In classic Han Solo fashion, his great accomplishment of completing the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs may be completely fabricated. During his introductory scene in A New Hope, the Millennium Falcon captain made the now-famous boast to Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in an attempt to illustrate how fast his ship is. Since that time, we've seen the Falcon pull off some astonishing feats (navigating an asteroid field, flying through a mine on Crait), but the Kessel Run has largely remained a mystery in franchise canon. The upcoming film Solo: A Star Wars Story looks to change that, however.
Though audiences still have seen virtually nothing from director Ron Howard's spinoff, leaked LEGO packaging has revealed some minor plot details. The Millennium Falcon set is specifically called "Kessel Run Millennium Falcon," serving as further confirmation the spice world will appear in the movie. Of course, if the Falcon is on Kessel, it seems like a given fans will see the ship make that iconic run. But what if the Kessel Run isn't nearly as iconic as Han makes it out to be? One only has to look to official Star Wars materials for evidence pointing to that.
Over the years, a popular fan theory emerged suggesting Han's claim was nothing more than a lie in an attempt to swindle his way into another job. As it turns out, this has its roots at Lucasfilm itself. One only has to look at the official shooting script for A New Hope (hat tip Chris Taylor) to see the line, "Ben reacts to Solo's stupid attempt to impress them with obvious misinformation." There's also a rather intriguing passage from the canon novel A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy, which retells the original film in illustrated book form. When she got to the cantina scene, author Alexandra Bracken wrote:
"It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs!"
The kid [Luke Skywalker], like most people who heard the tale, looked impressed. The old man [Obi-Wan] was not, however, "most people."
"Anyway," Han said before he could be called out on his lie...
It is worth mentioning that Star Wars canon has yet to offer a definitive answer on this. Beware the Power of the Dark Side! (the children's book retelling of Return of the Jedi) states the Kessel Run boast in its narration as if it was fact. Still, it's interesting that publications have leaned more towards the 12 parsecs brag being misinformation to make Han seem like a more impressive pilot. This would go a long way in clearing up an infamous New Hope plot hole, since a parsec is a unit of length and not time. Sprinters who break Olympic records cover the same amount of distance as their competitors, even though they finish the race faster. It's true that Star Wars ships don't fly in straight lines while in light speed, but it does sound more plausible Han was trying to come up with something that sounded fancy. The Kessel Run is described merely as a hyperspace route that smugglers use, so in-universe it could be nothing special.
With claims Solo is going to be a "fan service movie" with its old school style and tone, there is concern in some circles that the second anthology will offer little more than low-hanging fruit by referencing a plethora of original trilogy elements. Since this is an origin story, callbacks are to be somewhat expected, but some aspects could be brought to life creatively. In The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm showed they aren't afraid of bucking expectations, so some subversion could be in order here. And much like Luke's new Force abilities, Han's Kessel Run sham has precedence in canon that viewers should be aware of ahead of the film. Don't be surprised if he isn't as legendary a smuggler as fans built him up to be. Maybe Rey was right and the Kessel Run was done in 14 parsecs - or even more.
Source: Chris Taylor
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019