that Disney CEO Bob Iger was involved in the decision.
Iger spoke to Vanity Fair during the magazine's annual summit about his involvement with the Star Wars franchise. Iger revealed that at the time The Force Awakens was being made, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams consulted with him about the decision to kill off Han Solo:
"We had a big debate about Han Solo. Should he die or not? It was a decision made by Kennedy and Abrams, but I got involved."
Killing off Han Solo was a bold move, and one that has the potential to take the franchise in interesting directions for the story and characters. We have yet to see the repercussions and long-term impact Han Solo's death will have on a number of characters — including Kylo Ren, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker — which could be addressed in the upcoming installment, Stars Wars: The Last Jedi.
This week a brand new trailer for the much anticipated next chapter of the Star Wars saga was released, and fans have been dissecting every single shot for clues on where the story could be headed. Among the ones worth noting from the trailer is the scene where Luke Skywalker tells Rey:
"I've seen this raw strength only once before. It didn't scare me enough then. It does now."
Who is Luke Skywalker referring to? Fans are already speculating that the person who has the same raw strength Luke has seen before can be none other than Kylo Ren. We can presume Luke feels some guilt and responsibility for his nephew going to the dark side, but we don't know what led Kylo Ren to fully embrace it and ultimately betray his uncle. And we doubt it's going to get any better for Luke when he learns of Han Solo's death. If Luke is frightened by the raw strength Rey also possesses, does that mean he's concerned that Rey could go dark the same way his nephew did? We'll have to wait until #TheLastJedi comes out in theaters on December 15 to find out.
If fans are still feeling split on the death of their favorite rogue pilot, one thing everyone can most certainly agree on is Han Solo's death is an unexpected emotional gut punch that will be felt for years in the Star Wars fandom.
Do you think killing off Han Solo in The Force Awakens was the right call to make?