Being asked to create the definitive, canonical version of one of cinema’s most cherished and memorable space hot rods for its turn in Solo: A Star Wars Story may have yielded a pretty recognizable and cool Millennium Falcon design for the final movie, but creators went through tons of iterations before landing on the final version.
Designers played around with dozens of ideas for the look of the Falcon, while kicking around concepts that reference everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to 1970s American muscle cars to several of the other iconic spaceships that run back and forth across the Star Wars universe.
Check out some of the concepts’ nods to TIE fighters, B-wings, Y-wings, and real-world aircraft in the images below, which accompany a recent interview with Solo design supervisor James Clyne at the official Star Wars site.
Clyne admitted that reimagining the Falcon in its earlier, "cleaner" form was a frightening responsibility, but he sounded giddy about the opportunity to rummage through a grown-up toy box full of inspiration on the way to refining the final version.
“There was a certain level of sheer terror in taking this on. I mean, it’s like the most beloved thing you’ve ever seen in the Star Wars universe,” he said. “But... when it was proposed that you would see a cleaner, newer Lando version, I couldn’t get more excited about and more scared about that prospect.”
The aesthetic for the Falcon was always more about brawny aggression and less about restrained finesse, a trait Clyne said the team tried to evoke while still serving up a canonical design fans could at once recognize.
“[E]arly on I showed a lot of reference of muscle cars and ’70s bike culture, motorcycle culture, which is what goes into Enfys Nest and then just car culture,” he explained. “There were a lot of other things, too, like New York in the ‘80s punk rock.”
Check out Clyne’s full interview, as well as more of the Solo team’s design ideas design ideas, at the official site — then check out the Falcon itself in Solo: A Star Wars Story, now playing in theaters everywhere.