If you've seen Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens by now (and I hope that you have because you guys it's so good) you'll likely be feeling a mixture of emotions. Not only was the movie a beautiful experience, as we got to see so many of the original cast members reunited onscreen, it was also a traumatic affair. Giant, giant spoiler ahead. Yes, I'm referring to the major death that took place: The one that's going to take me several days to get over. Actually, I may never get over it, because how can you kill off a character who is as loved and respected as Han Solo is? But, it's time to come to terms with the facts — Han Solo is dead in the Star Wars universe, and he's never coming back.
(I may have previously said I hoped Han Solo landed on a giant pillow at the bottom of that dark abyss he fell into, but even I know that's wishful thinking).
The question that I'm sure is on a lot of people's minds is, "Did Han Solo have to die?" After all, there are going to be two more Star Wars sequels that follow this one. Don't we need Han Solo to appear in those too? If not, who will provide the much needed comic relief and immense sexiness? (I mean, honestly, look at the guy.)
It's an understatement to say that I was sad when I realized that Han Solo wasn't going to survive The Force Awakens . His death was devastating — Han was trying to save his son, mega villain Kylo Ren, when Kylo Ren turned on him and stabbed him with a lightsaber — but it was also necessary to the plot. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about the fact that Harrison Ford probably won't be in any more Star Wars films, as I'm one of his biggest advocates (for instance, if you've not seen The Age of Adaline , it's worth watching if only for his performance). But, in The Force Awakens, Han Solo had to die, and here's why.
As Episode VII is in large part about Kylo Ren's development, one of the decisions he had to make was to embrace his family, or cut ties with them for good. We know this as, during Han Solo and Kylo Ren's emotional stand off at the end of the movie, Kylo Ren says that he is feeling mixed up, torn apart, and needs his father's help. Han Solo mistakes this as an olive branch from his son. Then, when Kylo Ren murders his father with a lightsaber, Han is understandably shocked — he had hoped for the best from his son right until the end, and at Leia's request, was trying once more to save Kylo Ren.
But Kylo Ren does not want to be saved, and by killing his father, he's proven that. The films have illustrated that for this villain, there is no going back. Instead, in murdering his father, Ren finally finds a way forward and a chance to embrace the person he is becoming. I'm not saying that I support this, because the person he's becoming is terrible, but it's definitely one of the crucial plot points of Kylo Ren's character arc. Without the death of Han Solo, Kylo Ren cannot ascend to the next level of power which he so desperately craves.
I wish with all of my heart that Kylo Ren had not killed Han Solo, and that it hadn't been necessary to begin with — but Han Solo had to die. And while we now mourn him as one of the greatest Star Wars characters of all time, we can take solace in the fact that Han Solo was never not brilliant, and Harrison Ford deserved every slice of screen time he got in The Force Awakens. His character will be remembered and celebrated.
And, in the films to come, I have no doubts that Kylo Ren's rise to power is going to be fun and terrifying to watch.
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Images: Walt Disney Pictures; Giphy