It seems like practically all Star Wars fans love Han Solo. He's the tough bad boy everyone wants to be or date. Since Star Wars: Episode IV was released in 1977, Han Solo has become an idealized leading man, especially for newer fans, who have grown up knowing him only as a prominent figure in pop culture. For casual Star Wars fans like myself, Han Solo is considered the perfect fantasy man — rogue, ambitious, funny, loyal, and able to protect his loved ones. And, with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this weekend, the love for Han is only going to grow. But does he really deserve such heavy-handed praise and adoration? Or is Han Solo actually the galaxy's biggest bro?
Han Solo may be heroic, but I don't think he deserves all the love that he's gotten. Throughout the series, he acts like a complete jerk and is borderline sexist in his early interactions with Princess Leia. From the moment Han and Leia meet, they make their disdain for one another clear. And while the never-ending bickering personifies their relationship, it's also, at times, unbearable. Han insists on belittling Leia at every turn, making fun of her title by calling her "sweetheart," turning "Princess" into a bad word, or addressing her as "Your Worshipfulness" in a condescending tone that. It's true that Leia gives almost as good as she gets, but Han seems much more aggressive towards her than she deserves.
Even the most iconic scene in their relationship — when Han Solo is being trapped in carbonite by Jabba the Hut — Han refuses to lower his self-righteous facade, answering Leia's heartfelt "I love you" with "I know." Uh, "I know?" What does that even mean? Some argue that Han Solo shows vulnerability in this exchange, and, to be fair to him, he is sacrificing himself for her and Luke. But to me, as a young girl watching Star Wars for the first time, Han's response to Leia felt like smug last words of a man desperate to receive love and give none back. And yet this response, as well as many arrogant Han quotes, seems to only make him cool and attractive in many fans' eyes.
Let's face it: Han Solo is a total bro. A bro with redeeming qualities, but a bro nonetheless. Think of it this way: if you knew Han Solo in high school, you would have a crush on him and hate him all at the same time. Sure, he's cute, and when he smiles at you, it makes you melt, but he's also disrespectful, thinks a lot of himself, and walks around like he owns the place.
That said, I do see the appeal of Han Solo. He's handsome (thank you, Harrison Ford, for being you), and he's loyal. If Han's relationship with Chewbacca is evidence of anything, it's that when Han makes friends, he makes them for life. He also comes through in the end, and manages to open up to Leia in later films. He even admits his feelings for Leia and tells her he loves her — eventually. And, like it or not, there is an undeniable charm to Han Solo. He's like Jess from Gilmore Girls : a jerk, maybe, but irresistible nonetheless.
It will be interesting to see how a more mature Han Solo conducts himself in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Hopefully, he won't antagonize Rey the same way he did Princess Leia 30 years ago, and I can join the ranks of fans who find him simply charming, not callous.
Images: Lucasfilm; Giphy (2)