Han, Vader, & The Force Awakens

Han, Vader, & The Force Awakens


As of today, there is less than one week until we get to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It is hard to believe it is almost here! How long have we been waiting? Ten years? Thirty-two years? I’ve been planning for months where, when, and with whom I am going to see The Force Awakens. I am excited to see it, but I’m even more excited to see it with the people I’m seeing it with. One of the foundations of the Star Wars saga is relationships. Some are obvious. Some aren’t. There are stories of family, friends, and enemies, among others. They’re good. All of them. And the enjoyment of Star Wars is made better by the people we surround ourselves with while watching it.


Since I’ve been writing blogs for Coffee With Kenobi and co-hosting the Idiot’s Array podcast I have made many friendships I wouldn’t have made without Star Wars. A couple of months ago on episode 5 of the Idiot’s Array podcast, Mark Sutter, Alan Zaugg, and I discussed the relationship between Han Solo and Boba Fett. They have an obvious link. Boba Fett hunted and eventually captured Han. Han damaged Fett’s jetpack, which caused him to fall into the Sarlacc pit. And we get the feeling that there is even more history between them. Sometimes it seems one can’t be mentioned without the other. There are many clear connections like this between various characters in Star Wars, but to me the most interesting comparisons and contrasts are between Han Solo and Darth Vader. Both characters will likely have great effects in The Force Awakens, but their connections aren’t obvious at first glance.


Solo and Vader don’t share much screen time during the original trilogy, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t connected. They experience many similar situations, but oftentimes the results are opposites. Both characters have a key involuntary descension in the saga. Han descends into the carbonite chamber and is frozen; Vader into the lava river on Mustafar and is burned. Their feelings while they are descending are contrary to each other. Han is very humble, knows he is loved by Leia, knows that he loves Leia, and realizes he may never see her and his friends ever again. Vader, on the other hand, expresses his extreme hatred towards Obi-Wan, is full of rage, probably thinks he is hated, and has completely severed his relationship to the Jedi.

Han descends

When Han and Vader ascend, they are both encased in black: Han in carbonite and Vader in his life-support suit. One resembles a coffin and one basically is. Han may think he’s dead, but wants nothing more than to be alive, while Vader knows he’s alive, but may wish he was dead so he didn’t have to live with his hate and regret. They are both trapped in black and neither can escape without the help of others.

Vader ROTS

In Return of the Jedi, as we know, Han Solo and Darth Vader are both freed from their black prisons. Han in the first act. Vader in the third. And both are freed by someone who loves him. Leia never gave up on seeing Han again, and Luke has wanted to help free his father ever since he found out his father was still alive. Even when they are freed they see things differently, literally and figuratively. Han has temporary blindness, but he emerges softened, humbled, happy to be alive, and grateful to have more time with Leia, Chewie, Luke, and the rest of his friends. When Vader is freed from his black armor he finally sees his son with his own eyes for the first time. He emerges redeemed and is able to die peacefully knowing that his son loves him, that his son never gave up on him, and he was able to finally bring balance to the Force. Vader must still have regrets in his life, but his actions may have helped lead to Luke being a burgeoning Jedi.

Vader unmasked

Han Solo and Darth Vader are my two favorite Star Wars characters and I’m so excited that we can learn more about them in The Force Awakens. From the trailers that have been released, it looks like Han plays a central role in the movie and Vader’s legend will also be significant. We only have to wait one more week to find out!

Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you have any questions or comments please follow me on Twitter @ryderwaldrondds, email me at ryderw@coffeewithkenobi.com, or leave a comment below. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope everyone enjoys The Force Awakens and the experience of seeing it! Thanks to Dan and Cory for letting me be a part of Coffee With Kenobi and remember:

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