One of the cringiest moments in Solo: A Star Wars Story came early on in the film. On the run from a group of local gangsters, Han sees the Empire as a way off Coreillia-his home planet-and decides to enlist as a pilot. The recruitment officer asks for his information, specifically his name. When he asks for Han’s surname, the name of his people, his tribe, Han replies that he has no people, which prompted the officer to give Han the second half of his iconic name. Yup, that’s right. A recruitment officer in the Empire named him Solo and Han decided to keep that name for his whole life and then pass that name off to his son. What the heck? But a recent Han Solo comic retconned this scene a bit to give a new outlook on the whole Solo naming event.
Han’s Imperial days weren’t really explored in Ron Howard’s film. In fact, most of those moments can be found in deleted scenes. But a new Star Wars comic, written and penned by Robbie Thompson and Leonard Kirk (think someone’s parents were Trekkies?) titled Imperial Cadet, specifically looks at Han’s life while he was serving the Empire. It also tells us why the recruitment officer used the name Solo when conjuring up a surname for Han. Initially, for the masses, it just meant that Han was riding Solo through the galaxy, the Lone Star of the scoundrel’s faction. Then in the film, it basically let the audience know that yeah-this man his alone and the Empire shall name him. That didn’t really sit well with many (myself included) so the comic now states that being named “Solo” isn’t anything good.
Being named “Solo” when working for the Empire is actually something of a brand, according to the comic’s antagonist. It means he’s an outsider and a nobody and now the entire unit knows it. The recruitment officer was actually being a huge jerkwad when giving Han the surname Solo. This means that Han’s time in Imperial Service was brutal as he was constantly attacked and antagonized for being branded that way.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, this is an obvious retconning-the act of rewriting a previous scene or character beat in a future instalment to fix a problem. I’m not a big fan of this, I’m more of a mind that when you make up your mind about a character or a place in work of fiction, you sit with it. If this was the original story, it should have at least been in the film. Secondly, though, I still don’t buy into it. After years of being attacked, Han still decides to keep the name. Sure, he rises above the torment and comes out a better person because of his perseverance, but you’re telling me that he was bullied because of his fake name and decided to keep said fake them? Then once he met Chewie, his partner in crime for life, he STILL decides to use the Solo moniker? I know it sounds cool, but this is actually making it worse. Even more baffling is that since the name Solo is a brand, that means there are likely thousands of other Solos running around the galaxy at this time, making Han’s originally unique name, less unique.
What do you think of this revelation of Han’s name? Do you like this addition or prefer the theatrical edition? Or bugger both, not knowing his origins was the way to go? Let us know what you think in the comments below and why not check out our work concerning Spike Jonze’s Her and six shows that can compete with the Blade Runner legacy.