New merchandise for Solo: A Star Wars Story may provide a solution to the film's supposed plot hole involving the Millennium Falcon. There were a lot of major talking points coming out of Solo's trailer, but one of the biggest was that of the new look Millennium Falcon; still recognizably a YT-1300 light freighter, this was distinct from what we'd seen of Han's ship before, with an up-pointing radar dish, single turret gun, blue color scheme and, most discussed, a filled in nose.
Now, that the Falcon is different from what we saw in the original trilogy is not really a problem. Solo is set around a decade before the events of A New Hope, so it's not hard to infer that some special modifications were made (especially as that's how Han introduces the ship to Luke). However, that's not the sum of it. As we pointed out after the trailer, the Falcon was seen earlier in the canon as a confirmed Easter egg in Revenge of the Sith looking exactly like it does in Star Wars; it changed from a beat-up ship to look newer (in the words of The Star Wars Show, "the closest we’ve ever seen to what a brand new or well-taken care of version of a Corellian freighter would look"), then back again. Of course, this is ultimately a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment so hardly breaks the canon either way, but given how Star Wars has been built up under Disney, the discrepancy still left a question mark.
It was suggested by those high up in Lucasfilm that this discrepancy would be addressed in the film and, thanks to the recently revealed Solo merchandise we may have the solution. The main set of toys for Solo has been revealed across various sites, including Hasbro and LEGO versions of the film's Falcon. Between them, these present a very interesting possibility.
As highlighted by EW's resident Star Wars exclusive-giver Anthony Breznican, the front of the Falcon in the Hasbro set "clearly pulls out into a separate, smaller ship", similar to the Ghost in Rebels, as well as featuring hidden, fold out guns. Now, of course, this a toy where playability will override accuracy, but this removable ship is potentially evidenced in the LEGO build too, with the nose seemingly made up of two sections. Crucially, if you look at the actual movie design of the ship, you can see two things: that the Falcon in Solo is longer; and that it has marks that would a detachable part.
It would appear that the Falcon in Solo has an extra, smaller ship - possibly an escape pod or cargo container - in its front. This would be a pretty smart expansion on the design. The mandibles were always assumed to serve a purpose (in the Expanded Universe, one presented explanation was that it allowed the Falcon to attach itself to bigger cargo), and it could be to house this. What makes this especially likely is it's not new per se: a 1986 Falon toy had a similar modification. That balance of influence is the sort of connective tissue we're expecting from Solo - expanding the world teased in the original trilogy in a cohesive way - and could have some potentially key knock-on effects; what if this is how Han dumps the spice he's carrying for Jabba, leading to his trilogy-long feud with the gangster?
Of course, while that explains the difference between Solo and A New Hope, this pod doesn't fully clear up the Revenge of the Sith aspect - it's not a solution to that just yet. What it does do, though, is present a possible explanation: Lando (or someone who owned the ship between Episode III and its introduction in Solo) tried to restore to something approaching factory level. That too would account for The Star Wars Show line, as well as comments by writer Jon Kasdan about how "it’s already had a long life".
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019