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The Best Han And Chewie Scenes In Star Wars Ranked

At its heart, Star Wars is about the relationships between its many characters. Among many examples are the ties between Luke and Leia, C-3PO and R2D2, Finn and Rose, Hera and Kanan, Anakin and Ahsoka, and, of course, Han and Chewbacca. One of the reasons why the human/Wookiee bond is among the most cherished in the Star Wars universe is because the friendship is so convincing. From the moment we meet the smuggler and his co-pilot in A New Hope, it's obvious they've been mates for a long time. Viewers sense their effortless partnership immediately and understand that the two unquestioningly have each other's backs. As the Star Wars saga progresses, so does their friendship, as it is tried and tested through the toughest of times. 

But which scenes between the two classic characters best represent their dynamic? Which moments most fully give viewers an idea of what these best buddies mean to each other? We've scrutinized every scene in which the two appear together, and now present our completely scientific list of the best Han and Chewie scenes ranked from good to great.

'Fly casual'

In this tense scene from Return of the Jedi, Han and Chewie attempt to land a stolen Imperial shuttle carrying Rebel commandos on the forest moon of Endor. Their mission: deactivate the shield that is protecting the new Death Star while it's still under construction. As they nervously wait to find out if the Imperial fleet will see through their façade or allow them to pass, Han says, "Keep your distance, Chewie, but don't look like you're keeping your distance." When Chewie asks him how he's supposed to do that, Han remarks, "I don't know... fly casual."

Han and Chewie don't get many moments together in the climactic film of the original trilogy, which is stuffed full of incident and action, but this scene subtly contains all the key elements of their relationship: wry humor, false bravado, expert flying, honed improvisation skills, cool under pressure. In just a few minutes of screen time, the scene economically embodies the whole Han/Chewie vibe.

'Chewie, we're home'

The Star Wars sequels are likely to remain as divisive among the fandom as the prequels, especially among those who believe that the films rely far too much on nostalgia. But they undeniably gave the original trilogy heroes some nice moments, such as Leia using the Force to propel her ethereally through space, and Luke's splendid dying vision of Tatooine's twin suns, both from The Last Jedi. Han and Chewie's moment comes in The Force Awakens, and director J.J. Abrams builds up to it by first giving the Millennium Falcon its own excellent re-appearance. As Finn and Rey scramble to find a ship to escape the First Order, the Falcon suddenly appears out of nowhere, saving the day.

Turns out the Falcon had a tracking device. Once the engines started, Han and Chewie were able to locate their beloved ship, which they had lost years earlier. They enter the cockpit, and Abrams frames them in their classic pose — Han wielding his blaster and Chewie his bowcaster — and Han smiles and says, "Chewie, we're home." It's a moment of pure triumph for fans, so much so that it concluded the second teaser trailer. Not only is it meant to stoke fan love of the original trilogy, it's also a rebuke of sorts to the prequel trilogy, which many fans complained was missing the lovable/rogueish Han and Chewie connection to balance the ponderousness of all the Jedi-speak. Real Star Wars is back, Abrams seems to say. 

Closing the Echo Base doors

It's a small moment, but an important one in The Empire Strikes Back. The movie opens with Han and Luke surveying the frozen ice fields of Hoth on their Tauntauns. When Han returns to base to find Luke missing, he goes back out to search for him in subzero temperatures — even though it likely means he will freeze to death. As the Rebel commander (played by Pixar stalwart John Ratzenberger) informs Princess Leia of the dire situation, Chewie appears behind them and leans forlornly against a ladder, head bent in sorrow as he absorbs the news. When the shield doors slam close with implied finality, he throws his head back and lets loose a howl that echoes throughout the cavern.

Even though Han doesn't physically appear in this scene, he's very much on the minds of those who care about him, including Leia and Chewie. More than any scene in A New Hope, this scene conveys how emotionally close Han and Chewie are. It also sets the tone for this darker episode of Star Wars, in which the personal stakes are higher and the characters face more danger — and it foreshadows the climactic scene later in the movie when Chewie looks as though he will lose his best mate permanently.

