The second stop in our series examining Sybok and his quest to heal the pain of other fictional characters brings us to another beloved science fiction character, Han Solo.
I know some might question whether Han has any deep, lingering pain layered beneath his gruff exterior but, thanks to the massively-underrated and unfairly-overlooked film Solo: A Star Wars Story, we can see that there is a pain hidden beneath the one liners. That shouldn’t be surprising, since the conventional wisdom is that those most apt to crack wise are doing this as a defense mechanism to protect a passionate heart.
Han was estranged from his blood, a father we know that worked in the shipyards of Corellia. He was a manipulated child entangled in a criminal gang. He rediscovered the true love of his life, only to have her leave him again.
When Solo Met Sybok
Once again, it seems inevitable that Sybok would see Han’s inherent goodness and his deep conflict, and want to release him from his pain. Sybok would reach out to him and, going on a journey of discovery and revelation, help Han quench the fire that launches him into the vastness of space in a relentless quest to find the pieces of him that are missing.
We see Han repeatedly try to assemble a crew as his mentor, Tobias Beckett, did. He is someone in need of others; we see him “assembling” a crew in the original Star Wars [Now Say Episode IV: A New Hope] and again in Disney’s Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: [Don’t Say Episode VII:] The Force Awakens with Finn and Rey.
He is like Dominic Toretto – he doesn’t have friends, he has family.
The Root Pains
Of course, depending on where Sybok meets Han on his timeline, there are many pains to choose. Han carries the pain of losing his son to a life murderous evilness.
Somewhere along the way, he winds up losing his wife’s love. He even loses his beloved Millenium Falcon.
He carries the guilt of murdering a mentor, however justified it was.
But I insist that his most unresolved pain, the one at the core of all Han’s discontent, is Qi’ra turning her back on him to pursue a life with Crimson Dawn. I don’t think that Han ever “got over” Qi’ra, and she was the missing piece he could never find.
For as steadfast a friend as Chewbacca was, Qi’ra was the one person who understood the gutters from where Han had come and all it meant to be free among the stars. She was a part of the dream he desired above all others and, without her, that dream was never as fulfilling as he wanted.
A Resolved Solo
This is where it gets tricky. If Sybok meets Han early in his life, shortly after he loses touch with Qi’ra, and Han is able to become more well-adjusted, he may well have surrendered his outlaw ways and found the means to lead a quieter life of less repute.
He may have remained an outlaw of sorts, but a quieter one seeking more peace and stability. For a resolved person is a person who can find contentment, are they not?
That’s what I’ve been told, anyway.
And so we see that, for the purposes of galactic history, Sybok cannot be a catalyst for change in Han’s life until the right moment. Since Han’s lack of resolution and desire to keep looking for his missing pieces led him to Luke and Leia, and a role in the rebellion that overthrew Palpatine’s war machine, Sybok would have had to step in after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi to ensure that things worked out for the galaxy.
Imagine a Han able to be content with a life next to Leia and parenting his son. Imagine the fulfillment of the joy promised at the end of Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
But we may have to rule out Sybok helping Han at any point then.
The arc of the sequel trilogy relies very heavily on the original characters taking a step back from the emotional resolution at the end of the original six films. If Sybok had appeared and resolved Han’s pain at that point, then the events of the sequel trilogy would never have been set in motion the way they were.