Han Solo's Backstory Was Inspired By Bruce Springsteen, According To This 'Solo' Writer
Solo: A Star Wars Story made significant changed to the long-standing canon when it arrived. Some were changes for the better. For instance, the whole "House of Solo" and Han being a "secret prince" descended from royalty that fell upon hard times was cut. Some of the changes were less welcome, like the idea Han got the last name "Solo" because a snarky Imperial recruiter filled it out as his last name as a bad joke. But Han Solo's backstory, it turns out, was inspired by one of the great legends of rock and roll, as writer Jon Kasdan revealed ahead of the DVD and Blu-ray releases later this month.
Jon's father, Lawrence Kasdan, was one of the early screenwriters for the Star Wars universe and is credited as having co-written The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Before Lucasfilm was bought by Disney, Lucas had already hired Kasdan and his son to work on a prequel based on Han Solo's life. When Disney bought the franchise, they kept the Kasdans on, having Lawrence work on the new script for what wound up being The Force Awakens, and both of them continuing work on Solo.
With the DVD release just around the corner, Jon Kasdan revealed a list of 53 items fans might not have known about the making of the movie, which spanned two different production houses. The very first one was his father conceived of Han Solo having this "Dickensian" type of childhood.
But No. 29 on the list was the more exciting take on Han's upbringing:
29. The scene where Han and Lando discuss their parents was, in part, inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born To Run (which I can’t recommend enough). Since so many characters in SW are orphans or the product of some great tragedy, we wanted the story of Han’s parentage to hint at something more complex and less romantic. His father led a working-class life, full of disappointment, and he had a complicated, difficult relationship with his son. Han eventually ran away from that relationship. I like to think Han’s father was still out there somewhere, drinking himself to death.
This is a fascinating tidbit because though Han and Qi'ra are portrayed as orphans, having a far more complex relationship where the parent is still alive is the harder choice to make for a character. So many of Disney's characters are orphans because it's simple: Parent is dead, the hero is sad. Giving Han a father who Han could run into someday, and have to confront is a far bolder choice.
Kasdan also reveals this was not supposed to be the only film with Han and Qi'ra. Kasdan seems hopeful a sequel will materialize down the road, where "the third act, the resolution of Han and Qi’ra" will be told.
Until then, fans will just have to content themselves with the DVD and Blu-ray. Both will be available in stores starting Sept. 25, 2018 and are available for pre-order now.