Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Han Solo
The Jedi Doth Return is out today!
As the author of a handful of Star Wars books, I often get asked who my favorite Star Wars character is. Without hesitation, it’s Han Solo. The other characters don’t even come close. I was a kid when Star Wars came out, and Harrison Ford was both Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Who wouldn’t want to be that cool? My personality, sadly, is much more C-3PO than Han Solo, but Han was always the person I wanted to be. Here’s what I learned from everyone’s favorite smuggler/scoundrel:
- When it comes to love, play it cool. “I love you.” “I know.” Best response ever. He spent all of The Empire Strikes Back wooing Princess Leia, and when she finally tells him she loves him does he give her the satisfaction of knowing how much he likes her? No way. “I know.” Brilliant. (Aside: this is totally not me, as my wife and a few ex-girlfriends will attest. I’m about the most painfully obvious, un-coolest person when it comes to love.)
- Be creative. Are the odds against successfully navigating an asteroid field 3,720 to 1? Oh well, I’m going to fly into it, get closer to an asteroid, and hang out in a space slug’s belly for a while. What’s that you say? The hyperdrive doesn’t work? No problem, I’ll go into attack mode against a star destroyer and then hang out next to the ship until they dump their garbage. Han is the king of thinking on his feet.
- Money fades, but glory is forever. “Sure, I asked for my payment first; I’ve got this gangster named Jabba all hot and bothered. But the truth is I’m going to come back and win this little Death Star battle for you, just to show you I’m made of more than money. Oh yeah, and then I’ll come out and save you from the freezing cold, wrap you safely in some Tauntaun guts and build a shelter around you, even though I have these debts to pay. No biggie. That’s two you owe me, junior.”
- If you love someone, let them go. Han thought Leia wanted Luke, and not him. (Unthinkable, I know, but he was confused by almost being an Ewok entrée.) Did he put up a fight? Challenge his friend Luke to a duel for her hand? Whine to Leia about how he was the better man? No way: Han took the high road. “When he comes back, I won’t get in the way.” (Of course, Leia made the right choice. Which is to say, the non-incest, go-with-the-boss choice.)
- When all else fails, the best answer is “Hey, it’s me.” I love that in Return of the Jedi, when Leia thinks Han is about to do something foolish, he responds with “Hey, it’s me.” This echoes perfectly Indiana Jones’ line to Marian in Raiders of the Lost Ark: “Trust me.” The fact is, when you are Harrison Ford, your character is practically incontestable. If someone ever questions you, just give a sly smile and say, “Hey, it’s me.”
Han Solo was always a favorite of mine, and I only hope I’ve done the character justice in the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars trilogy. And now, as Han said to Luke before the first Death Star battle (#6: always be a bud, even when you disagree), “May the Force be with you.”
Ian Doescher — author of the William Shakespeare Star Wars trilogy — has loved Shakespeare since eighth grade and was born 45 days after Star Wars Episode IV was released. He has a B.A. in Music from Yale University, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Ethics from Union Theological Seminary. Ian lives in Portland, Oregon, with his spouse and two sons. You can follow him on Twitter at @IanDoescher.
- Check out the book trailer for The Jedi Doth Return
- Or the original trailer for William Shakespeare’s Star Wars
- Quirk staged a performance on the steps of Philly’s Museum of Art