There are plenty of ways Han is different in Solo from the smuggler fans thought they knew. His character seems markedly different in the old Expanded Universe as well as in The Force Awakens. The backstory dramatized in Solo: A Star Wars Story confirms many established theories about the young rogue's origin story, while shattering other long-held assumptions.
As played by Alden Ehrenreich, the young Han in Solo isn't quite the one viewers remember from The Han Solo Trilogy, the A.C. Crispin novels that first fleshed out the hero in 1997-98. The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn chronicle the most important moments in Han's life before he meets Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope. Read through them, and you'll get a sense of just how Han has changed from the EU to Solo.
Han's 2018 origin story shares some similarities to what it used to be, but the movie also changes many key details.
Where And When Was He Born?
What Happens In The Old EU: Han Solo was born on Corellia, one of the galaxy's Core Worlds. He was born 29 years before the events of A New Hope (or 29 BBY, which means 29 years Before the Battle of Yavin), according to Keeper of the Holocron Leland Chee (the Lucasfilm official who maintains the Star Wars continuity database).
What Happens In Solo: Han was still born on Corellia. It's not clear when Han was born, although the Solo: A Star Wars Story Official Guide puts the character's year of birth closer to 32 BBY.
Who Are His Parents?
What Happens In The Old EU: The novel The Paradise Snare by A.C. Crispin establishes that Han is orphaned at a young age and falls in with a band of thieves soon after. While aboard their ship, Han grows close to the Wookiee cook, Dewlanna, who finishes raising him and also teaches him Shyriiwook, the language of the Wookiees.
What Happens In Solo: Although he's still an orphan, Han mentions his father in Solo. According to the young scoundrel, his father built ships at the Corellian Engineering Corporation shipyards, working on freighters like the Millennium Falcon. After he died, Han was forced to live on the streets.
How Did He Get His Name?
What Happens In The Old EU: Han was born with the surname "Solo" in the old canon. It's revealed in Dave Wolverton's novel The Courtship of Princess Leia that Solo is actually a famous last name on Corellia. Han descends from King Berethron e Solo, the ruler who brought democracy to Corellia, which had previously been a monarchy. So yeah, Han is royalty.
What Happens In Solo: Viewers never learn Han's true last name in Solo. "Solo" is the name he's given by an Imperial recruiter on Corellia when Han signs up for the Imperial Academy in order to escape the planet. The name suits Han at the time, since he has no one after Qi'ra is taken from him at the spaceport.
How Did He Become An Outlaw?
What Happens In The Old EU: After Han is orphaned, he's picked up by the criminal Garris Shrike, who takes him aboard the criminal ship Trader's Luck to become one of his criminal agents. In A.C. Crispin's The Paradise Snare, it's explained that Shrike manipulates Han in order to make the boy run scams and steal for him.
What Happens In Solo: After his father dies, Han falls in with the White Worms, a criminal gang led by the grotesque Lady Proxima. He runs scams on the street and eventually meets Qi'ra, his first love.