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GALACTIC CIVIL WAR


Han Solo, along with his friend Chewbacca, was hired by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker to provide passage to Alderaan. Han boasted that his starship, the Millennium Falcon, could make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs; whether that was true is unknown, but he needed the job. The smuggler was deep in debt to crime lord Jabba the Hutt, who had placed a bounty on his head. In a sit-down standoff at the Mos Eisley cantina, Han blasted Greedo, one of Jabba’s bounty hunters looking to collect a handsome sum for the Corellian. He later had a run in with the gangster himself, convincing Jabba to give him more time -- though it would cost 15% extra.


The group departed Tatooine, blasting their way out past Imperial stormtroopers who were searching for Luke’s droids. On the trip, it became clear that Han didn’t believe in the Force, saying, “There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny.” Finally, they arrived at Alderaan -- or where Alderaan should have been. It had been completely blown away by the Empire’s Death Star, and the Millennium Falcon was soon caught in the space station’s tractor beam. On the Death Star, they rescued Princess Leia Organa -- with whom Han bickered intensely -- but lost Obi-Wan.


They escaped to Yavin 4, location of the hidden Rebel base, and delivered stolen Death Star plans to the Alliance. While the fledgling group was planning an attack on the Imperial outpost, Han collected a reward for rescuing the Princess and planned to leave -- a decision that disappointed his new friends. “I know what I’m doing,” he told Chewbacca. Toward the battle’s end, with Luke about to be blasted by Darth Vader, Han and Chewie returned in the Millennium Falcon. They cleared the TIE fighters off Luke’s tail, and he delivered a precise shot, destroying the dreaded Death Star.


Han stuck with the Rebel Alliance, and helped establish its new base on the ice planet Hoth. After Luke didn’t return from a routine sweep of the planet surface, Han headed out alone into the frigid cold to find him. He finally located the young Jedi, but Luke had suffered severe injuries and was close to freezing to death. Desperate to save his friend, Han used Luke’s lightsaber to slice open his tauntaun, and placed Luke inside for warmth. The two were found by the Alliance the next morning, and Luke survived.


But old problems lingered; Han was still wanted by Jabba the Hutt and had to pay off his debt. While preparing to leave, he and Leia verbally sparred. His bravado could infuriate her, but it was clear that they meant something to each other. The Empire shortly attacked the base, and Han changed his plans, evacuating Leia on the Millennium Falcon.


Pursued through an asteroid field and across the galaxy, they eventually landed at Cloud City -- home of Han’s old friend, Lando Calrissian. While Han believed they were now safe, things were much worse; the Empire, thanks to bounty hunter Boba Fett, had arrived just before they did. Han was tortured by Darth Vader, who used the pilot’s pain to lure Luke into a trap, and was later frozen in carbonite. Before he was lowered into the crude freezing chamber, Leia finally told Han that she loved him. “I know,” he replied. Boba Fett took the frozen Han to Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine, collecting on a long-standing reward for the former smuggler.


Jabba the Hutt mounted Han’s carbonite slab to a wall in his palace, calling him his “favorite decoration.” But the ace pilot’s friends hatched a rescue mission, with Leia -- disguised as bounty hunter Boussh -- freeing Han in the middle of the night. He suffered hibernation sickness, which included temporary blindness, and their reunion would be short-lived; Jabba knew it was a trick the entire time, and captured them both. Luke Skywalker soon arrived, however, decimating the gangster’s crew and saving his friends. Han even got a bit of payback on Boba Fett, accidentally triggering the bounty hunter’s jet pack and sending him careening into the Sarlacc.


Back with the Rebel Alliance, Han was promoted to general. He gave Lando the Millennium Falcon to use in the attack on the new Death Star, and volunteered to lead the mission to destroy its shield generator. He and his strike team landed on the forest moon of Endor, where they encountered scout troopers and were captured by Ewoks -- a primitive species that mistook C-3PO as a god. Han, ironically, found himself the planned main course of a banquet in the golden droid’s honor. Thanks to some quick thinking by Luke, however, the Ewoks freed the Rebels and accepted them into the tribe. It would prove to be an important alliance; the Emperor knew of the Rebels’ plan and had an entire legion of his best troops waiting. When all seemed lost, the Ewoks joined the fight -- their presence and hand-made weaponry allowing the tide of battle to turn. Han destroyed the shield generator, the Rebel forces defeated the Death Star II, and the galaxy was free once more.

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