Before he signed on to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams was already a devoted lifelong fan with his own favorite characters and fan theories. But during a Sirius XM Town Hall on Monday, Abrams revealed that since he started working on the series, he’s found himself drawn to one character in particular: everyone’s favorite scruffy-looking nerfherder.
Abrams explained how he has “come to really appreciate” Han Solo, not only as the charming scoundrel from the original trilogy, but for what he’s been through since we first met him in at Mos Eisley all those years ago.
“There’s this moment that’s in the trailer, so I’m not giving anything away, where Han is telling these two new protagonists about how the Force is real and how the Jedi and everything they’ve heard is true,” Abrams explained. “It’s cool because he’s telling them the story in the Millennium Falcon literally six feet from where he was sitting 40 years ago, saying that it’s all bulls—. It’s so cool to think that there’s a character that gets to live on in a movie who goes from being such a doubter and nonbeliever into someone who’s, I wouldn’t say an evangelist, but who’s validating this stuff that was so powerful and this idea that was so strong.”
And like any true Han Solo fan, Abrams has strong feelings on the age-old debate: Did Han shoot first? “Hell yes,” Abrams said.
The full Sirius XM Town Hall with J.J. Abrams, hosted by PEOPLE and EW editorial director Jess Cagle, will premiere Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. ET on EW Radio Sirius XM 105. Listen to a clip of Abrams discussing Han Solo below.