Yesterday we began an epic smack down. Our mission? To determine once and for all whether Han Solo or Malcolm Reynolds is the Supreme Space Cowboy Poobah Guy. We examined five vital areas of measurement: Ships, crew, weapons, super-friends, and duds (clothes). So far the score is:
Han 3, Mal 2.
Today we’ll end this, starting with comparing wit.
Han’s wisecracks are legendary. Case in point, his zippy quip to Leah, ” Look, Your Worshipfulness, let’s get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person: me.” But Mal is no slouch, either. Remember his line to the folks on the floor during the holdup in the movie Serenity? “You all wanna be looking very intently at your own belly buttons. I see a head start to rise, violence is going to ensue. Probably guessed we mean to be thieving here but what we’re after is not yours. So, let’s have no undue fussing.” Brilliant. Han is snarky, but Mal is also articulate. He wins this round.
Han 3, Mal 3.
Both dudes endured horrific torture, but Han got fossilized in carbonite resulting in temporary blindness, which gives him the edge here. True, Mal got his ear cut off, which makes for a pretty bad day—but they did sew it back on. Edge: Han.
Han 4, Mal 3.
8. Combat skill.
I’ll quote one of my commenters from yesterday, my good friend Tom, who said it better than I ever could:
“While I agree that Han’s blaster is probably superior to Mal’s, I still think Mal would come out on top in a gun-duel. We know for SURE that Mal shoots first; George Lucas has made us not so sure when it comes to Han. (Kidding actually. Even my wife knows Han shot first.)”
Mal seems to hit his targets more often, in my opinion. ASIDE: Why do stormtroopers wear armour if one shot from a blaster kills them anyway? Mal wins this round.
Han 4, Mal 4.
Okay. Both cowboys are clearly outlaws with a reputation to match. Mal is continually on the run from Alliance tech and goons, not to mention masochistic Niska and his cronies. Han’s issues with the Hutt clan were deeply personal, plus the gauntlet of bounty hunters enlisted by the Empire to help them seal his fate are pretty intimidating. Clearly Han emerges here as more notorious.
Han 5, Mal 4.
Hmmm, both Mal and Han are scoundrels with scruples. Both are smugglers, and both are pretty slick with the ladies. I read Han as a shady character gradually coming clean, whereas Mal is a truly good guy (jaded by his past) masquerading as a smuggler. Sure, I cheer when Han changes his mind and does the right thing, swooping in to save Luke’s heinie in A New Hope—but several times during the Firefly series, Mal made me want to be a better man. Remember when he and wash were being tortured by Niska and Mal refused to crack to keep Wash from giving up hope? How Mal defended Kaylee’s honour over and over again? How he stood up for his crew, risked his life for innocents, or returned stolen meds when it meant certain death? He needs a little help in the morality department, but his heart is gold.
Mal, it seems to me, walks the finer, more enigmatic line between idiot and hero. One of my readers said Han is more of a caricature of a space cowboy, while Mal is the real deal, nuanced and complex. Not sure I’d go that far, but this round definitely goes to Mal.
Which leaves us with Han 5, Mal 5.
Are you kidding me? You’ve endured a gruelling, two-day smack down only to be treated to a non outcome?
I would never do that to you.
Polling the comments both here, on Facebook, and Pinterest, you readers voted like so:
Han 8, Mal 22. Seriously.
Leave your comments, and set the record straight!
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Tune in on Friday for a geekish visual trivia contest.