We can't express this long or loud enough. If you have not seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we are about to enter MAJOR SPOILER territory. Final warning. Leave now or forever hold your peace. Still there? Good, that means you probably saw this long awaited sequel sometime over the course of the last few days. And you know what happens in the third act. One of the franchise's most iconic characters dies! But it wasn't always supposed to be that way. Eventually, director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan realized this was the only way they could end the movie.

Harrison Ford wanted Han Solo to die in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. But creator George Lucas refused that request. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the legendary actor finally got the fate he always wanted for his beloved space pirate. But Han's untimely death at the hand of his own son Ben wasn't always in the script. In fact, it was Poe Dameron who was supposed to die. Han and Leia actually reunite to live a happy life in the early drafts of the screenplay. But there's a good reason why that didn't happen. Here's what J.J. Abrams had to say about Kylo Ren killing his father Han Solo.

"Star Wars had the greatest villain in cinema history. So, how you bring a new villain into that world is a very tricky thing? We knew we needed to do something f-king bold. The only reason why Kylo Ren has any hope of being a worthy successor is because we lose one of the most beloved characters. Long before we had this title, the idea of The Force Awakens was that this would become the evolution of not just a hero, but a villain - and not a villain who was the finished, ready-made villain, but someone who was in process. As a father, as a friend to people who have children, I know what it's like to see struggle, to be part of struggle. I know how painful it can be. I know how real it is. And this is, of course, an insane extrapolated version. It's this massive tradeoff: how can we possibly do that!? But... if we hadn't done that, the movie wouldn't have any guts at all. It felt very dangerous."

The death of Han Solo is not something anyone wanted to see. But apparently it had to happen. And it does so with a refined touch from actors Harrison Ford and Adam Driver. In fact, J.J. Abrams got so swept up in the moment on set, he forgot he wasn't watching an actual father and son have their last interaction together.

"Seeing these two actors, they weren't chewing up the scenery. They were just doing this thing in a way that, frankly, was disturbing. To see Harrison reach out and touch Adam. I know this sounds stupid, but literally watching it, I forgot - I forgot that he wasn't his son. He did it so beautifully."

J.J. Abrams went onto talk about the original ending, revealing that the whole movie was quite different at the start. In those early drafts, Han Solo doesn't die. We're not sure how fans would have greeted the movie had this original scene played out. About it, original writer Michael Arndt had this to say about why J.J. Abrams decided to change his mind.

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"I had thought Han's story and Leia's story was just about them coming back together. At the end of the movie, they would have reconciled and gotten over their differences. And you would have said, 'Okay, bad stuff happened, but at least they're back together again. J.J. rightly asked, 'What is Han doing in this movie?' If we're not going to have something important and irreversible happen to him, then he kind of feels like luggage. He feels like this great, sexy piece of luggage you have in your movie. But he's not really evolving. He's not really pushing the story forward.

What do you think? Did they make the right choice? Is the franchise better off having killed Han Solo? Does it make Kylo Ren a better villain? What will Luke Skywalker do when he discovers his old pupil killed his best friend? Did you desperately want to see Han and Leia get their happy ending? Sound off in the comment section below.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange