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In Solo: A Star Wars Story, we witness

Han being given the name "Solo" during his application for Imperial flight training. More specifically, the officer asks Han who his "people" are, to which Han replies that he doesn't have any. The officer pauses, then decides to write down "Solo", as though not having a "people" was out of the ordinary, and that he had to come up with something on the spot to enroll him.

But considering the nature of the planet (tons of runaways, for example), I would have expected this to be a fairly common occurrence for people trying to "get away". Either enough for them to not require it, or at least have some default. Is being given a name in this fashion common, or is this the only time we see this happen in canon?

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    the question could have been meant to imply 'people' as in planet In other words "who are your people? ...I'm from Naboo" and Han just gave an unconventional answer – NKCampbell May 25 '18 at 22:30
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    @nkcampbell If I recall correctly, it was a rather strange way of asking what Han's surname was. – Rogue Jedi May 26 '18 at 3:26
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    The officer had access to a poorly written software in which you couldn't leave Last Name field blank. – I Love You 3000 May 31 '18 at 23:28
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    Perhaps the officer was Spanish and used solo in the sense of ‘only’: “Han, just Han”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 12 '18 at 23:53
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    @Valorum The edit you made to include content from Solo: Tales of Vandor answers what I was looking for. Still feels odd given the situation, but at least they made an attempt to explain it. Thank you. – Mwr247 Sep 17 '18 at 13:57
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According to Solo: Tales from Vandor (a canon book containing various legends that are told about Han Solo and the protagonists of the Solo film) the Imperial 'intake forms' require a surname without exception. Solo is a common workaround for individuals who have no second name or are unwilling to share it.

Then just the other night, this retired Imperial intake officer said the Empire's standard Military intake form requires a last name, and the computer system rejects any application if the last name is left blank. So if you come from a culture where people only have one name, Joining the Empire means getting a second one whether you like it or not. She said different intake officers -fill in different last names, and two of the most common choices are NA - for 'not applicable' - and SOLO.

If that’s what happened to Han, I guess he's lucky. He could have become known as Han Na

Han seems to consider his name to be a mononym. His entire family are dead and he doesn't feel sufficiently connected to anyone else (aside from Qi'ra) to use their family name as a replacement.

The man waited, but Han didn’t say anything else. “Han what?” he asked. Han frowned, confused. Han was his name. It had always been his name. He didn’t have another.
“Who are your people?” the man pressed.
His people? His family was gone. The White Worms hadn’t been family. The closest thing he had was Qi’ra and he didn’t know her people’s name, either. Neither seemed to be the answer the officer was looking for.
He shrugged. “I have no people. I’m alone.” The words hurt more than he had expected.

Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition

In the film's junior novel, the implication is more that he doesn't feel that there's anyone who's worthy of him. By refusing a second name, he's cutting his ties with Corellia.

“Han. Han what?” The recruiter gazed at him impatiently, eyebrows raised, fingers poised over the keypad to complete the application form. “Who are your people?”
Glancing over his shoulder, Han cast one last look at the world he was leaving behind. And Qi’ra. That final image of her—her face on the other side of the glass, her voice giving him permission to leave as Rebolt and the others pulled her away from him—would be burned into his brain forever.

Solo: A Star Wars Story: Junior Novel

  • This answers whether or not he had a family/surname (which I had already assumed he did not), but doesn't address the significance of why he was given one. Either he's the only "solo" kind of guy on the planet to consider joining the empire (seems unlikely given what we see of the planet), or otherwise I'd expect them to have a system in place for handling loners like him (such as allowing mononyms, writing N/A, etc), instead of making up a last name on the spot as though he's the first guy to come through who needed one (unless "Solo" is their version of N/A?). That's what I'm wondering. – Mwr247 Sep 4 '18 at 18:17
  • @Mwr247 - The system doesn't appear to be set up to accept mononyms. – Valorum Sep 4 '18 at 18:46
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Before the recruiter asks Han who his "people" are, he first asks Han for a surname, which Han refuses to give. We know that Han did live with his father when he was younger, as he tells Lando that his father worked at a factory building YT-1300 freighters, and that his father's dream had been to become a pilot. So presumably Han inherited his father's surname, if that's the norm on Corellia.

However, in the course of that conversation, Han tells Lando that he doesn't have a good relationship with his father - to which Lando commiserates, so Han feels no need to explain further. As such, it seems that we're meant to infer that Han doesn't want to be connected with his birth family - presumably his difficult relationship with his father led him to take an opportunity to leave his family name behind.

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    This assumes that his father had a surname – Valorum Jun 9 '18 at 18:56
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    @Valorum this would be easier if there was a full transcription of the scene, but as I recall, the officer says "Han who?", clearly prompting him to give a surname. Possessing surnames and passing them on to one's children seems common among humans in both the galactic core and outer rim, throughout the film series & other works. There's certainly more evidence within this film to assume that Han is avoiding a familial connection than there is to assume that Corellians generally go without surnames. – recognizer Jun 9 '18 at 20:03
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    Hard to accept this without any sourcing. I didn't get the impression while watching that he was hiding his surname/"people" so much as he genuinely didn't have one. And if he did, I'd find even less reason for the recruiter not to push for it instead of making one up on the spot. Also, would this imply that he has a secret last name we don't actually know? – Mwr247 Jun 18 '18 at 15:47
  • This doesn't really answer OP's question, as I read it. It's a good explanation of why Han doesn't give a last name, but OP seems to be asking more why the Imperials demanded one. – TenthJustice Sep 12 '18 at 23:52

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