Han Solo went from a smuggler to a war hero, but as Qi’ra said, he’s always been the good guy.
That became more evident as he got involved with the Rebellion, however, and he led the strike team on the dangerous undercover mission to the forest moon of Endor, in an attempt to deactivate the shield generator to the second Death Star. Solo and his team succeeded, paving the way for Lando Calrissian to lead an attack right to the heart of the battle station, destroying it.
But what happened to Solo following the Battle of Endor? Let’s dive in!
Aftermath of Endor
Han Solo joined his friends Leia Organa, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, and many more in the celebration on Endor after the destruction of the second Death Star, but the celebration wouldn’t last long. The next morning, Rebel leaders received reports that an Imperial outpost on the far side of the moon was preparing to launch a counterattack, so Solo took his strike team (called the “Pathfinders,” a group that included Kes Dameron) and launched a preemptive strike on the base, taking out the forces there and retrieving information from the Imperial computers.
Before leaving Endor, Solo married Leia Organa. Leia would later tell Norra Wexley that, “It was right there on the Endor moon after everything. We had a small ceremony, just those we trust. We don’t keep it secret, but we didn’t make it public, either.”
Though married and in love, not a whole lot changed for Solo and Organa as they continued to fight against the Empire. At some point after the Battle of Endor, Organa went on a diplomatic mission to Naboo, while Solo took his Pathfinders to Tayron, to eliminate another Imperial outpost, this one a secret ISB base. They encountered more of a fight taking this base and had to take down an AT-ST walker to do so, but they were successful in driving out the Empire – only to discover from the central computers that Operation: Cinder was underway! This was a secret project developed by the late Emperor Palpatine to be put into action in the event of his death, with the goal of completely annihilating key worlds – including Naboo. Solo and his team relayed the information immediately to General Lando Calrissian, who arrived with his fleet at Naboo just in time to aid Organa in saving Naboo. Because of the intel gained by Solo’s team, the Rebellion was better equipped to fight Operation: Cinder.
At some point, months after the Battle of Endor, General Solo went missing. Leia tracked him to Takodana but lost contact with him, so she sent Inferno Squad to find him. Solo was on Takodana at Maz Kanata’s palace for a reason, looking to meet up with an Imperial defector who claimed to have information that could help liberate Kashyyyk. He found the defector, but so too did the Empire, as they arrived to try to intercept him. A firefight in the forest of Takodana ensued, but Solo got the defector back to the Millennium Falcon, where Chewbacca was waiting, and Inferno Squad arrived to help the others escape.
Later, Solo received more intel that the Imperial presence on Kashyyyk was weaker than it had been. Though Leia cautioned him against it, Solo quickly resigned his commission as a general in the New Republic and, along with Chewbacca, put together a makeshift strike team in an attempt to liberate the Wookiee homeworld. It was a trap, however, and Chewbacca was soon captured. Solo escaped long enough to contact Leia to update her, but was then attacked and captured as well. Organa tried to get New Republic help, but since Solo had resigned his commission, they chose to prioritize the fight against the Empire rather than rescue him. So she turned to some trusted allies, including Norra Wexley, to hunt down Solo. They found him at an Imperial compound on Irudiru, where Solo had discovered key information: Chewbacca and their other allies were being held at the Imperial prison Ashmead’s Lock. Solo, Norra, and their team infiltrated the prison and successfully liberated Chewbacca and many other prisoners (including Norra’s husband, Brentin). Norra took the liberated prisoners back to Chandrila on the Falcon, but Han, Chewie, and a few others stayed behind to continue their attempt at liberating Kashyyyk.
Once again, it didn’t go as planned. They successfully liberated the Wookiees and together with the natives participated in a fight that quickly overpowered the Imperials, but a Star Destroyer then began an orbital bombardment of the planet. Solo, Chewie, and their team infiltrated the Destroyer but were captured. Before they could be executed, however, reinforcements arrived. Leia Organa, piloting the Millennium Falcon, led the charge and was soon joined by Wedge Antilles’ Phantom Squadron and Admiral Ackbar’s Home One, resulting in a resounding (though unsanctioned ) New Republic victory and the successful liberation of Kashyyyk.
In the aftermath, Solo said goodbye to Chewbacca. Having received word of a bombing attempt on Chandrila, Solo and the others had to leave Kashyyyk, but he told Chewie to stay behind. “You have to stay here,” he told his best friend. “We fought like hell for this and now… this is yours. Okay? All yours. This is home. You got people here and I want you to find them. You hear me? That’s my last demand. No arguments. … I said no arguments. You be with your family. I have to go start mine.” But even though they were parting ways, Solo promised: “I’ll be back. We’re not done, you and I. We’ll see each other again. I’m gonna be a father and no way my kid won’t have you in his life.” As they said goodbye, Han sighed and told Chewie, “Yeah, pal. I know. I love you, too.”
