Archive for Han Solo

Favorite ANH Moment

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 22 May 2014 by Megan

I know it’s very common to consider the 1997 tweaks to A New Hope the mustache on the Mona Lisa,” but I for one love them all. I love seeing all of Mos Eisley in its ugly to death glory, and I especially love the cantina. I have always loved the cantina, but I especially love the special edition’s cantina.

Odds are, we serve your kind! (Unless you're a droid)

Odds are, we serve your kind! (Unless you’re a droid)

There’s a reason my Yahoo! Group dedicated to Star Wars love was set in a cantina on Tatooine called the Smoking Orange. And that reason is, I love this bar. The assorted villainy of twelve systems all congregate at Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina, and I love it.

Mos Eisley Cantina!

Mos Eisley Cantina!

First of all, the soundtrack. This song comes out of nowhere, not like anything I was expecting to hear in a space epic, and there’s nothing scum and villainy love more than some good old fashioned space jazz, am I right? (Star Wars books dubbed this style of music “jizz,” presumably because the Urban Dictionary didn’t exist yet. I’m heartily sorry I have to tell you this, but I am the Star Wars Librarian and my head is crammed with this kind of knowledge.)

Doop doo doop doo dooda dooh . . .

Doop doo doop doo dooda dooh . . .

This is the sound my phone makes constantly because it’s both my alarm and like the only assigned ringtone I ever use. (Unassigned calls go to the Imperial march, and I wonder why I get so nervous every time I have to answer the phone. . . .) These two cantina song are quite easily two of my favorite tunes ever.

Come here often? Oh, wait, I'm the bartender...

Come here often? Oh, wait, I’m the bartender…

Bar scenes are classics in westerns, and Star Wars has more than a little in common with westerns as you know I’ve discussed before. Their clientele isn’t likely to be moisture farmers, but rather the traders and spacers who float through trying not to be noticed and looking for cash. The barroom fight, too, is a staple, though Obi-Wan handles it a lot quicker and with less orthodoxy than John Wayne.

IG-88's benighted parents?

IG-88’s benighted parents?

It’s Luke’s first step into a larger world. This kid who has never traveled past Anchorhead, never known any outside of his small circle of human friends unless it was itinerant Jawas, suddenly sees the reality of his daydreams put right in front of him. And it’s dark and smelly and a little intimidating. But he tries to play it cool.

In short, there is nothing not to like about this great scene. Music, barroom fight, Han Solo . . . It’s all good!

I'm long on charm and I look good in vests.

I’m long on charm and I look good in vests.

Favorite Photo

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , on 13 March 2014 by Megan

When I first found this challenge, I was very nearly put off by a blogger who had posted, as near as I could tell, about 3,000 pictures to answer this question. I don’t think I’m even exaggerating; I was holding the scroll button down for nearly ten minutes before I gave up and ctrl+ended to get to the bottom. It took me 5 hours to pin 490 pictures on Pinterest, so I can’t even comprehend the time this guy spent on a collection no one will ever look at because, frankly, too much is too much.

All that just to explain why I am absolutely going to discipline myself here and pick one photo. I’ll have a chance in upcoming weeks to talk about favorite scenes, battles, moments, and quotations, so why cheapen this moment by belaboring it with what it isn’t? So, simply, my favorite Star Wars photo:

Harrison Ford on the set for Return of the Jed

Harrison Ford on the set for Return of the Jedi

I know, it kind of surprised me, too. Not  that my favorite photo comes from ROTJ, of course. But here we’ve got a young Harrison Ford sitting in the desert sun of Tunisia between takes. And, he fine. Mrow.

As just some fun trivia, I’ve actually seen a couple of production stills from A New Hope; they’re in a film collection at the Lilly Library where I worked and feature Leia being marched by Stormtroopers and the lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Vader. So that’s cool, having held them in my white-gloved hands, but I still wouldn’t want to look at them for a long time or anything.

The Character You’d Want as a Drinking Buddy

Posted in Challenges with tags , on 30 May 2013 by Megan

I see we’re into the realm of weird questions now. This one in particular is awkward because I don’t drink and I don’t know what qualities a person would want in a drinking buddy. Urban Dictionary — which I do not advise you to ever use — says a drinking buddy is someone who is usually with you when you drink, always drinks if you drink, and is someone you trust and don’t mind making a fool of yourself around; it is a person you can count on to “get just as drunk as you” and make fun memories with. (I was under the impression that getting drunk resulted in memory loss, so how are you making memories while drunk?!)

