Is there any ship more iconic and synonymous to the Star Wars saga than The Millennium Falcon? Only Luke Skywalker's X-Wing fighter comes close and even then it loses style points for not being unique. From its infamous off-model satellite dish to its wonky navigation computer, The Millennium Falcon is one of a kind and as uniquely original as its captain, Han Solo.
Of course it's a well known fact, first revealed in The Empire Strikes Back, that Han won the ship in a game of chance against fellow scoundrel Lando Calrissian. What's less well known is the story of how Lando won The Millennium Falcon under similar circumstances, before he and Han met for the first time in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Yet even before Lando acquired the ship, it had a legendary history involving a long line of risky business ventures of varying levels of legality and a number of owners who gambled with their lives, if not their credits.
Many of these stories were detailed in the novel Millennium Falcon by James Luceno. While now considered part of the Star Wars Legends (what used to be called The Star Wars Expanded Universe), the novel offered a unique perspective on the history of a galaxy far, far away, as viewed through the screen of a stylish (if semi-reliable) starship.
Here are 15 Crazy Facts About The Millennium Falcon Before Han Solo Owned It.
15 It Crashed While Still On The Assembly Line
During his time captaining The Millennium Falcon, Han Solo guided the ship through more than his fair share of unorthodox landings or, as some would call them, crashes. Strangely enough, the ship seemed predestined to face a number of rough and unexpected descensions, even before it left the factory floor.
Beginning its life at Orbital Assembly Facility 7 of the Corellian Engineering Corporation, the ship that would one day be named The Millennium Falcon went out of control while it was still being assembled. There was an accident with a fueling droid, which did not detach itself from the ship at the proper time. This resulted in the fuel cells becoming overcharged and the ship's chassis attempting to jump off the line.
Soly Kantt, a supervisor on duty at the time, said it was almost as if the ship was alive, acting like an animal that was trying to get loose from its pen.
Thankfully, Kantt and his crew were swift in acting to bring the ship under control. Though, it almost destroyed the entire assembly line before they did so. Miraculously, no one was hurt by the accident, but it would prove to be an auspicious beginning for the new ship.
14 It Was Originally An Outer-Space Tugboat
The Millennium Falcon is a Corellian-manufactured YT-1300 light freighter. The YT series was one of the most popular brands ever designed by the Corellian Engineering Corporation, famed for its modular nature and versatility.
The YT-1300 was originally intended to be a work ship, with powerful engines that made it ideal for acting as a tugboat for larger vessels in port. It was soon realized that the YT-1300 could also act as a small but powerful shipping vessel, ideal for those small cargoes that needed to be delivered quickly. It could also function as a pleasure ship for brief cruises between worlds.
Several models of YT-1300 were released over the years, with the two most popular being the YT-1300p and the YT-1300f. The Millennium Falcon was a YT-1300f, whose interior was modified to sacrifice passenger comforts for cargo space. The YT-1300f model also featured dual boarding ramps and paired docking rings.
This differed greatly from the YT-1300p model, which emphasized roomy interior cabins for the crew and passengers. Despite this, the various models of YT-1300 looked largely identical from the outside and their popularity in shipyards around the galaxy also made them popular with smugglers, who could modify the ships as needed and still blend in without difficulty.
13 It Has Been Renamed Several Times Over The Years
The ship would be renamed Fickle Flyer and Meetyl's Misery, during the first 12 years of its life when it was owned by the Corell Industries Limited shipping firm. The former name came from the reputation the ship developed for being stubbornly unreliable and yet unusually fast. The later name was granted by a captain who found the ship to be more trouble than it was worth. The ship had finally acquired the name Jackpot, before it found its way into the hands of the first group of smugglers to call the ship home. They would not be the last.
It is not at all uncommon for a ship to change names as it changes owners. Such was the case with The Millennium Falcon, or, as it was originally known, Corell's Pride.
The Jackpot was renamed Hardwired before being re-registered as The Wayward Son. All records of the ship were lost for the better part of 15 years, before it turned up on another planet as The Stellar Envoy. It would hold this name for several years, before being renamed The Second Chance after extensive repairs by another group of independent smugglers. It would then briefly be known as Gone To Pieces before finally acquiring the name for which it became most famous and infamous, The Millennium Falcon.
12 It Was Heavily Modified By All Of Its Owners
The modular nature of the YT-1300 light freighter made it popular with legitimate and illegitimate traders alike. The YT-1300 class was so popular that finding replacement parts was a simple matter, except on the most remote and backwater of worlds. It also could be easily altered in several ways that its original engineers would have frowned upon.
