In Star Wars: A New Hope, I noticed Han calling Leia "sister" twice. Also, he made it clear that he was in for rescuing Leia because she was rich who could well paid him. When did he romantically start to fall for Leia?

P.S. This question shouldn't be as controversial as this one: Did Leia know Luke was her brother when she kissed him?
because Leia wasn't a biological sister of Han as we all know.

  • 8
    Calling a woman "sister" in a somewhat dismissive manner is an old slang expression, it doesn't literally mean he was thinking of her in a sisterly way. I think this usage was already sort of old-timey in 1977--I associate it mostly with movies from the 30s and 40s--but Lucas was very inspired by old films like WWII movies and Flash Gordon serials, so it makes sense that he'd have Han talk that way.
    – Hypnosifl
    Dec 1, 2015 at 9:00

2 Answers 2


Well, it depends on what you consider "starting to fall". The "Star Wars: A New Hope, Lucas novelization from 1976 (ghost written by Alan Dean Foster based on the script) offers a bit more details than the pure dialog from the films, by noting things in Han's head:

  • The first instance was right when he met her, and she shot her way into the garbage for escape:

    “It looks like it’s up to me to save our skins. Get into that garbage chute, flyboy!”
    While the others looked on in amazement, she jumped feet first into the opening and disappeared. Chewbacca rumbled threateningly, but Solo slowly shook his head.
    “No, Chewie, I don’t want you to rip her apart. I’m not sure about her yet. Either I’m beginning to like her, or I’m going to kill her myself.” The Wookiee snorted something else, and Solo yelled back at him, “Go on in, you furry oaf! I don’t care what you smell. This is no time to go dainty on me.”

  • Then, there's the infamous "a Princess and a guy like me?":

    “Still,” Solo ventured thoughtfully, “she’s got a lot of spirit to go with her sass. I don’t know, do you think it’s possible for a Princess and a guy like me …?”
    “No,” Luke cut him off sharply. He turned and looked away.
    Solo smiled at the younger man’s jealousy, uncertain in his own mind whether he had added the comment to bait his naive friend—or because it was the truth.

As others noted in the comments, referring to a woman who isn't your relative as "sister" is a common US expression of familiarity (these days usually used between women, but before by men as well).


It seems to have been a gradual process without a definite starting point. Han was probably attracted to her because Leia wasn't impressed with him, didn't swoon when he smiled, etc.

LEIA: you came in that thing? You're braver than I thought.

She wasn't shallow, she was smart. She had attitude and spunk like him so he probably viewed her more as a person, an equal, than any other woman he'd pursued.

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