Han Solo dice hero

Solo's other mysterious and dicey connection to The Phantom Menace

Contributed by
Jun 1, 2018

"I call it luck," Han Solo says when Obi-Wan explains the Force to Luke aboard the Millennium Falcon.

"In my experience," Obi-Wan claps back, "there's no such thing as luck."

Han remains skeptical.

In the more recent installments, Han's luck is represented by his golden dice. He truly believes that nothing controls his destiny but his own grit and the deal of the cards or roll of the dice. He takes orders from no one but himself. He's a master of his own fate.

The galaxy has other ideas for him, though.

In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han clings to these dice as a talisman. This is the representation of his life, his hopes, and his dreams. They've been present in Star Wars since A New Hope, but they've really only crystallized as a punctuation mark on Han's life since The Last Jedi. Solo gives us the opening verse of this song.

But what do the dice mean?

Well, the only other time we see dice important to the Star Wars saga is in The Phantom Menace. Watto, the owner of Anakin Skywalker and his mother, Shmi, uses them for gambling. When Jedi Knight Qui-gon Jinn convinces him to bet away one of the slaves, he insists, "We'll let fate decide."

wattochancecube

Producing his chance cube, the Toydarian junk dealer offers odds for both Anakin and Shmi. Since Anakin is who Qui-gon is after, he uses the Force to manipulate the die into yielding the desired result. It rolls blue, just as Qui-gon intended, and he is able to take Anakin far away from Tatooine.

Even though Han calls it luck, the Force can still subvert that "luck," and Qui-gon's manipulation of it in The Phantom Menace illustrates that beautifully. The hand of the Force still guides everything Han does and every encounter he has. Fate and destiny are luck. And if there is anyone who could be considered a Jedi of luck, it's Han Solo. Perhaps that why we hear notes of the Force theme every time Han handles the dice in important moments in Solo.

It's fascinating to think that Han Solo and Anakin Skywalker share such striking similarities, like having such important moments in their lives dictated by dice. The Force has a greater destiny for both of them, and it ultimately ends with their mutual relation: Ben Solo.

Like Anakin, Han comes from a background that is deeply unfair to everyone born into it, forcing them to do whatever they can to survive. For Han, his circumstances put him in an underworld of orphans, with Lady Proxima as the Fagin to a generation of Corellian kids. For Anakin, he's saved by fate and the Jedi, plucked from slavery and obscurity. Both of them are inherently good people to start, but their circumstances and choices mold them into something else.

For Anakin, his fate is overpowering, and in his desire to do good, for himself and others, he ends up doing ultimate evil. For Han, he is forced to do evil over and over again in order to survive, pretending that's who he really is, until he's given the opportunity to do the ultimate good. Both die in front of their sons, both hoping for better futures for their children than they themselves had.

Ben had both Han and Vader to rely on as role models or in stories, apparently, but the Vader in him seemed to win out, though Snoke warns us he still has too much of his father in him. Solo: A Star Wars Story adds nuance to the Solo/Vader war waging inside of Ben and makes one wonder which side of his family destiny will fall on. Unlike his father and grandfather, the circumstances of his birth didn't place these burdens of light, dark, and survival on his shoulders. His life was filled with affluence and privilege, and he chose the path he went down on his own. Is evil really his essential nature? Or will the light win out? Or should we look once more to the dice?

When Luke brings those dice that obviously mean so much to Han back to Leia in The Last Jedi, it's a heartbreaking moment. The dice remind us that fate hasn't finished with the Skywalkers or the Solos.

When Ben finds the dice, the representation of luck and the Force and everything his father found important, they vanish before his very eyes.

Is this the Force telling him something?

Han loses those dice for a span of years in Solo. He gets them back when a loved one returns them, renewing his goals, drives, and ambitions. Maybe someone will show Ben that same compassion once he's found his way and comes to terms with a love for all the things his father had done for him.

Han gambled that there would be that trace of light in his son. He saw only the best in him, even when he was acting like a monster. Solo shows us that this was innate in Han from his very beginnings. And if there's some light left in Ben, maybe the boy can find his way back.

But, as Master Qui-gon said, "Whenever you gamble, my friend, eventually you lose."