The Millennium Falcon was no exception to this practice. Even before Han Solo acquired it, the ship had been highly modified by most of its owners for one reason or another. An earlier owner, who had also been a smuggler, had upgraded the ship's hyperdrive, installing a model that was far faster than the standard model for a YT-1300 light freighter. This owner also installed hidden compartments in the ship's floor, which were designed to resist all but the most powerful of ship scanners.
Han Solo further modified both the ship's shields, sensor jammers, and weapons systems, making it far more powerful than the standard YT-1300 light freighter. The upgraded canons were capable of destroying a TIE fighter with a single shot and the new shields were on-par with that of an Imperial warship. Han also rewired a number of the ship's systems - such as the cannons - so that they could be run from the cockpit.
11 Its Original Owners Sold It After They Went Bankrupt
The ship that would one day become known as The Millennium Falcon was originally purchased by Corell Industries Limited and used for a dozen years as a short-distance freighter. Originally named Corell's Pride, it soon developed a reputation as an erratic ship at best, and downright neurotic at worst.
Different pilots had different opinions of Corell's Pride. One pilot utilized it to break the space speed record for running a light freighter from Corellia to its sister planet, Tralus. Another used the ship to win a drag race against a ship called The Fusion Flame around the planet Drall. Yet another pilot was marooned over five hundred kilometers from the ocean world of Selonia with dead engines and a cargo bay full of rapidly defrosting plar fish.
Despite its reputation, Corell Industries Limited kept hold of the little frigate until the very end, selling it only when the monopolistic policies of The Trade Federation forced them out of business.
Though many on Corellia approached The Galactic Senate about the hostile take-overs arranged by The Trade Federation to force smaller shipping concerns out of business, they were slow to take action and many years would pass before The Jedi were brought in as a neutral negotiating party. By that point, however, it was too late for Corell Industries Limited, which was forced to declare bankruptcy and sell all its ships at far below the fair market value.
10 It Was Bought By A Brother/Sister Smuggling Team
There's an old space pilot saying - one man's misfortune is another man's boon. This certainly proved true in the case of Kal and Dova Brigger, who found a fantastic opportunity in the wake of the downfall of Corell Industries Limited.
Kal and Dova were brother and sister - traders who had been seeking a means of taking their business into the stars. Their purchase of a discounted YT-1300 light freighter (at that time ironically known by the name Jackpot) proved to be just what they needed. The two started out shipping simple consumer goods, but soon found themselves transporting more cargo than ever. They also began to transport items that weren't strictly legal on their home world of Corellia and weren't noted on any shipping manifest.
The two proved successful enough at smuggling goods in and out of Corellia that it attracted the attention of Nirama - the mysterious leader of The Smuggler's Confederacy Of The Cularin System. Nirama was impressed by The Briggers' boldness and ingenuity and offered them a loan to upgrade their ship, which they had renamed The Hardwired. The two used Nirama's funds and support to upgrade the ship's hyperdrive, making The Hardwired one of the fastest ships in the galaxy.
9 It Was Used To Transport Slaves
The support that Nirama and The Smuggler's Confederacy Of The Cularin System offered The Briggers went far beyond the loan that upgraded their ship. Nirama also offered the siblings a degree of protection and steady work. The only condition was that they must follow Nirama's rules regarding what contraband they could and could not deal in, particularly slave-trading.
It was an edict that the siblings obeyed for just over a year, before their greed won out over any loyalty they might have owed to Nirama and his ideals. They rented their services and their ship out to a group of slavers. Nirama learned about their treachery almost immediately and put a bounty out on the smugglers' heads. Dova was captured by a bounty hunter relatively quickly, and returned to Nirama for her fatal end.
Because of their greed, the siblings met their fatal end at the hands of a smuggler and the Galactic Republic.
Kal attempted to go into hiding, changing the name of his ship to The Wayward Son. He would later meet a most ignoble end, after signing on with another smuggling concern overseen by the retired smuggler, Iaco Stark. Stark's gang would come into conflict with the Galactic Republic, who - having trapped Stark's crew in a spice mine - released a swarm of carnivorous insects, who ate Kal Brigger and the rest of his new allies alive.
8 It Was Used By The Precursor Of The Rebel Alliance
In the year 29 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin, as seen in Star Wars: A New Hope), the ship once known as The Wayward Son emerged after having gone missing for a decade and a half. It was purchased by a mysterious organization known as The Republic Group and was once again renamed and officially registered as The Stellar Envoy.
To the public at large, The Republic Group was a trade organization meant to encourage positive relations between merchants on Coruscant, Corellia and Alderaan. In truth, the group was the public face for a clandestine group of Loyalists, who worked to restore honor to The Galactic Republic. The membership of The Republic Group included several members of The Galactic Senate and The Jedi Order.
