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Ready, Set, Fight: Han Solo Vs. Captain Kirk

August 8th, 2008 9:47am EDT
Captain KirkAt the beginning of the movie "Free Enterprise" - basically a "Swingers" type movie for science fiction fans - there is a flashback scene where the main character, Rob, is in a schoolyard fight because another student had the audacity to suggest that Han Solo could beat up Captain Kirk. Of course, we don't want any fisticuffs here. Instead, we thought we would finally put this age old debate to rest in order to save yet another school aged kid from detention… or perhaps, more likely, save another 30-something comic con attendee a trip to county lockup. So let's break this down and look at every aspect of what we know about the lives of these two (fictional) men.

Hand-to-Hand Combat

We know James Kirk is in the military, so of course he would had to have in-depth training in the art of hand-to-hand combat, especially to rise as far as the eventual rank of Admiral. Han Solo, on the other hand, has no confirmed military training (yes, there are rumors) but even if he did, he left the service to pursue life as a smuggler. We have seen Kirk hold his own with, perhaps, with every alien race conceivable. Even in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" Kirk defeated a much more powerful Commander Kruge with no weapon.




Really, what do we actually know abut Han's fighting skills? We saw him punch Lando in the face - before he was later beat to the ground by Lando's guards - then later flip a Biker Scout over his back on Endor, which caused quite a commotion, exactly what he was trying to avoid. That is not much to go on, and neither of those encounters were, by definition, outright successes. Assuming both participants are in their prime fighting age…

Advantage: Kirk


Sidearm

Put it this way: Han Solo does not have a "stun" setting - at least that we are aware of - on his blaster. The guy killed poor Greedo in cold blood (no matter what George Lucas tries to make us believe) at a bar! What Han lacks in hand-to-hand fighting skills he more than makes up for with a blaster at his side. Who has the outright "balls" to draw a weapon, without even thinking, on a one-on-one showdown with Darth Vader? Granted, Vader easily deflected the blaster fire. Regardless, this example was the one true time we got to see firsthand how quick on the draw Han really is. Yes, he is very fast.




Kirk, almost to a fault, is a little more conservative with his use of a phaser. Kirk would rather know the full situation before resorting to weapons as peaceful negotiations would be Kirk's first solution to any problem. As already mentioned, Greedo found out the hard way how Han Solo negotiates. In fact, in "Return of the Jedi" Han was about ready to shoot an Ewok before Luke Skywalker stopped him. That is cold.

Kirk vs Solo



Unless Kirk has the power to deflect blaster fire with his hand, which he doesn't, Kirk would have blaster fire right between his eyes before he would even have time to change his phaser setting.

Advantage: Solo


Starship

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is closer than you might think. Yes, on paper the Millennium Falcon is no match for the USS Enterprise. The Starship Enterprise is equipped with starship size phasers and proton torpedoes; the Millennium Falcon does not have these. The Millennium Falcon is fast and perhaps the fastest ship in the Star Wars universe. As we know, it will make point five past light speed, but this is no match for the warp engines of a Starfleet Starship. Every additional warp factor is light speed cubed! So in other words, when the Enterprise is coasting along at a moderate speed of warp factor two, this means they are going the speed of light multiplied by itself four times. Sorry Han.

Then again, when discussing the Enterprise, Han may be the first to point out: "Who's gonna fly it kid? You?" This is Han Solo vs. James Kirk. If Kirk wants to use the Enterprise to fight Han, he has to fly it by himself. Starships were not meant to be piloted solo, which puts Kirk at quite a disadvantage.

Most likely, any battle between the Enterprise and the Millennium Falcon would play out in a very similar fashion to the way it did in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Han went one-on-one with a fully staffed Star Destroyer. Obviously the Star Destroyer was the more powerful vehicle, but it would be like a giraffe trying to catch a fly. Han would wind up attaching the Falcon to the hull of the Enterprise and eventually floating away with (the rest of) the trash. Factor in the fact Kirk is piloting the Enterprise by himself…

Advantage: None


Sidekick

This is interesting. Captain James Kirk's most trusted friend, Mr. Spock, prides himself on his use of logic. Captain Solo's most trusted friend, Chewbacca, is anything but logical. Can anyone imagine Mr. Spock wanting to tear out the arm sockets of a droid because he was losing a game of Dejarik? Honestly, they probably share similar levels of strength, though Spock does have that nifty Vulcan nerve pinch - but who really knows if that works on a Wookie.

Sidekicks



A disadvantage for Han might actually be the loyalty he shows toward his friends. In fact, Han sacrificed himself in "The Empire Strikes Back," lest no harm comes to his friends. We did not see Jim Kirk jumping into the radioactive chamber to save the entire ship in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn." Spock had to take care of that bit of dirty work, and, of course, died in the process (at least for awhile).

When it comes down to it, though, Chewbacca's blind loyalty to Han puts Han at a clear advantage. Spock would, without a doubt, find this whole fight between two fictional characters that lived - at least - thousands of years apart in separate galaxies… well… for lack of a better term: illogical.

Advantage: Solo


Allegiances

James T. Kirk is an officer in Starfleet of the United Federation of Planets, ranking as high as Admiral; Han Solo eventually became a General in the Rebel Alliance. These are two very similar ranks in two organizations that are not similar at all.

One could argue that the Rebel Alliance defeated the Galactic Empire, which is not unlike the power that the United Federation of Planets maintains. Not so. From everything we know The United Federation of Planets is not corrupt; furthermore, it is certainly not being lead by a Sith Lord. Corrupt organizations, historically, tend to implode on themselves. A case can be made the Galactic Empire was in its last throes, anyway. In the end a group of Ewoks, using sticks and rocks as weapons, won the final battle of the Empire. This would be similar to the Tribbles destroying the entire Federation; it did not, and is not, going to happen.

Advantage: Kirk


What have we learned? We learned there is no clear-cut answer. It just depends on the situation. Solo versus Kirk with no weapons: from what we know about Kirk (in his prime) would win. Hand them both their weapon of choice, and the gunslinger Solo becomes the victor. Probably the only thing we can all agree on is that no matter how far this argument is broken down, in the end no "Star Trek" fan will ever admit Han Solo could defeat James Kirk and vice-versa. The tension between the two fan bases will always persist. It's apparent as William Shatner said to Rob in "Free Enterprise" in a dream sequence. Once he realizes the original statement - that Han Solo could beat up Captain Kirk - that started the fight: "Kick the little f---er's ass."

Mike Ryan
Story by Mike Ryan
Starpulse contributing writer