There's no doubting that the Millennium Falcon is one of the most famous spaceships in cinema and sci-fi history. It got Luke and Obi-Wan off of Tatooine, it helped destroy both Death Stars, it saved the lives of Rey and Finn, and it saved the entire Resistance movement on Crait.
It's a versatile vessel (like that alliteration?) that dates back to a time before both Lando Calrissian and Han Solo. Of course, this iconic Corellian freighter was modified a lot over the years by its various captains, who made different uses of it. Lando, a more fashionable fellow, installed an entire closet for his capes, whereas Solo, a smuggler with a disdain for the Empire, made illegal upgrades to the ship's weapons and speed systems.
All of this is laid out in a new book from Insight Editions, Star Wars: Millennium Falcon: Owner's Workshop Manual (out later this month) by Ryder Windham, Chris Trevas, and Chris Reiff. We were able to pick over the publication and choose some of the juiciest Star Wars tidbits about the special starship.
"We produced the book as an 'in-universe' Star Wars book, so if fans feel as if they're reading a manual that they bought at a starship repair shop at Mos Eisley spaceport, that would be very gratifying," Windham told SYFY WIRE.
Punch it, Chewie!
AP Falcon history:
It's hard to think about the Falcon in the hands of anyone but Lando and Han, but it did change ownership quite a few times, especially since it was built at least 90 years before the destruction of the First Order's Starkiller Base.
A lot of it was off the books, so there is no definitive record of who owned it when. At one point, however, it did come under possession of Republic Group, a collection of Rebellion sympathizers with connections to business holdings on Corellia and Coruscant, who helped the effort to overthrow Emperor Palpatine and his draconian regime.
Han's nifty modifications:
In addition to illegally upgrading the ship's blaster cannons, Han also installed an anti-theft device that returned the Falcon to its place of origin if a burglar ever tried to activate the hyperdrive. Despite this nifty precaution, the book notes, Solo still had his ship stolen by Gannis Ducain.
To outrun Imperial vessels, Han tweaked the ship's hyperdrive to allow for a controlled warp of the space-time continuum around the Millennium Falcon. This makes it incredibly fast at light speed, something other pilots have tried to emulate. Sadly, they've exploded into millions of tiny, subatomic pieces in the attempt.
"Chris Trevas and I spend hours talking through how completely fictional systems might work so that the illustrations we do feel right and make sense," Reiff said. "Those discussions don't always translate directly to text in the book, but they inform the work we do and how 'real' the systems like the engines and escape pod racks seem."
The "Reverse" Holdo Maneuver:
There is a question in the Star Wars universe that pops up again and again. Why don't starships traveling at light speed smash into other ships or planetary bodies? The book provides a simple explanation.
Even in hyperspace, ships, planets, asteroids, and more cast shadows, which can be detected by "astrogation" computers and/or droids. A pilot would be incredibly foolish to make the jump to light speed without a course plotted by such a computer/droid, which can guide the ship around the aforementioned obstacles. A pilot must also be sure that their astrogation charts are up to date.
A "most peculiar dialect"
Thanks to Solo: A Star Wars Story, you know that L3-37's brain was uploaded into the Falcon, so that Han could use her navigational knowledge to make the Kessel Run. What you might not know is that L3's mind was actually an amalgam of different droids (mainly those for protocol and espionage) and tailor-made coding.
The book notes that all of these "brains" in one robotic skull were always at odds with one another, which is why C-3PO notes that Han's ship has a "most peculiar dialect" in The Empire Strikes Back while interfacing with the Falcon's computer.
As we learned in the special features from the Solo Blu-Ray, L3 was always improving herself with evolution-worthy upgrades that would make Charles Darwin very proud.
To keep the Falcon off the grid as much as possible, Han and Chewbacca were able to trick Imperial scanners into reading their ship as a drone barge or Imperial research craft. For added precaution, they also registered the Falcon under hundreds of different noms de plume, such as "Sunfighter Franchise," "Close Shave," and "Victory Ring."
"I liked figuring out the evolution of the ship from the factory to Lando’s custom version to Han’s battered and patched-up 'hunk of junk,'" Travis offered. "We made sure there were reasons for things being the way they are. No subject was too small, like Lando’ s more luxurious bathroom (or ‘refresher,’ as it’s called in Star Wars terminology) compared to the stock version that Han converted back to. Lando was much more concerned with style, while Han was enamored with the mechanics of it."
Star Wars: Millennium Falcon: Owner's Workshop Manual goes on sale everywhere Nov. 27.