Han Solo the Smuggler
Written by: Max Powers
As the Galactic Republic was losing its power and Obi-Wan Kenobi was investigating a distress signal on Carnelion IV, aided by his padawan Anakin Skywalkwaler, a baby boy was born on Corellia. The baby would become an orphan and would eventually grow up to father a villain. He would also go down in Star Wars history as a hero of the Resistance.
Before all of that, however, Han Solo was a thief, a smuggler, and a drug runner. Does this mean that he should be counted among the villains of the Star Wars Universe? A quick rundown of Han's past should shed some light on the answer.
A Thief and A Gambler
Han Solo became an orphan when his parents Jonash and Jaina Suul (later changed to "Solo") were either kidnapped or killed. Unfortunately, most of the available expanded universe material mentions only their names and that he was orphaned around the age of 7. Regardless, they were no longer in his life before he turned 10 and Han joined up with a gang of thieves. His career as a street thug taught him to steal, gamble, and learn how to smooth talk crime bosses throughout the galaxy.
As a young man, Han Solo joined the Imperial forces as a pilot. His knowledge in <i>New Hope</i> of precisely how much firepower the Death Star is carrying added to his detailed knowledge in <i>Empire Strikes Back</i> of Imperial military procedure certainly points to him having been among the ranks for some time.
Han Solo's Imperial career ended when he refused to kill either several young Wookies or a single individual destined for slavery in the Kessel Mines. This act could have resulted in Han having his own head blown off, yet somehow he woke up to the fact that remaining with the Empire would have made him one of the villains and so he took action that resulted in the Wookies (or Wookie) being freed.
As a result, the Wookie Chewbacca became his right-hand man, eventually his co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon and repaid his life-debt many times over throughout Han Solo's life.
The Millennium Falcon and Spice
Han Solo allegedly "won" the freighter ship, Millennium Falcon, from his friend Lando Calrissian. The card game they played may or may not have involved a pair of gold trick dice that hang in the cockpit of the ship. Regardless, the ship allowed Han and Chewy to begin their new careers as "spice" smugglers for the notorious Hutt family.
Han Solo was responsible for delivering the drug from the Kessel mines directly to the crime lord, Jabba. Prior to picking up Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi on Tatooine, Han had jettisoned a load when he was chased by the Empire; this resulted in his owing Jabba quite a bit of money. Jabba put a price on the smuggler's head enticing enough that bounty hunters seemed to come out of the woodwork.
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