He’s arrogant. He’s an underdog. Maybe he’s even a bit scruffy-lookin’ on occasion. But there’s a lot more to Han Solo than just his reputation as a scoundrel who, by his own admission, is motivated by the promise of a good payday. In fact, time and again Solo has proven himself to be an invaluable asset to the rebels fighting for a better galaxy. Whether he likes it or not, Han’s a hero with a heart, and the lives he touches throughout the classic Star Wars trilogy — as well as The Force Awakens — are enriched and strengthened by his brash charm.
In this new series for StarWars.com, I’ll be taking another look at my favorite lines in the saga with a focus on individual characters. And since Solo: A Star Wars Story lands in theaters next week on May 25 — which we’re sure will bring many great new Han quotes to the Star Wars lexicon — we’re starting things off with Captain Solo himself.
1. “It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs! I’ve outrun Imperial starships, not the local bulk-cruisers, mind you. I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now. She’s fast enough for you, old man.”
Ben Kenobi’s as skeptical of Han’s boasting as Han is of the Force — but this is an important measure of the smuggler’s character. When we first meet him in A New Hope, Han Solo’s down on his luck. He owes a lot of money to a ruthless Hutt, and he’s getting desperate — desperate enough to risk taking on passengers wanted by the Empire. Naturally, he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
2. “Over my dead body.”
Any hobbyist or hot-rodder can sympathize with Han here. He’s not just captain of the Millennium Falcon; his entire sense of self is wrapped up in that battered old YT-model freighter he calls home. When Greedo suggests the Falcon as potential payment for his debts to the gangster Jabba the Hutt, Han is having none of it.
3. “Don’t everybody thank me at once.”
Han and his Wookiee copilot, Chewbacca, find new purpose through their friends in the Alliance. But Han doesn’t shed his tough-guy exterior for just anybody, and he prefers others to believe he holds a high opinion of himself.
4. “It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee.”
Although neither of them is as dangerous as they pretend to be in the days before the Battle of Yavin, Chewbacca does have a mighty temper.
5. “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
When Han Solo meets Luke Skywalker, he doesn’t believe in the Force. This is a key moment in the character’s larger story — a reminder of how much his friendship with Luke Skywalker changes him.
6. “You know, sometimes I amaze even myself.”
For a guy who doesn’t have faith in the mystical, Han has to know how lucky he is. Solo’s got a knack for squeezing his way out of tight spots; he does the impossible and makes it look easy.
7. “Never tell me the odds!”
This is Han’s (slightly angrier) version of Poe’s great mantra: “Happy beeps, buddy.”
8. “Let’s keep a little optimism here.”
In the Star Wars galaxy, whether you put your trust in the teachings of the Jedi or the calculations of a navicomputer, it always pays to have hope. For Han Solo, there’s no situation so grim that a little optimism and a sense of humor won’t win the day.
9. “Chewie, we’re home.”
The Force Awakens gave viewers a lot of touching reunions: Han and Leia, R2-D2 and C-3PO — and this scene, in which Han and Chewbacca board the Millennium Falcon for the first time in years.
10. “I used to wonder about that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. A magical power holding together good and evil, the dark side and the light? Crazy thing is, it’s true. The Force, the Jedi — all of it. It’s all true.”
Decades after meeting Luke Skywalker, Han Solo’s a different man: older, a bit more world-weary, and much wiser. What once seemed to him “a lot of simple tricks and nonsense,” he realizes, is all too real. He’s seen what the dark side can do firsthand — to Vader, to the galaxy, and to his only son. But he’s also witnessed the heroism and selflessness of a Jedi.
What are your favorite Han Solo quotes? Let us know in the comments below!
Solo: A Star Wars Story arrives May 25, 2018.
Alex Kane is a journalist based in west-central Illinois. He has written for Polygon, the website of Rolling Stone, SyfyWire, Variety, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjkane.