A scoundrel, smuggler, daredevil and hero, Han Solo is one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars universe. Known for his reckless ideas that somehow worked and his cocky antics, Solo is a smuggler turned hero that no one will forget.
He smuggled for Jabba the Hutt, completed the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, helped Princess Leia Organa escape the Death Star, fought alongside Skywalker in the Battle of Yavin, assisted the Rebellion in the Battle of Hoth, became a general for the Rebellion and led a strike team in the Battle of Endor. All the while, he befriended Luke Skywalker, fell in love with Princess Leia Organa and remained lifetime friends with the Wookiee, Chewbacca.
Solo eventually married Princess Leia and they had a son who they named Ben Solo. Ben was Force-sensitive and was sent to be trained by Luke Skywalker. But unfortunately, Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke, seduced Ben by using the dark side. Ben killed the Jedi that Skywalker was training to try to rebuild the Jedi Order, and eventually killed his own father Han Solo, too.
We know where Han Solo ended up, but where did he begin? Where is Han Solo from? How did he become a smuggler? And why is he so brash?
Han Solo Home Planet
Han Solo grew up on the planet Corellia. Solo was born on Corellia in approximately 29 BBY, and was orphaned not long after that. Turning to illicit means of obtaining money, Solo was both a thief and a smuggler.
Corellia was part of the Corellian sector, a five-planet system commonly referred to as the Five Brothers. The five planets, Corellia, Selonia, Drall, Talus, and Tralus had orbits so close together that many scientists thought the star system was artificial. It was as if someone just plopped the planets in place.
The planet was a part of the Core Worlds, meaning it was a part of the central area of the galaxy in astrophysical terms. Core Founder Worlds were more prestigious than most other planets as they were more inhabited, further developed, better known and less politically restrictive. Galactic culture, finance, education, fine arts, and technology, were major parts of the Core World cultures. Core Worlds were important contributors to the military, commerce, medicinal, and philosophical fields in the galaxy. Coruscant, the homeworld of the human species and the planet with the unofficial designation as the center of the galaxy, was also a Core World. Other Core Founder Worlds included Alderaan, Alsakan, Anaxes, Axum, Bezha Two, Brentaal, Caamas, Chandrila, Corellia, Coruscant, Duro, Esseles, Humbarine, Kuat, Rendili, Rhinnal, Shawken, and Tepasi.
Since Corellia was the largest planet in the Corellian sector and the closest to Corell (the sun in the Corellian sector) it was often referred to as the “Eldest Brother.” Corellia was 11,000 km in diameter, with a surface terrain of plains, hills, forests, mesas, mountains, islands, oceans, seas, jungles and urban areas. The surface of the planet was made up of three large continents. The air was breathable, the climate temperate, and the gravity standard.
Corellia was a well-developed planet, with a population of 3 billion. Native to the planet are Humans, Selonians (large musteline mammals who were sentient, carnivores and covered in hair) and Drall (small, furry and highly intelligent species). In addition to the native populations, there were also several immigrated species, which included Selkath, Nikto, Gran, Rodian, Ithorian, Gamorrean, Twi’lek, Aqualish, Klatooinian, Bothan and Mon Calamari.
The planet’s major importers were weaponry, raw materials and various luxury items. Exports included starships, agricultural goods, and alcohol. Corellian wine was a favorite drink of Han Solo and Chewbacca. On one of Solo and Chewbacca’s adventures, they crash-landed on an unnamed planet and found a gorgeous oasis beneath electrical cyclones and superstorms. They found a cave that they used as a secret hiding place where they stored Corellian wine. In “Star Wars 6: Skywalker Strikes, Part V,” Solo remarks that a smuggler is “only as good as his hiding places.” When hiding on that same planet from Imperial forces with Princess Leia Organa, Solo offered Organa a drink of Corellian wine. In typical Organa style, she threw the wine in his face.
While much is known about the Han Solo home planet Corellia, not much has been confirmed about his childhood. We don’t see much of Han Solo’s early years in the Star Wars films. There have also been some conflicting accounts of Solo’s childhood—one source incorrectly stating that Solo was raised by Wookiees.
It is known that he was orphaned at an early age. Then, the pirate Garris Shrike took him in off the streets along with a group of orphans that Shrike manipulated to carry out crimes, such as thefts. The pirates would perform criminal acts such as taking hostages, stealing ships, and thieving cargo. Though Garris Shrike raised Solo and trained him in the ways of the street, Shrike also beat Solo endlessly.
Also on Shrike’s crew was a Wookiee named Dewlannamapia, who served as a mother figure for Solo. Dewlannamapia was responsible for Solo’s education and for saving Solo when he almost died from Corellian Tanamen Fever. She also discovered that Han’s last name was Solo, something that Shrike kept from him.
In 10 BBY, Solo stole one of Shrike’s blasters in a plan to escape. Shrike found Solo and confronted him while Solo was saying goodbye to Dewlannamapia. During the scuffle, Shrike’s brother was injured and Dewlannamapia was shot and killed. Shrike and his brother survived, but before they could come to their wits, Solo escaped.
