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How and Why The Millennium Falcon Keeps Changing So Much

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Solo: A Star Wars Story doesn't just give us a younger Han, but also an earlier Millennium Falcon - one that looks a little different from what fans would expect. When Han sees the Falcon, it's naturally love at first sight, and Han returns to the Sabacc table in order to win it from Lando Calrissian. Of course, it's a long way off being his Millennium Falcon.

The "new" design is clearly partly a merchandising opportunity for Lucasfilm, who can release new models and toys based on Solo's different design. In-universe, co-writer Jon Kasdan has explained that it's important for the Falcon to "reflect the personality of its captain." Thus Lando's Falcon, his pride and joy, is restored almost to its factory settings. Han's Falcon, of course, is far shabbier!

Related: How Solo Explains Away The Revenge of the Sith Easter Egg Problem

The Falcon changes a lot over the course of Solo: A Star Wars Story, with a number of Lando's modifications stripped away. But the film is surprisingly silent about why Han doesn't replace some of those, and why he'll allow the Falcon to fall into such a state of disrepair. Fortunately, The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story offers some useful clues, while one of the Star Wars tie-in novels has presented a deliberate parallel. So let's take a look at the changes, and then assess just why Han made them.

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The Key Differences To The Millennium Falcon

The most visible differences are on the Falcon's exterior; even her profile is so very different to the one viewers know and love. The mandibles are filled in, with an escape pod between them. Visually, it's actually a smart homage to Joe Johnston's original sketches for the Falcon, where he imagined a central cockpit protruding between what would become the mandibles. Han sacrifices the escape pod to escape the Maw, and clearly never replaces it.

But that's not the only difference. Lando's Falcon has lavish plating around the exterior of the vessel, painted with ostentatious racing stripes and Corellian pill-shaped islands on the bodywork. Even the hatch design is slightly different, with fine detailing to suggest wealth and luxury. The sensor dish is bigger and pointed upwards, actually a homage to the Ralph McQuarrie designs for the Falcon. Both the plating and the sensor dish are stripped away over the course of the film, sometimes quite dramatically. While Han won't replace the plating, he'll need a sensor dish, although he chooses to go for a smaller one. As for the weapons, the Falcon of Solo has a single turret gun. It's torn away during the battle in the Maw, much to Beckett's frustration. Han would replace that with two quad turrets, markedly increasing the Falcon's firepower.

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Related: Thanks To Solo, The Kessel Run Finally Makes Sense

The Millennium Falcon Interior Is Totally Different

Lando expects to entertain, and as a result the Millennium Falcon's interior is far more impressive under his captaincy. There's a layer of padding to the walls, with circular panels and white lights. But this is all just dressing - an extra layer covering the ship's actual interior, designed to look flashy and attractive. As production designer Neil Lamont explained, if you pull that padding off, you'll find the classic dressing behind it. No doubt that padding will have suffered wear and tear over the next few years of smuggling, and Han simply wouldn't bother to replace it. Notice the yellow highlights, which were a popular part of the design during production, and actually shaped Lando's own clothing in Solo. They're hardly in-tune with Han's character.

The Falcon's interior is far more luxurious, and Lando has everything he could possibly need in order to play host. There's a massive closet to hold Lando's clothes, and a well-stocked mini-bar for when Lando's attempting to charm a guest. Everything is designed for comfort, and all of it will go under Han's captaincy. About the only visible similarity between the two interiors is the Dejarik table, which seems appropriate - Chewie evidently quite likes Dejarik.

Lando has already installed smuggling compartments in the floor, but it's doubtful that he'd ever need quite so many as Han does. It seems likely Han added a few more over the years. And, of course, the cockpit takes a very different feel when Han hangs up his trademark golden dice.

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The Millennium Falcon Gains A New Navigation System In Solo

There's a certain irony in the fact that L3-37 winds up integrated into the Falcon; it was actually considered having her initially come with the Falcon as a ship's cook or a copilot rolled into one. It was only over time that Lucasfilm decided to turn L3 into a character in her own right, with a stress on her independence. But L3's navigation skills remained a core part of the design, and that ultimately led to her being integrated into the Falcon's navigation systems.

According to Lando, L3 is one of the best navigators he knows. It's no wonder Han kept her installed in the Falcon's navigation systems, as she'd give him a real edge when plotting a quick hyperspace jump.

Page 2 of 2: Why Han Changed The Millennium Falcon

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Key Release Dates
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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