Han Solo and Leia Organa’s on-and-off romance is one of Star Wars’ most engaging love stories, and their relationship has a long and complicated timeline. Anchored by Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher’s spectacular on-screen chemistry, Han and Leia’s romantic arc is one of the most emotionally riveting aspects of the original trilogy. The star-crossed romance of a noblewoman and a pirate was perfectly in line with Star Wars’ archetypal foundations as a fairy tale in space: Han is the roguish warrior and Leia is the princess he saves from the tower.
At first, Han and Leia don’t like each other all that much. But they quickly evolve from enemies to friends to lovers during the course of the original Star Wars trilogy. It’s not easy to balance a romantic relationship with the intergalactic struggle to bring down an oppressive monolithic dictatorship, so Han and Leia’s support for each other goes through ups and downs while they’re teamed up against the Empire. From their meet-cute in the original Star Wars movie to their first kiss in The Empire Strikes Back to their off-screen marriage, parenthood, and divorce before The Force Awakens, Han and Leia’s decades-spanning relationship timeline traverses a rocky road.
Han & Leia Initially Disliked Each Other When They Met In Star Wars
When Han and Leia first meet in the original Star Wars movie, they don’t like each other. Han reluctantly helps Luke rescue Leia from her holding cell on the Death Star, and they immediately start trading insults. Leia thinks Han is a self-centered fly boy who only cares about money; Han thinks Leia is a pompous, pampered, privileged princess. But that resentment eventually blossoms into affection. Leia hints that her feelings toward Han are becoming more positive by the end of A New Hope. After Han returns to help Luke blow up the Death Star, Leia says, “I knew there was more to you than money.”
Han & Leia Faced Their Feelings In The Empire Strikes Back
After Imperial forces infiltrate the Rebels’ base on Hoth in the opening act of The Empire Strikes Back, Han and Leia narrowly escape in the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca and C-3PO in tow. Although they initially plan to go their separate ways, Han and Leia end up being stuck on the Falcon together for the entire second act of The Empire Strikes Back while they’re pursued across the galaxy by the Empire’s fleet. Being in a confined space for an indefinite amount of time forces Han and Leia to face their feelings for each other.
Han and Leia share their first kiss on the Millennium Falcon before going to Cloud City to hide out with Lando Calrissian. But the couple doesn’t get their “happily ever after” ending just yet. Han and Leia’s romantic union is cut short by The Empire Strikes Back’s subversively downbeat ending. The trip to Cloud City turns out to be a trap to lure the Rebels to the Empire. When Darth Vader is about to freeze Han in carbonite and give him to Jabba the Hutt as a wall ornament, Leia finally expresses her feelings for Han. When Leia says, “I love you,” the cool-as-ice Han quips back, “I know.”
Leia Saved Han’s Life In Return Of The Jedi
The opening act of Return of the Jedi sees all of Han’s friends and allies launching their own efforts to save him from Jabba’s palace. Leia infiltrates the building disguised as a bounty hunter and frees him in the middle of the night. Since the carbonite freezing has left him temporarily blinded, Han asks who is saving him, and Leia responds, “Someone who loves you,” before kissing him. After escaping from Jabba’s clutches, Han and Leia regroup with the Rebellion and lead the mission to shut down the second Death Star’s shield generator on the forest moon of Endor.
Han becomes jealous when he notices Leia having a private conversation with Luke and thinks they might have romantic feelings for one another. She assures him the conversation was about Luke learning that she is his sister, but the jealousy alone is enough for Leia to know that her love for Han is reciprocated. After avoiding dropping the L-bomb, Han finally tells Leia that he loves her when she saves him from some Stormtroopers. Return of the Jedi hilariously turns one of Han’s most famous quotes around on him. When he tells Leia, “I love you,” she wryly replies, “I know.”
Han & Leia Got Married Off-Screen Between The Original & Sequel Trilogies
Han and Leia’s wedding takes place off-screen between the original and sequel trilogies. According to Beth Revis’s canonical novel Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel, Han and Leia get married on Endor shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi. Their subsequent honeymoon aboard the Halcyon Star Cruiser gets their marriage off to a rocky start. Han and Leia are both so stubborn and rebellious by nature that they find it difficult to settle down and become accustomed to married life. But, over the course of the novel, they realize that they fight better as a husband-and-wife team than as lone-wolf warriors.
Han & Leia Had A Son Named Ben Solo
A year after the Battle of Endor, Leia gives birth to a son, Ben Solo, named after Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi. While Obi-Wan didn’t have much history with Han, he did protect a young Leia from the Inquisitors, as seen in the show Obi-Wan Kenobi. As Ben gets older, Han and Leia send him to train as a Jedi with Luke. During his time at the fledgling Jedi academy, Ben turns to the dark side under the influence of Supreme Leader Snoke and becomes “Kylo Ren.” Like his grandfather Anakin, Ben slaughters his Jedi colleagues, brings down the Jedi Order, and joins his puppet master to run an evil empire.
Han & Leia Got Divorced Before The Force Awakens
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens is vague about the dissolution of Han and Leia’s marriage, it’s revealed that they get divorced at some point in the three decades between trilogies. They aren’t cut out for long-term commitment, and the issue of losing their son to the dark side understandably puts a strain on their relationship. Han and Leia drift apart over the years and eventually break up. Han goes back to his old life as a smuggler living on the fringes of the galaxy and Leia resumes being the noble leader of a struggling rebel force.
Han & Leia Reunited In The Force Awakens
When The Force Awakens catches up with the main heroes long after the original Star Wars trilogy, Han and Leia are living separate lives. Han is searching the galaxy for the Millennium Falcon after losing it to Unkar Plutt, and Leia is leading the Resistance against the First Order. The couple hasn’t seen each other for a couple of years when they are brought back together by their son’s intergalactic reign of terror. Han and Leia share a goal that makes them unique among the other Resistance fighters: they want to take down the First Order as much as anybody, but they also want to save Kylo Ren.
With Leia’s blessing, Han goes to Starkiller Base in a desperate bid to bring their son back to the light side. He pleads with Ben to give up control of the First Order and come home with him. In a tragic twist of fate, Ben rejects Han’s compassion and kills him. Leia, understandably, is heartbroken. Despite ending their relationship, Han and Leia still had feelings for each other and there were plenty of sparks between Star Wars’ best couple. Before Han leaves for Starkiller Base, Leia tells him, “No matter how much we fought… I’ve always hated watching you leave.”
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