[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) is just around the corner, and the fan hype is reaching its peak. Surfing the net has become a game of dodge the spoilers, and just in case you forgot when the Star Wars 7 release date was, Disney keep reminding us with TV spots and teaser trailers galore. It's all very enthralling, but there's also an tinge of concern in the excitement.
Let's face it: we are all worried that one of the characters will die. It's a good way to up the stakes, as well as ensuring The Force Awakens packs an emotional punch. Ever since his role in the film was confirmed, Han Solo has been rumoured to be the one to kick the bucket (of bolts). But is there any truth to this rumour?
Han's Leading Role
If this wasn't made obvious in the trailer that featured Han and Chewbacca returning to the Millennium Falcon, the Star Wars 7 marketing has positioned Han Solo as one of the pivotal players in The Force Awakens' plot.
It seems that after getting chased off Jakku by some pesky First Order tie fighters, Rey and Finn will be lead by Han Solo on their great adventure (probably checking out Maz Kanata's castle first, before it gets attacked of course).
Since trailer 3 was released, Han has featured prominently in the Star Wars Episode 7 TV spots, and seemed to be abandoning his cynical perspective as he gravely assures Finn and Rey that the legends they've heard are true. But if you're worried that Han Solo will have grown less roguish in his advancing years fear not: Harrison Ford was quick to assure Entertainment Weekly that the bounty hunter is just as quick witted as he always was...
"There was a callow youth, a beautiful princess, a wise old warrior, and there was a smart-ass.. And there'sfdcvc not an abandoning of the character. He does not aspire to the position of Obi-‘Ben’ Kenobi, nor do I aspire to be some New Age Alec Guinness. There’s a lot of the rogue still left in Solo. Some things don’t change.”
And as we all know: hokey religions may give you hope, but there's nothing better than a good blaster at your side, kid.
But a blaster can't protect you from everything, and thanks to Harrison Ford famously asking to be killed off in Return Of The Jedi, there's many a fan who's concerned for Solo's survival in The Force Awakens.
Out In A Blaze Of Glory
So let's break down the rumours. They mostly seem to be fueled by Harrison Ford's desire for Solo to die in the original trilogy, added to Ford's apparent exhaustion with the Star Wars franchise...
"Three’s enough for me. I was glad to see that costume for the last time."
This would make any fan consider the possibility that Star Wars 7 might be Han Solo's last hurrah, and apparent leaks from the set seemed to confirm this rumour months ago. MakingStarWars had the scoop: according to them, an inside source reported that Han Solo and Kylo Ren would confront each other, leading to Ren executing the galaxy-weary bounty hunter. This seemed to be just another false leak, but this newly released image might corroborate the theory...
At first glance this isn't much, but this photo actually reveals a lot more than you'd expect. Crucially, it might be the scene that the rumour mill pin pointed as Han Solo's death. Up until this point, Rey and Finn seem to have been on a journey with Han Solo. But he's conspicuously absent as they face down their greatest foe (that they know of).
Could this be because Kylo Ren has just killed Han Solo? It's certainly possible especially when you consider all that snow swirling around Rey as she cries over... someone.
And that's about all the apparent proof we have. To be honest, it's not very convincing. Not just because there's not a lot of evidence, but also because Han Solo is one of the best loved characters from the original trilogy, and Harrison Ford is one of Star Wars' biggest... uh, stars.
He's safe, for now...
It would be a hell of a risk to kill Solo off so early in the franchise, and personally, I think that's a dramatic death that is best served to a later film. It's doubtful that Han Solo will survive the next 3 saga films, but it's fair to assume he'll make it out of The Force Awakens alive. Probably.
Unfortunately, Disney have neither confirmed nor denied Harrison Ford's appearance in Episode 8. Obviously, because that would be a dead giveaway. That's not to say there aren't big surprises on the horizon: after all, his relationship status with General Leia hasn't been revealed, and nor has his connection to one simple scavenger. But for now it seems that Solo is safe, at least until Episode 8 (or 9).
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