With the release of The Force Awakens, people everywhere are coming up with theories about the movie. Everything from character backstories, to whether that character was giving someone the bird or not. Since I’ve been off for the holiday, I figured that it was time that I shared one of my own theories. With that in mind, it goes without saying that the rest of the article will have spoilers. If you a haven’t seen the movie, then you can go about your business, move along.
Okay, if you’re still here, then you know what happened. The image of Han Solo being stabbed by his son is still painfully etched in your mind. Chewie’s subsequent howl still rings in your ears. It can’t be true, can it? Could the galaxy’s most notorious smuggler really be dead? After all, he’s cheated death plenty of times.
When you push aside your emotions and look at the facts, it looks pretty cut-and-dry. First, he’s stabbed with a lightsaber, and it goes all the way through. Not a little burn like we saw in the later duels. With thick enough plot armor, a main character could survive that. Next, he’s dropped down in a huge pit. Combine those two things together, and now we’re starting to see a picture that doesn’t have a happy ending.
The final nail in the coffin is the fact that the planet he’s on quite literally explodes just a short time later. He would need to survive both the lightsaber and the fall, and somehow get off-world in a very short order. So why the hell would I still think he’s alive?
Well, we’re getting into spoiler territory for Episode VIII, so it’s time to give you that proper warning. I wouldn’t want to receive death threats, after all. It’s a minor spoiler, since it’ll be quite hard to miss the cast list before the movie comes out.
Recently, producer Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that the entire cast would return for the next movie. Specifically she said that “there will be a handful of new cast members in Episode VIII but also all the cast members you see here tonight will be in it as well.” When she said this, most of the primary cast was in attendance, including none other than Harrison Ford.
It’s possible that she misspoke, but I don’t think she would have said that, had she not meant it. I think if she had simply said “most of the cast members” instead of “all,” it would have been a safe statement.
So from here, we’re going to assume that Harrison Ford is in the next movie. That gives us three options. One, he’s going to appear in some minor flashbacks. This is possible, and most will say that it is the most probable of the three. Second, he could return as a force ghost. That’s completely absurd, and I’m not even going to justify it. The third option is that he has somehow survived being stabbed, falling, and being on an exploding planet.
So let’s take some time to think about other characters who very obviously should have died, and yet didn’t. First, is Luke. He shouldn’t have survived getting his hand chopped off, and falling on Cloud City. Depending on where Han was stabbed, it’s possible that it was no worse than having your hand chopped off. And he, too, fell a very long way, and was no worse for wear because of it. He was then saved only a few minutes later by Leia and Lando.
The next is Darth Maul. Now I know what you’re going to say, but The Clone Wars is still canon. And that means Darth Maul survived his fight on Naboo. The man was literally chopped in half. That’s way worse than some pesky stab wound. And he also fell down a shaft whose bottom could not be seen. He then survived amid garbage and junk, living off of nothing but rodents. He also made it off-world, being delivered to Lotho Minor with the rest of the garbage.
So we’ve established that characters in Star Wars can survive both serious lightsaber injuries, as well as very long falls into (what appears to be) nothing. So why should Han Solo be any different?
Now onto my theory. When we last see Han, he’s free falling into a large, open shaft of sorts. Since Luke fell in a similar way, it’s not far-fetched to think that he could be just as lucky, and be swept up into some sort of ventilation shaft. After all, this base has to be producing massive amounts of heat, since they’re absorbing the power of a nearby star. That much power would need a serious cooling system. And the open design of the chamber they’re in makes me think that it was an area that needed a lot of heat dissipation, anyway.
For the sake of this theory, let’s assume that Han did get sucked into some sort of air duct. Now, it’s hard to say how far he would be blown, before he was able to get his bearings. But regardless, he would need to get out of the ducts, and would take the first exit that he could find. After all, he’s injured, and he knows that the planet is (hopefully) about to blow. And he’d probably tell himself that he’d gotten out of worse scrapes than this.
Now this particular part of the station seemed rather remote, in comparison to other areas that we were able to see. So it would be logical to think that this area is self-sufficient, in terms of manpower. Instead of shipping troops back to another area every night, they likely had some sort of barracks right there. And if they’re sleeping in this part of the station, they have to eat as well.
So Han drops out of the ventilation shaft at the first possible place. Naturally, it’s another place that needs to be kept cool, the kitchen. Thankfully, the entire base is in an uproar, due to the attack, so no one is going to be cooking or eating. For the moment, he’s alone. Now he’s a smuggler who has spent his entire life defying the odds and surviving. He knows that in his condition, he’s not going to be able to find his way to a ship. Hell, he wouldn’t be able to fight past a single stormtrooper, with no weapon and a serious injury.
At this point, finding a ship is out. So he would do the next best thing. Simply survive. Normally, hiding isn’t how he would choose to go out, but he’s got a family to think about, even if it’s a pretty broken one. So he looks around, thinking about where he could ride out the sort of explosion that he’s expecting. And as he’s looking around, he knows there’s really only one option.
Han Solo musters up the last of his strength as he hears the distant rumble of an explosion. He crawls over and reaches up to grab a handle. Once he’s pulled it, and the door swings open, he quickly grabs and pulls everything out that he can.
When he’s certain that there’s enough room to fit, he climbs in, and shuts the door of the refrigerator behind him. As the station explodes, the refrigerator is hurled away from the station, and Han is left unharmed, if a bit bruised. Because as we all know, you can survive any explosion, as long as you’re in a fridge.