The Stellar Envoy was used to run a number of clandestine missions for The Republic Group from 29 BBY to 19 BBY. It was in this year, when Supreme Chancellor Palpatine declared the dissolution of The Galactic Republic in favor of a Galactic Empire form of government with himself as Emperor, that much of The Republic Group's membership were either arrested or forced into hiding. The survivors went on to join with others to form another group - The Alliance To Restore The Republic. Or, as it was more commonly known, The Rebel Alliance.
7 It Was At The Battle Of Coruscant
The Battle of Coruscant was a crucial turning point during the The Clone Wars. Fought in the skies over the Republic capital world. The battle stemmed from an ultimately unsuccessful plot by The Confederacy of Independent Systems, the Separatists, to abduct Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. The battle was fought on two fronts, with Separatist naval forces engaging the Republic warships protecting Coruscant, as a strike team led by the cyborg General Grievous landed on the planet itself to attack Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's secure bunker and take him into custody. Unfortunately for The Confederacy, the attack did not go as swiftly as hoped and reinforcements for the Republic forces arrived far sooner than expected.
The Millennium Falcon may not have been in the Battle of Coruscant, but it did make a cameo in Revenge Of The Sith.
Though Supreme Chancellor Palpatine did get taken on-board the Separatist vessel known as The Invisible Hand, he was rescued by the Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Skywalker slew the fallen Jedi, Separatist leader, and Sith Lord Count Dooku as they made their escape, not knowing that the entire battle and kidnapping attempt had been secretly plotted by Palpatine. The Stellar Envoy (as The Millennium Falcon was known at the time) did not take part in the actual fighting during The Battle of Coruscant, having just returned from a covert mission. The ship can be seen in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith docking at the Republic Executive Building at the same time as the shuttle carrying Kenobi, Skywalker and Palpatine, shortly after their escape.
6 It Was Largely Destroyed After A High-Speed Collision
The primary flight team for The Stellar Envoy in the waning days of The Clone Wars was a pair of humans named Reeze Duurmun and Tobb Jadak. Duurmun was a spice smuggler with a number of shady connections. Jadak was a former swoop racer, who had set several land-speed records and had a promising career until he lost the famous Balmorra Invitational, despite being the favored victor at 20-1 odds.
Rumor had it that Jadak had either thrown the race after having his family threatened by The Hutts or had bet on himself to lose at staggering odds and made a fortune off the race. Strangely enough, both rumors were true. With the gambling plot arranged by The Republic Group as a means of recruiting Jadak as a pilot, after ensuring that his family would be cared for in his absence.
The duo's adventures ended on the smuggler's moon Nar Shaddaa, after The Stellar Envoy lost power while being pursued by Republic Forces. It collided with the freighter Jendirian Valley III, resulting in Duurmun's death and Jadak lapsing into a coma.
The Stellar Envoy failed little better than its crew, with its entire frame suffering critical damage. What remained of the ship rusted in an orbital junkyard for one month, before being purchased as scrap by a bold mechanic named Bammy Decree.
5 It Flew One Smuggling Mission As The Second Chance
Bammy Decree was in the employ of Rej Taunt - a Nar Shaddaa crime boss and former associate of Reeze Duurmun. Taunt remembered Duurmun's boasting of the speed of The Stellar Envoy and thought that it might be worth the expense of saving. With Taunt's funds and Decree's skill, the YT-1300 light freighter was fully salvaged and renamed The Second Chance. Decree's creation of The Second Chance was a true labor of love, with virtually all of the ship's systems being updated and rebuilt with parts from later-model YT-1300s and new interior modules taken from a passanger class ship. As a result, The Second Chance was a more advanced and far more comfortable vessel than The Stellar Envoy.
Unfortunately, The Second Chance's first voyage was also its last voyage.
Taunt used the ship as part of an operation for the Black Sun syndicate to deliver a swarm of buzz droids - insectoid robots used for sabotage missions, that were programmed to disassemble ships from the inside out. The unsecured robots were activated while still on-board The Second Chance and went to work. While Taunt was able to jettison the droids from The Second Chance successfully, he did so as he was being followed by an Imperial Acclamator-class assault ship and a Destroyer-class warship. The Acclamator flew through the droid swarm and was swiftly dismantled. Taunt was just as swiftly arrested and The Second Chance impounded.
4 It Was Stolen From Imperial Custody By The Rebel Alliance
The Second Chance languished in an Imperial impound lot on Nilash for several years. It flew freely once more after being stolen by Zenn Bien - a smuggler, ship-thief and explosives expert.
