In the latest hip romantic comedy, (500) Days of Summer, the young guy, after his first night of nookie with the girl, checks his reflection in a car window. Grinning back at him is that great space lover, Han Solo. Han winks, and the audience laughs with him.
Opening this piece with (500) Days of Summer does not mean that I recommend the film in anyway. The writers tried too hard to show off how smart they were and used every movie cliché with a wink-wink of self-awareness that got annoying. Now, I have no problem with writers showing off, but these guys had nothing in the end. Their female lead was shallower than tissue paper. Please young filmmakers, if you’re gonna cast Zooey Deschanel, give her a character to play. But enough about all that. I’d rather write about Star Wars.
So Han Solo. Ahhhh Han Solo. In my tramping around the planet, I’ve met many a guy (Geek and non-Geek) who has modeled himself on Han Solo only without the blaster, the Wookiee, and the Millennium Falcon. Such a guy worked hard on his simple tricks and nonsense with no mystical field controlling his destiny. Most of the time, such a guy was delightfully silly because no wannabe could out-Solo my Solo.
I’ve also met a lot of true Han Solo types complete with cocky grins. A Han Solo likes to tinker with his car that always breaks down. A Han Solo might talk all loner and mercenary, but at the end of the day, he’s as loyal as they come. A Han Solo might have a dog or a best friend who has been with him forever. A Han Solo has a girlfriend/boyfriend who is awesome---you know, the type capable of leading a rebel fleet. A Han Solo is the kind of guy who would tell the right joke just when things get heavy. Yeah, I’ve met a lot of Hans, but I’ve never met a single one who had been encased in carbonite.
As I thought about the Hans, I realized that for every Han, there must be a Luke Skywalker. Luke is a little more difficult to define since he grows and changes in the course of the trilogy. In New Hope, he’s the wet behind the ears farmboy with big dreams of going to the city. In Empire, Luke tries on some Han Solo sensibilities, but Yoda gets rid of those. Finally, in Jedi, Luke is calmer, more spiritual, but with a lot of family stuff on his plate. Luke is more the thinker than Han. He’s more mind and psyche (in contrast to Han Solo’s physical world). He’s very good at sorting out his family drama, questioning authority, and remaining friends with a lot of different beings---from an R2 unit to a golden protocol droid to an old Jedi master.
So there’s nothing wrong with being a Han or a Luke. Space is big enough for everyone.