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Wasn't Jabba justified in kidnapping Han, given that Han dumped a shipment he was carrying for Jabba and never paid him back? Shouldn't Luke and Leia have asked the Alliance to pay Han's debt rather than destroy his entire operation? Did Luke feel justified in killing an untold number of people (albeit arguably morally dubious people) when blowing up Jabba's barge?

While I understand Jabba was a crime boss, and dealt in various contraband, was it really Luke's responsibility to destroy Jabba's operation? There was no indication that the plan was to take down Jabba, and that they were only interested in saving Han.

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    Kidnapping is never justified, even if someone owes you money. – Null Nov 6 '14 at 17:33
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    I flagged for reopening. This is eminently answerable from canon, on several levels – DVK-on-Ahch-To Nov 6 '14 at 17:48
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    however, in america if you have a bounty on your head legally, a bounty hunter legally can ... detain you, which in essence is kidnapping in a legal sence. so if jabba had legal rights to put a bounty on han's head, then the kidnapping was in fact legal.. – Himarm Nov 6 '14 at 17:49
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    The Hutts control their own space, and they hold a lot of power. The concept of "justified" is entirely based on the view of the Hutts since they kept separate from the Republic/Empire. If Vader pissed them off for one reason or another, I'm sure that enough money would sway bounty hunters to try to capture or assassinate him. – Thebluefish Nov 6 '14 at 18:13
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    Actually, in the now non-canon EU, Luke & Leia first thought of offering Boba Fett more than the bounty, but Lando (I think) convinced them that Fett would never go for it due to his reputation. Then they tried unsuccessfully several times to catch up to Fett and take Han back by force, but Fett successfully delivered him to Jabba. After THAT, they offered to buy him back from Jabba, but he flat-out refused. It was after that when they started looking into methods of breaking Han out. And even after all that, Luke DID offer Jabba a way out of the situation without violence... – Omegacron Nov 6 '14 at 19:18
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  1. First off, to address: "was it really Luke's responsibility to destroy Jabba's operation? There was no indication that the plan was to take down Jabba, and that they were only interested in saving Han.":

    • It was NOT Luke's responsibility to destroy Jabba's operation. To the best of my knowledge of canon, he was NOT ordered to do so by the Rebellion; and didn't consider it his goal as a Jedi Master either.

      However, it would NOT be contrary to Jedi custom - Jedi DID go up against criminal organizations before (and after), usually in defense of the innocent (ok, I can hardly call that scoundrel "innocent" but whatever). And Luke would be pretty glad to destroy Jabba. From the novelization, we get this bit of his thought process:

      Luke only smiled. 'You should have bargained, Jabba. This is the last mistake you'll ever make.' Luke was unable to suppress the satisfaction in his voice. He found Jabba despicable - a leech of the galaxy, sucking the life from whatever he touched. Luke wanted to burn the villain, and so was actually rather glad Jabba had refused to bargain - for now Luke would get his wish precisely. Of course, his primary objective was to free his friends, whom he loved dearly; it was this concern that guided him now, above all else. But in the process, to free the universe of this gangster slug - this was a prospect that tinted Luke's purpose with an ever-so-slightly dark satisfaction.

    • However, Luke didn't actually set out to destroy Jabba's operation, as shown in the above quote from the novelization.

      In the film, we see that he gave Jabba NUMEROUS offers of peacful resolution, up to an including a LAST minute attempt to reason right before Jabba ordered their execution on a barge:

      • When speaking as a hologram when presenting the droids:

        LUKE: Greetings, Exalted One. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight and friend to Captain Solo. I know that you are powerful, mighty Jabba, and that your anger with Solo must be equally powerful. I seek an audience with Your Greatness to bargain for Solo's life.
        With your wisdom, I'm sure that we can work out an arrangement which will be mutually beneficial and enable us to avoid any unpleasant confrontation.

        Jabba's response:

        There will be no bargain.
        I will not give up my favorite decoration. I like Captain Solo where he is.

      • In person when arriving in front of Jabba:

        "I'm taking Captain Solo and his friends. You can either profit by this or be destroyed. It's your choice but warn you not to under-estimate my powers."

        Jabba's response:

        There will be no bargain, young Jedi. I shall enjoy watching you die.

      • On the barge, when Jabba offers them to plead for mercy:

        You should have bargained, Jabba. That's the last mistake you'll ever make.

      • And finally, right before "execution" itself:

        Jabba! This is your last chance. Free us or die.

  2. "Wasn't Jabba justified in kidnapping Han, given that Han dumped a shipment he was carrying for Jabba and never paid him back?"

    "justified" implies a moral and ethical framework. As such, the answer depends a specific culture from whose moral/ethical framework you are operating.

    • According to a "just" "democratic" society (e.g. modern Western democracy, or the Old Republic - at least the Alderaan side of it), it would not be a valid justification. Kidnapping/imprisonment for debt has long been repudiated in an enlightegned democracy.

