[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) broke many a fan's heart, as Han Solo's role in the plot provided a vital connection to the original trilogy. His journey was one of the most emotional parts of the film, but there's still a lot we don't know about his story.
Where was he for all those years after he left the Resistance? And why did he insist BB-8 stay with him when the group fell under attack? According to this theory, it seems likely that Han Solo wasn't just swindling every patsy he could find in the galaxy - he was actually searching for Luke Skywalker for all this time.
Han Solo's Mission To Find Luke
When The Force Awakens begins, the opening crawl reveals that General Organa has been searching for her brother ever since he disappeared about a decade ago.
And of course, we dive straight into the story as Poe Dameron retrieves the final piece of the map to Luke Skywalker, and gets captured by Kylo Ren for his trouble. Everything that happens subsequently is really because of Leia's mission to find Luke.
Han Solo is introduced as totally separate from this mission: he's gone back to his smuggling ways, so when Rey and Finn find him, Han's life seems to be completely free of the Skywalker clan. But as this fan points out, there are a lot of clues to suggest that he was actually searching for Luke all along. Let's break down the hints.
Han mentions searching the galaxy for something....
"I knew we should have double-checked the Outer Rim territories!"
We assume he's referring to the Millennium Falcon. But considering how many times Han Solo tries to look out for Luke in the original trilogy (he literally comes swooping in to save him at the end of A New Hope), Tumblr user Reyton suspects that actually, Han was trying to find his old buddy. After all, Han did leave around the same time Luke did...
The coincidences really do start staking up, as Reyton points out in the theory. Han also mentions that he's talked to people who "knew Luke best" about where Luke might be. When they're attacked the Guavian Death Gang, Han Solo suggests BB-8 stay with him while Rey and Finn hide (and of course, BB-8 has the map).
Then, when the map is revealed, Han immediately knows that it's incomplete. Which would make sense, if he's actually been conducting his own search for Luke Skywalker.
Considering Han was willing to risk freezing to death on Hoth to find Luke, it's seems likely that he'd want to find his old friend after he went missing.
But Is It Plausible?
Honestly, I'd say there's a chance that this is exactly what Han Solo did after he left the Resistance, but maybe not a strong one. After all, with Leia conducting her own search for Luke it would make more sense to combine their efforts. And the point of Han Solo leaving the Resistance was to show how he fell back on old habits after Ben Solo's massacre of the Jedi students proved too much to bear.
"We both had to deal with it in our own way. I went back to the only thing I was ever good at."
Han Solo's journey in The Force Awakens is to stop running away from his past and his family, which makes the ending all the more poignant as he tries to save his son. Han Solo searching for Luke doesn't necessarily undermine this plot, and definitely works within the story. But the idea of Han Solo returning to his swindling, smuggling ways does work very well thematically. At the end of the day, only you can decide which interpretation is the best one!