The latest TV spot for Star Wars: The Last Jedi shows an alternate angle of the Millennium Falcon's cockpit while Chewbacca and his Porg friend fly through the mines of Crait, and interestingly enough, the seat next to the Wookiee is vacant. When the full theatrical trailer for the highly-anticipated sequel arrived back in October, one of the most talked-about shots was a Porg letting out a "ferocious" battle cry as the Falcon evaded TIE fighters in a sequence reminiscent of The Force Awakens' famous flight through a fallen Star Destroyer. Besides giving fans their first look at a Porg in live-action, the image was noteworthy for the way it was blocked. The pilot's chair was not in-frame, causing some to wonder who was flying the ship with Chewie.
It was initially presumed the identity of the Falcon's pilot was a spoiler Lucasfilm was attempting to preserve until the movie's premiere. The only realistic options were major characters (Rey, Luke Skywalker, maybe even a redeemed Kylo Ren), and it's never been in the studio's interest to reveal any twists in marketing. Coupled with the fact The Force Awakens went out of its way to say how difficult it is to fly the Falcon without two people at the controls, it was thought somebody had to be with Chewie. However, newly released footage suggests that may not be the case.
The next in a growing line of Last Jedi promos is now online (watch it above) and has earned the title "Flying Porg" due to one hilarious moment of slapstick comedy where Chewie's pet Porg slams against the window of the Falcon a la a Looney Tunes cartoon and screams in terror. In the spot, there's the classic back view of the ship's cockpit and a new side angle for us to see. Both shots clearly show the seat next to Chewie is empty, so at least in this moment, the Wookiee is flying solo, as the Porg isn't offering much help in that regard.
However, this does not necessarily mean there is no pilot at all. A couple of times in the original trilogy, Han and/or Chewie were away from the cockpit attending other matters on the ship (see: right before the asteroid field chase), so it's possible something similar is happening here. Remember, the Falcon is a very old vehicle (it hadn't even flown for years before Rey and Finn absconded with it on Jakku), so it's probably not in the best shape. In typical Star Wars fashion, it could be in need of some emergency repairs while under attack. The freighter never did have the biggest crew, meaning if there is anyone else onboard, they're preoccupied with making sure the Falcon doesn't fall completely apart as it navigates the tight crevices of Crait.
It's also worth keeping in mind Chewie is in the co-pilot's seat, which is where he's been for 40 years. Granted, he could have sat there out of habit, but if he were piloting the ship alone (and if anyone not named Han could do it, it's Chewie), odds are he'd be in the other chair, just like Rey during the Jakku escape. This is more evidence that someone else has to be on the ship with everyone's favorite walking carpet, but Lucasfilm is still not keen on sharing who that is. It's just one of the many mysteries that will be solved when the film finally opens later this month.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018