Han Solo (29 BBY—) was a cocky Corellian with a wry wit, a reckless disposition, and technological savvy, who began his career as a smuggler circa 10 BBY. He went through several employers, had a short military career, met and befriended Chewbacca, and upset enough sentients to have several bounties placed on his head before becoming swept up into the Galactic Civil War against his own wishes. Never intending to stay, he left the Rebel Alliance after receiving pay for the rescue of Princess Leia Organa, but returned soon afterward to play a part in the Battle of Yavin. He later became a general in the Alliance, leading a Rebel strike team in the Battle of Endor, and eventually married Leia Organa, who became the mother of his three children, Jaina, Jacen and Anakin.
Han Solo was abandoned by his parents at an early age, and his earliest memories were of being found in a Corellian spaceport by Garris Shrike. Shrike took Solo in as a member of his band of vagabonds, training and using him as a beggar and later as a pickpocket and burglar. During this time, Solo was befriended by Dewlanna, a Wookiee who was serving as a cook aboard Trader's Luck, Shrike's ship. Dewlanna raised Solo as her own son, teaching him Shyriiwook and ensuring that he had somewhat of an education as well as health care when he became ill.
Han Solo visited many planets on the behest of Shrike. During a mission on Corellia, Han befriended the half-breed Bey, an individual he would later encounter during the Nagai Invasion, shortly after the Battle of Endor. There are also scattered reports that claim Han Solo was present on Kashyyyk during the battle there, near the tail-end of the Clone Wars. Why Shrike would have put young Solo in such dangerous circumstances remains unknown. Similar reports have been made about a brief run-in with bounty hunters searching for an escaped Jedi on the planet Socorro.
In 10 BBY, Solo was ready to leave Trader's Luck in order to start his own career. He made plans to stowaway aboard Ylesian Dream, an automated freighter, and go Ylesia, were he would apply for a job opening advertised by the Ylesian high priests. When Solo was about to leave, Shrike and a few of his cohorts caught him as he was saying goodbye to Dewlanna. The armed men tried to stop Solo, but Dewlanna sacrificed herself so that Solo could escape. Solo promised to himself that, if ever he had the chance, he would help one of Dewlanna's people to repay his debt.
Solo stowed away aboard Ylesian Dream and after a difficult flight arrived on Ylesia. He applied for the piloting job under the alias Vykk Draygo; he was to pilot the Ylesian Dream—being a drone ship, it had been falling victim to pirate attacks. A Togorian by the name of Muuurgh was assigned to be Solo's 'bodyguard', and, despite some initial tension due to the nature of the relationship, Solo and Muuurgh became fast friends. Solo also developed a relationship with one of the pilgrims who had come to Ylesia seeking religious sanctuary—a Human woman by the name of Bria Tharen. Solo remained in the High Priests' employ for a time, but after discovering the true nature of the operation, he fled the planet with Tharen and Muuurgh.
Solo and Tharen eventually made their way to Coruscant so that Solo could fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot in the Imperial Navy. They remained together for a short time, but in the end Tharen left Solo without warning because she felt that she was holding him back.
Service in the Imperial Starfleet
Solo was crushed at Tharen's departure, but he followed his dreams (and Tharen's wishes) and went to study at the Academy of Carida. Here, he would hone his skills as a pilot. Among his fellow students were future TIE fighter ace Soontir Fel and Solo's friend Mako Spince.
Though Solo would graduate at the top of his class, his military career was short lived. When he disobeyed orders and freed a Wookiee slave named Chewbacca, he was drummed out of the service. Solo returned to smuggling, with Chewbacca (who had sworn a life debt to the Corellian) at his side.
Solo earned the Corellian Bloodstripe at some point during his military career, though the reasons for this award are unknown.
Solo's friend Mako Spince, who had been expelled from the Academy two years before graduation, helped Solo and Chewbacca get started as smugglers. Using Nar Shaddaa as their home base, the three of them enjoyed considerable success until Spince was crippled during a smuggling run in the Ottega system. Solo and Chewbacca continued their career on their own.
After winning the Millennium Falcon from his friend Lando Calrissian, who didn't even know to fly a ship at the time, in a sabacc game, Han Solo and Chewbacca began working in the Corporate Sector and the Tion Hegemony. They also worked for Jabba the Hutt on occasion. Once, while smuggling glitterstim, they made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. Unfortunately, a later similar run was less successful, when Solo and Chewbacca were forced to jettison their cargo to escape an Imperial warship.
Involvement with the Rebel Alliance
Han Solo owed Jabba the Hutt a great deal of money—enough that the crimelord sent bounty hunters such as Greedo to collect the money from Solo, dead or alive. Solo managed to convince Jabba to give him more time, promising to repay him after getting the promised 17,000 credits from the passengers who had chartered the Millennium Falcon at the Mos Eisley Cantina.
