When he first saw Han Solo’s ship, Luke Skywalker called the Millennium Falcon “a piece of junk.” The iconic ship would soon prove it’s worth, but Luke does have a point. The Falcon in the original trilogy is really beaten up, so it was quite surprising to see a shiny, less-damaged Falcon in Solo: A Star Wars Story. However, the snazzy ship almost looked even more fly, as alternate designs for the Falcon reveal.
We came this close to having a Millennium Falcon that had flame decals on it.
This post contains one minor spoiler for Solo.
James Clyne, the design supervisor for Solo: A Star Wars Story, explained what went into the Falcon’s redesign for a post on StarWars.com. It was a tricky task, since the Falcon — as originally designed by Ralph McQuarrie — is an iconic and beloved ship. The different, earlier incarnation of the classic ship needed to feel distinct while remaining the Falcon fans know and love.
“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?” Clyne said. “All the things that we know and love about Han Solo’s ship is underneath that. That was kind of the starting off point.”
“There was a certain level of sheer terror in taking this on,” he continued. “I mean, it’s like the most beloved thing you’ve ever seen in the Star Wars universe. It’s like somebody asking you to change the Eiffel Tower or something.”
Many of the unused designs start with the basic Falcon silhouette, but then Clyne and his team added bits of other Star Wars crafts to it.
Ultimately, there weren’t too many dodads or accessories on the final design. The biggest change was that the gap in the middle of the ship was filled in with an escape pod, which ends up being a plot point when Han ejects the pod in order to escape from the Maw while doing the Kessel run.
“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?” Clyne recalled. “Was there something that was supposed to go there?”
This is all well and good, and it’s always interesting to see the design process behind big movies like this, but later in the post, Clyne reveals that we almost had a Falcon with flame decals.
Clyne encouraged his team of artists to use muscle cars as inspiration for bulked up hulls and paint schematics, even jokingly rendering the Falcon emblazoned with flames and another souped up like a Pontiac Trans Am. “I think everybody was just at that point like, ‘OK, are they blue stripes, are they yellow stripes, or are they red stripes?’ And I just threw this into one of our reviews. Very Smokey and the Bandit… I think everybody got a good laugh and I was able to lighten things up a little bit.”
Do flame decals belong in the Star Wars universe? Maybe not, but perhaps they should. I mean, look how bitchin’ this whip is!
Solo: A Star Wars Story is now in theaters.