Solo: A Star Wars Story has gotten some shippers psyched about “Hando,” or the pairing between Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). But Gizmodo social editor Joe Tonelli has another ship in mind. On the latest episode of Total Shipshow, Tonelli shares why “SkySolo” would be a great temporary match and looks into why Lucasfilm spent years trying to keep Han and Luke apart... in fanfiction.
Han Solo and Luke Skywalker are a great match because they balance each other out so well, thanks to Han’s experience and Luke’s youthful optimism. This is the perfect tale of opposites attract. Han would broaden Luke’s horizons and through Luke, Han would see the world through his pure, un-jaded, college freshman eyes.
It also ties in nicely with what happens to Luke and Han in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. After the original trilogy, Luke took on a leadership role. The growth and confidence gleaned from Han gave him the motivation to start his Jedi Order—but Han’s cynicism also affected him, becoming disillusioned with the Jedi having faced the realities of the world. On the other hand, Han’s experience with Luke taught him to respect and love the Force in a way he refused to before. “It’s true. All of it.”
Before the internet, shipping was limited to meetups and fanzines, and Lucasfilm took a hard line against fanzines that featured explicit material. In the 1980s, because of America’s anti-gay policies and practices, anything romantic or sexual involving same-sex couples was considered explicit in many cases. There was even a formal letter from the official Star Wars Fan Club condemning any type of sexual fanfiction. You can read it here, and the bulk of the message is included below:
Despite our word-of-mouth warning to the contrary, some publishers have chosen to print stories with the Star Wars characters in X-Rated, pornographic situations. Attached is our letter to those publishers, no names are mentioned.
Lucasfilm Ltd. does own all rights to the Star Wars characters and we are going to insist upon no pornography. This may mean no fanzines if that measure is what is necessary to stop the few from darkening the reputation our company is so proud of. For now, the few who ignore the limits of good taste have been turned over to our legal department for legal action.
Responses to the letter were mixed, with some fanzines agreeing to only publish stories abiding by these rules, and others refusing, and going much further underground. Ultimately, actions like these appear to have put a big limiting factor on early Star Wars fanfiction, as well as fanfiction in general. The threat of lawsuits and legal recourse forced many writers to limit where and with whom they shared their stories. Since then, thanks to the internet, these type of reactions have subsided.
We know Han and Luke are close. By the end of the original trilogy, they’ve saved each other’s lives several times over, and we all know that type of emotional stress has the potential to bring two souls together unlike anything else. I’m not trying to change the future of Star Wars. I’m not rewriting canon. I just don’t think it would be the end of the world if we all imagined, that once or twice or five times, out in the lonely vacuum of space, cooped up in the Falcon, these two handsome young men sought out a little companionship.
I don’t see them staying together forever, or even for a “long-term relationship.” They’d both grow as a result of being together and learning from one another, but ultimately drift apart amicably. Han taking Luke under his wing, and Luke finding someone to introduce him to the real world. It’s just a fling neither of them would regret.
Han and Leia are a better couple for the long haul. Leia’s rough edges and quick wit can keep Han in check a bit. But Han and Luke? It was just a way to let off some steam in between tense moments, relax with someone who you trust and admire. You know, somewhere between a casual space hookup and a friends-with-benefits situation.