    • However, in a criminal (or even simply less enlightened) society, that was a widely practiced thing, and fully within ethical/moral norms. Not significantly different from very-recent by Earth historical standards debtor's prison

      Remember that ethics/morality is simply a memetic system developed by a human society to regulate the behavior of individuals within it to achieve socially positive (e.g. survival of said society) outcome.

    • Moreover, Jabba didn't kidnap Han "in retaliation" for dumping cargo, or owing money. He did so as an object lesson to other people not to double cross him; because Han - instead of paying off - ran off to join the Rebellion instead.

      Remember that he didn't kidnap Han right after dumping cargo. He offered Han the chance to pay off (evidenced by both seeing Han during events of ANH; as well as by NOT sicking Boba Fett on Han as opposed to Greedo - this is according to Fett himself in "A New Dawn" when he sees Han right before the events of ANH.).

      From THAT standpoint, Jabba was definitely "justified", as keeping carbonated Solo on the wall clearly would have had a chilling effect on anyone else contemplating and idea of dumping cargo, not paying, and running off to chase after a princess.

  3. "Shouldn't Luke and Leia have asked the Alliance to pay Han's debt rather than destroy his entire operation?"

    See the quote above. Luke DID offer to bargain, repeatedly.

    Jabba refused - because it was not about the money for him. It was about personal revenge AND an object lesson to others. The amount that Han owed was chump change to a Hutt Lord.

  4. "Did Luke feel justified in killing an untold number of people (albeit arguably morally dubious people) when blowing up Jabba's barge?"

    Are we talking about the same Luke Skywalker who blew up 1-odd million people aboard the First Death Star here?

    On a less ironic note, Jedi were NOT a pacifistic order. They quite habitually killed in self-defense in armed confrontations, when there was no other choice. Again, as you can see in the quotes above, Luke repeatedly tried to find non-violent resolution, up till the end.

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    What I wanted to say, said better than I would have. I, however, always interpreted Luke's smug satisfaction with Jabba refusing to bargain with him as a sign of his growing affinity for the Dark Side, rather than out of any belief in justice. He does Force-choke the Gamorrean guards and dress entirely in black during that act, after all. – James Sheridan Nov 7 '14 at 1:18
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    (1) -- Yes, but Luke wasn't exactly trying hard to get Jabba to bargain. "Yo, Jabba, I am mighty and powerful, make a deal with me if you know what's good for you", coming from some pipsqueak Jabba's never heard of, is unlikely to get a positive response. (3) -- Han still had his reward money from ANH and intended to pay off Jabba, he just never got around to it until it was too late. Remember at the beginning of TESB, he told the rebel commander, "If I don't pay off Jabba the Hutt, I'm a dead man." – Royal Canadian Bandit Nov 7 '14 at 8:49
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    @JamesSheridan "Luke wanted to burn the villain, and so was actually rather glad Jabba had refused to bargain - for now Luke would get his wish precisely." Yeah, sounds decidedly non-Jedi to me. – Michael Itzoe Nov 7 '14 at 14:32
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    @MichaelItzoe - we are talking about the same guy who ended up as the Emperor's apprentice for a while. Big surprise. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Nov 7 '14 at 15:06
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    @Clockwork-Muse: Yeah, that happened. He also stole enough money from Black Sun to pay Jabba back i Timothy Zahn's last EU novel, Scoundrels, only to find out after the fact that Jabba had increased both his debt marker and the bounty on his head. – James Sheridan Nov 8 '14 at 6:29
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While the concept of "justice" is subjective and can be based on opinion, there are two perspectives to consider:

  • Hutt Space: the Hutts control their own area of the galaxy. It is largely lawless, in that the law is made, interpreted, and applied by whichever Hutt ruler happens to be most powerful in the area. This means that Jabba could "justify" any action he pleased in the legal definition of the word.
  • Han's transgression: Jabba kidnapped Han as punishment for lost cargo. Han had been hired by Jabba to transport glitterstim (an illegal drug) to Tatooine. On the way, though, Han was accosted and boarded by an Imperial patrol. To avoid prosecution, he dumped the cargo into space. Since the Imperials would have confiscated the cargo, Han didn't create any loss for Jabba - he just avoided arrest. However, Hutts are not known for their leniency, so Jabba blamed Han for the loss and demanded that he rectify it. From that perspective, it's rather difficult to "justify" Jabba's actions.

So, to answer the question: to Jabba, it was perfectly justifiable to kidnap and freeze Han. To most others, it was not.

  • Remember that Han has hidden smuggling compartments on the Falcon. So either he was transporting more spice than would fit in them, or there was something else inside (I think one of the EU books had him hiding kids/escapees?). – Clockwork-Muse Nov 7 '14 at 13:52
  • An argument could be made that the hidden compartments would not have been effective against the tier of law enforcement he was facing. Jonny Plod the local law officer, sure. A counter-smuggling task force ship, probably not. – Smithers Nov 8 '14 at 6:07

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