In the comments of the last post we started discussing some things about what we considered in character and what we considered out of character. So I thought I might expand on that subject. I think at times I may come off as thinking there is only one right way to write them and everything else is wrong. Well, no, I don't actually believe that's true. Based on the movies we can infer how we think they would react in certain situations, but there are a whole bunch of things that never really come up and we are left to our own devices to figure out based on what we know of them how we think they'd react when something new comes up.
I think I've said before that in my head I have my own, personal ideas on how I think things went down behind the scenes and what I see happening after the movies. Yes, I have a broader outline leaving out a lot of the details, but it is my preferable interpretation of how things played out. That said, I've read lots of different stories with very different ideas from my own but I still find them to be "in character" because the author has done a good job of making me believe that Han and/or Leia would say and do these things that I might not have necessarily believed to be true. I can buy them though because they are written well and it still "feels" like them in the situation.
Of course there are also those stories that have different ideas than my own but at the same time the characters just don't sound like the ones I know from the movies. An easy example of this I think is if sometime before The Empire Strikes Back Leia just takes it upon herself to jump Han's bones at the first available opportunity. The Leia we see at the beginning of the movie does not give us any indication that she would throw herself at him, so to me, it doesn't make sense. That said, there are always exceptions to this. Cindy Olsen has a story on Corellian Embassy called "Just Friends" in which Han and Leia decide to have sex just as friends, almost as though he's doing her a favor. If you haven't read it, then the premise doesn't really sound quite like it would work. And in the wrong hands it probably wouldn't have. But it is done in such a way that she makes me believe that it could've happened that way.
So yes, deciding what is in character and what isn't definitely isn't always black and white. That's what makes it so much more challenging sometimes to get them right. I mean, depending on the story you're telling it's entirely possible that you could write them acting in a few entirely different ways in the same situation and any one of them seems plausible.
I know as a beta reader for a few people there have been a few times, not often, that I might point out I don't see one of them saying or doing something. I am often reluctant to point something like that out because I recognize that some of it can be only a matter of opinion rather than what I'd consider to be absolute "fact". Let's take the trip to Bespin, for example. I realize there is almost nobody left who is with me on this one, but I don't think they had sex there. One of the main reasons being if you watch the movie it just doesn't look like the trip takes very long! I also, personally feel as though Leia wouldn't want to have sex with him without knowing there was going to be some sort of commitment or having told him she loves him and hearing it back. Again, this is all merely my personal interpretation.
Of course I've read many stories that completely differ from my opinion here. Does it mean that I can't enjoy them or find them out of character? No. Some people will say that maybe Leia doesn't care about any of that and wants to just once live for the moment and have something to remember him by. And yes, perhaps I can see that, too. Maybe they've already professed their love for one another during the trip because it takes weeks. As long as the author presents it in a plausible way, I am not going to see it as out of character. Merely as a different interpretation of the same events. Although the specifics to the scenario have been changed.
That said, you could probably take the trip to Bespin scenario and write it in a totally implausible way in which they have sex. Example being maybe the very first night Leia decides she's bored and goes to Han and just says, let's do it, or something to that effect. I don't really care how good a writer you are, that particular scenario I definitely do not see happening. In Han or Leia's fantasy world, maybe, but to me that does seem out of character.
Does any of this make any sense to anyone? I'm starting to wonder if I'm making myself clear. The point is that while there are many different interpretations of how we can perceive these characters, you must be careful that they still sound and act like the Han and Leia (and whoever else) we see in the movies. To whomever might be writing them, this might mean slightly different things.So like Push said in a comment earlier, it would be pretty boring if every story was the same and the characters were always interpreted exactly the same way. So if you're writing something and maybe it doesn't read like my Han and Leia or Push's Han and Leia or anyone else's Han and Leia, maybe that's okay. If that is how you've interpreted the characters, then go with it. I think this line can become especially difficult to find if you're writing a serious AU story. Sometimes the characters really only have the same names and obviously look like the ones in the movies, but really you might as well have written an original story with original characters.
Anyway, the point is, there is some room to play with here. You don't have to write them exactly like everyone else does but you should at least be prepared to back it up with a plausible scenario and set of actions. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I know that I played with writing them a bit differently than my normal stance in my "Forgotten Needs" story. Honestly, I don't really like it. It was my attempt at writing things as less than perfect but it was so far off my own ideas of how things turn out that the whole thing felt contrived and at times a bit out of character. I don't really think that Leia would be that clueless and later almost heartless and I don't think Han is the type to sit around feeling sorry for himself. But, well, I tried. So don't try to interpret them differently just for the sake of it because sometimes that doesn't work out so well either!
Anyway, write, explore, do some different stuff. Just make sure you go to the effort to make us believe that the Han and Leia you're writing about are the same ones we've seen in the movies.