Han Solo is the Kevin Bacon of the Star Wars universe. Forget six degrees — seriously, pick any character, and I guarantee you that if they haven’t met Han Solo in their adventures, they know someone who has. Here are 10 people who met Han in scenes the movies didn’t show and the Star Wars universe didn’t need.
1) Grand Moff Tarkin
Yes, even though Han Solo never managed to encounter Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin while he was sneaking around the Death Star, it didn’t matter, because the two already knew each other. Six years before A New Hope, Tarkin was part of the graduation ceremony at the Imperial Academy of Carida… where Han Solo was valedictorian. Yes, not only was Han Solo once an Imperial pilot, he was also a big nerd about it.
When Darth Vader hired those bounty hunters to search for the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back, Dengar jumped at the chance. Why? Well, you know those bandages wrapped around his head? That’s because Han Solo seriously fucked him up. The young Dengar and Han were having an illegal swoop race on Corellia, their home planet, when at some point “Solo brought his swoop down directly over and in front of Dengar, burning his face in the swoop's exhaust and locking the repulsor fins of both swoops,“ which knocked Dengar off his bike and onto a bunch of crystal plants, one of which pierced his brain. The Empire saved Dengar’s life by partially cyborg-izing him, and then he spent most of his time hunting down Solo — pretty understandably, if you ask me.
3) Admiral Ackbar
Certainly, since Ackbar was planning the assault on the second Death Star, and Han Solo was a general in the Rebel Alliance, it’s obvious the two men — er, whatever — would meet in Return of the Jedi. But again, this was not Han and Ackbar’s first encounter. Six months after A New Hope ended, Ackbar crashed a ship on the mud planet of Daluuj (get it? GET IT?! sigh). Han, along with Luke and Leia, rescued the Mon Calamari, who then went on to pull some awesome military maneuver at Massassi Station, which in turn so impressed Mon Montha she named Ackbar the Supreme Commander of the Rebel Fleet.
Remember this dude from A New Hope? He’s the guy Obi-Wan talks to in the Mos Eisley cantina while looking for a pilot, who then points them over to Chewbacca and Han. Of course, he couldn’t just be a guy in a bar who happened to know Han’s rep, but instead they were were good friends from “the smuggling scene,” a scene that technically encompasses most of the galaxy yet apparently still allows people to run into each other constantly. More ridiculously, remember Han’s brag about flying the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? Well, BoShek beat it, and in fact that’s the whole reason he was in the Mos Eisley cantina that day — to rub it in Han Solo’s face.
5) Captain Piett
The Imperial officer — best known for replacing the less-than-competent Admiral Ozzel during The Empire Strikes Back — had a history with Solo before he chased the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field. Prior to A New Hope, Piett was part of a customs team that encountered the Falcon and boarded it looking for stolen goods. Piett didn’t find them — in fact, he didn’t find anything, which made him suspicious. The ever-politic Han tried to bribe Piett, who immediately threw Han and Chewbacca in the prison of the Super Star Destroyer he later commanded and chased them with. It’s such a small galaxy.
6) Aurra Sing
This pale, mohawked bounty hunter, seen for maybe all of a second during the podrace in The Phantom Menace — met Han Solo waaaay after the movies. 37 or so years after Return of the Jedi, Aurra Sing teamed up with Han and Leia after they tried to convince some planet to join the Corellian revolution against the Galactic Alliance and the Jedi, which included Luke and their own kids (the Expanded Universe is a mess). Han and Leia get framed for an assassination attempt on the planet’s leader, and Aurra helps them escape. They manage to trick the bounty hunter into taking them to her leader and get proof to their son Jacen that they’re innocent, although Jacen does not rescind his parents’ arrest warrants, because Jacen is a huge dick.
7) Luke Skywalker’s Aunt
Alas, Han Solo never got to meet Luke Skywalker’s blue milk-slinging, better-known aunt Beru. But shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi, Han and Leia visited Tatooine to find an Alderaanian painting that had some kind of secret code in it. Once there, they hung with Beru’s younger sister Dama, who owned and operated the Sidi Driss Inn, a moisture farm turned hotel. Oh, and just for kicks, Grand Admiral Thrawn attacked the hotel while disguised as a Stormtrooper, because why the hell not.
8) Boba Fett
Obviously, Han Solo met Boba Fett in the movies: once when Han, Leia and Chewie were captured, and once when Han accidentally beaned the bounty hunter on Jabba’s skiff and knocked him into the Sarlacc Pit. But did you know that these were only the 5,000th and 5,001st times out of 10,000 or so the two ran into each other? Boba first saw Han 12 years before A New Hope while hunting some dude on Jubilar for Jabba the Hutt, and noted “the young man was full of promise.” Then five years before ANH Boba captured Solo for pissing off some other Hutts, although Lando rescued him; this was just the first of several thousand times Boba Fett captured Han only to have him escape, which pissed off Boba to no end. Hell, at one point Jabba the Hutt had to pay Boba not to kill Han, because Boba hated him so much and Han was doing Jabba’s smuggling. Once, Grand Moff Tarkin hired Fett to find the Imperial deserter Solo, and ran into Darth Vader who was also hunting Solo for some reason (this was still before ANH) and then Fett and Vader fought over the smuggler (Han escaped during the fight, naturally). And then there was also that whole adventure from the cartoon in the Star Wars Holiday Special.
Even RotJ was no hindrance to their little dance. The first time Boba escaped the Sarlacc, he had amnesia and Han Solo happened to randomly find him while rescuing R2-D2 from another Jawa sandcrawler. When Boba got his memory back, he somehow managed to fall out of the Sandcrawler and into the Sarlacc Pit again. There was more chasing, and capturing, and escaping, until Boba Fett got cancer and retired (I am serious) and eventually taught Han’s daughter Jaina how to kill her evil asshole Sith brother Jacen.
The stupidest moment of Revenge of the Sith was thankfully cut out of the final version, but the mere idea of it still sends chills down the staunchest Star Wars fan. The incredibly awful scene, which would have featured a 10-year-old Han Solo on the planet of Kashyyyk, being raised for no apparent reason by Chewbacca, and wanders out of nowhere to help Yoda track down General Grievous. The dialogue that was nearly spoken:
HAN SOLO: I found part of a transmitter droid near the east bay… I think it’s still sending and receiving signals.
YODA: Good. Good. Track this we can back to the source. Find General Grievous, we might…
BLEH. Given how close it came to happening, I feel confident in including it in this list, and thus declaring that it’s the worst, most arbitrary meeting Han Solo had with a Star Wars character before the original trilogy. But…
10) Indiana Jones
…what about meeting a character who wasn’t in Star Wars? In the Star Wars Tales comic — which, to be fair, contains adventures that aren’t even considered part of the expanded universe canon — the Falcon is shot by Imperials, escapes through hyperspace, and crash-lands on a very familiar planet. It’s familiar because it’s Earth, which we know because Han Solo is killed by Native Americans. His body — and the Falcon — is found more than 100 years later by Indiana Jones and Short Round, while investigating the legend of Bigfoot, who is of course Chewbacca. Sure, Han was dead when he "met" Indiana, and it wasn’t even close to being in even the vaguest continuity. Still, I must remind everyone of this nightmarishly dumb encounter so that those in the future will not replicate these mistakes. NEVER FORGET.