You might have noticed (from the total marketing onslaught) that there is a new Star Wars movie coming out. As someone who jumped around his living room with an imaginary lightsaber when he was five and inwardly wept at how bad the last trilogy was…I have mixed feelings. But it was great seeing my favorite character in the trailer: Han Solo.
In hindsight it’s easy to forget that Han isn’t an inherently good guy. He’s a smuggler, he hung around with mobsters like Jabba the Hutt, and he shot Greedo first. That’s right. He did. George Lucas, in one of his many revisionist faux pas, tried to spitshine Han by re-cutting the famous scene in Mos Eisley to make it look like Han was just protecting himself. But I think that does Han, and us, a disservice.
I think Han resonates for so many because he is complex. When we meet him he’s trying to keep his ship in the sky and keep his head above water in a galaxy that’s full of challenges and dangers. He’s just trying to get through the day. Sound familiar? Being a “hero” wasn’t automatic and doing the “right thing” wasn’t a given. But in Episode 4, his last-minute decision to help Luke wins the day. I always wonder what the conversation in the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon was like…
We think that those who do right or do well don’t have the same negative voices in their heads that we do. But complexity is natural. We all have the light and dark side within us. The trick isn’t to deny the darker sides of yourself, but rather deliberately choose to respond to the situations in life as positively as you can. And when in doubt, use the force.