Monday, January 5, 2015

He does have his moments: Reasons why it's better to be Han than Luke

There are many ways to describe Han Solo: heroic, sarcastic, charming, skillful, and cocky all come to mind, but perhaps the word that best sums up the Corellian smuggler is "scoundrel." While Luke pursues his destiny and Leia fights for galactic freedom, Han is in it for the reward (or so he claims). Of course, we always knew there was more to him than money, but it's that devil-may-care swagger that makes Han so likable.

Personally, I can't say for sure whether I would rather be Luke or Han, but for the purposes of this post, Luke can keep his hokey religions and ancient weapons: here are the reasons why it's better to be Han Solo.

She may not look like much...

The Millennium Falcon

Spaceships are awesome, and the Falcon is more than just a spaceship. Thanks to her speed, toughness, maneuverability, and hidden compartments, she's also guaranteed employment in one of the most exciting occupations in the galaxy. And, since Han has the know-how the upgrade her, the skills to fly her, and the knack for keeping her running, Han is the perfect owner for her (despite what a certain mayor of Bespin might think!)

It's clear that the Falcon means a lot to Han. It's not just the ship he flies. It's his hobby, his pride and joy, something to tinker with and improve. Who wouldn't want to spend a day crawling through the insides of a starship, hydrospanner in hand, tweaking things to get the ship purring like a nexu kitten? And after that, the Falcon has room to rest after a job well done, because it's also a home: the world's greatest tree house.

Han truly loves his ship, and I doubt Luke can say the same thing about his lightsaber.

From the cover of Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn, painted by Paul Youll.

The Falcon needs a copilot, and that role is filled by the greatest best friend in the galaxy: the seven-foot Wookiee named Chewbacca. Han and Chewbacca are inseparable, and not just because Chewie swore a life-debt to protect Han. This pair has been through some of the worst that the galaxy has to offer, but they got through it because they always knew they could count on each other.

Chewbacca is everything a guy could want in a friend. He's big and tough enough to dissuade low-lives from picking fights, and strong enough to watch your back if a fight should break out anyway. He can lend a hand when it's time to repair the Falcon, or take over as pilot while Han mans one of the quad turrets. Despite his prowess, Chewie is a big softie, and his heart is every bit as big as his body: he's gentle and affectionate, and he watches out for Han and keeps him from getting into too much trouble.

In our galaxy, they say that a dog is man's best friend, but in the galaxy far, far away, that applies better to Wookiees. He probably sheds a bit and I would bet he smells when wet, but hanging out with Chewie must be like having a great dog: he's loyal, supportive, and he helps you make friends. After all, having a great dog makes everyone likable, even a scoundrel.

Sometimes she thinks he's all right

Leia and Han end up together

When talking about liking scoundrels, we have to talk about the one major woman character in the original trilogy: Princess Leia. She's tough, smart, and dedicated, and the Rebellion would be nowhere without her. It's no surprise that she catches the eye of both Han and Luke, and let's face it, though: even before anyone knew that Luke and Leia were related (including George Lucas), it was a foregone conclusion that she would choose Han.

Leia and Han make a great match. She's Alderaanian royalty, idealistic, and passionate about a cause. Han is a working class guy from Corellia, cynical, and interested only in money. They're both used to giving orders and having their way, but they both share a love of freedom and hatred of tyranny. Sparks were bound to fly.

I don't know if the new trilogy will feature Luke ending up with Mara Jade, or if he will have another love interest, or perhaps he will follow the solitary lifestyle of a Jedi. No matter what, there is no way he ends up with someone as fiery, resourceful, and good-hearted as our Princess.

That cocky smile

Han may be a slimy, no-good, double-crossing swindler, but you can't help but like him. He can't stay out of trouble, but he can count on Chewie, the Falcon, and a low-slung blaster to keep him one step ahead of that trouble. That translates into a confident, carefree attitude that makes Han's lifestyle so appealing.

That's what being Han is all about: getting onto the Millennium Falcon with your best pal and the princess, and blasting off with that cocky smile. And if that's not enough to convince you, there's always this catchy song:

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