Harrison Ford has played all kinds of iconic roles throughout his storied, decades-long career, from hard-boiled robot hunter Rick Deckard to world’s coolest archeologist Indiana Jones to President James “Get off my plane!” Marshall. Moviegoers around the world are familiar with Ford’s work.
But arguably, the most iconic character of the bunch is still Ford’s breakout role, Han Solo, from the Star Wars saga. Simply put, there are very few characters from the history of cinema who are as beloved or as instantly recognizable as the captain of the Millennium Falcon.
9 Han Is The Embodiment Of Ford’s Gruff Charisma
Harrison Ford has just as much leading-man charisma as fellow A-listers like Tom Hanks, but he’s also got a rough-around-the-edges quality that harks back to old-school movie stars like Humphrey Bogart and Charles Bronson. Han Solo perfectly embodies Ford’s gruff charms.
Ford’s no-nonsense demeanor was also ideal for a different role – futuristic hard-boiled detective Rick Deckard in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner – but Han is much more likable, despite his cynical edge, and therefore still the definitive example.
8 He Has A Real Arc From Scoundrel To Hero
Ford’s other pulpy George Lucas hero, Indiana Jones, is arguably just as iconic as Han Solo, but he doesn’t have much character development. Aside from reconnecting with his estranged father, Indy is more or less the same guy at the end of the series as he was at the beginning.
But Han has a real character arc throughout the original trilogy. He’s introduced as a self-centered scoundrel who’s only interested in money, but he’s one of the heroes of the Rebellion by the end of the story. After meeting Luke and Leia, Han realizes the value of helping others and fighting for a worthy cause. The catalyst for this change is represented in Han’s triumphant return during the Death Star trench run.
7 Ford’s Chemistry With Carrie Fisher Resulted In The Star Wars Saga’s Best Love Story
From Anakin and Padmé to Rey and Kylo Ren, there are a lot of underwhelming, nonsensical love stories in the Star Wars saga. Anidala’s romantic dialogue is painfully cringeworthy, while Reylo’s relationship is often called out as being toxic.
The saga’s greatest romance is still Han and Leia. They initially hate each other, but confront their romantic feelings when they’re trapped on the Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back and end up falling in love. A huge part of why Han and Leia’s romance works so well is the impeccable chemistry shared by Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
6 He’s A Quintessential Underdog
As a smuggler scraping by on the fringes of the galaxy with a “piece of junk” for a ship, Han Solo is a quintessential underdog, which makes him easy to root for. He flies by the seat of his pants, so to speak, as he owes money all over the galaxy and seems to run into trouble wherever he goes.
While Han is physically outmatched by most of the gangsters he runs afoul of, he just about manages to survive every encounter, thanks to his quick wits and his ability to smooth-talk his way out of a fight.
5 Han’s Sarcastic Sense Of Humor Brought Out The Best Of Ford’s Comedic Abilities
Han has a sardonic sense of humor and he’s constantly barbing the people around him. This paired perfectly with Harrison Ford’s dry, deadpan comedic line deliveries.
A perfect example is when Han lands the Falcon in the exogorth’s mouth, the whole ship shakes, and C-3PO says, “Sir, it’s quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable.” With perfect comic timing, Han sarcastically quips, “Not entirely stable? Well, I’m glad you’re here to tell us these things.”
4 His Carbonite Freezing Was One Of The Greatest Cliffhangers Of All Time
When The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters in 1980, it was notable for its darker tone, which included a downer ending. On top of Luke losing a hand and finding out Darth Vader is his father, Han is frozen in carbonite and taken away by Boba Fett to be hung on Jabba the Hutt’s wall.
Many see this scene as one of the greatest cliffhanger endings in movie history. Audiences had no idea whether Han would be unfrozen in the next movie, or if he’d even survive, leaving them waiting with bated breath for the trilogy closer.
3 He’s The Coolest Gunslinger In A Galaxy Far, Far Away
The Star Wars saga has been heavily influenced by the western genre since George Lucas first created it. In particular, these influences can be seen in the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in which a bounty hunter gets into an armed standoff in a dusty, lawless saloon with Han Solo.
Over the years, a ton of ice-cool gunslingers have graced a galaxy far, far away – Boba Fett, Din Djarin, Cad Bane, the list goes on – but thanks to Ford’s action hero charisma, Han is still the coolest of the bunch.
2 Ford Created A Timeless On-Screen Bond With A Walking Carpet
It’s difficult enough to create a tangible friendship between any two actors, because it all depends on the chemistry of two people who have probably never met before, but it helps a lot if both of the characters can articulately communicate with one another.
But Harrison Ford managed to create a timeless on-screen dynamic with a “walking carpet.” Despite the fact that Chewbacca speaks in growls, he and Han share one of the most endearing friendships in movie history.
1 He’s Not From A Special Bloodline (Like The Skywalkers)
Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy went out of its way to distance the story from the Skywalkers and present a hero who didn’t hail from a special Force-sensitive bloodline and was instead just a regular person. But that hero turned out to be a Palpatine – and Star Wars already had plenty of beloved heroes who didn’t come from a special bloodline.
Before the sequel trilogy, the prequels had Obi-Wan Kenobi as the relatable non-special-bloodline character. And before that, the original trilogy had Han Solo.