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Should Han have died in RotJ?

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I’m curious to hear people’s takes on this. I’ve noticed that a lot of fan rewrites of RotJ generally try to make the story darker, and one of the most common changes made is killing off Han or sometimes Lando (who I think was set to die in earlier drafts, anyway, failing to escape the Death Star explosion in time). I know it’s what Harrison Ford wanted, but would it have actually improved the movie? And would having a more downer, bittersweet ending in general have been an improvement?

But we can’t turn back. Fear is their greatest defense. I doubt if the actual security there is any greater than it was on Aquilae or Sullust. And what there is is most likely directed towards a large-scale assault.

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 (Edited)

Han dying probably would have hurt the movie a little, I’d argue. Even though Han has little utility outside of the first act, he does very much earn his happy ending with Leia. Han dying would make the end a little too dark for my tastes. Having Han die in between ROTJ and TFA would have been acceptable, with Harrison only making a cameo in either a flashback or Kylo’s visions.

My bigger complaint (and one that actually hurts the movie) is that Vader’s redemption is kind of rushed. It comes off as just a brief rumination, followed by a split-second decision to save his son. Drawing his internal debate out a bit more would make it feel more earned at the end. It’s also why splitting ROTJ into two movies might have improved the overall narrative (movie one being Jabba’s Palace and movie two being Endor), as there would be more time to explore Vader’s redemption.

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I think Han instead of being Frozen he should have die in ESB being killed by Boba Fett his character would have closed in a good way but the problem is if Han died Vader redemption would be more difficult because Luke and Leia would not have forgiven that Han had died at the hands of the Empire if Han died i think we would not have seen Vader turn to the light side and he would have been still a Villain until Luke defeated him

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MinchD36 said:

I think Han instead of being Frozen he should have die in ESB being killed by Boba Fett his character would have closed in a good way but the problem is if Han died Vader redemption would be more difficult because Luke and Leia would not have forgiven that Han had died at the hands of the Empire if Han died i think we would not have seen Vader turn to the light side and he would have been still a Villain until Luke defeated him

Also, Lando definitely wouldn’t have been forgiven, either.

But we can’t turn back. Fear is their greatest defense. I doubt if the actual security there is any greater than it was on Aquilae or Sullust. And what there is is most likely directed towards a large-scale assault.

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Yes. Han’s death could have been the catalyst for Luke’s wailing on Vader (ie Luke sensing Han sacrificing himself during the final battle) - this would eliminate the need for a) Leia being the sister (which was ridiculous) and b) Lucas introducing Jedi ‘mind-reading’ (which was also ridiculous).

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No. Killing people doesn’t automatically make the stakes that much higher. No member of the Fellowship dies in either Two Towers or Return of the King, but you’d have to be crazy to call those stories low stakes. Not to mention, the happy ending makes a lot of sense with the fairy tale thing Lucas was going for. There are other ways to improve ROTJ.

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How about killing in ROTJ while he is still frozen in carbonite?

Leia (disguised as Boushh) approaches ‘Carbo-Han’, but just before she is able to initiate the thawing process … someone shots Han right from behind in the heart. Leia turns around … and there is Boba Fett. Of course Leia whould have to kill Boba Fett during the Sarlacc battle.

Rogue One is redundant. Just play the first mission of DARK FORCES.
The hallmark of a corrupt leader: Being surrounded by yes men.
‘The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly.’ - V.E.S.
‘Star Wars is a buffet, enjoy the stuff you want, and leave the rest.’ - SilverWook

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No that would be tonally wrong. There some issues in the movie, but I don’t think all of the darker ideas that were proposed would solve them.