Han Solo was a Correlian General, commando, pilot, hailed revolutionary, private contractor, smuggler, con man, gunslinger, carbonite-clad collectible, and to quote his future wife Leia Organa : "...Stuck up, half-witted, Scruffy-looking NERF HERDER!"
Han Solo was raised in the roughest of environments of the New Order and grew up at the feet of criminals and other unsavories. He learned to beg, steal and cheat from the youngest of ages. He became involved in all sorts of cons, races, pit fights and other illegal activities. Ten years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope Han split off from his boss to start his own career. Han would ultimately go legit-a complete change of identity was involved that included a complete re-write of certain Biometrics. He then enrolled in the Imperial Cardian Academy and managed the amazing feat of graduating at the top of a class that included such Imperial luminaries as Soontir Fel. Sadly, Han's most promising Naval career was cut short by his actions on Coruscant that resulted in his dishonorable discharge and court-martial. This gained him a lifelong friend in the Wookiee Chewbacca.
His life's work undone, Han turned to drink for a brief time before throwing himself in a wildly successful smuggling career that included such events as the battle of Nar Shaddaa and a Kessel run that only took 12 parsecs (a measurment of distance, not time, one of the biggest cock-ups in script-writing history.) He also came into possession of the Millennium Falcon. A full description of Han Solo's many misadventures of this period would be beyond the scope of this article-Suffice to say that they were many, awesome and would alone have made him a legend in his own time. Sadly, on his legendary Kessel Run, Han ran out of luck and had to jettison over 10,000 credits worth of Gliterstim that had already been paid for by Jabba the Hutt. In a bind, Han became desperate for work-any work that would pay off his massive debt.
While in Mos Eisley, Han negotiated with former Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi to transport the old timer, a farm-boy and two droids on a milk run to Alderaan with 'no Imperial entanglements.' Having successfully negotiated a sum that would get Jabba off his back, Han wasted no time in getting ready to leave the planet- after he had shot junior bounty hunter Greedo under a table with his high-yield blaster pistol (and yes, Han shot first). Another gunfight ensued at Docking Bay 94, where Han shot up a squad of Stormtroopers before the Falcon could lift off. Han narrowly avoided being pulled in by a pair of Imperial Star Destroyers' tractor beams before he could clear Tatooine's gravity well and jump to hyperspace.
Shortly thereafter, upon arriving in the Alderaan system, Han nearly lost his ship and his life when the Falcon jumped out of hyperspace in the middle of the rapidly expanding debris field that had been the planet. While trying to discover what had happened, the group pursued a TIE fighter to cut it off and destroy it before it could report their position. Unwittingly, they followed it right to the Death Star and were taken aboard. After hiding in concealed compartment of the Falcon, the group attacked a number of stormtroopers and stole their uniforms. The group then staged an impromptu commando raid on the battle station, rescuing Princess Leia Organa from the detention block, jumping into a garbage chute, and leading stormtroopers on a merry chase through the station's interior. The party would ultimately escape -- sans one Jedi Master. Han then fought off an attack by TIE fighters with the Falcon's turreted quad-lasers.
After accepting a large reward for the Princess's rescue, Han returned to rescue Luke Skywalker during his trench run on the Death Star. For this action Han, was rewarded with an even larger sum of cash and a medal --but due to several other events Han was unable to repay Jabba the Hutt before he decided to have Han killed.