Battle of Jakku
Months later, the end of the war was near. Reports indicated that the Imperial remnants had retreated the Jakku and were amassing there. New Republic Chancellor Mon Mothma proposed to the Senate sending their forces to Jakku in an attempt to end the Civil War, but she lost by five votes. Solo led a small team to Nakadia (the new capital of the New Republic) to investigate the five Senators who opposed Mothma’s proposal, and they soon discovered that these Senators were corrupt and working with criminal syndicates to prolong the war. Despite Solo and others being caught and captured (and then rescued), they managed to get the votes Mothma needed. The New Republic fleet was headed to Jakku.
Han Solo, however, was not. He headed home to Chandrila to be with Leia, who was due to have their baby at any moment. As they sat together, Han admitted that it felt weird that the Battle of Jakku was going on and they weren’t there: “You, me, Luke, Chewie, the Falcon. Those two walking talking garbage cans. It feels weird we’re not part of it.” Leia responded that they had their own adventure, to which Han responded, “End of an era. And the start of a new one.”
As expected, Jakku was a decisive victory; as Admiral Ackbar and the New Republic fleet routed the Imperial remnants, the war came to an end. Imperial Grand Vizier Mas Amedda initiated peace talks with Mon Mothma, which were attended by both Han Solo and Leia Organa. The Empire officially surrendered and the Galactic Concordance was signed, bringing an end to the Galactic Civil War. The New Republic had won. During these peace talks, Organa was in labor, and she soon gave birth to her son, Ben Solo. Han knew that Leia shared a special connection with their son through the Force, but Leia assured him that fathers have a special connection with their sons anyway.
Mission with Lando Calrissian
Two years later, Lando Calrissian showed up at the Solo’s home on Chandrila, angry at Solo over something called the Phylanx Redux Transmitter – something both of them had encountered decades earlier. Calrissian revealed to Solo that Fryzen Gor wanted it and had threatened a lot of suffering on Cloud City if the Transmitter wasn’t given to him. So Han and Lando went off in search of the Transmitter and trying to stop Gor, putting together a team that, of course, meant stopping on Kashyyyk and reuniting with Chewbacca. Their team managed to track down Gor and, ultimately, killed him, preventing the disaster that had been threatened. After this, the team went their separate ways, as Han headed back to Chandrila to be with his family.
Though Han deeply desired to be a good father to Ben, he didn’t exactly know how to do it, so he tried his best. But he also found himself growing bored with retired life. Leia was an influential New Republic Senator, which kept her very busy, while Han tried to fill his time with other things. This included fatherhood, obviously, but also was appointed as the head of the New Republic Pilot’s Commission – meaning he too had meetings to go to, which bored him as he longed to be on adventures across the galaxy again.
Eventually, Han did begin to travel the galaxy a bit more. He owned his own shipping business and would go to various planets for business, while he also began racing. He was a very successful racer and won many races, which he often did for charity on the side in addition to his business ventures. Due to his prodigious reputation and his success as a pilot and racer, Solo would eventually wind up overseeing the famous Five Sabers race (as of 28 ABY).
Because of their varying obligations and interests, the Solo family spent a great amount of time apart. Leia continued to be very involved in New Republic politics; Han was across the galaxy on business and racing; and Ben was sent to train with Luke Skywalker when he was ten (15 ABY). The family was able to keep in touch via technology, but physically were apart for much of the time.
In 28 ABY, as Solo was away overseeing the Five Sabers race, he continued to stay in frequent communication with his wife. By this point, Leia had grown so frustrated with the state of New Republic politics that she seriously considered retiring from it altogether and traveling the galaxy with Han. Those plans were put on hold as Leia was nominated for the office of First Senator, but her campaign was soon destroyed by the damning revelation that she was the daughter of Darth Vader. Though her political career was in shambles, Leia continued to investigate the shady side of New Republic politics (which was tied into the mysterious First Order in the shadows) and took her investigation to Sibensko. This led her to valuable information, but also placed her in grave danger, as she was pursued by the Amaxines. Just in the nick of time, Solo arrived in a racer and rescued Leia. Together, husband and wife fired upon the enemy fighters, destroying them and taking out the base.
Han and Leia returned to Hosnian Prime and shared time together, with Han promising to stay as long as Leia needed. She told him that she would be fine and that he could go if he wanted, so Han left to continue overseeing the Five Sabers, while Leia addressed the Senate. Her retirement would continue to be put on hold as, realizing that the New Republic wasn’t taking the threats seriously, Organa formed the Resistance in an effort to counter the rising threats in the Unknown Regions.
