Tuesday, May 12, 2020

When Did Han Know What He Was Doing?

We watched Star Wars Saturday. It may have been only my third time to see it start to finish. Somehow, I felt a little like I was seeing it for the first time. I felt like I was watching a movie, rather than watching Star Wars. One scene stood out to me.

It's when Han is loading up his reward for rescuing the princess, while everyone else is preparing to attack the Death Star. Luke confronts him about deserting the cause. He tells Han to take care of himself, since that's what he does best. Luke turns to walk away, and then Chewy says something to Han, to which Han replies, "I know what I'm doing."

The attack commences without Han, but he later reappears at the critical moment, disrupting Vader's pursuit of Luke, so that young Skywalker can ring the two-meter target and blow up the Death Star. Presumably, Han was on his way to pay back Jaba, but his conscience ate at him until he turned back, returning fortuitously at the optimum time to intervene. But, what if that was his plan all along?

What if Han knew what he was doing back at the base, when he told Chewy he knew what he was doing? I think Han was preserving the element of surprise—relating to both his enemy and his ally. Han didn't want the rebels to include him in their plans. He wanted to be their ace in the hole—that they wouldn't know they had until they needed it. Han likes to work alone, wookie not withstanding. As he says earlier in the movie, he doesn't take orders. It was always his plan to help, but on his own terms.

After all, Han had stopped Luke when he was walking away from the confrontation to say, "May the force be with you." It wasn't that Han had become a believer. He was just tipping his hand a little. Luke would have some luck. Han would see to it himself.

When the two reunite after the big explosion, Luke tells Han, "I knew you'd come back." But, he didn't seem like he knew it when he didn't respond to Han's well-wishing before the attack.

I guess this dynamic got my attention because it's one of the movie's more human moments. Two people don't see eye to eye. One of them knows something the other doesn't. The other will later claim to have known all along. We all know what that's like, right? We all know that in a fight more is said beyond what is spoken and beyond what is not spoken. At the end of the day, you're either both trying to blow up the same Death Star or you're not.

Sometimes we have to fly half-way to Jaba's lair first. That's ok. It gives us time to think, to make sure we know what we're doing, and to look at the situation like we're seeing it for the first time.


  1. I believe you are giving Han far too much credit.

    1. Who are you, president of the Greedo Fan Club?