If you are a fan of Star Wars, then you’ll remember the scene where Han Solo is infamously frozen. It was sad, but at the same time, not as hard to swallow because technically, we hadn’t lost our gun-slinging space-pirate just yet.
Why was Han Solo frozen? Solo was frozen because the actor who played him, Harrison Ford, was not satisfied with character and wasn’t sure he wanted to do another Star Wars film. Instead of giving solo a permanent death, George Lucas decided to find a way in which Solo could both end up dead and alive, should Ford choose to come back on for the third film of the franchise.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at other various reasons that have been given for Solo to be frozen, and also information about the lead-up as well.
All of the Reasons Solo was Frozen
Of course, as with any large plot in a franchise as popular as Star Wars, there are bound to be many theories as to why Solo was frozen, whether they are taken as canon or not. However, we’ll just be exploring the canon reasons, as those are the ones that truly count.
There are two main reasons:
- One for the actor’s displeasure with the character
- The filmmakers had to come up with a reason in the storyline that made sense in the story arc.
As we touched on a bit earlier, the authentic reason lies with the actor himself. Ford even came out much later in an interview saying that, at the time, he wished Solo would just have died. With the fate of the galaxy at his fingertips, George Lucas was called into action to do something.
There aren’t many franchises where you can literally freeze a character in time, but hey, this is Star Wars. Lucas decided to have Solo be trapped and frozen in carbonite was the best way to approach the situation. As Ford put it in a 2010 interview with Peter Travers, “George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”
With this turn of events, they could choose to resume the life of Solo should he come back – or kill him off later.
Why Was he Frozen for the Film?
Now with the decision made, the filmmakers had to decide a logical reason as to why Solo would be trapped in carbonite in the movie. In the end, they went with a pretty simple decision that has seemed to work well with fans over the years, although it still was unexpected.
Darth Vader wanted Skywalker frozen; however, the chamber itself had apparently not yet been tested for humans. Since Vader didn’t want the Emperor to be upset if his “prize” was damaged, he ordered for Solo to be the one who will be tested in the carbonite, to ensure it does indeed work properly.
Before he would be frozen, fans were already given a hint that this would not spell the end for Han Solo, even if the filmmakers didn’t know for sure at the time. Before Solo is guided in, Boba Fett whispers to Vader that he is worried that Solo will die and that he is worth a lot to him (as a bounty). Vader responds by telling Fett the Empire will compensate him if the unfortunate does happen.
Solo’s “Last” Words
Even in facing potential death, Han’s comedy and sarcasm that is so beloved throughout the franchise once again finds a way to shine through. Moments before being frozen, Princess Leia tells Han that she loves him.
Solo replies with simply “I know,” giving the fans a glimpse of the great personality one last time before he potentially exits the Star Wars universe forever. It brought a bit of a bitter-sweet feeling to the entire scene, as it never felt like the end of Solo. But fans didn’t realize that it could have been the end of one of the best characters in the universe thus far.
Yep, He’s Frozen
Well, it looks like the Empire will save a few bucks after all and not have to compensate Fett for losing one of his prime hunts. After Lando confirms to Vader that Solo did indeed survive being frozen and that he was in perfect hibernation, Han was given to Fett, in frozen form.
Although it was confirmed that Solo was still alive, it still was an unsettling feeling seeing him go into the possession of the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter in Boba Fett.
How Did Solo Get Out?
The big question heading into Episode VI was if Solo was still alive, how would he be unfrozen. Well, our answer came through Princess Leia. Leia found Solo, still frozen, looking like he hadn’t moved an inch since the last time we saw him.
Solo was dropped down from the then disguised Leia, then heated up with extreme temperatures to thaw out our favorite space pirate of the last century. Solo falls out from the carbonite casing, briefly unconscious. He is picked up by the still masked Leia, who explains to Han that he was unfrozen.
It is also explained to him that he is in Jabba the Hutt’s palace, where he has been a sort of decoration. Once he discovers that it was Leia who set him free, the two briefly kiss, before being interrupted by Jabba’s laughter.
Solo is then taken away once again, but at least it wasn’t for the rest of the film this time around.
Why Was Han Solo in Jabba’s Palace?
Han was notorious for having outstanding debts across the galaxy. Unlike getting letters in the mail, if you are behind on a bill, Solo simply used the vast size of the galaxy to get away from these troubles. Solo was in quite a bit of debt with Jabba, which saw him being placed in his palace for the time being.
How Long Was Solo Frozen?
Although we don’t know the exact time, we can assume that Han Solo was frozen for about a year or so due to the time that had passed between the two films. It is unsure whether being frozen for a long amount of time, such as hundreds or thousands of years, would have any permanent damaging to the body, as we don’t see the carbonite freezing method much throughout the Star Wars universe.
After being unfrozen, Solo does end up having a larger role in Return of the Jedi, which gives closure to the end of the original trilogy, which saw the galaxy be saved from the evil that was the Empire, at least for a while.
Solo’s Eventual Fate
By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the fate of Han Solo in The Force Awakens. For as much as Solo had gone through in the original first three films, seeing his ultimate death was tough to watch for many fans of the series.
His own son, Kylo Ren, killed his father as they were fighting on two opposite sides of a long, enduring battle of good and evil. In a way, it was ironic to see Solo be killed after all these years, considering Harrison Ford had originally wanted him dead over 30 years ago.
Although it was hard to accept at the time, every great character needs an end to become truly an immortal piece of culture. With the death of Solo, Star Wars fans from all generations can appreciate the story arc of the sarcastic, intelligent, and caring gunslinger that is Han Solo, from the beginning to the end.