'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Hides a Han Solo Easter Egg in the Opening Scene
Spoiler warning: this article discusses the plot and themes of both The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens. If you're worried about having things ruined for you, maybe now's the time to go read something else.
If you've seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you'll remember that it starts with a big space battle, and with bombs. The opening scene is a big flurry of activity between a First Order dreadnought and Resistance bombers, and it's not possible - in the theaters at least - to pause the movie and drink in every single frame of the opening sequence. That's a shame, as it means fans will probably miss a tiny, affectionate reference to Harrison Ford's Han Solo, who was killed off in The Force Awakens.
Apparently, the death of everyone's favorite Corellian rogue has left some Resistance fighters with a grudge against the First Order, and they're eager to make it known. Fans of Star Wars have noted that the bombs launched in the opening battle of the film - particularly the ones dropped by Rose's doomed sister - all have personalized writing on them, as revealed by official books like Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary and The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
This mimics similar activity from real soldiers on our planet, who wrote messages on their bombs all the way back in World War II. For those who don't read Aurabesh, the made-up language of the Star Wars galaxy, this simply looks like gibberish, but a quick translation of the text shows that one bomb reads, "Han Says Hi" while others say things like "Hi Snoke":
SHUT UP THE RESISTANCE BOMBERS WROTE MESSAGES ON THE BOMBS I CAN'T— luna (@poesdameron) December 26, 2017
"HAN SAYS HI" OH MY /GOD/ pic.twitter.com/ngeBE4CZiF
This small reference is a nice reminder of the fact that this movie takes place immediately after The Force Awakens, and it also fits rather well with the overall themes of The Last Jedi. The movie is, primarily, about idolizing the past versus moving forward into new territory, and with that comes an important discussion on the role of hero worship in a nuanced world.
Kylo Ren desires to emulate Darth Vader to the point that he wears a silly mask and kills his family members. Poe Dameron is so desperate to become a hero that he's willing to basically doom the entire Resistance. Finn is eager to die a martyr's death, but Rose won't let him because he's her hero.
To a certain extent all of these character arcs argue that hero worship isn't a great idea, and the Han bomb is another example of this. The Resistance soldiers who idolize Solo enough to inscribe his name onto a bomb all end up dead, going out in a blaze of glory that ultimately doesn't actually accomplish anything meaningful.
As has been proven in the debate that has raged since the movie's release, this visual exploration of heroism is a difficult message for many Star Wars fans to swallow, not least because it stands at odds with the lesson that Luke Skywalker learns throughout the film, as well as the final scene of the movie, which suggests that hero worship is what brings hope to the galaxy. There's a lot to unpack here, and it'll be interesting to see how Episode IX ties all of these threads together, if it even tries to provide genuine commentary on heroism at all.
One thing is certain, though: Han Solo may have left the Star Wars canon, but he's not going to be forgotten any time soon. The importance of legends is baked into the mythos of this new trilogy of movies, and it won't be a surprise if Solo's legacy crops up again in the final installment - not to mention, obviously, in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which we'll see at some point next year.