It seems like blasphemy to say, but Han Solo is a horrible human being.
One of the most reviled clips on YouTube involving the character is a non-canon video of him accidentally killing Chewbacca and then being run through with a lightsaber. If a non-binding, fictional video from a video game that was already set in a fictional universe angered people, then you get a scope of the level of love that Han Solo receives from his fans. The sad truth of the matter is that Captain Solo is a terrible person and was wholly deserving of his fate at the end of Empire and not worthy of his rescue in Jedi.
Let’s start at the beginning. No not the whole Extended Universe (EU) beginning, it’s far too long and I don’t feel like examining how Han’s scoundrel tendencies seem to be inherited from his paternal grandfather’s side…or how he might be a space king. So sticking to the movies, simply put, Han Solo is a selfish drug mule. And that’s just when we first meet him. You remember that whole “Kessel Run” thing that he was so proud of? And the ongoing joke of George Lucas not understanding what a parsec was when he wrote the line? The Kessel Run was a drug run. The Millennium Falcon was basically running space-heroin to crime lords. On that point alone, he becomes the one person in the original trilogy that the Empire had every right to be pursuing from the very beginning.
If it wasn’t bad enough that he’s supplying drugs to space-children, it gets worse. Han Solo is dumb. Very dumb.
Dumber. Than. Jar-Jar.
There, it has been said, it’s out there in the world. Proof? Han knew that he was going to have a price on his head, leveled by a crime lord by the name of Jabba the Hutt. Jabba’s home and base of operations is on a dirtball of a planet named Tatooine. So after losing his shipment of drugs, and knowing full well that he needed to hide from Jabba’s inevitable bounty, Solo hid on…Tatooine.
Keep in mind that the Millennium Falcon is a ship that can travel anywhere in a galaxy. Han could’ve likely gone to an uncountable number of worlds to try to find illicit work to pay off his debts. Yet, the place in which he decided to hide was roughly one zip code over from the palace of the cosmic slug who was hunting him. Say what you will of Jar-Jar, but he was banished from his home and only returned because of a strong moral code and the threat of two space wizards with laser swords becoming angry with him.
Want more proof of Solo’s failed mental processes? His entire plan for his continued survival relied completely on the idea that he would be allowed to pay the space-mafia back and everything would be square. Han old buddy, when the situation has gotten bad enough that gangsters are paying to have you captured or killed, they are clearly no longer worried about finances. They are taking into account what your actions have financially cost them, and then added to it the additional debt for whatever they deem your life to be worth. Relying on financial greed to sway people who literally want to make an example of you at any cost is not a valid plan.
Compiling onto his failed grasp of the depth of his situation, Han Solo is also an unfeeling ass. After all of the drama of the first film, Han supposedly gets “more wealth than he can imagine” monetarily and a shiny medal from some anarchists to boot. So he immediately returned to pay off his debts, correct? Nope! Instead we find a hidden, but even more hunted Solo on Hoth. There, an indeterminate amount of time has passed since the first film and Solo has been convinced the time has come to settle up debts only after running into a bounty hunter. This plan has not gotten any better over time.
Note that he is now travelling with the Rebel Alliance, and has most likely endangered their missions with his continued presence. His status as a man with a price on his head didn’t just now become a threat to those around him – he knew full well that he would be hunted by the space slug mafia. Add to that that the Rebels, after committing massive acts of violence against the Galactic Empire, are more than likely hiding in various underworld hubs to avoid Imperial eyes. So basically, the safest places for his friends to hide are the same places where the people/creatures who are hunting Han are most likely to be. And it isn’t until he’s safely hidden on an uninhabited (Wampas never count) ice box that he decides, “Hey, now would be a good time to take my personal ship that I’ve always had access to and try to fix things!”
So Han let his friends down, either through incompetence or willful ignorance of his situation. Eventually, everything comes to a head in Empire as Solo is at last captured by Vader with the help of Boba Fett – a bounty hunter who pretty much won the lotto of whatever Vader was paying on top of whatever Jabba was paying. Hell, had Solo left the medal ceremony and met his inevitable fate, it’s highly probable that Fett, and the collection of bounty hunters that Vader assembled on his ship, would have been nowhere near that part of space nor willing to work with the “proper” authorities to find Luke’s friends. Add that to the list of Solo-created problems – enemies being brought together against a common foe.
Han Solo was a galactic menace, destructive to society on his own, and destructive to the friends in his posse. Thankfully, he was finally, finally stopped when he was made into a Kashyyykan Christmas Tree ornament. And after finally being freed of his influence and downward spiral, his friends, under some form of cosmic Stockholm Syndrome, ceased considering the plight of their already dire situation and decided to mount a rescue operation for someone whom they had no reason to reasonably believe to be alive.
Unless you count Luke sensing him to not be dead. A farm brat whose current Jedi powers included shooting a torpedo that one time, getting sucker punched by a Yeti, playing with a Muppet and having his father throw boxes at him till he had to run away.
But more on that next time…