Han Solo is a pretty popular character in pop culture - he grins first and shoots when he decides to. The character arc that Han goes through from Star Wars: A New Hope through Return of the Jedi is a full and interesting one (just don't ask Harrison Ford if he thinks that is true).
But does everyone's favorite pilot make it through The Force Awakens? That answer will be clear as day once December 18th rolls around. Until then, I have decided to make the case for killing Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. To help make the case, I divided up my reasoning into two groups: In-universe and Out-of-universe.
When The Force Awakens starts, it has been thirty years since Han Solo bravely took a group of Rebels down to the forest moon of Endor. The galaxy has apparently seen some sort of upheaval as The First Order appears to be in control and trying to finish the "good" work of the Empire. So, how can a roughly 63-year-old Han Solo do anything to help this time around?
I'm of the opinion that Han Solo will act as the "mentor" figure in the seventh entry in the Star Wars saga. From what we have seen thus far from The Force Awakens, Han gets a lot of time with both Finn and Rey. During this time, I believe Han will help both of our new heroes discover what it means to make a difference and teach them how to be a force for change in the galaxy. In doing so, Han will also likely end up making a stand. However, whenever you stand, you risk the chance of falling.
Like the heroic fall of Obi-Wan Kenobi or the noble end of Qui-Gon Jinn, Han Solo is a prime candidate to become a fallen mentor. Han Solo's death should, like those of the aforementioned Jedi, mean something. It should not just shock and rock the viewers, but change the course of story for our small band of heroes. Most importantly, Han's death could serve to teach a lesson to one or more of our heroes. This lesson can go on to shape and define our characters in a number of ways. The death of Han will also provide a valid, albeit sad, reason for his legacy to continue on in the form of the Millennium Falcon. The fastest ship in the galaxy could survive to live on with the new trio of heroes and always remind them of what was, so that they can conquer the current evil that is. Therefore, Han's death would both increase the stakes and give one final gift to the next generation of heroes.
It should come as no surprise that Harrison Ford and Lawrence Kasdan both wanted the carbonite freezing Han endured to be his demise. That did not occur, but the fact that both Ford and Kasdan had very finite reasons for wanting Han to die means they likely did not give the idea up in the thirty plus years since The Empire Strikes Back.
Furthermore, Harrison Ford has made multiple appearances in the name of The Force Awakens. One could say this is because he is happy to be back and that Disney made it desirable to do such a PR tour. That very well may be part of it. That being said, it also feels almost as if Ford is giving one last goodbye to the rogue with the fantastic grin.
In conclusion, I feel Han Solo will likely die in The Force Awakens because it sticks to known Star Wars tropes while also offering new, valid plot and character advancements. This post was not really meant to convince you that Han will or should die in Episode 7. Rather, it was merely meant to showcase why it would make sense in terms of the ever-growing Star Wars story. Regardless, we will all learn the truth on December 18th when we visit that galaxy far, far away......
What do you guys think? Is Han fated for death? Am I crazy? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!