On George Lucas’ response to the switch, Ford said to Vanity Fair,”I think it’s fair enough to say he went apesh*t. He thought it was horrible and that it would get a terrible laugh.” It was a good one — so the line stayed to become one of the most iconic romance scenes in movie history, although it did get a laugh.
A whole 32 years went by between the decision of Return of the Jedi and Han and Leia’s reunion in The Force Awakens, where they reveal that they broke up when their son went Dark Side. Leia feels the exact moment her son kills the love of her life, after reconnecting via a candid conversation about the breakup. The look on her face is enough to create a Sith weep.
Han and Leia have quite different approaches to life. Han doesn’t even verbalize his feelings for Leia when he’s about to die on Bespin. Instead of saying,”I love you” back to Leia, in what might have been his last words to her, he answers,”I understand.” He and director Irvin Kershner believed that his version of the line was much more Han’s vibe. Admittedly, it is. But it’s still kind of savage.