As has been documented elsewhere, the jacket game in the “Star Wars” movies is tremendous.
And no matter what that admittedly excellent survey says, Han Solo rocked better outerwear than anyone. The dude redefined what a space pirate should look like.
Over the decades since the arrival of “A New Hope” (then merely called “Star Wars,” kiddies), how many young people maimed perfectly good leather jackets in an attempt to rock Han’s vest? Or argued over whether his Hoth parka was blue or brown? (This is a debate up there with that dress thing from a few meme-lifetimes ago.)
We’ve thought about it, we’ve looked at the footage and weighed many things; here, in honor of the May 25 debut of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” is a definitive ranking of Han Solo’s jackets.
8. Han’s overcoat in “Return of the Jedi.”
Can I be real with y’all? Can I get up close on the mic and cut the nonsense and speak from the heart? Thank you. Here we go: There are a lot of problems with “Jedi.” I’m not even talking Ewoks. I am talking the fact that two-thirds of the main characters do not seem to be fully present. Harrison Ford looks like he would rather be anywhere else, and, well, poor Carrie Fisher looks like she IS actually elsewhere. So perhaps nobody, including Ford, really cared about his EXTREMELY oversized Endor overcoat. Were it in black, Han would have been perfect for Goth night at any club in the Inner or Outer Rim. Sadly, this is a jungle moon. There is an argument to be made (and the folks at Grantland make it)that Han’s duster is, in fact, a statement that essentially says, “No way I am getting in full camo for this raid; just hand me the coat and be done with it.” And that’s valid. But, come on, it just never looks right on our man.
7. The vest 2.0 in “Return of the Jedi.”
There are a few problems here. The vest feels like a retread -- been there in “New Hope,” done that, made the Kessel Run in it. It also seems to be cut slightly differently, which is weird. And, the shirt isn’t the open, chesty action of the “New Hope” Han. By “Jedi,” our man is a general in the rebellion (for reasons that still elude me -- the guy ain’t written as reliable). O.G. vest? Wired. The retread? Tired.
6. Young Han’s jacket in “Solo.”
It looks fine, but we are reserving judgment. Will our boy Alden Ehrenreich wear it, or will it wear him? Looks good so far!
5. Young Han’s parka in “Solo.”
See No. 6. Are you confident enough to rock a fur, fake or no?
4. The Hoth parka in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Here’s where it gets good. This thing is fire in the middle of ice. Rebel soldiers are rocking quilted who cares, but our man throws on a parka that any mod would be proud to call his own, grabs a tauntaun and assures whomever that he will see him in hell, then heads off to find Luke. The jury is still out as to whether this cold weather garment is brown (the costume is brown) or blue (the light hit it oddly on screen, and the figure was struck with a blue tint).
3. The leather jacket in “The Force Awakens.”
This jacket was brilliant in its old-man-ness. When you get up there in years, you maybe don’t want the sass of a black gunfighter vest (which, as noted above, requires a certain amount of chest exposure to work). But you want to let various criminals you still work with know that you still have that swagger. So you go with a medium-weight leather number, brown not black, dignified yet badass. Most importantly, it has those three small pockets for pens or extra dice for the Falcon or shells or whatever. At Han’s age, it’s good to have the tools you need right there. A total win.
2. The vest from “A New Hope.”
The icon. The alpha. The garment that shot first. Not everyone can pull off this look, but, boy howdy, Harrison Ford sure could.
The vest says everything you need to know about Han -- he likes his ships fast, his women faster (but he is not incapable of falling for a total princess), and he doesn’t need sleeves. It’s got pouches, it looks terrific with an open-collar shirt and leaves plenty of room for arm movement when you absolutely, positively have to leave Mos Eisley right this second as Stormtroopers approach.
1. The blue jacket from “The Empire Strikes Back.”
We settled on this one for a number of reasons but mostly because it does everything you need it to do -- it makes narrative sense.
It keeps the vest’s all-important pouches. The blue hue and presence of sleeves feel like a step up in maturity. It looks right while piloting through asteroids. It doesn’t require the open-neck shirt the vest does -- in fact, it benefits from the crossover panel shirt Han wears throughout.
You can dress it up for a dinner in Cloud City that never happens because of your man Lando selling you out to Darth Vader. You can get tortured in it. Neither too space-pirate nor signaling “I’m still a badass,” this jacket remains as sly as Han’s grin, as versatile as the Falcon’s secret cargo holds and as functional as a hydrospanner. It is the clear winner.