After 40 years, we’re finally learning Han Solo’s backstory—and it’s a big deal, because our backstories help others know us more deeply. And that’s exactly why it’s important to learn as much as we can about Jesus’ backstory…
We got a lot of backstory about Luke and Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy. Although I related to different characters over time, they were the most interesting, because I knew more about the forces that shaped them.
All of that changed when George Lucas said we should get to know Anakin Skywalker—but made us go through Jar Jar Binks. “Mesa thinks backstories are bad,” we concluded. Then Rogue One released and we questioned if the rebels were the good guys we’d always assumed they were.
As a film, Solo is an epic space Western. It sets out to capture what we love about Han Solo while showing us why. Amidst it all, multiple sub-themes pop up that are worth exploring with your students:
- Oppression: The Bible says to honor authority. What about when that authority is corrupt, though? How do you think Han handled it?
- Slavery: Who in the movie was enslaved to someone or something? Who had it the worst, and why? What would you do if you were that person?
- Equal rights: One of the droids regularly brought this topic up. Was it too much? How far should “equal rights” extend in our culture? How is equal rights both a good idea and and a bad idea?
- Debt: One character asks another, “Do you have any idea of what it’s like to live with a price on your head?” When have you seen debt ruin someone or a relationship? What do you think Jesus’ perspective on debt is, and why?
- Trust: What allowed Han and Chewbacca to trust each other in ways other characters didn’t? What is the foundation of your trust in your friends, and with Jesus?
- Identity: Who gets to tell Han Solo who he is? Himself? A character in the movie? The writer or director? George Lucas? Why is the mystery of who his family is a significant factor in the story? Who gets to tell Jesus who Jesus is? Who gets to tell you who you are?
Unfortunately, we also learn more about Lando’s backstory—including his “pansexual” nature. Funny… I only remember him hitting on Princess Leia in Cloud City. Apparently he isn’t just a smooth ladies man, because he has a thing for all creatures.
Honestly, I’m weary of Hollywood continually impersonating legitimate nostalgia in order to legitimize new opinions.
That’s why the larger theme of Solo is the very idea of a backstory. Namely, who gets to tell us who our heroes “really” are?
Consider all the TV specials over the years meant to expose the “real Jesus.” They’ve shown us His divinity at the expense of His humanity, or vice-versa. Social media has further amplified our amateur expertise by fueling our own limited perspectives about God.
Just as it was true in the First Century, some people will always be quicker to crucify Jesus than follow Him. Thankfully, because Jesus is Jesus, He can leverage our rejection of who we think He is to save us because of who He actually is. We don’t have to understand every aspect of His backstory to act on what we already know about Him.
What if you put together a crew of students who were willing to find Jesus in the blue letters as well as the red letters? I’m a huge fan of the Jesus-centered Bible for this reason.
Jesus’ backstory is worth discovering.