Okay, so a Star Wars character I’d like to hang out with just for laughs, just to go hang out of an evening, chill out, have some fun . . . All right, as usual, overanalyzing the question has not changed the answer that popped into my head the instant I first saw it.

I don't always have fictional drinking buddies, but when I do, they're awesome.

I don’t always have fictional drinking buddies, but when I do, they’re awesome.
(I did not create this image. It was on Yahoo!)

I mean, come on. Who didn’t answer Han Solo to this question? Sure, he’s cynical, coolly murders a guy in a bar and strolls out in front of dozens of witnesses, but out of everyone in those films, he seems like the one who knows how to have a good time. Luke’s way too nervous to loosen up for a really fun evening, and Han must have a thousand awesome stories to tell. Plus with Chewie along, I wouldn’t have to worry about any unwanted interruptions. And he’s already demonstrated an affinity for short brunettes.

Seriously, Han, I'm better than that other short brunette you were with.

Seriously, Han, I’m better than that other short brunette you were with.

Yes, I can definitely picture it now. A couple of space cold ones, Han waxing poetical on his scary Hutt stories or rebel soldiering days, holo-chess, space peanuts and pretzels . . . bickering over the details with Chewie and then jumping up to kareoke to “Here I Go Again.” Ooh, then we take the Falcon out to see the famous Maw cluster at the Kessel Run, and he looks so dapper in that Corellian bloodstripe . . . Yeah, Han and I could definitely be best buddies.

No, Han, you can't play Russian roulette with a blaster.

No, Han, you can’t play Russian roulette with a blaster.

Han is unselfconscious about his own past, so there wouldn’t be much, if any awkwardness if something came up, like being served chocolate Hans in Carbonite. I definitely can’t think of anyone better to hang out with until the small hours and then go into an all-night diner for a 5 AM breakfast with extra hot coffee. Nope. Sounds about right. Gosh, who has Han’s number? I need to get on this . . .

Favorite Rivalry

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , on 21 February 2013 by Megan

Rivalries are way more fun than romances.  And what better rivalry to look at than the story of the smuggler and the farmboy?

ANH_stills13

I love these two together. You can start with comparisons, although there’s not many — they’re both orphans, both pilots, both loyal. There are more contrasts, though. Han, seven years Luke’s senior, grew up essentially on his own, and by ANH had wandered the galaxy enough to know a few things. Pickpocket, pilot, Imperial cadet, Imperial officer, Imperial castoff, smuggler: Han has really done it all. He’s also pretty much dated it all — spice addicts, freedom fighters, anti-imperial agents, magicians, smugglers — and his only constants are his ship and his Wookiee. Luke on the other hand, browbeaten as he may have been, had a normal and peaceful enough upbringing on a quiet farm with parental figures in the form of his uncle and aunt. He learned mechanics, tinkering, flying, and had typical small-town experiences and problems. Han knows he has the greater experience, but Luke has more heart, and really the rivalry is apparent from the first moment. Luke wants to walk out because Han demands 10,000 for passage for 2 and 2 droids to Alderaan (a distance of some 12,000 parsecs, a half a galaxy away), and Han immediately challenges his ability to fly.

Luke consistently attempts to take control of the situation, and Han always challenges in return, but Han does go along with him. Luke, however, never grasps the sort of world Han comes from, and feels monumental betrayal when Han claims his money and prepares to leave the alliance. Han, conscience struck to return just in time, gets decorated along with Luke, but he’ll face the consequences later of letting others talk him out of appeasing the crime lord he owed loyalty to first.

ESB_stills2

What happened over the next three years, we can only guess, though by ESB their friendship is not only clearly strong, it is the driving force of the film: it sends Han into the nighttime frozen hell of Hoth looking for his friend, it sends Luke away from his apparent destiny with Yoda to see his friends saved, it ends the film as they mount a rescue for their fallen fellow. In many ways, Empire and Jedi are ultimate buddy flicks. But the rivalry hasn’t gone anywhere — as Han keeps score of how many times he’s saved Luke’s bacon, as Han smugly cuts in to Luke and Leia’s conversation, as Luke basks in the revenge kiss from Leia.

ROTJ_stills6

They are just great to watch together. One of the best things is just to watch the other’s face where you normally watch the one: eye rolls, little smiles from Luke, eyebrows and grimaces from Han . . .

