Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story is not only Han Solo's origin story but the Millennium Falcon's as well, which is evident by the numerous changes made to the iconic ship's design in the standalone film. The Solo Falcon design is sleek, sharp, and above all... new.
The new look appears to be heavily inspired by the ship's original designs from legendary Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie. Plus, as co-screenwriter Jon Kasdan previously noted, the Falcon's look tends to resemble whoever happens to be the ship's captain at the time. And Lando Calrissian (the Falcon's original owner) had much more expensive tastes than Han did, so it's no wonder the Falcon looks a lot "better" in this film that in the original and sequel trilogies.
Note: This article will be updated if more information is released. Last updated April 9.
A circular radar dish - but facing upwards?
Maintaining a working sensor/radar dish on the Millenium Falcon has proven difficult for Han Solo. The cargo freighter was originally supplied with a rectangular radar dish, which Han later replaced with a circular dish that ended up getting knocked off during the Battle of Endor (while Lando Calrissian was piloting the ship). And then, another rectangular dish was attached to the ship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But, it seems that the circular dish that was used throughout the original Star Wars trilogy wasn't the ship's first sensor dish, at least not that exact one.
In Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Falcon uses a circular radar dish, but it's slightly different from the one seen in A New Hope and onward. The new (or, technically, old?) radar dish is facing upwards in Solo rather than forwards. It's not a stark difference, but it is noticeable, and there may be a reason behind the change that audiences aren't aware of just yet.
The Falcon's covered exterior and new color scheme
While most of the Falcon's "upgrades" are relatively small and insignificant, the biggest alteration so far has been its outer plating, which gives it a slender profile that should make it more maneuverable in tight situations. Perhaps that's how Han Solo made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs? Fans will notice that the Falcon had a lot of "holes" in the original trilogy, much of which has been covered/sealed in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The most noticeable difference is that the Falcon's entire front-end (the mandibles) that's missing in every other movie is present in Solo. One of Han's many modifications to the ship included a concussive missile launcher in the front, which presumably isn't there in Solo because the ship was still a transport vehicle during that time period. In addition to "completing" the Falcon's design, the front-end also gives the ship a sleeker and narrower look.
Furthermore, fans will notice that the Falcon has a blue-and-white color scheme in Solo, which is certainly different from its greyish look in every other film. It not only makes the ship appear newer and shinier but also gives it a sense of originality, thus nudging fans to believing that this film really is Han's (and the Falcon's) origin story.
An escape pod/shuttle in the Falcon's bow
While Han Solo has never had to abandon ship aboard the Millennium Falcon, the spacecraft does have an escape pod in its rear (as revealed around the time The Force Awakens released) - but that might not be the case in Solo: A Star Wars Story. In the Ron Howard film, the Falcon's front mandibles feature either a detachable cargo hold or some form of shuttle; perhaps the escape pod's original location? It would make sense considering that Han modified the ship to fit more in line with a smuggler, hence the concussion missile launcher in the ship's bow in later films.
The Millennium Falcon is brand new... with clean floors
The Falcon may be the most beloved ship in the galaxy to Star Wars fans, but that doesn't change the fact that it's, well... dirty. There's a reason everyone thinks it's a piece of junk before they see it in action, after all. But the Falcon in Solo: A Star Wars Story is nothing like the one fans are used to; it's shiny, polished, and above all, clean.
In the original and sequel trilogies, the Falcon is rugged, dirty, and used, thus falling in line with the rest of the vehicles during the Galactic Civil War. But the Falcon in Solo is new, and since Lando owned it first, it represents his luxurious tastes, such as nice, yellow-padded seats and shiny floors. The walls aren't stained either. What's more, the panels on the walls are circular in shape with white lights compared to the square panels in the original trilogy which had green lights.
The Falcon's Quad Laser Cannon Is Traded For a Solo Gunner
The first time that audiences see the Falcon in action is in A New Hope, shortly after the film's heroes escape from the Death Star. It's an iconic scene in which Han tells Luke not to get "cocky," but it also provides audiences with their first look at the Falcon's weapons capabilities. Among those capabilities is a quad laser cannon (that Luke uses), which is reused at various points in the saga. But in Solo, that gunner has only one turret. At the moment, it's unclear if the other turret gunner was also changed, or if Han only changed just the one.
The Millennium Falcon's Exhaust Has Retractable Shields
In the full trailer for Solo, there was another reveal about the ship. A shot of the Millennium Falcon's exhausts as the engine turns on shows a moving protector shield, something that isn't seen in either the original or sequel trilogy. It's presumably lost along with the rest of the plating.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019