In Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope, Obi-Wan promises to pay Han 17,000 credits for taking himself, Luke, and the droids to Alderaan; part of the money intended to pay Han appears to come from the sale of Luke's speeder:

Ben Kenobi: Let's just say we'd like to avoid any Imperial entanglements.

Han Solo: Well that's the real trick, isn't it? And it's gonna cost you extra. Ten thousand, all in advance.

Luke Skywalker: [shocked] Ten thousand!? We could almost buy our own ship for that!

Han Solo: But who's gonna fly it, kid? You?

Luke Skywalker: You bet I could! I'm not such a bad pilot myself. C'mon, we don't have to sit here and— [Ben calms down Luke]

Ben Kenobi: We'll pay you two thousand now, plus fifteen when we reach Alderaan.

Han Solo: Seventeen? [Ben nods] Okay, you guys got yourselves a ship. We'll be ready when you are. Docking Bay 94.

Ben Kenobi: 94.

[Ben and Luke leave the cantina]

Ben Kenobi: You'll have to sell your speeder.

Luke Skywalker: That's okay. I'm never coming back to this planet again.

I'm a bit confused by this whole concept, for the following reasons:

  • Luke's speeder is a relatively unimpressive vehicle, and if 10,000 credits is almost enough to buy a spaceship, I can't imagine that a used, ground-transport speeder like Luke's is worth more than a couple of thousand bucks.

  • Jedi aren't supposed to own much, aside from their clothes and lightsaber. Hermits like Obi-Wan probably don't have much income, so I doubt Obi-Wan was bringing much to the table in terms of finances.

  • The deal is for Han to get 2,000 immediately (this probably accounts for all the money made from selling the speeder), and 15,000 more when they arrive on Alderaan. They obviously never reach Alderaan, because it no longer exists, and in any case, Obi-Wan dies aboard the Death Star. As far as we see, he never paid Han the 15,000 (we never see him pay Han the 2,000 either, but I assume this transaction did take place off-screen - otherwise, Han probably wouldn't have taken his 'passengers' anywhere).

Did Obi-Wan ever pay Han in full? If so, where did he get the money?

Note: Yes, Leia paid Han a reward. This reward was for rescuing Leia, NOT for bringing Luke and Obi-Wan to Alderaan. There were two separate transactions agreed to:

  1. Obi-Wan promised Han 17,000 credits for bringing Luke, Obi-Wan, and the droids to Alderaan.

  2. Luke told Han he would get a reward of an undisclosed, but large amount ("more wealth than you can imagine") for rescuing Leia.

  • 10
    There's a conversation in new hope where Luke says to Han "you got your money and now you're going to run" I always took it that Leia paid him – user46509 Jan 10 '16 at 20:00
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    Don't make me post ANOTHER question on legal.SE! That way I'll have more questions posted there than here for the last 2 months! :) But I bet a small amount that they will settle on "Han breached his contract due to 'no Imperial entanglements' clause and wasn't entitled to the money". I won't even mention the "no questions asked" clause – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 10 '16 at 20:13
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    I should hope Han never got the 15,000. The terms were clear: 15,000 when we get to Alderaan. No Alderaan, no credits bub. – Paul D. Waite Jan 10 '16 at 20:23
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    I always thought that Obi-wan had known the Rebellion would pay the outstanding 15,000, irrespective of any reward above and beyond that. In other words, Han was paid 15,000 + undisclosed reward sum. I was more wondering where he got the upfront 2,000 if the speeder was nearly worthless. – Jane S Jan 10 '16 at 21:21
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    Obi-Wan also died. I could still picture Han asking a force-ghost 'Where's my money???' – bmarkham Jan 11 '16 at 8:27

Just stumbled across the answer: According to Disney canon, the rebellion paid Han the whole sum.

“Yeah,” Han said. “The captain. A real pleasure to meet you and all, but I’m going to skip ahead in this story to the finale. I was hired by Luke and this General Kenobi to shuttle them to Alderaan and promised a reward for bringing everyone here. I have no interest in your revolution, just in getting what I’m owed. I believe the number was seventeen thousand credits.

Commander Willard’s skin went a chalky white.

“Han!” Luke could have throttled him for being so rude. He really couldn’t wait a few hours to bring up money?

“We don’t keep that sort of money lying around,” Commander Willard said. “And this is...we need every cent to keep up our operations.”

“I’m willing to accept the amount in precious metals if you don’t have the credits on hand,” Han said, crossing his arms over his chest. “Come on, pal, you don’t want word to get around that the Rebellion can’t honor their debts, do you? No one would be willing to do business with you.”

