There are several reasons for this:
- has a death mark – he is currently being pursued by ‘s bounty hunters – and through various interactions at the beginning of Empire, it’s clear he is a “reluctant rebel”, falling in with them mostly as the safest place to be for the moment, not his ideological/spiritual home.
- is still (with the help of various rebel repair-droids) fixing the to ensure its effective escape.
- Han Solo has (for mostly personal reasons) to ensure that (who is manning the command center to help direct the defense of the Hoth base) gets safely to the evacuation ship.
Breaking the fourth wall for a second, the Millenium Falcon is a plot device that must remain behind/in danger/off-screen until the last possible second to increase dramatic tension and excitement before flying to safety/saving the day:
- In “A New Hope”, Han and Chewie fly back to knock off ‘s tail so he can blow up Mk. I
- Also in “The Empire Strikes Back”, the ship barely escapes between the closing teeth of the giant space worm
- Also in “The Empire Strikes Back”, repairs the hyperdrive mere seconds before the Falcon can be pulled in by a Star Destroyer tractor beam at the climatic end-of-movie escape sequence
- In “Return of the Jedi”, and Nien Nunb barely pilot the Falcon free of the onrushing explosion of Death Star Mk. II at the end of that film
Ultimately, the in-plot reason can be boiled down to this: it isn’t until the third movie, “Return of the Jedi”, that Han Solo becomes a true hero of the Rebel Alliance. Throughout “The Empire Strikes Back”, or perhaps up until his first true love kiss with Princess Leia just before being frozen in , Han Solo remains a self-reliant smuggler and rogue.
(For more details on the Millenium Falcon in particular, the Wookiepedia article is really quite interesting: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/M… )
This answer originally appeared on Quora: