“The Last Jedi” should have paid more respect to Han Solo
Star Wars: The Last Jedi poses an interesting, and sad question: What does life look like for Luke, Leia, Chewie, Rey, Finn, etc. without Han Solo? Everyone’s favorite space smuggler was, of course, killed in The Force Awakens by his own son, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. So how would The Last Jedi pick up after Han Solo’s death, and how would it acknowledge and pay tribute to him?
* CONSIDER THIS YOUR OFFICIAL SPOILER WARNING *
For starters, Rey informs Luke of Han’s passing while she’s trying to convince him to leave Ahch-To and help the Resistance defeat the First Order. Later, Luke sneaks into the Millennium Falcon, which Rey and Chewie flew to the remote island, and finds Han’s gold dice. The dice were never a *huge* part of Star Wars, apparently appearing in the Falcon only briefly in A New Hope and The Force Awakens prior to this. But they are said to be the dice that helped Han win the Falcon from Lando Calrissian, so we’d bet our bottom dollar that they’ll appear in Solo: A Star Wars Story in one form or another.
The dice appear again at the end of The Last Jedi when Luke and Leia are *tears* reunited on-screen.
Things aren’t looking good for the Resistance until Luke shows up to stall Kylo Ren, allowing the remaining good guys can escape (he doesn’t explicitly say that, but our man Poe figures it out). Luke expresses his guilt to Leia about her son, Ben, breaking bad. She basically says there’s nothing to be sorry for, and that while she’s held out hope for him to come back to the Light, it’s too late — he’s gone now. That’s when Luke hands Leia the dice and says…
"No one's ever really gone."
Pardon me while I cry my face off.
Kylo finds the dice after the big, climatic battle, but they quickly disappear because of that Luke twist. Even so, they’re still a reminder of Han’s memory. As are the characters, old and new: Luke, Leia, Chewie, R2-D2, C-3PO, the Falcon itself, Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren. They’re all connected to Han in one way or another.
Han likely affected Luke’s decision to return to his Jedi ways and help the Resistance. Obviously, there were many factors at play, but I can’t imagine Luke would stand idly by knowing Han died in the fight. Plus, Han appeared to influence Kylo Ren, making him feel conflicted about going to the Light or Dark Side in the wake of his death, which we get a taste of when the emo king hesitates to pull the trigger and (potentially) kill his mother. Oh, and you know Poe didn’t say “I know” to Rey for no reason.
Han is certainly felt throughout The Last Jedi, but the tributes could have gone a bit bigger since, again, the gold dice were never a *huge* part of this universe.
Then again, maybe it’s like what Leia would’ve wanted when she gets hurt and temporarily knocked out in the fight — for her crew to carry on, to not be consumed with sorrow because there’s work to do. Maybe the characters can’t really take the time to mourn and pay tribute to Han, because there’s so much at stake. I get that, I do. But there are ways to do that within the film without putting the characters through a mourning period — like, ehem, how Luke got a twin suns homage.
But Han Solo is getting his own origin movie and that is, perhaps, the biggest tribute of all.