“We do, but...” Commander Willard looked at Leia again, clearly confused. He’d been expecting an ally, if Luke had to guess, another new recruit. Luke was surprised at how bitter his own disappointment tasted; some part of him had hoped that Han would change his mind when he saw what the Rebels were up against.

But there was still time to try to convince him.

Luke couldn’t understand a word of what Chewbacca said to Han next, but the past day had taught him to read the Wookiee’s moods by his tone and expression. And Luke thought he might actually have an ally in Han’s copilot.

“Give him whatever he wants,” Leia said stiffly. The look she shot Han could have incinerated half the Death Star. “The sooner he gets it, the sooner he’s gone.”

That was exactly what Luke was afraid of.
- Star Wars - New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy

Another Disney canon novel confirms that Han and Chewie were paid, but not who paid them:

Between the reward money for rescuing the princess from the Death Star and the fee they’d been promised for the Alderaan run besides, they had more than enough money to square things with Jabba. Enough, even, to get back into his good graces and have him call off the bounty hunters he had already set on their trail. But that would work only if they brought the money to Jabba; if the bounty hunters brought them in first, it would be a different situation entirely.
- Star Wars: Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo and Chewbacca Adventure


Update:

Some have expressed doubt that Han would be selfish enough to demand payment for his services to the Rebellion:

Han isn't such a dirtbag as to insist on being paid the money Kenobi promised after he died. If he had said "hey, the old man owed me 17,000 - who's going pay me back?" Luke and Leia would've punched him in the face.
- Red Caio, comment under Phantom42's answer

In fact, it seems clear that this was his modus operandi in the early stages of his affiliation with the Rebels (much to Chewbacca's chagrin). When the Rebellion is evacuating its base on Yavin after the destruction of the first Death Star, Leia asks Han to rescue a Rebel scout from an Outer Rim world. Han refuses until Chewbacca weighs in on Leia's side; even then, Han insists on being paid:

I’m not part of this!” Han Solo said. “I’m not a part of your rebellion, I’m not a freedom fighter, and I don’t work for you, Your Highness!”...

“Let me ask you something,” Leia said to the Wookiee. She jerked a thumb in Solo’s direction. “Is there actually a heart beating in there, or just a safe where he keeps his credits?”

Chewbacca snorted, then looked to Solo, canting his head. He barked.

“Oh, no, no,” Solo said. “You haven’t heard what it is she wants us to do, Chewie. Go ahead, Your Shining Royalness, tell him about this little suicide mission you’ve got up your sleeve.”...

[Leia explains that the Rebel scout responsible for choosing the sites of future Rebel bases is being pursued by the Imperial Security Bureau and is stranded on a remote planet, with Imperial forces closing in]

Chewie huffed softly, under his voice. He and Solo both could see this coming.

“The Falcon is the only ship fast enough to reach Cyrkon in time.” She pressed the controls on the map once more and the images winked out. She turned to look at them— first Chewie, then Han. “If the ISB captures Ematt, they’ll get everything. They’ll torture him. They’ll drug him. They’ll get everything. It will be the end of the Rebellion.”...

Chewbacca growled, a short string of barks that ended in a heavy rumble.

Solo looked at him in amazement. “Think this one through, Chewie.”

The Wookiee snuffed.

Solo shook his head. “You’re supposed to back me up, not side with her!”

The Wookiee snuffed again.

Solo couldn’t believe this. “She’s asking us to fly into a system on the edge of Hutt Space to rescue a guy who maybe is already dead, never mind that the ISB is after him! Never mind that Cyrkon is teeming with the worst scum this galaxy has to offer. Never mind that Jabba’s got bounty hunters taking numbers to come after us, if he hasn’t sent them already—”

Chewbacca grunted and barked.

“I know it’s the Outer Rim! I know it’s on the way, but even if we succeed we’ll have to take him to the rendezvous point, or else it’s not much of a rescue! This isn’t our fight, pal!

This time the Wookiee remained silent, just looking at Solo with those blue eyes.

Leia was looking at him, too.

Solo sighed. Some fights, he thought, you just can’t win.

“We’re going to need the pass phrase, whatever it is, so Ematt will recognize us,” Solo said. He tried not to sound petulant.

Leia smiled as if she’d known all along he’d say yes. Solo scowled.

“And I expect to be paid for this,” he added.
- Star Wars: Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo and Chewbacca Adventure

It appears that Han's eventual decision to join the Rebellion outright was largely influenced by Chewbacca's encouragement; the Wookiee would have joined the Rebel Alliance much earlier, if it hadn't been for Han and the Millennium Falcon:

The Wookiee didn’t fancy their [i.e., the Rebels'] chances.

