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The Change To The Millennium Falcon Harrison Ford Noticed Immediately

Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

When Harrison Ford sat at the helm of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: The Force Awakens it had been a long time for both the actor and the character he played. However, the actor still noticed one thing that was off about the new set. J.J Abrams recently told a story about one place where the set builders actually made an improvement to the Falcon's controls which the actor immediately recognized. The Falcon's two control yokes were of an entirely new design which included springs so they would stay in place this time.

While digital effects have become a major way for films to create that which isn't real, Star Wars: The Force Awakens still decided to do a lot of their effects practically. This meant that when it came time to recreate the iconic Millennium Falcon, the set was rebuilt to resemble the original one in every possible detail. However, at the recent Milken Global Conference (via The Wrap) J.J. Abrams told a story in which he admitted that the new set wasn't exactly the same. Apparently, because the original Star Wars had to run on such a low budget, the original control yolks, the devices that steer the ship, weren't built with any springs that stayed in place. As Abrams tells the story, Harrison Ford noticed the change immediately upon sitting at the controls again.

While it's difficult to tell while watching the original Star Wars trilogy, both seats of the Millennium Falcon have control sticks that come out from the ship's dashboard. Leia is using them to fly the ship in this shot from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back seen below.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

It would seem that originally these controls were designed to look good, but not actually react in the way that actual flight controls would. This may explain why we rarely actually see Han Solo or anybody else, actually use them on screen during the original trilogy. The illusion that the Millennium Falcon was being flown through space would have severely damaged if the controls actually looked like set dressing rather than real yokes.

I think we can all agree that while the authenticity of the recreated Falcon is important, this is one place where change was a good thing. There's nothing wrong with spending a few extra bucks to make the set feel more real, even if it technically wasn't part of the original design.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.