This isn’t the most thrilling story ever, but I find it interesting so I’m following up on it.
Phil Reed of Battlegrip.com puts forth the theory that if Chewbacca is in an upcoming wave (as is rumored), Hasbro may have wanted to make sure there were Hans on the pegs when Chewie came out. It’s possible. I was ready to blame the retailers, but Phil doesn’t think they’re to blame:
I’ve personally met with buyers at the large retailers and my opinion is that these buyers are professionals and know their lines far better than many collectors seem to think. They also track sales history and keep a close eye on demand, so in my opinion the retailers may have commented on case mix, but I doubt any retailer said “Stick Han Solo in this case or no!”
I still think two Stormtroopers, or a Stormtrooper and Boba Fett, make more sense for both Hasbro and the retailer. Throw Han in the actual wave Chewie’s in.
Another possibility is that this was a last-minute decision due to yanking Anakin from the third series, and there wasn’t time to produce more Stormtroopers so they threw in Han because he was already in production at the time. That doesn’t quite work, though, because that suggests they probably could have swapped in Boba Fett instead of Han.
So…I really have no idea why this happened.