While history is being made about the real-life SpaceX Falcon Heavy, a different spaceship — the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars — has been totally redesigned. But, angry fans who think the new design might violate canon can hold their Canto Bight space horses. The design for the new/old Falcon in Solo: A Star Wars Story is a deep dive since before the dawn of canon.
On Wednesday, the official Star Wars Show on YouTube revealed that the fresher, newer design for the Millennium Falcon in Solo was specifically taken from Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art done before the original Star Wars. The new Star Wars Show confirmed that the design was “heavily inspired by Ralph McQuarrie … including having the radar dish pointing up.”
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, director Ron Howard said of the change: “I wonder what that could be? … You’ll have to see. The Falcon is a character in the movie, without a doubt. That machine is a defining factor in Han’s future.” Meaning, not only was the design change done on purpose, but it serves something greater about the plot.
Hopefully, this explanation and reassurance from Howard will settle a strange debate that has been brewing online in which some fans claim this version of the Falcon somehow violates canon because tiny versions of other Corellian freighters were glimpsed in a background scene of Revenge of the Sith. To be clear, these versions of Corellian freighters — the same model as the Falcon — are very small on screen, and this is the same movie in which we learn that baby Leia could, in no way, remember her mother.
Interestingly, this is the second sci-fi prequel in two years to use an early Ralph McQuarrie design for an important spaceship. The other one wasn’t for Star Wars, but instead, Star Trek. Back in 2016, when the design for the USS Discovery was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, that starship was confirmed to be based on a McQuarrie production painting created for a possible souped-up version of the Enterprise for a Star Trek project in the Seventies.
At this rate, if a new spaceship is coming out in a movie or TV series, we should start raiding old McQuarrie paintings and books ahead of time to see what it will look like. Maybe Elon Musk should take note. This is what his Falcon could look like.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is out everywhere on May 18, 2018.