As regular readers are probably aware, I’m a big fan or people beating people up… well in a sporting fashion or action film sense. Don’t go randomly hitting people for my amusement. Now combining that with the nerd tendency to wonder “who would win in a fight?”, I’ve decided that once a month I’m going to bring in an “expert” (someone who likes these geek battles as much as I do) to help solve these questions. Thanos vs. Darkseid, Zombies vs. Vampires, John Belushi vs, Jim Belushi and many more. All arguments will make their way through our virtual arena.
This month, we feature a nasty throw down between two of sci-fi’s greatest loveable scoundrels: Han Solo from Star Wars (…seriously, if you weren’t sure who he was, you may want to stop reading this) and the captain of the good ship Serenity, Malcolm Reynolds.
But first, here’s a little bit on our guest expert, Geek Hard and Bizarre Comics’ own Kris Johnson!
Weight: 225 lbs
Disciplines Studied: Karate, Boxing
Fighting Style: Schoolyard Brawler
Secret Weapon: A winning smile
Favourite Fighter: Any answer other than Bruce Lee would be a lie
Boy, is this a tough one. Being a lifelong Star Wars fan/worshiper at the altar of Solo as well as a devotee of all things Whedon-y, this battle is basically asking if I’d rather be punched in my right nut or my left; Either choice will be painful but a poorly compensated internet writer’s gotta do what a poorly compensated internet writer’s gotta do.
In the interest of time and to play this as evenly as possible only film and television appearances will be taken as canon in my analysis. No Expanded Universe bullshit for either character. Why no EU? Because novelists and comic writers seem unable to resist giving these already bad ass cats near superhuman abilities whenever they get a chance to pen further adventures. An unarmed Han taking out three huge dudes in an arena battle and WINNING? C’mon. Ain’t no one got time for that.
No Chewie, no Zoe, no Falcon, no Serenity. Mano a mano. Let’s do this.
The way I see it, this battle takes place in the seediest bar in the galaxy. A place so nasty that it makes Mos Eisley look like friggin’ Cheers. The owners don’t check for blasters and the booze tastes like warm horse piss but no one asks questions or looks twice when a 7 foot Wookie or Browncoat walks through the door. The perfect place for two of the galaxy’s greatest smugglers to wait out an exchange as mutual collateral.
The Rebel Alliance have brokered a deal with the crew of the Serenity to smuggle contraband from beyond the outer rim and deliver it to their appointed agent without running afoul of any Imperial patrols. That Rebel agent? Han Solo, Captain of the Millennium Falcon.
The best smugglers know their competition, and once Mal and Han learn who it is that they’re going to be doing business with, some conditions need to be put in place to insure a smooth transaction: Chewie will meet with the crew of the Serenity and make the exchange while Mal and Han will meet at a mutually agreed upon location on the other side of town, empty handed, save for their side-arms and communicators. If things go sideways? Mutually assured destruction.
So there they sit. Sitting in a scummy little shithole on the ass-end of galaxy, each legend across the table from a very dangerous man, each with a blaster or pistol pointed at the other’s skull. Han Solo vs. Mal Reynolds. Don’t blink.
Let’s face it, these guys aren’t going to wait until something goes wrong before they start at each other. As soon as those asses hit the seats, the hand cannons come out and verbal needling begins. Cracks about Leia, the failed Browncoat rebellion, Han’s little vest; nothing is off limits and both tensions and tempers are quick to rise as a result. Within seconds, both men have their fingers on the trigger and are just looking for a reason to squeeze.
With the space cowboys caught in a Sergio Leone style stand-off I think it a wise time to examine their applicable abilities. We’ve seen in the past that both men are experts at reading their opponents, but I think we can safely say that Han may just be slightly better in that department, as evidenced by him blasting poor Greedo just before the green bastard was about to fire (Up yours, George! I’m still not over it!). So, while I think in this scenario that both men would fire almost simultaneously, having sense their opponent twitch to do so, Han would just be slightly faster. That said, both of these cats seem to have more than nine lives, and so, despite facing down their respective near match in marksmanship, both men would successfully dodge the initial volley. Well, mostly successfully. I see the slight speed advantage on Han’s end resulting in Mal getting winged in the exchange, and while Han moves to circle dodge, Mal, being the more impulsive of the two would dodge while moving forward, towards his opponent.
Before either scoundrel can get off an additional shot, Mal barrels into Han, knocking them both to the ground and their side-arms free from their hands. Mal, the aggressor, lands on top and strikes a few massive blows before wincing in pain from the blast bolt he took to the shoulder moments before. Han seizes on the advantage and clocks the larger man across the jaw before monkey flipping Mal into a nearby table, destroying the beverages of some very surly Gammorreans. Two of the pigs grab Mal from amongst the splinters while another clutch attack a back-pedaling Han. Both of our heroes grab whatever weapons are at hand, which happen to be a couple delicious bottles of Corellian rum, and proceed to smash them into the nearest snout-sporting attacker.
At that point all hell breaks loose and the entire bar erupts into a pier 6 brawl. Furniture and bottles fly while every Wookiee, Twi’lek, and wannabe-Mandalorian takes the opportunity to let off some long-bottled steam. Han and Mal throw punches and swing chairs at the nearest warm bodies they can make contact with until somehow, in the middle of the chaos, both battered and bloodied they come face to face once more.
In the end, it all comes down to a hand to hand brawl.
So who takes it? In a lot of ways Mal and Han are completely evenly matched, and in my opinion, only two things truly separate them enough to make a difference: Toughness and military combat training. Two categories in which Han lags behind Mal. Remember what I said before? No EU. All of that “Han in the Imperial Academy” stuff is non-applicable. We never see much martial combat training from Han in the Original Trilogy and when he gets in a jam, he tends to surrender and try to sneak his way out. Mal, on the other hand, has trained in the Browncoat army, led thousands of men to war and watched them die, kicked a dude into a fucking spaceship engine, beaten back an army of cannibalistic Reavers, and fought and defeated the highly skilled Operative in unarmed combat (barely).
You’ve probably figured it out by now, but I have to go with Mal on this one.
In a long, drawn-out, Rocky 4-esque back and forth Mal and Han trade blows, until finally, inevitably, the larger, stronger, tougher man wins out. The lesson here is in a brawl between a smuggler and soldier, put your credits on the man trained to kill.
That said, while I do love me some Firefly, my adoration of Star Wars runs deeper so I can’t help but feel a little sick right now. If Chewie and the Falcon were involved, this may have gone differently. And who knows, maybe we’ll examine that scenario down the road. Until then, gorram Mal Reynolds wins the day.
Brent’s Post Fight Analysis:
I pretty much have to agree with Kris’s viewpoint and I am a big fan of Han but Mal was a solider and quite frankly, he can fight a lot dirtier than Han. We’ve seen Han shoot first but Mal kicked an unarmed and bound man into his ship’s engines. Overall it’s easy to see that Solo is outmatched. The only thing that might save Han is the fact he might be a better shot… but even that is conjecture. In the end, there could only be one winner and Mal’s the one walking back to his ship under his own power as opposed to being dragged back by a giant walking carpet.
WINNER: Malcolm Reynolds
Do you have a fight you’d like see brought to life? If so, leave it in the comment section below.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!