In the underrated Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han Solo’s mentor Tobias Beckett offers him a bit of advice at one point that comes to be a defining difference between the two characters. It’s a key scene because it foreshadows a problem Han will have through his life, while also highlighting why his loyalty becomes a defining characteristic.
While trying to discourage Han from following his heart and trying to woo Qi’ra, Beckett offers, “You wanna know how I’ve survived as long as I have? I trust no one. Assume everyone will betray you and you will never be disappointed.”
Han comments on what a lonely way that is to live. Beckett says it’s the only way.
Of course, one of the biggest hurdles to any relationship is trust. If you go in with an open heart and trusting nature, you leave yourself open to disappointment. You leave yourself open to pain. You’re giving people the benefit of the doubt, and there are people who will abuse it.
But what’s the alternative?
Sadly, I think that the Internet age is making us all less likely to trust, or to give people the benefit of the doubt. People seem to read things with the least generous interpretation possible and engage them in bad faith.
In the context of this discussion, I think it simply shows how Beckett is the cynical voice of any age. Han is the iconoclast, the person who – despite anything else that he’s endured – is a straight shooter as much as anyone can be.
Han’s Just a Decent Guy
Han’s just a decent person overall.
He wants to be the tough guy, the scoundrel, and says as much to Qi’ra. She can see through him, though, and knows he’s just too decent for the life he’s chosen.
Sadly, of course, Han’s desire to follow that path becomes his undoing later in life, at least so far as we’re led to believe by Star Wars: [Don’t Say Episode VII:] The Force Awakens.
To Answer the Question
But the question remains, who was right?
I could equivocate and say it depends on your point of view and kick off a whole host of Obi-Wan Kenobi comments. I could say that Beckett lived wisely and kept his cards close to his chest.
But painting everyone as the same is no way to live. You can’t imagine that everyone thinks and acts the same way. If you do, you never allow for the possibility of joy. You just trudge through life like Ebenezer Scrooge before his breakthrough.
It doesn’t mean you let people walk all over you. It means you judge each person on their individual actions. Go in with the benefit of the doubt and let them tell you whether they deserve to retain it.
Maybe I just believe too much in the Golden Rule. I know full well there are a whole host of people out there with unearned cynicism gently shaking their heads and thinking me naive.
But Han does win this argument. If you don’t trust anyone, no one will trust you. You won’t find love, be it romantic or platonic.
As evidence, Han has Chewie in his life. It’s worth all the potential pain just to find one loyal friend along the way. You’ll only find more if you believe that people are worth that risk. (Which Han did, and since I largely ignore the sequel trilogy he retained them.)
You may even find yourself a tribe. But you’ve got to be open to the possibility.