Now that the new Star Wars film has been out for several weeks, I can safely assume that if readers haven't seen the movie yet, they had their chance to avoid spoilers.
Let's blow past the bullshit if we can. The movie has ties and blatantly similar structure to episode 4. So stop complaining , grab a glass of blue milk and love it because it's Star Wars. Don't be the Huffington Post and don't be that person who hates it just to be the one who hates it. Be thankful. I know I am. I can share my love of these stories with my son for years to come.
On to the subject then. He's dead. My favourite character from the original trilogy is gone and there is nothing I can do but accept that the series will go on without Han Solo. For me, it was Han's lines that gave Star Wars an appeal that was absent from all science fiction movies of it's day. It was Ford's delivery that made me laugh. He was a smug smuggler, a scoundrel, he was "nice men". No other character had that kind of dry sense of humour. Han Solo made the whole cast of speaking characters more relatable. He was flawed and a hero all at once. However this is not a love letter to Han Solo but rather, his copilot.
Chewbacca is fits into a group of characters like R2-D2 and now BB-8. Simply because his dialogue is revealed through the responses of other characters who speak to them directly. What we do hear is raw emotion translated by actions and other characters. However Chewbacca, unlike R2-D2, had few scenes where he acted alone. Even when he hijacked an AT-ST in Return of the Jedi he had Ewoks with him. How he knew the call of Tarzan I am still scratching my head over, but the point is that he and Han were practically inseparable. For good reason. Although it has never been spoke about on screen, it was commonly accepted that Chewbacca ended up with Han over a life debt. I'll let the readers debate this point but it raises a few questions and might answer a few in the process. What will Chewbacca do now? We all already know the short answer to that question. He is a beloved character and of course he will live on in the up coming films. He is not bound to be played by the original actor and we will likely get the canon account of his back story in the Han Solo origin film that has been announced. However within the story itself at this moment we can understand why he might stay.
Chewbacca is old. 400 if I remember correctly if not to be corrected immediately in the comments. This makes his time with Han rather short. The bond they shared however goes far beyond the years spent in the Millennium Falcon. Chewie has seen the fall of the Empire, the marriage of his best friend and the childhood of Ben Solo. He loves Leia and Luke. He may still have wookie family out there in the galaxy but this is his family now. On the other hand a life debt is broken should death occur. The wookie is free to go on his merry way. Why stay? There may be another connection. We only got a glimpse of Chewie mourning Han's death. We also got a very hasty planing meeting for the attack on Starkiller base but that is because we can't have a four hour movie in the theatre. Chewbacca is devastated by his best friend in the galaxy being murdered by the little boy he probably had a hand in raising as well. Had it been anyone other than Ben Solo to kill Han, they would have seen what a wookie is truly capable of with a rage to rival any syth lord. But for all of this loss and tragedy, Chewie may have another Solo to look out for.
There have been theories out there on who Rey is. Some plausible, many just plain stupid. However if there was any further support for her being a Solo then it may lie in Chewbacca. Han said himself that Chewie liked her from the start. Han offered her a job, perhaps a way to be with his daughter without revealing her connection to the Skywalker bloodline. One thing was clear though. The writers chose Rey, R2 and Chewbacca to bring Luke back. Finn could have been up and about by then and gone with them but the story put him out of action just so Rey and Chewbacca could go. What would help Chewbacca get through the death of Han more than committing to watch over the two things he knew Han had lost and just recently reunited with before his death? His long lost daughter and the Millennium Falcon.
"Yeah, I just got a funny feeling. Like I'm never gonna see her again."
- Han Solo