The main heroes of the Star Wars original trilogy each died in a different sequel trilogy film, but all three characters died for the same reason.
Three of the Star Wars original trilogy heroes died in the sequel trilogy, each in a different film, but each for the sake of redeeming Kylo Ren. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa are three of the seven main heroes in the original trilogy, and while Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, C-3PO, and R2-D2 all returned for the sequels, the former three were featured the most prominently, passing the torch to the new ensemble cast of protagonists and dying in the hopes that Kylo Ren would become Ben Solo again.
In the years following the Empire’s fall in the Star Wars canon continuity, Leia Organa took an active role in New Republic politics, striving to prevent a resurgence of the Empire. These efforts were hindered by the New Republic’s impotence and the rise of the First Order, which a major political party in the New Republic supported. This led Leia to found the Resistance, a private paramilitary group that would fight fascism when the New Republic couldn’t. Han Solo returned to his smuggling vocation, eventually losing his beloved ship, the Millennium Falcon. Luke attempted to rebuild the Jedi Order, but, unlike his Legends-era counterpart, didn’t improve on the old generation’s flaws or start a family.
Each of the three heroes died in some form of conflict with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, formerly known as Ben Solo, the son of Han and Leia following the events of the original trilogy. Han Solo died in Star Wars: The Force Awakens when he was impaled by Kylo Ren during a showdown within Ilum’s Starkiller Base. Luke Skywalker reconnected to the Force in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and died of exhaustion after projecting a life-like illusion of himself from across the galaxy. Leia died a similar death in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, reaching out to her son to turn him away from the dark side, expending her energy and passing away.
In each instance, the original trilogy hero was trying to redeem Kylo Ren in some way. Han, who has no Force powers, took an earnest and direct route, approaching his son and trying to convince him to leave Snoke and the First Order. Despite his best efforts, he ultimately made himself the ideal sacrifice for Kylo’s path towards mastery of the dark side. Kylo murdered his father, but Han nevertheless got through to his son, as noted by Snoke in The Last Jedi.
Luke specifically denied trying to save Ben during the Battle of Crait, but his actions say otherwise. Luke’s X-Wing was in working condition, as confirmed in The Rise of Skywalker, so Luke could have traveled to Crait and fought Kylo Ren, a battle that he’d have easily won. Instead, Luke simply distracted his nephew with the illusion, allowing the remnants of the Resistance to escape leaving Kylo with the futility of his sinister choices.
Kylo Ren claimed to have heard the “light side” calling to him in The Force Awakens, but The Rise of Skywalker reveals that this has always been Leia. With her strength in the Force, Leia reached out to Ben for years, trying to pull him back to the good man he once was, but using her last ounce of strength in the process, as Luke did. The deaths of the Star Wars original trilogy heroes were not in vain, however, as Kylo did return to Ben Solo by the end of the trilogy, helping to defeat the Sith on Exegol alongside Rey.
- Rogue Squadron (2023)Release date: Dec 22, 2023
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