With the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story new characters were introduced to us that will forever be a part of the Star Wars galaxy. There was also an old character that took on a new appearance: the Millennium Falcon. But from the vast amount of characters in Star Wars, the unsung hero of that group, in my opinion, is the Falcon. The Falcon has taken our heroes from Vandor to Kessel to Savareen to Tatooine to the first Death Star to Yavin IV to Hoth to Cloud City (via an asteroid belt) back to Tatooine to the Endor moon to Jakuu to Takodana to Starkiller Base to D’Qar and then to Crait. And that’s just in the movies!
When I first thought of writing about the Falcon as its own character, I’d tossed around the idea of is the Falcon sentient. Could a piece of machinery become sentient? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary one who is sentient is capable of feeling; having perception. One could argue that the Falcon has both, but they are artificially manufactured by the Corellian Engineering Corporation. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we agree the Falcon is not sentient. Combining the personalities of one strong-willed, self-built droid with an old Corellian freighter was a stroke of brilliance in my opinion by the Kasdans. It gave an old character a new dimension in a way that is original and makes sense.
I’m not going to attempt to pursued anyone into thinking the Falcon is sentient, but like any old car or piece of machinery, they can develop their own personalities. From what we know of Solo: A Star Wars Story, and knowing what we know now about the Falcon’s connection to L3-37 (see the Solo novelization for an expanded scene), I’d say it was a melding of two types of personalities into one machine. I’ve heard some discussions about how L3 wouldn’t go out that way if she had the chance to decide for herself. That L3 would pursue a more independent lifestyle. Maybe, maybe not, but I’d like to think that she would give herself up to protect Lando in any way necessary.
Working in a machine shop for most of my working career, and having owned a few used cars, I’ve been around my fair share of machinery with different temperaments. Day-to-day, I’d never know what I’d have to deal with. Will she run okay and cooperate or will she decide she didn’t want to work today? When it came to my job, sometimes I’d get a of little both, depending on the temperature and humidity of the room, or the tooling I had available. New tooling didn’t always mean it was guaranteed to work. I was better off using worn in tooling but not too old either. Working with machines can be extremely finicky and particular work where close enough is all you can do to get the results you need. When Han says, “C’mon baby, hold it together,” or “That’s not it. Bring me the hydro-spanner!” I found this so relatable as I’ve said this to myself more than a few times.
From Lando’s ownership in Solo to Chewbacca piloting the Falcon over Crait in The Last Jedi, flying from one end of the galaxy to the other the Falcon has seen just about everything. So why did it take me until now to think of the Falcon as a character? Partially it’s from learning about its connection to L3, and partly it’s from the amount of Falcon we got in Solo and seeing it in its earliest form (the Easter Egg in Revenge of the Sith notwithstanding). It finally hit me when the Falcon was impounded on Vandor with its escape pod securely in place, this is the earliest we’re seeing her and we know what she’ll go through over the next few decades. Faulty hyperdrive and all.
I read somewhere recently that the word sentient is being overused (I agree), and that the question really is, does it have a soul? This brings me back to my point earlier in that machinery can have a personality, but a soul, probably not.
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