The passengers, of course, were Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, who meant to escort the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 from Tatooine to Alderaan on behalf of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. When they arrived in the Alderaan system, the crew and passengers of the Millennium Falcon found that the planet had been destroyed by the Death Star. After they were dragged on board by the Death Star's tractor beams, Skywalker convinced Solo and Chewbacca to help him rescue Princess Leia Organa by promising a reward "richer than (he) could possibly imagine". After the rescue, Solo took Leia, Skywalker, and the droids to Yavin IV to collect his reward. Though he was initially willing to abandon the Rebels, an attack of conscience led him to join the Battle of Yavin. The Millennium Falcon joined in just in time for Solo to disable Darth Vader's TIE Advanced, allowing Skywalker to destroy the Death Star.
Solo and Skywalker were both awarded medals of honor for their efforts, and Solo was handsomely rewarded with 20,000 Alliance credits and a stash of valuables. However, the chests of treasure the Rebels had given him were stolen from him almost immediately after leaving Yavin by the space pirate Crimson Jack, leaving Solo still unable to pay off Jabba. With the help of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, Solo managed to defeat the pirate, but was not able to recover his reward money. Since he had still not paid off Jabba, the crimelord offered a reward to any bounty hunter who could kill Solo (and an even higher reward for anyone who could capture him alive so Jabba could kill Solo himself.) The debt was briefly cancelled when Solo saved Jabba's associate Mosep Binneed from stone mites on Orleon, but reinstated when Jabba, one of Crimson Jack's backers, discovered Solo's involvement with the pirate's defeat.
While evading Jabba's organization, Solo and Chewbacca continued to work with the Rebel Alliance for the next three years. Solo became a good friend of Luke Skywalker, and developed a love-hate relationship with Princess Leia.
After a run-in with a bounty hunter on Ord Mantell, Solo resolved to leave his friends in the Rebellion so that he could try and settle things with the Hutt. Before he could finish repairs on the Millennium Falcon and leave the Rebels' Echo Base, however, he was caught up in the Imperial attack on Hoth. When Princess Leia and C-3PO were cut off from their evacuation ship, Solo took them on board the Millennium Falcon, where they avoided Vader's Death Squadron by hiding in the Hoth Asteroid Field, and then by drifting off with the Star Destroyer Avenger's garbage. During their escape, Solo and Leia began to fall in love.
Since the Millennium Falcon's repairs were still not complete, Solo went to the nearest safe haven—Bespin, home to Solo's old friend Lando Calrissian's tibanna gas mining facility, Cloud City. Unfortunately for Solo, he had been beaten there by Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Solo was tortured by the Imperials, then frozen in carbonite and taken by Boba Fett to Jabba's Palace.
After escaping Bespin, Skywalker, Leia, Chewbacca, and a repentant Calrissian set about planning Solo's rescue. During the rescue operation, Solo was brought out of carbon freeze, Calrissian redeemed himself by risking his life to save his old friend, and Jabba was killed. Han's rival, Boba Fett, was also apparently killed by the sarlacc (though he would return later). With the death mark no longer on Solo's head, he felt free to devote his time to the Rebellion. After recovering from hibernation sickness, he accepted a general's commission in the Rebel military. General Solo led the commando team which destroyed the Death Star II's shield generator at the Battle of Endor.
Hero of the New Republic
Though not always a formal member of its military, and never holding official political office, Han Solo played an important role as part of the New Republic. Solo was instrumental in defeating such Imperial leaders as Warlord Zsinj, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and the resurrected Palpatine. He also acted as a diplomat, helping to get Talon Karrde's Smuggler's Alliance on the New Republic's side during the Thrawn crisis, and unsuccessfully acting as a mediator in the Diamala/Ishori dispute. Solo also returned to Corellia, where he defeated his cousin Thrackan Sal-Solo's attempt to seize control of the Corellian system. During the final days of the Galactic Civil War, Solo and Calrissian led a mission to Bastion to retrieve a copy of the Caamas Document. Soon afterwards, he was part of the final New Republic victory over the Imperial Remnant at the Battle of Bothawui.
He also married Leia, which made him the husband of the New Republic's eventual Chief of State. They had three children—the twins Jaina and Jacen, and their younger brother Anakin. All three of his children were trained as Jedi at Luke Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum, and would defend the galaxy from the Yuuzhan Vong invasion as part of the New Jedi Order.
The Yuuzhan Vong invasion prompted a personal crisis for Solo, as his friend Chewbacca and later his son Anakin were killed fighting the extragalactic invaders. He eventually recovered from his despair, allowing Chewbacca's son Lumpawaroo and nephew Lowbacca to carry on Chewbacca's life-debt and becoming a hero once more in the service of the Galactic Alliance.
Behind the scenes
Han Solo was portrayed in the original trilogy and the The Star Wars Holiday Special by Harrison Ford. In the Star Wars Radio Dramas, Perry King was the voice of Han Solo.
In early versions of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, a young Han Solo was to appear helping the Wookiees on Kashyyyk during the Battle of Kashyyyk scenes. These scenes were never filmed, though production sketches do exist.