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As Han Solo acknowledged to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the Millennium Falcon may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, and that's been proven time and time again in both the original Star Wars trilogy and the sequel trilogy. But with Solo: A Star Wars Story turning the clock back to Han's younger years and showing, among other things, how he obtained the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian, that presented an opportunity to redesign arguably the most famous ship in a galaxy far, far away. This was a challenge that Solo design supervisor James Clyne and his team thoroughly embraced, and it sounds like they had a lot of fun pulling it off. Clyne explained:
I think the big exciting thing about doing a new Falcon was the question of, we all know what an old Millennium Falcon looks like, but what does the new Millennium Falcon look like? That was really exciting. What does a clean Millennium Falcon look like? I think that was the big thing that I always wanted to see going into the movie. As a kid, I just loved it for what it was. I thought it was perfect. But when it was proposed that you would see a cleaner, newer Lando version, I couldn't get more excited about and more scared about that prospect.
While the Millennium Falcon isn't a brand-new ship when we see it in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lando Calrissian poured a lot of resources into customizing it and keeping it looking spiffy. You can see some of the crazier Millennium Falcon designs that James Clyne and his team came up with over at StarWars.com, but the final choice is a nice blend of fresh and familiar. Nevertheless, the Millennium Falcon isn't just a popular element of the Star Wars franchise, it's also one of the most famous vehicles in science fiction, so needless to say that Clyne felt the pressure of making this early iteration of the spacecraft look great. Clyne continued:
There was a certain level of sheer terror in taking this on. I mean, it's like the most beloved thing you've ever seen in the Star Wars universe. It's like somebody asking you to change the Eiffel Tower or something.
Warning: SPOILERS for Solo: A Star Wars Story are ahead!
By the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Millennium Falcon looked a lot more like the ship we've known and love for years. The ship took a pounding while Han, Lando, Chewbacca, Qi'ra, and Tobias Becket navigated the Kessel Run, thus stripping it of its shiny exterior, and Han sacrificed the front-facing escape pod to elude the space monster attacking them, hence the reason for its forked front from that point forward. As for why the interior of the Millennium Falcon changed in the following decade, we can simply attribute that to wear and tear, as well as Han not caring as much about having it look luxurious like Lando did.