The rogue Stars Wars pilot now has his very own prequel, but he's not the only flawed movie hero we love to love.
When Han Solo introduced himself to America, he sat in the shadows in Mos Eisley’s seediest bar. In a place that Obi Wan Kenobi called a “wretched hive of scum and villainy,” the pilot (played by Harrison Ford) looked right at home. He’s a smuggler and cynic, a guy whose definition of idealism ends with the letter “I”. And when a bounty hunter sidles up to the guy pointing a gun and demanding cash for his client, we all know exactly who shoots first.
But for all of his talk and swagger, we knew — like Princess Leia did — that there was more to him than money. Underneath all the wisecracks and sneers lurked a real hero with a heart of gold.
Now Han Solo is back with a new skin (actor Alden Ehrenreich), a new story, and a shiny new movie — Solo: A Star Wars Story, to be released May 25. But the swagger’s still there: The coolest cat in the Star Wars universe is back for his prequel, bringing with him all the charisma and complexity that made him Empire Magazine’s third-greatest movie character.
Why is Han Solo so popular? I think he taps into a certain spiritual undercurrent that represents us all. We’re fallen people, selfish and cynical, and only halfway aware of our own flaws. But we long to be better. We yearn to find a higher calling, a purpose in life that goes beyond ourselves.
Solo is hardly alone in his scruffy appeal, and he’s in no way the first. America’s love affair with flawed heroes and loveable rogues goes way back. Take a look at some seminal characters from American cinema that we love to love … in spite of their flaws.