ROTJ_stills7

So, Han and Luke have my favorite rivalry. They learn a lot from each other — Luke picks up on the value of cynicism and Han learns heart — but they’re never going to stop sniping at each other. During the celebration scene at the end of ROTJ, you see Luke and Han reunite after the battle, and Luke grabs his arms and kind of gives him a stern look before they hug, and Han then takes Leia in his arms. They’re already as good as brothers. Make it official!

Least Favorite Romance

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 14 February 2013 by Megan

You should know as I answer this question that I do not like romance. All romance is my least favorite romance. I don’t think I need to tell you that I don’t like the romance between Padmé and Anakin, because I already established that Padmé is my least favorite female character. And knowing how invested people are in this, when I answer today’s question the way I’m about to, you may feel tempted to ask if I have a soul. Well, as far as I know, I do, but it does not care about romance.

A Princess and her Smuggler

A Princess and her Smuggler

Long story dramatically short: Leia does not deserve Han. Their romance is blighted the entire time by the fact that she is a shrill, shrewish, shrieking royal with a silver spoon and an attitude problem. (The post about Padmé was making me feel really warm about her daughter, but I take it all back.)

So Leia is a 22-year-old senator when she meets Han. Like her unknown mother, she has to face the dichotomy of being a royal figure in a democratic universe — a vestigial person striving to prove herself still relevant, a fighter for freedom and the re-institution of a republic who is still universally referred to as “Princess,” even after the planet she was princess of is destroyed and furthermore even after it is revealed she was only ever adopted into that family to begin with. Her strength is mainly absolute bullheadedness, and frankly, she is not good with making decisions.

It’s obvious why she would go after Han (and I do like the adoring look in her eyes in the above picture) — his roguish good looks, mysterious and presumably checkered past, and gruff ways are like lady catnip. However, her pride, upbringing, recent traumas, and natural perverse streak cause her to resist this attraction with every fiber of her being and she insults, snaps at, and derides him the entire time. Luke, despite being her rescuer, is too agreeable. She’s used to people falling at her feet with obedience and agreement to her every thought. She is not used to being challenged. In a nutshell, this is why she falls in love with Han.

Yeah, she's mine, I know it.

Yeah, she’s mine, I know it.

But Han has absolutely no reason to fall in love with her. Days before meeting her shrieking ungrateful worshipfulness, he received the heartbreaking news that his first love, Bria, the first woman to ever gracelessly abandon him, was killed by the Empire. Again, Leia derides, disagrees with, and demeans him at every available opportunity; now, this doesn’t have an effect on Han because he’s heard it all. But there’s no reason for it to attract him, either. And while Leia has an uncanny ability to have utterly pristine makeup whether she’s being tortured by Imperial agents or grubbing about on a backwater planet, she’s not a great beauty. She’s neither a bimbo nor a genius; she is also neither his match, nor a challenge, nor his opposite. Leia has an all-consuming passion for politics, government, espionage, and warfare. In other words, Leia’s chief appeal seems to be availability.

Mmm, you're so . . . available.

Mmm, you’re so . . . available.

So apart from the fact that I can’t see why Han falls for her — and Han is the girl at the beginning of ESB, hurt because Leia (acting the part of the man) refuses to acknowledge his feelings for her or express any in return. He’s hurt, angry, and tries to provoke a confession of attraction, and he leaves in a fury when Leia hotly denies any interest in him whatsoever. But apart from not being able to see why Han falls for her, I have to say that frankly Leia doesn’t deserve him. This is not apparent in the films, not much, anyway, though traces of Leia’s selfishness, fitful changeability, and bad temper are seen throughout. Where it really comes out is in the EU, which of course you can always take as canon or not.

Leia spends four years refusing to marry him and comes shockingly close to marrying a stranger for political benefits. Han actually kidnaps her in order to press her into marriage. Over and over again, Han is the girl in this relationship. Leia wears the trousers. He  begs for marriage and she demurs. She betrays him by accepting a stranger’s marriage proposal, doesn’t even tell Han about it, and then is bemused that he isn’t willing to accept the situation. In every case, the Republic comes before him, before her family, before anything. She tells Han to sit and he sits; she teases him, puts him off, puts him on, runs hot and cold, and in all other ways is a maddening example of a girlfriend from hell. Luke and Han may be as close as brothers, but Leia is an absolute bitch.

The little possessive snuggle he gives her at the end is cute though.

The little possessive snuggle he gives her at the end is cute though.

Although I have no idea why Han would love her, it’s impossible to miss how genuine his affection is. He loves her and is so relieved to have her, despite how badly she treats him. I know they’re considered the poster children of scifi romance, but it’s just not there.