Campfire confessions

Once Han and Chewie escape the Empire in Solo, they link up with a band of pirates headed by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). True to form for the genre, the group plans to execute one last score that will allow them to retire and pursue their dreams (of course it all goes wrong). In a quiet scene before the big heist sequence, Han and Chewie warm themselves around a campfire with Beckett and his companions, Rio and Val (Thandie Newton), and trade stories about what they've lost and hope to regain.

The tone is cozy and wistful as Han discloses his past with Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) and his desire to find her again — his traumatizing separation from her has been weighing him down for the last three years. Chewie then gives a mournful speech about how the Empire has enslaved his fellow Wookiees, and stole them away from their home planet of Kashyyyk. He hopes to gain the means to find his tribe. It's a revealing scene for the Han and Chewie relationship because it conveys the sense of loss they share, as well as the sense of hope and idealism that drove them before Han became a cynical renegade.

Han and Chewie bargain with Luke and Obi-Wan

Chewbacca is actually introduced just before Han in A New Hope. He is seen conferring with Obi-Wan at the bar, as the old Jedi tries to procure transportation for his and Luke's trip to Alderaan (and casually slices off somebody's arm). The next scene properly introduces both Han and the Han/Chewie partnership. It contains the famously ridiculed assertion by Han that he's done the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs (parsecs are units of space, not time). Like so much else in Star Wars, this throwaway moment has been given an entire elaborate backstory and explanation.

But before all that, Han and Chewie are just a couple of unknown space pirates chilling in a bar. Chewie doesn't have much to do in the scene as Han boasts about the Millennium Falcon and his skill at flying her very fast, but the scene provides subtle cues to the nature of their relationship. The first is that the two sit very close together at the table, leaning in almost conspiratorially. Their comfort level is subtly well established here. The other moment comes at the end of the scene when Han gleefully tells Chewie that the money they stand to make from this gig will save his butt. Chewie of course knows what he means, indicating that they are familiar with each other's problems and are in this big space mess together.

'Let the Wookie win'

In A New Hope, after they escape Mos Eisley and outrun the Imperial Star Destroyer blockade over Tatooine, Han, Luke and company hang out in what can only be called the Millennium Falcon's game room. (We later learn it has a bar, though Han thankfully doesn't break out the 90 proof while trying to plot hyperspeed routes.) Safely en route to Alderaan (or so they think), the crew and passengers enjoy a little recreation. Luke blindly waves a dangerous weapon at a swerving drone within a few feet of other people, while Chewie and R2-D2 somewhat more sensibly play holochess.

When C-3P0 chastises Chewie for being a poor sport, Han utters the famous line "It's not wise to upset a Wookiee... droids haven't been known to pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose." Rather than showing any contrition, Chewie leans back, hands folded behind his head, and utters Wookiee-ese for "Damn right," after which C-3P0 advises R2, "Let the Wookiee win." The scene is key because it further develops the personalities of Han and Chewie, and their easy rapport, in a more relaxed setting. It also sets the stage for the two to act as comic relief throughout the series, injecting much-needed levity whenever things threaten to get too tense or earnest.

'Laugh it up, Fuzzball'

Another minor scene from Empire further develops the Han and Chewie connection introduced in A New Hope, although this time with a lighter tone, highlighted by the casual introduction of goofy Star Wars-speak like "Gundark" and "Nerf herder" (later the name of a punk band). When Han, Leia, and Chewie check in on Luke, convalescing after his Wampa attack, Han can't help but needle Leia about managing to "keep him around a little longer." Chewie laughs when she calls Han "stuck up" and "scruffy-looking." Han, his pride injured, comes back with, "Laugh it up, fuzzball," a line so famous it became the entire title of a Star Wars parody trilogy.

