An explanation for the Millennium Falcon‘s different appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story has been provided. It goes without saying the origin story for Han Solo will feature the iconic ship, though some were thrown for a loop when its new look was revealed. For four decades, the Falcon has been the lovable “piece of junk” sporting all the wear and tear from years of activity. It’s such an old ship, a running gag in The Empire Strikes Back is how it doesn’t always work properly. So it was certainly odd to see the YT-1300 freighter look like it was fresh off the lot with a luxurious interior and sparkling exterior.
In A New Hope, Han told Luke Skywalker he made several “special modifications” to the ship, but few could have predicted such a drastic change in aesthetic between the prequel and the original film. Obviously, the “new” Falcon gives Lucasfilm’s licensing partners the opportunity to create fresh products for collectors to grab, but the creative team made sure there was a story reason for it as well.
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Speaking with EW, co-writer Jon Kasdan talked about how important it is for the Falcon to “reflect the personality of its captain.” Of course, the ship belongs to smooth customer Lando Calrissian when Solo begins, so it isn’t surprising the always-dapper scoundrel would want to call a lavish vehicle home:
“Where Han gave it a certain shabby coolness and a dinged up quality that reflected where he was at that point in his life, this Falcon reflects its owner very clearly in its shape and aesthetic and his needs, even if those needs be a little more space to entertain.”
Looking at images of the Falcon in Solo and the original trilogy side-by-side makes it seem like Han is an incredibly careless owner with no regard for his ship’s wellbeing. However, it’s clear he’s quite fond of the Falcon (“Chewie, we’re home.”) and there’s actually sound logic behind his decision to dirty it up. Han uses the Falcon for smuggling, so it’s pertinent he avoids detection from authorities. New Han actor Alden Ehrenreich told EW Solo’s Falcon is his way of blending in with the crowd.
“It’s safer in the galaxy to fly something that looks like a piece of junk. People underestimate you — especially if you’re up to no good. Kinda like how you’re more likely to get pulled over if you’re driving a Lamborghini.”
As for the Falcon‘s closed nose design (a stark difference from the classic forked mandibles), that’s a detail being saved for the film itself. Those on the hunt for clues might be interested in the tie-in toys, which imply part of the Falcon can be removed to reveal a smaller ship (think the Phantom on Rebels) or a storage compartment. It’ll be interesting to see what surprises Solo has in store, but odds are we’ll be looking at the Falcon in a brand new context come May.
MORE: Millennium Falcon’s New Design Explained