Jul 14, 2015

Why a certain character's death in The Force Awakens is good for Star Wars and cinema

Spoiler alert

Han Solo dies in The Force Awakens. We called this event happening last year, before all the story leaks came. It's just so obvious a thing if you think about it.

But is it a good thing!?

The why of Solo's death is simple - Harrison Ford was reluctant to play his iconic character again but has done a deal for a one off appearance that included the death of the space scoundrel in return for another crack at an Indianna Jones movie.

The how of Solo's death is apparently at the hands of the villan of The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren.

So why is Han Solo's death important for Star Wars and film making in general?

It's because it reminds us that no one is safe. Yes, we acknowledge the death of Obi Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, Qui Gon Gin on TPM and also that of Padmé in Revenge of the Sith.

But we are taking about Han Solo here! He is arguably one of the most loved Star Wars characters. The ongoing debate about whether he shot Greedo first and that there was a need to explain the Kessle Run boast shows he's The Man of Star Wars. So if Han Solo can die, anyone can die. It's the Game of Thrones effect at play.

There are of course 3 characters who will survive until at least the 9th Star Wars movie, being Poe Dameron, Rey and Finn. As the new Big Three, Disney has too much invested in them to kill them off. 

And on that point, given The Force Awakens is a hand over to the next generation, Star Wars can afford to have an Original Big Three member die.

This all fits in with what appears to be Luke's story arc in VII - he doesn't have much screen time and appears to be being set up for a major role in VIII.

Han Solo's death is good for film making as it could serve as a signal to other big movie producers that it's OK again for major characters to die. It would be OK for Captain America or Iron Man to lay dead in a heap after a glorious battle that saved the Earth (and not Comic Book dead!). It would be OK if a Harry Potter like character died in the end and it would be OK if Tom Cruise died in a Mission Impossible movie. What I'm saying is less side kick deaths, more tragic endings for the lead.

It would make for stronger movie viewing  experiences - if you weren't sure your hero was going to make it through, the better experience.

Of course everyone loves a happy ending and there a profits to be made so none of this will happen - we're just in a unique situation that Han's death can occur because of the timing and plot circumstances that Star Wars finds itself in.


  1. Han's death helped give a villian credibility and weight, not that shooting defenseless villagers was enough.

    1. That was a pretty brutal moment - ironically (?!) that was the moment it all started to unravel for Ren - Finn made up his mind and so began a new chain of events.

  2. I hate Kylo ren after that moment. Harrison ford is signed on for VIII via IMDB so who knows?!

    1. Regards the IBMD thing, that was more of a false add so that people didn't necessarily work out he was going to die. As I understand it, Ford signed on to do Star Wars on the condition of death and also that he be given a chance to do one more Indiana Jones movie.