Not to be one-upped, Leia proceeds to plant a jealousy-inducing smooch on Luke in the most overanalyzed kiss in the history of geekdom. Chewie, observing the passionate lip lock, utters some unintelligible gibberish, although the way his mouth moves seems to indicate he's either amused, turned on, or both. He then laughs again and gives Han a look that can only be Wookiee for "How you like them apples?" The Star Wars universe is a pretty lethal place, one in which the main characters seem to spend most of their time running away from things that are trying to kill them. This scene is key to showing that not only Han and Chewie, but the whole gang, can spare a few moments for playful banter.

Reuniting after carbon freeze

Fans waited three long years after the wrenching conclusion of The Empire Strikes Back to learn the fate of Han Solo after Darth Vader used him in a human carbon freeze experiment. In pre-internet times, without online trailers or chat forums, this felt like ten years, but finally Return of the Jedi came out, and early in the movie Lando, Leia, Luke, Chewie, and the droids take turns attempting to retrieve the frozen but very much alive Captain Solo from Jabba's palace. Why the Rebel Alliance couldn't just land a squadron of X-Wings in the desert outside and trade Han in exchange for not melting Jabba into a bowl of bread pudding remains a mystery — although it does allow us to see our fearless heroes in action against great odds.

Jabba catches Leia in the act of unfreezing Han — now temporarily blind from the unfreezing process — and tosses him into a dank cell, whereupon the old smuggler reunites with Chewie. Their reunion after all that time is as heartwarming as one would hope. As the two rush into an embrace, Chewie starts excitedly babbling about all that has happened since Han has been gone, then wraps his arms around his old buddy and starts grooming his gunked-up hair. It's the kind of reciprocated animal love that every ten-year-old with a dog has ever dreamed of — and it's one of the great Han and Chewie moments.

Meeting in the pit

Solo produced its share of mixed reactions, but one undeniably great scene between Han and Chewie is their initial meeting. The sequence begins with Han, three years after his escape from Corellia, now serving in the Imperial infantry. After deciding he's had enough of the Empire's pointless forever war, he tries to escape, but gets busted for mutiny. His punishment is to be thrown into a pit with "the beast" (shades of Luke being dumped into the Rancor pit in Return of the Jedi.)

The "beast" ends up being a very hungry Chewbacca, who immediately tries to rip Han limb from limb until Han is able to save himself from certain death by speaking enough Wookiee to show that he's not a threat. The two then team up for the first time to escape Imperial clutches. This is a great Han/Chewie moment for a few reasons. Normally Chewie is seen as tamed by Han, whereas this scene depicts an unhinged Chewbacca in all his fierce glory — he does not seem like anybody's pet. It also provides a reasonable explanation for why Han can speak Wookiee. We know from Solo's beginning that Han grew up in an orphanage of sorts with a number of different species, so the fact that he can suddenly speak a language that — let's face it — seems to be as comprehensible as congested seal barking not only makes sense, but informs the rest of the series.

The carbon freezing chamber

This is one of the great scenes in the Star Wars saga, suffused with pathos and dread and the alarming sense that the stakes just got a lot higher for our favorite heroes. Darth Vader wants to put Luke Skywalker into a carbon freeze to immobilize him for his trip to the Emperor, but he needs to ensure it won't kill him. Enter Han as a test subject. Of course Chewie does everything he can to prevent his friend from being lowered into the depths, flinging Stormtroopers about like rag dolls. But it's Han, not the Empire, that stills the Wookiee's rage by impressing on him the need for him to take care of their family. "Save your strength," Han tells him. "There will be another time."

The scene bubbles up with potent Star Wars ingredients — John Williams' soaring music; Boba Fett's evil gleam; ugnaughts scurrying through plumes of steam; Darth Vader's hissing breath like fetid air escaping a sarcophagus; the thundering boom Han's frozen body makes when it hits the chamber floor; and, of course, the immortal "I love you/I know" exchange between Han and Leia. But perhaps most haunting is Chewie howling mournfully, beside himself with grief. J.J. Abrams tried to recreate the emotional tenor of the scene with Han's death in The Force Awakens. But the bond between the two characters had already been perfectly expressed in this scene, their all-time greatest.