Han Solo started out as just a smuggler with a fast mouth and fast blaster. But he had something different from the start. He had the intense loyalty of the wookiee copilot and an incredible ship, the Millenium Falcon. Far from the piece of junk she appeared to be, the Falcon was in fact a smuggling vessel. That meant looking like junk was an advantage when nosey authorities were around. He had some heavy debts and was pretty desperate to pay. So desperate he’d take a job as long as it paid enough, even if he knew nothing of his passengers.
His mercenary nature hid the fact that people grew on him. He couldn’t just leave Luke and his naive idealism to get blown up. Nor could he leave him to freeze on Hoth. Han Solo was nothing if not courageous, he could easily have frozen to death too. It’s easily overlooked but his mercenary need for money was just a desire to pay back his debts. Maintaining his ship and his freedom did not come cheap.
The cost of refusing to abandon his friends while in danger came high. He was taken by Boba Fett simply as a means to get to Luke Skywalker. Once rescued, he went on to lead the ground assault as an official General in the Alliance. Following orders was something he was not so good at. But leading others and giving them were something else again. It was his clever trick that enabled the rebels back into the shield generator station to destroy it.
Han Solo was an orphan. He grew up on the streets, taken in by Garris Shrike, a criminal, with a bunch of other street kids. He learned pickpocketing, con artistry, stealing. But he couldn’t remember his family and he wanted to. This led him on a quest that revealed no parents names at the time, but did reveal cousin Thracken Sal-Solo. Unfortunately Thracken was an evil little bully. So his closest family at the time was the wookiee Dewlanna, who encouraged his dreams of one day being respectable.
His next family member – by wookiee life debt – was Chewbacca. Han sacrificed his post as an Imperial Officer to save him, fed up with the less than respectable behavior of the Imperial authority figures he’d fought so hard to join.
As he was becoming set in his smuggling career, Han more or less ‘adopted’ a young man named Jarik Solo. Han knew the boy lied about the name but figured he earned it by being loyal and helping out. Jarik died in a battle for Ylesia with a group of smugglers.
Han appears to have discovered his Mother’s name was Jaina, and named his daughter for her. It’s also hinted that New Republic Intelligence may have known more of his family history than he knew himself.
Then he met Luke and Leia and had a new family. Han married Leia after nearly losing her to a marriage for political convenience for the New Republic. A year later and he was the father of twins, Jacen and Jaina Solo. Only a year or so after that, Anakin Solo came along. Han has to awaken to reality he’d long denied: the Force is real. When toys float off shelves by themselves, there aren’t too many ways to explain it!
Han was in an awkward position in this family by marriage, the lone non Force Sensitive. Since he and Leia were both influential heroes of the New Republic, he constantly faced the danger of kidnappings. Once the children were old enough to undergo Jedi training, new issues arose.
Now Han had to deal with his children going into danger as Jedi. Danger was in their blood, both sides of the family tended to attract it!
Han Solo has one granddaughter we know of, during his lifetime. Her name is Allana Djo Solo, daughter of Tenel Kan, Queen of Hapes and Jacen. At one point he and Leia were raising her as an adopted child, to hide her lineage from those who wanted to claim the Hapan throne.
One of the last big events for Han with his family was to give away his daughter Jaina in marriage to Jagged Fel, of the Empire. Jag bore the interesting lineage of nephew of old friend Wedge Antillies, and son of rival Baron Soontir Fel. It’s unknown when they had children. But generations later Force sensitive Fel descendents are Emperor’s of a new (non Sith) Empire that remained allied for generations with the Galactic Alliance. At this time it is known of Roan Fel, daughter Marasiah Fel, and a descendent of unknown lineage named Ania Solo.
Han had a varied list of friends through his life. His mentor in the smuggling world was Roa, who lived to retire. He wasn’t fond of droids, but did have a few like Bollux and Blue Max grow on him. His friends knew he’d come through for him, even when they manipulated him into it. Badure convinced him to go treasure hunting. Friends like Salla Xend (who wanted to marry him), Shug Ninx and Xaverrii came through for him even after he went ‘respectable’.
Some did turn on him, Mako Spince of his academy days turned ugly after being crippled in a battle. He sold him out to bounty hunters for the Hutt price on his head for helping kill Jabba. Bria (a girlfriend he wanted to marry) betrayed him for the Rebellion itself.
Lando Calrissian had an off on argument with him because of his taste in hiring out for jobs where the employer leaves them high and dry. However selling him out to Vader was merely a lack of choice: a whole city of people he was responsible for who could be killed if he refuses. As soon as he realized Vader would never hold to a bargain, he corrected this. Lando is still there helping years later even when it’s against his best interest.
