There are a lot of questionable elements to seeing old Han Solo, but I appreciate that Abrams and Kasdan put him into the movie right at the end of his journey where he was about to get everything he’d been searching for and realize it all meant nothing to him.
Right after I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I mentioned to a friend that there’s a whole Harvey Pekar story about a dedicated Wookie friend sticking by his aging human friend. The human is at the end of his emotional rope, trying to vainly recollect all the artifacts of his lost youth, transforming the dashing ramshackle setting of rebellious youth into a terrible and carefully orchestrated setting. A decor. A diorama of a thing that no longer exists. It fits in perfectly with the general fan-nerd impulses streaked throughout The Force Awakens.
SPOILERS:Truly, seeing the Millennium Falcon at the end of “The Force Awakens” without Han Solo actually refreshed it, broke it from the stasis demanded by the pandering impulse to “put Han and Chewie back in their old ship, like the fans love.”
Without Han Solo, though we love the ship, it has to become its own character. Now it is just a ship in Star Wars. If Chewbacca the Wookie left with it to go back to his home planet in between the 7th Star Wars movie and the 8th, never to return, the fans would miss it, but Rey and Finn wouldn’t know about the ship. They wouldn’t care.
And neither should we.
It’s just an old ship, even if it’s got it where it counts. But Rey and Finn will never know that line. And that’s okay.