Before you go any further, it goes without saying that there are major spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Now that that’s out of the way, it’s fair to say that perhaps the most shocking moment in the movie comes when Kylo Ren (a.k.a. Ben Solo) murders his father, Han Solo. The decision to kill off such a fan-favourite character can’t have been an easy one, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan has now shed some light on how the decision was made as the story evolved.
“Long before we had this title, the idea of The Force Awakens was that this would become the evolution of not just a hero, but a villain. And not a villain who was the finished, ready-made villain, but someone who was in process. Star Wars had the greatest villain in cinema history. So, how you bring a new villain into that world is a very tricky thing. We knew we needed to do something fucking bold. The only reason why Kylo Ren has any hope of being a worthy successor is because we lose one of the most beloved characters.”
Original writer Michael Arndt went on to reveal that Han’s death wasn’t originally part of the plan, adding that the movie was going to end with him and Leia reigniting their romance after years of being separated. That certainly would have made a lot of fans happy, but it was ultimately decided that that wouldn’t be a satisfying story arc for the character.
“I had thought Han’s story and Leia’s story was just about them coming back together. At the end of the movie they would have reconciled and gotten over their differences. And you would have said, ‘Okay, bad stuff happened, but at least they’re back together again. J.J. rightly asked, ‘What is Han doing in this movie?’ If we’re not going to have something important and irreversible happen to him, then he kind of feels like luggage. He feels like this great, sexy piece of luggage you have in your movie. But he’s not really evolving. He’s not really pushing the story forward.”
Finally, director J.J. Abrams made it clear why exactly he came to the conclusion that killing off Han Solo was the right move for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it’s a simple enough explanation:
“[Han Solo’s death is] this massive tradeoff. How can we possibly do that!? But… if we hadn’t done that, the movie wouldn’t have any guts at all. It felt very dangerous.”
Do you agree? Hit the comments section below to let us know your thoughts on this shocking moment in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.