What was han solo frozen in? Han Solo being frozen in carbonite was not originally planned in the first Star Wars trilogy, but the event became one of Harrison Ford’s defining moments in the franchise. Here’s why George Lucas changed the character’s arc and what Ford wanted to happen to Han Solo.
After being betrayed by Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back, the heroes were handed over to Darth Vader. Han was then selected as the test subject to be frozen alive in a slab of carbonite.
As he was being dragged to the chamber by Stormtroopers, Princess Leia informed Han that she loved him – to which he replied with the iconic line, “I know.” After being frozen Han was then given to Boba Fett, who intended to deliver the man to Jabba the Hutt for a bounty.
The Mandalorian Finally Explains An Empire Strikes Back Mystery
Han was still frozen in carbonite at the start of Return of the Jedi. Luke, Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca eventually rescue their friend so that he could rejoin the Rebel Alliance’s efforts against the Empire but that wasn’t always the original plan.
Han was never supposed to be captured by Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back. Lucas intended for the rebel to fly off with Chewie on the Millenium Falcon at the end of the film with the plan to return to his full compacity in Return of the Jedi.
Due to Ford’s uncertainty in reprising his role as Han, Lucas decided to stall the character’s arc by freezing him in carbonite.
Harrison Ford’s Uncertainty In Returning To Star Wars Inspired The Carbonite Scene
Unlike his costars, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, Ford was only contracted for one Star Wars sequel. The actor was unsure about reprising his role for Return of the Jedi due to his growing popularity and his involvement in the Indiana Jones franchise.
At one point, Ford had hoped that Han would be killed off in the sequel through some kind of sacrificial and heroic way. Lucas and the Star Wars writers wanted to keep their options open.
By freezing Han in carbonite, they left open the opportunity for the character to return but they also planted a seed in case Ford never signed on for Return of the Jedi.
Star Wars producer Howard Kazanjian ended up being the one to convince Ford to reprise his role for the third film in the original trilogy. Kazanjian worked with Ford on Indiana Jones and the men were on good terms and he clearly made the correct points to change Ford’s mind.
It’s difficult to imagine Return of the Jedi without Han Solo, especially since the character’s role throughout the trilogy helped propel Star Wars into pop culture phenomenon. His absence from Return of the Jedi would have also ended any possibility of Han’s presence in the sequel trilogy, as well as his connection to Kylo Ren.
What was the in-universe reason for Han Solo being frozen in Carbonite?
One of the major plot points for ‘Empire Strikes Back’ is Darth Vader trying to lure Luke Skywalker over to the dark side. The way he does this is by blackmailing Lando Calrissian, who we are introduced to as an old friend of Han Solo.
Vader and the Empire take control of Cloud City and give Lando an ultimatum of turning over Han Solo and his friends, or the Empire will kill everyone in the city. When Lando gives in to Vader’s demands, Han Solo is handed over to Boba Fett and frozen in carbonite
On the other side of the Galaxy, Luke Skywalker is training with Master Yoda. After realizing his friends are in trouble, he abandons his training and rushes over to Cloud City to face Darth Vader and save them. Vader plans to hold Luke Skywalker in the carbonite and transport him back to the Emperor, which is why he uses Han Solo to test it first, to ensure that it will not kill Skywalker as Vader wants him alive.
How long was Han Solo in the Carbonite?
Even though there were three years between the release of ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi,’ there was only one year between the events of the film, which is the amount of time Han Solo was frozen for. When the heroes come back to save him, Luke Skywalker is a fully-fledged Jedi Knight and much stronger in the force.
He tricks Jabba the Hutt into thinking they are arranging an exchange between droids and Han Solo, but in reality, it was all a ploy to get them into Jabba’s Palace, save their friend, and take down the Hutteese warlord.
After spending a year in the carbonite, Han Solo comes out temporarily blind, which raises the stakes for later on in the battle when he can’t see, randomly firing his blaster at enemies and accidentally taking out Boba Fett.
What was the real-life reason Han Solo was frozen in Carbonite?
When George Lucas was planning for two more movies after the release of ‘A New Hope,’ it was only Mark Hamil and Carrie Fisher who had signed on for the third film, with Harrison Ford being unsure of whether or not he wanted to return.
Ford was known for not being a fan of returning for sequels and actually wanted Han Solo to be killed off in a heroic way that would serve the character.
While Lucas was not keen on killing off Han Solo, he had him frozen in the carbonite, which gave him the option to have him killed off in the sequel if Ford didn’t return.
The original plan was to have Han Solo escape with Chewbacca and Leia and return completely fine in ‘Return of the Jedi.’ While things may not have gone to the original plan, it worked out much better in the film’s favor.
Audiences got a great cliffhanger where no one knew what the fate of the character was going to be, not even George Lucas himself. We also got the iconic ‘I Know’ line from Han Solo, which is still quoted to this day.
In the end, Harrison Ford got his wish of Han Solo dying a heroic death in ‘The Force Awakens,’ which came out in 2015 and was a perfect ending for the character.
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