Han also had a good friendship with Wedge Antillies of Rogue Squadron.
Aside from Luke he also remained friends with the Jedi Kyp Durron.
Han Solo’s biggest challenge is being a hero. He simply could not go back to being ‘just Han’ and doing what he wanted after this. His actions were no longer affecting himself and Chewie alone. They affected the entire New Republic and soon his family. Even during the Alliance days, the danger worked both ways: to get to Luke, go through Han. But to get to Han, go through Luke and Leia. They were threatened by bounty hunters seeking him.
He had the difficult challenge of wanting to help the Rebels, yet not wanting to give up his independence and a resentment of being taken for granted as being a member (which he’d not officially become, not as of Yavin.)
Han was responsible for the mission to take down Warlord Zsinj, an Imperial carving out territories for himself. He even dared an unofficial truce with an Imperial counterpart who was assigned to deal with the upstart as well. Returning from this he was so desperate to win back Leia he gambled everything, won a planet, but found it was still in Zsinj territory. He resigned his commission when politicians tried to reassign him to get him out of the way of a political marriage. He dealt with Leia planning to go off with the Hapan Prince by kidnapping her to Dathomir. Leia lectured him on his responsibilities but it didn’t hit home until Zsinj made a deal with the local nightsisters, an evil group of force users who threatened hostages to get him. His response to that was so self sacrificial it won Leia back.
While not commissioned, Han still was the go to guy for when they needed a mission pulled off without red tape and bureaucrats interfering. It was his idea to hire smugglers for honest work when the New Republic was short on legitimate shipping companies due to Imperial raids. It was his mission as ambassador to the prisoners of Kessel that went wrong which revealed the Maw and the Imperial threat inside. It was Han who dared go into the Imperial Remnant to seek out Intel.
During his painful years during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, he still was charging into battle, leading and inspiring even when his heart felt ripped out.
Stories Starring Han Solo:
The Early Years:
Han Solo Adventures by Brian Daley:
Han Solo at Star’s End
Han Solo’s Revenge
Han Solo and the Lost Legacy
(note: these are among the earliest of the Expanded Universe, before it had a name. They were published in 1979 – even before The Empire Strikes Back!)
Han Solo Trilogy by Ann Crispin:
The Paradise Snare
The Hutt Gambit
(note: this does not contradict the Brian Daley trilogy. It incorporates it, as well as many other details of Han’s friendships and adventures from the Expanded Universe.)
Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse – Dark Horse comics
Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika – Dark Horse comics
Star Wars Radio Drama by Brian Daley
The Empire Strikes Back Radio Drama by Brian Daley
Return of the Jedi Radio Drama by Brian Daley
(Note these radio dramatization of the movies includes extra and extended scenes not available elsewhere.)
Star Wars Adventures: Han Solo and the Hollow Moon of Khorya – Dark Horse comics
Death Troopers by Joe Scheibert
Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn (Check out an Audio Excerpt!)
Allegiance by Timothy Zahn
Choices of One by Timothy Zahn
Rebellion Series – Dark Horse Comics
Galaxy of Fear Series – – by Whitman – Cameos only
Rebel Force series – by John Wheeler
Honor among Thieves by James S.A. Corey
Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell (Listen on Youtube!)
Star Wars Adventures: Princess Leia and the Royal Ransom – Dark Horse Comics
Post Movie Years
Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers
Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover
X-Wing: Wraith Squadron by Aaron Allston
X-Wing: Iron Fist by Aaron Allston
X-Wing: Solo Command by Aaron Allston
Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton
A Forest Apart (short story)
Tatooine Ghost – by Troy Denning
Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
Heir to the Empire
Dark Force Rising
The Last Command
Dark Empire – Dark Horse Comics
Dark Empire2- Dark Horse Comics
Empire’s End – Dark Horse Comics
Jedi Academy Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson
Champions of the Force
Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly
Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson
Planet of Twilight by Barbara Hambly
The Crystal Star by Vonda McIntyre
Black Fleet Crisis by McDowell
The New Rebellion by Kristin Kathryn Rusch
The Corellian Trilogy by Roger Allen McBride
Ambush at Corellia
Assault at Selonia
Showdown at Centerpoint
Thrawn Duology by Timothy Zahn
Specter of the Past
Vision of the Future
New Jedi Order Era by Multiple authors
Chewbacca (tribute) – Dark Horse Comics
Invasion – – Dark Horse Comics
Dark Nest trilogy by Troy Denning
The Unseen Queen
Legacy of the Force Series by multiple authors
Millenium Falcon by James Luceno
Fate of the Jedi series by multiple authors
Crucible by Troy Denning