Later that year, Solo had amassed a bounty on his head for his work smuggling for Jabba the Hutt. Shrike caught up with Solo on Coruscant to get revenge. Shrike found Solo on the rooftops of Coruscant, and got the drop on him. Solo was able to knock Shrike’s blaster out of his hand, then Shrike chased him across the rooftops. Shrike eventually incapacitated Solo, but Solo was able to regain consciousness. During another brawl with Solo, Shrike was shot and killed by another bounty hunter who has the same agenda.
If you really want the answer to the question “where is Han Solo from?”, there’s more to it than simply what planet he was born on. Unfortunately, we might never know the answers in their entirety.
Solo didn’t have memories of his parents or background before becoming an orphan. He may, however, belong to the House of Solo, whose first known member was a Corellian Prince-Admiral named Jonash e Solo. The Prince-Admiral is famous for forcing a peace treating at sword point on the floor of the Senate. By doing so, he personally ended the Seventeenth Alsakan Conflict in 3017 BBY.
Another of the House of Solo, Berethron e Solo, ruled the Corellian Empire. But after Berethron, the Solo line was obscured and ultimately lost when records were destroyed during the Clone Wars. Some evidence shows that Korol Solo was Berethron’s sixth-generation descendant, and that Han Solo’s ancestry could be traced back to Korol. Han was apparently born to Jonash Solo. This lineage, however, has not been officially confirmed.
While this may be true, factual knowledge regarding his parent’s identities and his lineage died with Shrike. In fact, some stories of Han’s background have contradictory information about his parents. Shrike promised to tell Solo where he came from, but died before he could keep that promise.
Solo and the Imperial Academy
After escaping from Shrike, Solo continued to smuggle, then became a student at the Imperial Academy of Carida, a private military institution on the planet Carida. The primary goal of the Academy was to train stormtroopers. The Academy became so successful that it became known as simply “the Imperial Academy,” even though there were other various schools used for military education. Facilities at the Academy included a military training base, an engineering academy, a naval command school, wilderness survival, desert warfare simulations, underwater battle tactics, self-discipline through emotional suppression tactics, and education in the principles of the Emperor’s New Order.
Solo served with distinction, but he was kicked out of the Academy for preventing an Imperial officer from beating a Wookiee named Chewbacca. Chewbacca, who also went by Chewie with close friends, fought by Jedi Grand Master Yoda during the Clone Wars at the Battle of Kashyyyk. But, the Galactic Empire condemned Chewbacca to slavery. Chewbacca battled in and out of slavery, and was eventually captured by Imperial TIE Fighters who were being led by Han Solo. Imperial officer Pter Nyklas wanted Solo to kill Chewbacca, but Solo refused. Chewbacca was instead taken into slavery.
At one point during Chewbacca’s time in slavery, Nyklas beat Chewbacca with a Neuronic whip: a long flexible cable that sent electrical charges into the nerve cells. The whip could break bones and sever flesh. Before Nyklas could kill Chewbacca with the whip, Solo saved Chewbacca and both escaped the situation.
In thanks of saving, Chewbacca swore a life debt to Solo. A life debt was a social custom observed by Gungans and Wookiees. According to their cultural tradition, if someone saved a person’s life, the person who was saved owed a debt to the one who had saved them. This often took the form of them pledging their life to protect their savior, and even sacrificing their own life for their savior if necessary.
After this, Chewbacca and Solo became lifelong friends. This was in part because of Chewbacca’s life debt, but it was also a result of their true chemistry.
Solo and Chewbacca’s Smuggling Days
Before he met Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine, Han Solo spent most of his days smuggling with Chewbacca.
At some point in their smuggling career, Solo and Chewbacca met Lando Calrissian. Calrissian was an entrepreneur and a gambler, and he played Solo in a game of “Corellian Spike” Sabacc, a dice game that used two six-sided dice. During the game, Solo gambled for Calrissian’s ship, a YT-1300 light freighter called the Millennium Falcon. He won. The ship was easily Solo’s most prized possession. In addition to winning the Millennium Falcon, Solo kept the two golden dice from that game, hanging them in the cockpit of his new ship.
With the Millennium Falcon, Solo made a reputation for himself as being one of the best smugglers in the entire galaxy. Solo and Chewbacca worked for Jabba the Hutt smuggling glitterstim spice, an illegal drug, and other items throughout the galaxy. One of the main routes they took for smuggling was the Kessel Run, a dangerous 18-parsec hyperspace route that was used to funnel spice from the mines of Kessel to the rest of the galaxy.
Solo even made the infamous Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs because of the Millennium Falcon’s superior navigational computers that allowed him to take risky routes through hyperspace. Solo was essentially able to take shortcuts through hyperspace, skirting closer by black holes and other objects, to cut down on the distances of hyperspace routes.
Solo ran into trouble with Jabba when he had to dump a shipment of spice that he was smuggling from Kessel. If he hadn’t ditched it, he would have surely been captured and imprisoned by the Empire. But not following through on the shipment caused him to owe Jabba the Hutt a large sum of money—and consequently wear a bounty on his head.
Jabba hired a bounty hunter named Greedo to track Solo down. While in the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine, Solo realized that Jabba sent Greedo there to kill him, and shoots Greedo under the table. That’s where we meet Solo at the beginning of Episode IV, when Skywalker and Kenobi find him in the Cantina on Tatooine.
From there, Solo became much more than just a smuggler. We know him now as one of the greatest heroes in the galaxy—and one of the most renowned and loveable characters in any narrative ever.