Sometime shortly thereafter, Ben Solo rebelled against Luke Skywalker, leaving the Jedi behind and leaving for Supreme Leader Snoke. Ben turned to the dark side, and Luke, feeling responsible, left for Ahch-To in exile. Reeling from the heartbreaking tragedy, Han Solo and Leia Organa both went back to the only thing they had been good at – which meant they weren’t together. Han returned to smuggling, while Leia invested herself all the more in the Resistance. The two grew apart during these years, living separate lives. But Han wasn’t totally alone: when Chewbacca heard what happened to Ben, he returned to his longtime friend in his moment of need and joined Han in smuggling once again.
At some point, Solo had taken the Millennium Falcon to Takodana in search of a crew for a mission, since Chewbacca wasn’t available. He enlisted the help of Gannis Ducain, delivering cargo to Christophsis. But upon arriving, Solo foolishly left Ducain in charge of the Falcon, and Ducain stole the ship. The Falcon would then be stolen several more times before coming to rest on Jakku for years. With Solo and Chewie taking up smuggling once again, they undertook a search for their beloved ship, but weren’t finding it. They operated from a massive freighter, the Eravana, and began smuggling – but not to a lot of success. Gangs like the Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub felt wronged by Solo and sought to make him pay.
Solo and Chewie continued their efforts, which at one point boarded a ship looking to steal weapons. Solo dressed as a First Order officer to infiltrate the ship, but was soon found out. He and Chewbacca discovered that the Resistance was also aboard the ship, so the two decided to pave the way for the Resistance troopers to recover their target, all without the Resistance ever realizing it.
Joining the Resistance
In 34 ABY, Solo and Chewbacca were transporting rathtars aboard the Eravana when their sensors picked up the Millennium Falcon, finally. It was on Jakku, and so they intercepted their long-lost ship in orbit above the planet. They discovered that it was piloted by a scavenger girl, Rey, and a former stormtrooper, Finn, who were trying to get a droid, BB-8, back to the Resistance with vital information – containing a map to Luke Skywalker. Han Solo was right back in the fight… but first, they had to escape the Eravana. The Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub showed up to kill Solo, while Rey released the rathtars by accident. Han, Chewie, and the others headed for the Falcon (during which Chewie was injured in a firefight) and flew out of the hangar.
Promising to get the droid to the Resistance, Han took the crew to Takodana to get them on a clean ship. But while there, the First Order attacked Maz’s Castle. Han, Chewie, and Finn fought against the First Order, while Rey and BB-8 headed off into the forest. Han, Chewie, and Finn were briefly captured, but rescued by the Resistance arriving; Rey, however, was abducted by Kylo Ren – a.k.a. Ben Solo. Han watched from afar as Ben took Rey aboard his ship and flew off. He then turned his attention to a Resistance transport that arrived, as he reunited with Leia Organa after several years apart.
The two traveled back to the Resistance base on D’Qar, where they developed a plan to infiltrate and attack Starkiller Base, rescuing Rey and stopping the First Order before their massive superweapon could destroy the Resistance – but not before Han and Leia shared a touching reunion and goodbye. Han and Chewie took Finn aboard the Falcon and attempted a very dangerous stealth landing, making their landing approach at lightspeed. This successfully brought them past the First Order shields, but resulted in the ship crash landing. They made their way by foot into the First Order base, where they captured Captain Phasma, ordered her to deactivate the shields, and then rescued Rey.
While the Resistance attacked the base, Han realized that they needed help. So he and Chewbacca infiltrated the base once more and planted explosives. Kylo Ren soon arrived, seeking the intruders, and Solo realized that he needed to try to save his son. So Han ventured out onto a walkway, calling out to his long-lost son. Ben turned and spoke with his father, who pleaded with him to come home. Ben said he was being torn apart and asked his father for help, and Han eagerly said he would do anything. But as Ben took his lightsaber and Han grabbed it as well, Ben ignited it, stabbing his father through the gut. Han touched his son’s cheek tenderly, then fell off the walkway to his death.
In the aftermath, Chewbacca triggered the explosives, and Poe Dameron destroyed the base, but Leia sensed her husband’s death through the Force, striking her with grief. She would continue to mourn the loss of her husband, including holding a funeral for him shortly before evacuating D’Qar. When Luke Skywalker learned of Han’s death from Rey soon thereafter, he too was stricken with grief, and also with guilt. He shared a hug with Chewbacca and took a moment to mourn. The Resistance would continue to remember Solo, naming the place where Starkiller Base had once been as the “Solo” and remembering Han as they defeated a First Order Dreadnaught above D’Qar. But Ben Solo was perhaps impacted most of all, as the deed of killing his father split his spirit to the bone. A year later, after Leia reached out to her son through the Force and passed away, Ben was visited by a vision of his father, helping Ben once and for all turn back to the light and help Rey. Even in death, Han Solo’s legacy lived on.
Check out more in the “What were they up to after Endor?” series: