Now that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has officially premiered, many fans are ready to talk about some of the more intricate plot details featured in the he J.J. Abrams-directed epic. However, as anyone who has seen the latest film in the franchise will know, one major moment stands above the rest as the most jaw-dropping in the “Star Wars” canon.
[SPOILER ALERT: The remainder of this article will openly discuss the ending of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Stop reading if you have not seen the film and plan to.]
The film is responsible for introducing the exciting new villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to the series’ mythology. The character is obsessed with Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones), and is trying desperately to adopt the dark side of the Force after training with his Jedi master, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), went awry. However, what really makes him stand out in the film is the reveal that he is the son of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia (Carrie Fisher).
After imploring him to bring their son back to the light, Han Solo attempts to convince his son, originally named Ben Solo, to abandon the dark side and leave the First Order’s base with him. Instead, the villain opts to run his horrifying broadsword-style lightsaber through the iconic character’s heart.
“‘Star Wars’ had the greatest villain in cinema history. So, how you bring a new villain into that world is a very tricky thing,” Abrams told a crowd at a post-screening Q&A at the Writers Guild of America (via Entertainment Weekly). “We knew we needed to do something f---ing bold. The only reason why Kylo Ren has any hope of being a worthy successor is because we lose one of the most beloved characters.”
In the same interview, co-writer Michael Arndt revealed that his original draft didn’t include the death of Han Solo. It wasn’t until the director asked a very poignant question that it became clear the character would have to meet his end in “The Force Awakens.”
“I had thought Han’s story and Leia’s story was just about them coming back together,” Arndt said. “J.J. rightly asked, ‘What is Han doing in this movie?’ If we're not going to have something important and irreversible happen to him, then he kind of feels like luggage. He feels like this great, sexy piece of luggage you have in your movie. But he’s not really evolving. He’s not really pushing the story forward.”
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, although tragic and highly controversial, killing off Han Solo was the right move for the franchise narratively. The outlet points out that the scene in question very closely mirrors that of the ending of the first movie, “Star Wars: A New Hope” in which Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alac Guinness) died at the hands of Darth Vader to inspire the new generation of heroes. As previously reported, Abrams intended for characters like Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) to accept the torch as the new leads of the “Star Wars” universe in the modern day. Although fans are likely sad to see him go, Han Solo’s death holds a very important meaning for the future of the franchise.