In December 2015, the Star Wars Cinematic Universe was restored to its former glory. The J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the perfect blend of nostalgia and hope. But it wasn’t a light or necessarily happy story. The film’s most talked-about moment features the unexpected death of the franchise’s biggest star – Harrison Ford.
Han Solo’s demise at the hand of his son Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was heart-wrenching. It was a decision that weighed heavily on everyone involved, particularly Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. According to Disney CEO Bob Iger, even he was brought in to briefly consult on the matter.
In a conversation with Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton, Iger revealed, “We had a big debate about Han Solo. Should he die or not? It was a decision made by Kennedy and Abrams, but I got involved.”
The Force Awakens, like most Star Wars productions, was shrouded in secrecy. Abrams wanted to honor the series’ past while pushing the story foward. Ford was completely on board with his vision. The actor's stated multiple times that he wanted to end Han Solo's journey decades ago, and returning for The Force Awakens allowed it to happen.
“I think it’s a fitting use of the character," Ford said. "I’ve been arguing for Han Solo to die for about 30 years, not because I was tired of him or because he’s boring, but his sacrifice for the other characters would lend gravitas and emotional weight.”
Well, Han finally got his wish. It just took everyone signing off on the decision first.