Solo: A Star Wars Story is a flawed and overly safe movie that fails overall at providing a compelling origin for everyone’s favorite space cowboy. Even so, it does include a scene that proves, yet again in the Star Wars universe, that the Millennium Falcon is the place in which characters achieve their true potential. There is a reason why the Empire, followed by the First Order, absolutely hate this ship – because there is at least one character in every Star Wars movie that it is featured who performs an act of heroism that proves to us the audience that they should be taken seriously.
The Falcon is mostly connected to Han Solo and Chewie, and while they both have to deal with snot-nosed Jedi’s in training calling it a hunk of junk, it’s this ship that holds a special place in the saga as the arena in which a lot of characters achieve their potential. It goes all the way back to A New Hope, in which Luke begins his training by getting familiar with the ways of the Force. It also gives Luke the platform to truly become part of the Rebellion as he guns down Tie-fighters with Han while Chewie makes their escape and let’s not forget that it is because of Han completing his arc from scoundrel to rebel as he saves Luke from Darth Vader, so he can take that all-important shot that destroys the Death Star.
For all of Solo’s faults, director Ron Howard knew that the scene in which Han becomes as close to the Han Solo we know, had to be during the famous Kessel Run in his and Chewie’s first time in the cockpit. The same goes for Rey in the new trilogy, as she is the first person we see pilot the Falcon in The Force Awakens, staking her claim as Chewie’s new co-pilot after Han’s tragic death. It’s also one of the many reasons that Billy Dee Williams is held in such high regard as Lando Calrissian, as he and Chewie spear-head the space battle in Return of the Jedi which culminates in them destroying the new Death Star.
The Falcon doesn’t just create the perfect arena for our heroes in battle, as Rian Johnson understood perfectly with The Last Jedi. One of the most moving and important scenes in The Last Jedi is when Luke boards the Falcon for the first time in years, reaching out to Leia and deciding to train Rey in his own way. The final battle in The Last Jedi merges two of the most powerful symbols of the whole franchise: Luke and the Millennium Falcon, and their power to inspire the whole galaxy, and prove that there is still hope in defeating Kylo Ren and the First Order.
It’s rare for a vehicle to have the power of the Millennium Falcon in pop culture, with only the Batmobile, James Bond’s Aston Martin, and The Doctor’s Tardis having even close to the same significance. Can you think of any more examples like this that have the power of the Falcon?
By Kevin Boyle
(header image courtesy of Variety)