While it’s very well known that Harrison Ford wanted Han Solo to die back in Return of the Jedi, he also at one time criticized Lucas’ writing of the original movies. His writing comments were addressed in interviews last year when he was promoting movies such as 42 and Ender’s Game, and he dismissed them as being in the past. That’s what most of these people out for Solo blood seem to be forgetting, thirty years have passed since Return of the Jedi and just as Harrison Ford has aged and his opinions have grown and changed, Han Solo isn’t likely the same character we left him at the fall of the Empire.
I think too many people are forgetting about the passage of time and they’re assuming they’re going to pick up with Han Solo right where they left off thirty years ago. And that’s likely going to be one of the big “Han Shot first” style complaints that come out of Episode VII as Han has probably changed a lot to the point where he’s an older and wiser character. He most likely has a daughter with Leia, and has probably settled into an elder statesmen style role as opposed to a pirate in his later years.
Perhaps Harrison Ford’s gigantic role in Episode VII is a result of another character dying and Han taking over as a mentor and guide for the new generation?
In this sick quest for Han Solo’s head on a platter I think people are actually ignoring the more probable death in the movie. Ever since 1983 when Jedi came out we’ve been hearing how Lucas spoke to Mark Hamill about playing the “Obi-Wan” mentor role in the Sequel Trilogy. Luke is meant to be the one to “pass Excalibur down to the next generation”, and if he’s meant to fill the shoes of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in this new trilogy it means he’s the one who’s going to die. Only one of the Big 3 would be killed off in this new trilogy, these aren’t the Del Rey books where they have to kill someone in every installment.
Whether people like it or not, the Sequel Trilogy is still based on George Lucas’ story outline for Episodes VII-IX. Luke being the doomed Jedi mentor fits in a lot better than killing of Han Solo when looking at the reality of what thirty years can do to a character and the person who plays said character.