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!

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.

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.

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.

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

Lando's Lavish Exterior Is Stripped Away

Over the course of Solo, almost all of Lando's hard work is stripped away. Sometimes it's overt - the single gun turret is damaged, the sensor dish is lost. Other times, though, it's more subtle. By the end of Solo, the Falcon's exterior is actually shabbier than ever before, with all the plating torn away during firefights and crash-landings. The Falcon even loses its landing pads when Han pulls one particularly insane maneuver.

But there's a sense in which this makes the Falcon even more attractive to Han. He has a chance to start from scratch, and adapt the Falcon to suit his own desires. Some things he'll replace, some things he'll upgrade, and others he'll simply ignore. He can truly turn the Millennium Falcon into the ship he wants to call home.

Why Doesn't Han Replace The Falcon's Features?

There's a neat parallel with one of the official Star Wars novels, Rae Carson's Most Wanted. Set shortly before the events of Solo, this novel sees Han steal a speeder that's been modified to be as flashy as possible. Han views these modifications with disdain; in his view, a speeder is made to go fast, nothing more and nothing less. In exactly the same way, he'd consider many of Lando's more ostentatious elements as unnecessary. That exterior plating wouldn't be needed, a smaller sensor dish is less likely to be lost again, and why would Han bother to spend credits on paintwork? That probably explains why the retractable shielding over the exhausts hasn't been replaced, too.

Better weapons, though, would be an absolute must. Lando is more of a lover than a fighter, and as a result his Falcon only had the single gun turret. As Lucasfilm design supervisor James Clyne noted, "Han's like, 'I've got to get a little more up here, I'm getting chased more these days.'" No wonder Han had two quad turrets installed. Most interestingly, Han also added a concussive missile launcher up front where Lando's escape pod should be.

It's fascinating that Han prioritized installing those concussive missile launchers over replacing the escape pod. This is a statement of love on his part, a declaration of how much he cares about his ship. Like any good captain, he'll go down with the Falcon rather than desert her. It's true that the Falcon did have an escape pod at the rear by The Force Awakens, but there's no evidence that existed during the Original Trilogy, so it was presumably added at a time when Han had far more to lose.

All this isn't to say Han didn't install some new systems. Prioritizing speed, Han may well have had the engines customized to make the Falcon run more efficiently. While Han's not averse to a fight, his preferred course of action in the face of overwhelming force is to cut and run. Notice that, in A New Hope, it's the Falcon's speed Han chooses to brag about.

Underestimating the Falcon

But why would Han ultimately allow the Falcon to look so shabby? Partly it may be that credits were hard to come by, and he simply had to choose repairing the engines to getting the paintwork done. But Alden Ehrenreich has suggested another reason. "It’s safer in the galaxy to fly something that looks like a piece of junk," he explained in an interview. "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."

Lando is a showman; he wanted to be seen, and so he maintained the Falcon's exterior with loving care, doing everything within his power to create an impression. In contrast, Han is a smuggler, a man who prefers to be underestimated. If people think the Falcon is just a hunk of junk, they won't expect her to pack a quad turret or to pull off a surprising turn of speed. It's actually in Han's interest to make the Falcon look pretty decrepit, just so she can take people by surprise.

By the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story, all exterior trace of Lando's ownership has gone. Han is left with a tabula rasa, a clean slate to work on. He and Chewie are both tinkerers; Han cobbled together that speeder at the beginning of the film himself. As a result, Han revels in the opportunity to recreate the Falcon as the ship he believes she needs to be.

More: Solo: A Star Wars Story Spoilers Discussion

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