It’s been roughly three months since the dust has settled on Han Solo’s standalone movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story. And now the Lucasfilm train is rolling forward with the start of production of the untitled Episode IX – which will see pretty much every classic character returning other than Han Solo. (Though, it would be funny, after Han died basically three times in The Force Awakens, if he showed up again with no explanation: “Hey, how can I help?’ “Great to have you back, Han.”)
But the one quote I haven’t stopped thinking about since that film came out was a quote from Lawrence Kasdan that he’s been saying since at least 2015, “He’s cynical. He’s tough. He’s pragmatic. He’s not that smart.” These quotes resurfaced when Phil Lord and Chris Miller left Solo, with the point being made that Han Solo is not “funny,” but instead cynical and dumb.
Of the films in the Original Trilogy, Kasdan was only involved in Return of the Jedi from start to finish. He wasn’t involved with Star Wars at all and came on late to The Empire Strikes Back. (With Empire, Leigh Brackett wrote the first draft and it’s a fascinating thing to read and looks very little like what that movie turned out to be. Lucas then rewrote Empire himself, declining a writer’s credit. Kasdan then came on to rewrite the dialogue.)
But, here’s the question: Is Han Solo actually stupid?
Let’s go through all of Han Solo’s major moments in the Original Trilogy where he has to make some key decisions and we can decide.
Mos Eisley Cantina
Here’s where we first meet Han Solo. In this establishing scene Han is definitely overconfident and seems a little defensive when Luke and Ben had never heard of the Millennium Falcon. Han says the price for his services is 10,000, but over the course of the negotiation that figure goes up to 17,000.