That said, he understood their fire. He was a Wookiee, after all, and he knew passion. His were a proud people, a people who had lived for hundreds of years peacefully on their wooded homeworld of Kashyyyk until the Clone Wars. He had been younger then, just one hundred and eighty, and he had fought the Separatist battle droids. He had witnessed the betrayal of the clones and the beginning of the Empire. He had seen his people, his brothers and sisters, his family, put in chains and sold as slaves throughout the galaxy. He had been put in chains himself, and just the memory of it made a growl rise in his throat.

So he understood the Rebellion. In truth, he would be standing with them if it weren’t for two things: the Corellian and the ship. He wouldn’t abandon either of them. He was bound to both, as they were to him.
- Star Wars: Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo and Chewbacca Adventure

  • Ok, though this is a book from 2015 by Alexandra Bracken, which seems to me to be adding its own slant to Han's personality for purposes of making this scene have more dramatic tension, and inventing an answer to this detail of how the payment actually went. – Dronz Jul 1 '16 at 18:16

Someone paid Han. Likely Leia, or possibly the Rebellion itself.

From the script

Leia mentions Han's payment when Han says he doesn't care about anything else.

HAN

It is for me, sister! Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money!

LEIA

You needn't worry about your reward. If money is all that you love, then that's what you'll receive!

Before the attack on the DS1, Luke and Han discuss Han having been paid. Han is leaving to go pay Jabba.

LUKE

So... you got your reward and you're just leaving then?

HAN

That's right, yeah! I got some old debts I've got to pay off with this stuff. Even if I didn't, you don't think I'd be fool enough to stick around here, do you? Why don't you come with us? You're pretty good in a fight. I could use you.

LUKE (getting angry) Come on! Why don't you take a look around? You know what's about to happen, what they're up against. They could use a good pilot like you. You're turning your back on them.

HAN

What good's a reward if you ain't around to use it? Besides, attacking that battle station ain't my idea of courage. It's more like suicide.

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    That's a reward for rescuing Leia, which Luke promised to Han aboard the Death Star. Different from the sum Obi-Wan agreed to pay for the ride to Alderaan. – Wad Cheber Jan 10 '16 at 20:06
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    If Leia is willing to pay out a reward promised by Luke, I see no reason why she wouldn't be willing to pay out an agreed upon sum promised by Ben. – phantom42 Jan 10 '16 at 20:15
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    The reward you're talking about is separate from the payment Ben offered. The reward was what Luke instigated on the Death Star - "Well, more wealth than you can imagine!". It might have been paid partially in lieu of the sum Ben offered, but I'm not aware of any evidence that this is the case. – Wad Cheber Jan 10 '16 at 20:16
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    +1 Because the reward was so much larger, Han or Leia may have simply considered the initial payment as part of the reward. Han was probably more concerned with getting the bounty off his head, then eeking every cent he could out of the rebellion. – Mark Rogers Jan 10 '16 at 20:23
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    @MarkRogers - not implausible as a theory, but does need some kind of canon confirmation. It seems to strongly fly against Han's know character. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 10 '16 at 20:36

Han Solo was paid 2,000 credits before he even left for Alderaan with his passengers. The briefcase that Han had right before Luke boarded his X-Wing fighter craft likely contained the remaining 15,000 credits that Kenobi had agreed to pay. I can’t imagine that the Rebels would fail to pay Han the remaining 15,000 especially since he rescued Princess Leia who was an invaluable asset to the Rebellion. Han also seemed happy with the amount in his briefcase, which further supports the idea that he was fully compensated. Then for some odd reason, Han chose to ‘stiff’ Jabba the Hutt, which was a very stupid thing to do considering that Jabba had recently ordered Greedo to kill Han over dumped cargo and the money that was lost as a result.

Probably the real organisers of the Rebellion paid Han. They did it from the background, to overthrow Palpatine. Because he wasn't easily controllable, thus he should die.

  • Do you have a reason for thinking the rebellions' leaders wanted Han to die? – Buzz Dec 17 '17 at 4:37
  • @Buzz I think this is some poorly worded conspiracy theory on how the Republic Deep State was secretly funding the rebellion because they wanted to stop Palpatine from Making The Empire Great Again. – Shadur Jun 13 at 7:02
  • @Shadur That would make more sense in Turkish Star Wars. – Buzz Jun 13 at 23:35

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