Bien worked with Quip Fargil - a confidence trickster and pilot - who used his connections to resell the ships that Bien acquired. Originally, the duo had planned to sell The Second Chance to a chop-shop, after setting it up with a false registry under the name Gone To Pieces and running one smuggling mission on behalf of Luufkin - a fence with whom Fargil had worked in the past.
The plans were changed, however, when The Gone To Pieces was picked-up by an Imperial Star Destroyer. While Fargil and Bien were able to bribe the Imperial officers into ignoring the contraband they carried, they were forced to flee for their lives after their crew were caught stealing ship parts from the Imperial cargo holds.
It was while laying low that the duo learned of Bien's homeworld of Sullust falling under total Imperial control and a movement rising up to free the planet. The two were later recruited into The Rebel Alliance and chose The Gone To Pieces to act as their home ship as they flew various missions for The Rebellion.
3 It Was Given To A Doctor By A Rebel Deserter
It was shortly after joining The Rebel Alliance that Quip Fargil decided that his new mission in life merited his ship getting a new name. While Gone To Pieces had been a cute gag name for a ship that was going to be sold for scrap, it was hardly fitting for a vessel that had carried him and Zenn Bien through multiple covert operations. Since the ship's speed was comparable to that of a bat-falcon - a species of flying animal known for its quickness - Fargil decided to rename his ship The Millennium Falcon. It was a name that would last through the rest of The Galactic Civil War and longer.
The Millennium Falcon is a ship that grows on you, even if you were going to sell it for scraps.
Fargil became unusually fond of The Millennium Falcon over the time that he flew it. So much so that when he was asked to abandon the ship as part of a mission for The Rebel Alliance, he couldn't find it in himself to do it. While Fargil had no qualms about sacrificing himself, he couldn't stand to see his ship destroyed as well. To that end, Fargil deserted from The Rebel Alliance, assumed the name Vec Minim, and lived an unassuming life on the planet Vaced. Consumed by guilt at abandoning his allies, he gave his beloved ship to Doctor Parlay Thorpe, who used The Millennium Falcon to transport herself between various medical facilities that she had established on the planets Hijado and Enferm, as well as other worlds in need of a traveling doctor.
2 It Was Part Of A Traveling Circus For A Time
There are many differences between our reality and the reality of Star Wars. Yet whether on Earth or in a galaxy far, far away, people seek amusement, and despite the many differences between the two realities, many of the same kinds of entertainment rose up in familiar forms.
Take the circus. The galaxy of Star Wars has a number of circuses, which travel from world to world, offering the same attractions as real-world circuses - acrobats, exotic animals, oddities, live musicians, stage magicians and daredevils of all kinds.
One of these circuses - known as Molpol's Traveling Circus - bought The Millennium Falcon from Parlay Thorp, after the doctor had owned the ship for a few years. Molpol's Traveling Circus was most famous for its animal acts, which included a rare albino rancor, but it featured all of the other attractions of a circus, including illusionists and a sideshow.
Shockingly, The Millennium Falcon was not purchased for its unique capabilities in hiding contraband or for the purpose of performing impressive aerial stunts. The owners of the circus just needed a fast ship for hauling cargo from one world to the next. Unfortunately, the circus fell on hard times and was forced to sell The Millennium Falcon to those who recognized the worth and true purpose of the vessel.
1 Lando Won It From Another Gambler Whose Luck Went Bad
While the current canon of Star Wars novels and comics has yet to explain how Lando acquired The Millennium Falcon, a story now consigned to the Star Wars Legends revealed that Lando won the ship the same way he lost it - in a high-stakes game of sabacc. The Millennium Falcon's previous owner was a professional gambler and pilot named Cix Trouvee. Trouvee had moved beyond card games, arranging wagers on a variety of stunts in the early days of the conflict between The Empire and The Rebel Alliance. One of these stunts saw him flying into The Battle of Yag'Dhul, having taken a bet with several Hutt crime lords on the outcome of the skirmish.
Maybe Trouvee should have waited to join another sabacc tournament.
Trouvee quickly found himself on the run from both The Hutts and The Empire, after his presence caused an Imperial warship to accidentally destroy two of its own fighters trying to shoot down The Millennium Falcon. This circumstance caused The Hutts to lose a great deal of money and made it look as if Trouvee had deliberately interfered in the outcome of the battle. Fleeing to Cloud City, Trouvee found himself unable to afford all the repairs on The Millennium Falcon. Luckily, one of the local casinos was about to hold a sabacc tournament and he had just enough credits left to buy his way in. Unluckily, Lando Calrissian entered the same tournament and the rest was galactic history.
Is there a crazy fact about The Millennium Falcon we missed? Let us know in the comments!