Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, is a fictional smuggler and "reckless mercenary" in the Star Wars franchise. Introduced in the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), Solo and his Wookiee first mate, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), become involved in the Rebel Alliance against the authoritarian Galactic Empire. Over the course of the Star Wars franchise, Solo becomes a chief figure in the Alliance and succeeding galactic governments. Star Wars creator George Lucas described Solo as "a loner who realizes the importance of being part of a group and helping for the common good."
Han remains one of cinema's most revered movie characters. The American Film Institute ranked Solo as the 14th greatest film hero. He was also deemed the 4th greatest movie character of all-time by Empire magazine. Entertainment Weekly ranked the character 7th on their list of The All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Solo at number 15.
At the beginning of A New Hope, Solo and Chewbacca are desperate to pay off a debt to Jabba the Hutt. Solo accepts a charter to transport Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) to Alderaan in Han's ship, the Millennium Falcon; when they arrive, they find Alderaan has been destroyed by the Death Star, and the Falcon is captured. Enticed by the likelihood of a substantial reward, Solo and Chewbacca help Skywalker rescue Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), held captive aboard the station. After escaping and delivering Skywalker, Leia, and the droid to the Rebels, Solo and Chewbacca receive payment for their services and depart; Solo believes the Rebels' plan to attack the Death Star is "suicide." However, Solo soon has a change of heart and returns to aid in the attack, ultimately enabling Skywalker to fire the shot that destroys the Death Star. Following this, Han accepts a position as Captain with the Rebel Alliance.
When the Empire attacks the Rebels' base on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Solo transports Chewbacca, Leia, and C-3PO to Cloud City for safety and repairs to the Falcon. The bounty hunter Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch) tracks the Falcon to Cloud City, and Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) forces Cloud City's administrator, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), to help capture Solo. Leia confesses her love of Solo shortly before he is frozen in carbonite for delivery to Jabba the Hutt. Although Calrissian helps free Vader's other captives, they do not succeed in releasing Solo. However, Leia infiltrates Jabba's palace at the beginning of Return of the Jedi (1983) and frees Solo. Reunited with the Rebels, Solo rejoins the Alliance and is commissioned as a general. Along with Leia and Chewbacca, he leads a team in deactivating the shields protecting the Empire's second Death Star. Aided by the indigenous Ewok, Solo and the Rebels succeed in overcoming the Imperial garrison, allowing the Rebels' space forces to destroy the Empire's battlestation.
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