‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’: Why the Millennium Falcon Looks So Different

Based on the trailers for Solo: A Star Wars Story, it appears that Lucasfilm has done a fairly good job at making the characters look and feel like younger versions of the ones we know. But there’s one element of the new film that doesn’t quite line up with the original trilogy: the look of the Millennium Falcon.

So what is it that’s different about the Falcon in this movie? And what might happen to it between Solo and A New Hope? Here’s the story.

The interior of the Falcon is much brighter and cleaner

The interior of the Millennium Falcon
The interior of the Millennium Falcon | Lucasfilm

The first thing that’s different about the Falcon is the interior of it, which is much brighter and cleaner than it is in the original trilogy. The walls are all white, whereas in the original Star Wars, they’re much browner. An episode of The Star Wars Show explained that this is “the closest we’ve ever seen to what a brand new or well taken care of version of the Corellian freighter would look [like].”

In addition, we can see in some promotional images released for the movie that in Solo, the seats around the ship have yellow cushions on them. Those aren’t there later on.

Now, Lando Calrissian’s line in The Empire Strikes Back — “What have you done to my ship?” — makes a lot more sense.

Next: That’s not the only thing that’s different about the Falcon.

The nose of the ship is also different

The exterior of the Millennium Falcon
The exterior of the Millennium Falcon | Lucasfilm

It’s not just the inside of the ship that’s different; the outside is, too. You may not have been able to put your finger on what’s different about the Falcon during the flying sequences in the Solo trailer. But it comes down to the nose of the ship.

The original Falcon has two mandibles extending outwards with an empty bit in between. This new ship doesn’t have that piece missing in the middle, which makes the whole thing appear longer. It’s a subtle change, but it’s enough for us to subconsciously realize something is wrong when we watch the trailer.

Less subtle is the fact that the ship also has a blue paint job on the outside in Solo.

Next: What the movie’s screenwriter has to say about these changes

Lando used the Falcon for entertaining

Donald Glover plays it cool as Lando Calrissian.
Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian uses the ship to entertain. | Lucasfilm

One reason Lucasfilm decided to make the Falcon look different in Solo is to reflect the personality of the owner. After all, at the beginning of Solo, the Millennium Falcon is Lando’s ship; it’s not until later when Han will win the ship from Lando in a game of sabacc.

Solo screenwriter Jon Kasdan told Entertainment Weekly that Lando uses the Falcon for entertaining guests, and the look of the ship reflects his personality. On the other hand, the Falcon from A New Hope reflects the “shabby coolness and a dinged up quality” that fits with Han Solo.

Next: Another explanation for the differences

Han wanted the Falcon to blend in more

Was Alden Ehrenreich the right choice?
Alden Ehrenreich says the appearance of Han Solo’s ship is strategic. | Lucasfilm

It seems that the Falcon looking so different inside isn’t just a case of Han Solo being too lazy to clean it. Alden Ehrenreich told Entertainment Weekly that it’s in Han’s best interest to keep the ship looking more beat up and dingy.

“It’s safer in the galaxy to fly something that looks like a piece of junk,” Ehrenreich said. “People underestimate you — especially if you’re up to no good. Kinda like how you’re more likely to get pulled over if you’re driving a Lamborghini.”

So does that mean Han consciously made changes to the ship in order to make it look more like a piece of junk? It’s certainly possible, and in the original trilogy, Han does note that he made some “special modifications” to the Falcon.

Next: We now know what that missing bit on the nose of the Falcon is. 

The missing bit at the end of the ship appears to be a detachable pod

Photos of the lego millennium falcon
It looks like the Falcon once had a detachable pod at the front. | Justin LaSalata via Twitter

But what about that bit at the end of the ship, which is present in Solo but not in A New Hope? Well, based on a new LEGO set, it appears that this is actually a detachable pod or shuttle of some kind. This fits with an old report by Making Star Wars suggesting that this is for holding cargo.

It also seems like it can be used as an escape pod, though. After all, on the LEGO set, the shuttle has a control panel inside. We did see a proper escape pod in The Last Jedi, though — Rey uses it to go confront Kylo Ren and Snoke — so either this piece has a different function, or the ship just has two escape pods.

Next: Some fans think this is what will happen to the shuttle in Solo.

Will Han use this to drop Jabba’s cargo?

Han Solo tries to reason with Jabba the Hutt
Han Solo tries to reason with Jabba the Hutt. | Lucasfilm

One interesting theory about the missing pod is that it’s what Han uses to drop Jabba the Hutt’s cargo. You’ll recall that in the original Star Wars, Han Solo is being pursued by Jabba, who is angry because Han dropped a shipment of Jabba’s as he was being boarded by Imperials.

So one theory is that we’ll actually see this scene in Solo. Jabba’s shipment will be in this little pod on the ship, and Han will eject it upon being boarded. He won’t get the pod back, so that will both explain why the Falcon looks different later on and tie the movie more directly into the original Star Wars.

The only problem with this theory is that it seems in A New Hope like Han dropping Jabba’s cargo was fairly recent; if we see that scene in Solo, that would mean it happened years earlier.

Next: An even darker theory about what happens to the pod

Could Qi’ra leave in the pod after betraying Han?

Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra
Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra. | Lucasfilm

One other theory about why the Falcon loses the pod is significantly more depressing, and it has to do with Emilia Clarke’s character, Qi’ra. We know that Qi’ra is someone from Han Solo’s childhood who he grew up with and who is very important to him.

Clarke has said that in this movie, it will become clear why Qi’ra isn’t in the original trilogy. The only two explanations that seem to make sense are that she dies tragically or that she betrays Han. Either way, this would help transform Han from the idealistic kid we see in Solo to the cynical guy we meet in the Cantina years later.

Among fans, the most popular idea is that Qi’ra betrays Han. And going along with that is the theory that she’ll leave in the pod, which Han doesn’t get back. This would serve as an obvious bit of symbolism, with a hole being left in Han’s ship that he can never replace, just as Qi’ra leaves a hole in him.

We’ll find out if that’s true soon enough, as Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on May 25.

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