No plot details about the upcoming "Star Wars: Episode 8" have been officially announced, and yet fans of the franchise have been theorizing that Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who appeared to have died in "Episode 7" (2015), could show up in the film.
"Star Wars: Episode 7 - The Force Awakens," the box office hit directed by J.J. Abrams, crushed the hearts of "Star Wars" fans worldwide when it brought back Han, a fan-favorite core character, but then killed him off near the end of the film.
In a shocking and heart-wrenching scene in "The Force Awakens," Han pleaded with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), his and General Leia's (Carrie Fisher) son, to abandon the First Order. The young man, who had been trained by his uncle Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), turned to the dark side and was working for Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). He stabbed his own father with a lightsaber, presumably killing him.
However, a recent fan theory insisted that Han survived both the lightsaber stab and the fall, and that Kylo was working as a double agent against the First Order. According to this theory, Han and Kylo orchestrated the whole death scene to make it look like the young man was loyal to Snoke. Reddit user shocktroopco suggested that Kylo may have stabbed Han in a way that did not kill him and then used the Force to direct his fall and land him safely.
While this may have given Han Solo fans a glimmer of hope, a commentary in the 3D Blu-ray Collector's Edition of "The Force Awakens" has completely debunked the theory.
"People have asked me if I think Kylo Ren is just playing with [Han Solo] this whole time — whether he meant to kill him from the beginning," Abrams said in the commentary.
"The truth is that I think Kylo Ren in this moment is actually being convinced to walk away from this," he said, but added that Kylo "has gone too far."
"Obviously, anytime in 'Star Wars' when two characters go out on an incredibly thin bridge 10 miles above the ground with no railings, it's not going to end well for one of them," he said.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2015, Abrams explained that Kylo murdering his father was intended to show the young man's evolution as a villain.
"And not a villain who was the finished, ready-made villain, but someone who was in process," he said.
"Star Wars: Episode 8" is scheduled to arrive in theaters on Dec. 15, 2017.