Rhett Solo

There’s a much-admired American novel called, er, Swept Away by the Gusts. A major male character in Swept Away by the Gusts is a man by the name of Han Solo. No, wait, that’s Star Wars . The main male character in Swept Away by the Gusts is a man named, um, Rick Servant. But forgive my confusion, reader, because the parallels between Rick Servant and Han Solo are remarkable.

Both are cynical bad boy types. Both are experienced, worldly-wise, and comfortable in low company. Both are smugglers. Both are known to be good with their milieu’s hand weapon, blaster or pistol, as the case may be. Each commits a killing which appears cold-blooded on the surface but is justified. In the case of Han Solo, it is his smearing of Greedo without warning him or giving him a chance to draw. (This is how it went down originally, before George Lucas became a wussy and changed it to have Greedo shoot first.) Solo is of course justified because Greedo has just announced his intention to kill Solo. In the case of Rick Servant, the details (which we hear about as backstory) are thus: Servant escorts a young lady on a carriage ride, unchaperoned. Apparently in the South at this time, if two unrelated adults of opposite sex were alone together it was just assumed that they’d had sex (sheesh, and I thought I had a dirty mind). It is clearly stated that the girl isn’t knocked up. The young lady’s family demands that Servant marry her, and of course he tells them to get over themselves. The girl’s brother challenges Servant to a duel; Servant accepts and kills him.

Both Solo and Servant leave military service in an officially unapproved way. Servant is expelled from West Point for “some scandal involving a woman” and Han Solo was in the Imperial fleet before he was court martialed and dishonorably discharged for some sort of insubordination.

Leia tells Solo “I like you, when you’re not acting like a scoundrel,” to which Solo replies,

You like me because I’m a scoundrel. There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.

The heroine of Swept Away by the Gusts – Crimson O’Homa – tells Rick Servant that she likes him sometimes, “when you aren’t acting like a varmint,” to which Servant replies, “I think you like me because I am a varmint.” (Chapter XIX of Swept Away by the Gusts .) Both Solo and Servant explicitly tell the main female character “I don’t care about your rebellion, honey; I’m in it for the money.” Later, both change their minds and join her cause. Han Solo returns in the Millennium Falcon and knocks Darth Vader out of the fight so Luke can destroy the Death Star; Rick Servant decides he has to fight on Crimson’s side of the Civil War. That is, from the heroine’s point of view, each is the canonical “bad boy who really has a heart of gold” (a stock character of dubious realism; sorry, ladies).