There are few characters in the history of cinema who are as monumentally beloved as Han Solo. Iconic doesn’t even begin to cover it. Harrison Ford’s scruffy-looking nerf herder has been a favourite of every Star Wars-loving child for the past 40 years, so his return in The Force Awakens – alongside Carrie Fisher’s Leia and Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker – was one of the big selling points of the movie.
Of course, after getting us excited about seeing him again, the film then ripped our hearts out when Han was murdered by his own evil son Kylo Ren. It was one of the big game-changing moments of the Star Wars saga, sitting alongside such classic scenes as Obi-Wan’s death and the “I am your father” reveal.
Now, it’s come to light just how significant a development this was. It turns out that the decision to kill off Han Solo was so massive that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams had a “big debate” over it with Disney CEO Bob Iger.
As reported by Polygon, Iger revealed the news to Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton at the magazine’s annual Summit in Los Angeles. He explained that the three of them had an in-depth discussion about how to balance nostalgia versus invention in the new trilogy, which ultimately led into a debate about whether Han Solo should kick the bucket or not.
“We had a big debate about Han Solo. Should he die or not? It was a decision made by Kennedy and Abrams, but I got involved.”
In the end, it seems that Iger, Kennedy and Abrams all came to an agreement that the best thing to do would be to retire Ford’s iconic role. We can also theorize that the pair got Iger to agree to the character’s death with the promise of a Han Solo prequel further down the line.
The fallout of the character’s death is sure to be explored in great depth in The Last Jedi, arriving in cinemas on December 15th. The younger incarnation of Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich, will then feature in his own movie, due out on May 25th, 2018.