Those that have been watching the current Star Wars trilogy since The Force Awakens can hopefully admit at this point that watching Kylo Ren deliver a gut check to Han Solo, his own father of all people, was alarming since it effectively killed off one of the most classic heroes in the saga and supposedly ended Harrison Ford’s run in the epic tale. What many people likely forgot, as B. Alan Orange of MovieWeb reminds us, is that Ford was already over and done with the Star Wars franchise years ago. In fact the idea is that he asked George Lucas to kill off his character in Return of the Jedi, but obviously that never happened. Nope, longtime fans of the story had to watch as a son skewered his own father before letting him fall into the shaft of the planet-killing Starkiller base, kind of echoing what happened to Emperor Palpatine years ago. But when asked why he came back it was pretty simple, J.J. Abrams convinced him that it was a good idea, and apparently when a guy Abrams’ clout asks you to come back, you come back. A lot of fans are thoroughly confused as to why he didn’t show up as a Force ghost or something similar, but when thinking about it for a while it’s better that he didn’t come back in such a manner since Han routinely mocked the Force no matter that he did come to finally admit that it was all real.
Knocking Han down a peg isn’t the purpose of relaying his lack of belief in the Force, but it was a part of his character that had to change eventually since with all he’d seen Luke do and everything that had happened throughout the series, acknowledging the Force at the very least was something that old man Han would be likely to do. That’s not to say that he had much use for it, as he was the kind of guy that took the luck he could find and ran with it as much as possible. Being that Han didn’t have that great of an upbringing and didn’t have anyone else besides a few random people in his life, and Chewbacca, looking out for him it’s not hard to see how Han was kind of the vagabond of the group, the guy that would exist on his own terms and no one else’s. Chewbacca was more or less his moral conscience since the big wookie had a sense of honor and decorum to him at times, but more often than not Chewie took to the life of a smuggler with just as much zeal as Han did. Mike Reyes of CinemaBlend has more to offer on the duo’s history and relationship. One thing that is amusing about the fact that Disney decided not to use the Legends canon is that Chewbacca would have died fairly early on if they had, which in the books sent Han into a downward spiral of regret and loathing as he found his way back into the galaxy and started reverting back to his old ways. In the movies we did get Han is the one that ends up dying and Chewbacca appeared to die in Rise of Skywalker only to have it revealed that he’d been on a different ship and was still safe.
Bringing Han back also made sense considering that Luke made mention of him in The Last Jedi when he told Kylo that if he struck him down in anger he’d always be with him, just like his father. That’s the kind of foreshadowing that really needed a payoff and thankfully Abrams must have been thinking somewhere along the same lines since bringing Han back into the picture for a short cameo was actually kind of nice to see. It gave Kylo that final push that he needed to step away from the dark side and reclaim his name, Ben Solo. At the very least Han’s appearance was a reminder that he had another life to return to, one that would be easily accepted by at least one person that still believed in him. Han was never a big, inspirational speech type so the cameo was thankfully kept short and sweet, allowing the gruff old smuggler to say goodbye to his son one last time. Some would argue that this is just a memory, a part of Kylo’s mind finally forgiving him for what he’d done and wasn’t real. Can you say ‘duh’? The fact that this needs to be explained is kind of telling since it would mean that a lot of people are reading WAY too much into this and are trying to apply more than the scene was conveying in an attempt to comprehend it fully. Adam Holmes of CinemaBlend has more on this. All in all it was great to see him one more time, but no matter who asks it would probably be better off if this turned out to be the absolute last time.