Everyone needs a good makeover every now and then—the Millenium Falcon is no different.
If you’re one of the meager number of Star Wars fans who saw Solo: A Star Wars Story, (go see it) you may have noticed that the Falcon looks a little different, but may not have been able to place what exactly had changed. Did she get a haircut? A new pair of shoes? Nah, she had to get a new, angsty teen look for her prequel debut.
Designed by Ralph McQuarrie (RIP,) the OG version of the Millenium Falcon we all know and love had to be adapted to look younger and most of the added features, like the escape pod, were busted, fell off, or otherwise destroyed throughout the film. The massive escape pod was the biggest addition to the already huge ship, which was detached during the movie. James Clyne, design supervisor at Lucasfilm said, “The way I saw it, it’s like ripping a tablecloth off, you know those magicians that rip a tablecloth off and everything is still there? All the things that we know and love about Han Solo’s ship is underneath that. That was kind of the starting off point.”
Designers working on the project created a whopping 60 variations of the ship that was eventually used on-screen. As the call for an escape pod was in the script, the team had to figure out a way to incorporate it into the design. They thought, why not use it as an excuse to explain the weird mandibles in the front? Clyne said, “It always had that funny little gap in the front—the mandibles—and even as a kid, I remember getting the Millennium Falcon toy and I always wondered, why is it shaped this way? Was there something that was supposed to go there? Was there more to it? It was always kind of a mystery to me and here I am 40 years later actually having to solve that problem.”
The devil is in the details—it wasn’t only major things that were changed in the design of the ship. The creative team played around with paint jobs until they ultimately settled on the racing stripes on the Falcon’s hull. Flames were discussed as a possibility which, thank the space goddess Carrie Fisher, were not chosen. Honestly, yikes. The Falcon is way too classy for that ish.