This article is designed to give an insight into the life of Han Solo that was not shown in the films.
In the first draft, Han was a traditional green-skinned alien and only evolved into human in later drafts.
Among the actors who read for the part are Kurt Russell and Christopher Walken - Harrison Ford was cast.
In the movies not much is told about Han's past so this article hopefully resolves that, telling what history of the fictional character could be obtained through research into the novels, mainly AC Crispin's trilogy and The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton.
George Lucas originally created the character but his history has come from many different authors; however, the books on which this history is based have been read by the great Lucas himself and given the green light.
There are many unofficial versions of Han's backstory, but this does not include any information which has not been given the go-ahead by Lucas.
Originally from the planet of Corellia, Han Solo never knew his parents; he was raised on the Trader's Luck, the ship of Garris Shrike1.
Garris used Han as he did the other street urchins and beggars he found - as petty thieves and beggars. Han only stayed with him as he believed Garris knew something of his family and what had happened to them, Garris never told Han anything about his family and the only tie he ever found was a cruel cousin named Thracken Sal-Solo. Although his childhood wasn't ideal, Han was still taught kindness by a female Wookiee called Dewlanna. Dewlanna also taught him the Wookiee language which would prove invaluable to him in the future.
At the age of 19, Han ran away from Garris Shrike and his thievery operation and, using the assumed name Vyyk Drago, joined the Hutt spice-processing business on Ylesia where he fell in love with a slave called Bria Tharen; he rescued her and helped destroy almost the entire Ylesia operation but things unfortunately did not go well between them and once again Han was on his own.
Imperials, Smugglers and Wookiees
Eventually, his superior flying skills earned him a place in the Imperial Academy where he showed great promise. While there he earned his Corillean bloodstripes (which you can always see on his trousers) and the nickname 'Slick' for a daring manoeuvre with a U-33 transport vehicle.
While working for the Imperials, Han was ordered to terminate a Wookiee slave by the name of Chewbacca. He refused and was thrown out of the Academy in disgrace – however, he had earned himself a life-debt and a new best friend from Chewbacca2.
With nowhere to go Han and Chewbacca (now called Chewie) joined a smuggling gang run by Roa; this is where Han first flew the Kessel Run for which he was later to become famous. During his time as a smuggler he met his very close friend Lando Calrissian among many others. In a lucky game of Sabacc with Lando he won the right to any ship on Lando's lot and he chose the Millennium Falcon3.
After falling out with his fellow smugglers and dropping an important shipment of spice from Jabba the Hutt, Han ran to Tatooine, once again without friends and now with a large bounty on his head.
The Films and the Courting of Leia
While on Tatooine Han took the charter to Alderaan, which was to lead him inevitably to the Rebellion and his new friends.
After the battle of Endor, Han became officially 'respectable' although he remained an important contact with the smugglers. After having confessed his love to Leia he planned to marry her but was called away on duty to help defeat an Imperial crimelord. His plans to wed Leia went astray, however, when Prince Isolder of Hapes proposed4; springing into action Han kidnapped Leia and took her to the remote world of Dathomir, which he had won in a game of Sabacc. While there he helped liberate the 'witches' 5 from the Nightsisters6 and once again won the heart of Leia.
Children and the Death of Chewbacca
They finally wed and were to have three children all strong in the Force: Jaina and Jacen, twins; and young Anakin. Probably because he had never known his own family, Han's children were very important to him and he loved the role of father and protector. Han's life couldn't stay happy for too long, however: when the threat of the Yuuzhan Vong7 struck he lost his best friend. Chewbacca died saving Anakin from a doomed planet8
Han was never quite the same again, although he realised he had some small Force potential when he started to see Chewie's ghost, as Luke had seen Ben's and Yoda's back in the days of the Rebellion.
Han Solo has always been one of the pivotal characters of the Star Wars universe; a reckless and unscrupulous smuggler with a heart of gold.