How the Solo: A Star Wars Story VFX Team Designed an Early Millennium Falcon

Han and Chewie are both great, but they share the screen with another serious Star Wars icon. Solo: A Star Wars Story rolled back the clocked to reveal some iconic moments from the franchise’s legacy. Chief among them was the unveiling of a retro Millennium Falcon. Industrial Light and Magic were charged with creating the new design and have now released a behind the scenes glimpse at how and why the changes were made.

Before Solo was even released, director Ron Howard told EW, “The Falcon is a character in the movie, without a doubt.” The story takes place years before A New Hope, so there were obviously some necessary adjustments that needed to be made. Solo skips back to the time before Han (Alden Ehrenreich) even owned the Falcon and just before that famous Kessel Run. They would go through a lot more together before the rise of Darth Vader, which needed to be apparent on screen.

Designers created 30 concepts before settling on a final design. The changes couldn’t be simply aesthetic. They had to be purposeful and have a reasonable path to bring us to the look from the original trilogy. VFX Supervisor Patrick Tubach said, “In the same way that this is the origin story of a young Han Solo, this is the origin story of the Falcon as well.”

That origin begins with the Falcon being a ship custom created by Lando (Donald Glover). It later becomes a reflection of Han’s personality, but first is shaped by its original owner. Once Han gets his hands on it, however, it takes some immediate damage. That includes losing some of the paneling and, of course, ditching the escape pod to reveal the recognizable silhouette of the double fins at the back.

We saw a lot of this metamorphosis in the film, but this clip is a great refresher if you didn’t catch everything. It also shows just how much work goes into bringing a movie legend from imagination to the screen.

Featured Image: Millenium Falcon in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios


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