“What a piece of junk!”
It’s time for Star Wars to introduce a replacement for the Millennium Falcon. Despite being a franchise that literally burst onto the screen with iconic spaceships in 1977, Star Wars finds itself without a proper live-action successor, or even compliment, to Han Solo’s old YT-1300 freighter, and the sequel trilogy and spin-offs needs to change that.
This is in no way to knock the Falcon. She’s the single most iconic ship in all of science fiction and her influence on the saga, and pop-culture as a whole, can never be discounted, but 40 years and 7 (almost 8) movies have passed since her initial introduction and she’s still the only iconic named ship in live-action Star Wars outside of capital ships or ships with little screen time like the Tantive IV or Slave I. Star Wars Legends material introduced a slew of vessels that, with an admittedly spotty track record, were still able to take hold with fans. There are some duds like the overpowered Suncrusher, but there’s also The Outrider from Shadows of the Empire and the Ebon Hawk from Knights of the Old Republic.
Outside of live-action, Star Wars Rebels has done a great job on this front, making The Ghost and her crew a major fixture in canon, and The Ghost even made a brief cameo in Rogue One, but only eagle-eyed fans of the series would even know that.
The problem isn’t that the Falcon is insufficient. It will always be a major part of Star Wars, and no fan could say they didn’t feel a chill when they finally saw it fighting TIE fighters again for the first time in several decades when the first trailer for The Force Awakens arrived in November 2014. The problem is that in a galaxy as big as the one presented in Star Wars movies, there has to be more than just one beat up old freighter with some personality amidst the sea of uniform X-Wings, TIE Fighters, and Star Destroyers (all of which have also only seen minor evolutions since 1977). This is especially true when we look at the upcoming release slate and see The Last Jedi, a movie where Rey and Chewbacca presumably fly the Millennium Falcon from Ahch-To to Crait, and Solo: A Star Wars Story, where we expect to see Han Solo acquire the Millennium Falcon from Lando – and don’t forget that Solo might even spawn its own trilogy.
Lucasfilm has done a fantastic job of mixing things up with its newest offerings, but with fans always prepared to accuse Star Wars of recycling old stories or relying on nostalgia, the fact that the only named ship of note in the sequel trilogy is the same one introduced in A New Hope in 1977 isn’t helping matters. It’s not as if the talent necessary to design and name a memorable vessel is lacking, in fact, most of the best people for the job are already employed by Lucasfilm, it just requires a story that doesn’t want to load all the characters aboard the Falcon again, an understandable temptation for any writer given the opportunity to set their story in this universe.
To be clear, this isn’t a failing exclusively of the sequel trilogy or post-Disney Lucasfilm, either. Through 3 prequel movies and 5 (and a half) seasons of The Clone Wars, all of which happened under George Lucas, the franchise also failed to produce another iconic hero craft, not for lack of brilliant ship designs. The main characters in the prequels fly around in gorgeous, but nameless, chrome plated Nabooian ships, and in The Clone Wars, Anakin and Ahsoka have “Twilight,” a ship that even some hardcore fans would have to look up on Wookieepedia to name or identify.
What makes the situation even odder is the fact that Star Wars merchandising is a significantly larger revenue stream for the Star Wars brand than the storytelling from movies, books, comics, and TV, and while many people will continue to buy Millennium Falcon playsets and LEGO kits, a new ship design with an iconic name would be an instant must-have for fans.
Eventually, most of the original trilogy Star Wars fixtures will have to be phased out of future stories. Han Solo was killed off in The Force Awakens, and the rest of the original trilogy cast will need to be written out of the story somehow as well. The Falcon has always been old and in various states of extreme disrepair, but it only seems logical that it too will one day make its last flight – a moment that could arguably draw as many tears as the death of Han Solo – and before she fails her last hyperspace jump, she needs a worthy successor.
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