After asking this other question about Han Solo’s personal experience of being frozen in Carbonite, I was wondering: Is there the equivalent of an “expiration date” when it comes to a living creature being frozen in Carbonite?

In the case of Han Solo hanging as a trophy in Jabba’s palace, Jabba didn’t trust care if Han Solo was alive or dead, right? Yeah, maybe Boba Fett would have gotten less of a reward if Han Solo was dead. But Jabba just wanted an actual trophy to display regardless.

But Han Solo’s friends showed up within a relatively short time between the events of The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) and “unfroze” him, thus saving him from being frozen and in suspended animation; aka: imprisonment.

What if that didn’t happen? What if years, and even decades, passed… What would have happened?

  • Would an undamaged Han Solo from The Empire Strikes Back (1980) be freed from imprisonment?
  • Or would there simply be a cadaver or pile of gelatenous goo and bones left behind?

Han Solo frozen in Carbonite and hanging as a trophy in Jabba’s palace.

Looking for in-universe, canonical explanations; not armchair speculation and theories. If none (currently) exist, legends explanation would suffice. Regardless, please provide references and context.

1 Answer 1


In canon, freezing a subject in carbonite for very extensive periods (even hundreds of years) appears to be perfectly feasible. The discovery of carbonite-freezing apparently did away with the need for generational ships to explore the galaxy until the discovery of hyperspace did away with the need to freeze people.

The peculiar stasis qualities of carbonite have been known in the galaxy for centuries, as ancient sleeper ships that expanded the pre-Republic borders relied upon extended hibernation to keep the crew alive as they traveled across unfathomable distances. The use of carbonite for organic hibernation faded away as hyperdrives did away with the need for such lengthy voyages, and bio-entropic field generators became the norm in medical applications. Carbon freezing thus became the standard for industrial applications, such as the freezing of coaxium, tibanna, and other volatile substances for transport. With some modifications, however, these carbon-freezing chambers could be equipped to entrap living cargo, subjecting them to a painful stasis that has been described as “a big wide- awake nothing." Imperials, bounty hunters, and some gangsters have been known to use carbonite in this crude but effective way. The earliest known trophies of this variety date back to the ancient Krath that conquered the carbonite mines of the Empress Teta system, thousands of years ago in the galaxy's dark past.

Star Wars: Scum and Villainy: Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious

  • If it was well known for centuries pre republic, then why did C3P0 not know if Han would survive the freezing process or not? (I assume it was C3P0, I couldn't recognise him without his red arm)
    – JK.
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 1:57

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