#starwarscanon – The Garbage Will Do: A Diegetic Look at the Millennium Falcon
The legendary Millennium Falcon, an element of the Star Wars narrative that is more a character than she is an object. Over the many stories in the Star Wars canon, the Falcon has received mixed reviews from various characters. Like other characters in the Star Wars saga, the Falcon undergoes character development over the course of the saga, as reflected through others expressing their opinions of the old Corellian YT-1300 freighter.
Before we go much further, let me take a moment to define diegetic. Diegetic is a term used to identify something that is “in universe” or perceived by the characters in the story itself. We are specifically looking at how other characters view the Falcon, not how readers or fans of Star Wars see the Falcon. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let us take a diegetic look at the Millennium Falcon throughout the Star Wars canon.
“It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.” – Han Solo, A New Hope
“She’s the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.” – Lando Calrissian, The Empire Strikes Back
From A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, we have two iconic quotes from two owners of the Millennium Falcon. Two people who love this ship and know what it can do. They are very aware that she is not pretty, at least cosmetically, but she’s got it where it counts.
“What a piece of junk!” – Luke Skywalker, A New Hope
“You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought.” – Princess Leia Organa, A New Hope
On the other hand, Luke and Leia’s first impressions of the Falcon are not quite as positive. The Falcon is not widely known, at least not in the circles that they travel in, so all they see is a ship that they have very little confidence in. Han even seems to secretly doubt the ships space worthiness when escaping the Death Star: “Hear me baby, hold together.”
Around the time of The Empire Strikes Back, in Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars, Nash Windrider even jokes that “no junkyard would accept [the Millennium Falcon].” While Ciena Ree kept her admiration for “clucky old ships” to herself, there still was an opinion that this ship was… well… a piece of junk.
However, those close to the Falcon would soon turn around, and begin to understand what makes her great. In Star Wars, Issue #001, C-3P0 sneaks in a quip about how the Falcon “continues to be so easily mistaken for garbage.” But shortly after, in Star Wars Issue #003, Leia successfully pilots the Falcon in an escape from Imperial Star Destroyers when Han is incapacitated. Leia proclaims, albeit to herself, “Maybe this ship isn’t so bad after all.” Though it may seem her opinion has changed in Issue #005 when she tells Han: “You’ll need a lot more than [spare parts] to ever fly that piece of junk. Try flying her into a star. That ought to do it.” While each reader will take this differently, it almost seems as if Leia is jealous of the ship, as Han has so much love and admiration for it.
In Han Solo, Issue #001, we can finally see that Leia has joined Han and Lando in their view of the ship. When the Rebellion needs a fast ship to enter the Dragon Void Run, a very old, very famous starship race, they call on Han to provide the Millennium Falcon. “Apart from it’s looking like a junk heap,” Leia says, a sentiment that echoes Lando’s. Yet, she needs a ship that can navigate and run the race, and she knows of no ship faster than the Falcon.
At some point after Return of the Jedi, the knowledge and admiration for the Millennium Falcon begins to change. In Greg Rucka’s Smugglers Run, Han Solo finds himself telling a tale of the Falcon to some thugs in a bar. At the conclusion of the story, Han and Chewbacca end up fighting off these thugs who want the Falcon for themselves, having heard rumors of her speed and power.
Much of the history of the Falcon between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens is unknown. We know from Rey’s dialogue that it changed hands a few times before it landed in the hands of Unkar Plutt. Star Wars: The Force Awakens Incredible Cross-Sections tells us that Unkar Plutt refused to let scavengers at her, convinced that the ship can still fly. With all the modifications he made to the ship, you can tell that this junk dealer took some pride her.
Rey provides the most telling reaction to the Millennium Falcon in The Force Awakens. She initially chooses not to grab the Falcon when trying to escape Jakku saying that the ship was garbage, but when “the garbage will do” became the only option for them, she found out first-hand what the ship can do. When she met Han Solo, it all became clear to her:
“This is the Millennium Falcon?… This is the ship that made the Kessel Run in fourteen parsecs…!” – Rey
While this statement from Ray appears as a fun throwback to A New Hope, this shows us how the legacy of the Millennium Falcon has gone beyond its former pilots. The tales of the Falcon’s speed and power have made it to the corners of the galaxy, and has made her as famous and as legendary as the Jedi who once began his lightsaber training onboard.
Let me know your thoughts by posting in the comments below. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also be found on Twitter (@starwarstce) and Instagram (@starwarstce). You can find our coverage of #starwarscanon stories at our YouTube channel Star Wars: The Canon Explained.
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