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There's no denying that Solo: A Star Wars Story has been somewhat divisive amongst the fan base, and one of the sources of controversy is the creative liberties that have been taken with the design of the Millennium Falcon.
Does the new design (okay, so technically it's an older design) add to the rich backstory of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, or is it just a shameless merchandising cash grab? Well, whichever side of the fence you're on we're here to take a look at what's going on with our favourite YT-1300 freighter.
At the time of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Millennium Falcon was owned by Lando Calrissian, who has kept the ship in pristine condition with a gleaming white and blue paint job. Even the interior is in good order; not a missing panel or trailing power cable in sight.
The most immediately obvious thing about this design is that instead of the iconic forward mandibles we have a longer, tapered nose cone.
The forward area has long been believed to be used for cargo transport and storage. After all, the Millennium Falcon is a freighter. Perhaps the cargo hold used to be much bigger and damage forced a reconfiguration of the forward area? It's also possible that either Calrissian installed the streamlined cone as an aesthetic modification, or Han Solo removes it as part of the special modifications he makes to the ship himself.
Another theory is that the cone is actually some sort of secondary vessel or escape pod. This doesn't seem to be an entirely new idea, however, as seen in this unreleased Kenner mini rig concept from the 1980s.
Other differences include a single dorsal cannon instead of the famous quad cannons, and a sensor dish that lies flat against the hull of the ship. Maybe they just forgot the retract it during that attack run on the second Death Star, eh?
The Hasbro set released to accompany the movie features removable panels revealing a more worn surface below the paintwork, hinting that the Millennium Falcon is not likely to reach the end of Solo in the same condition we see in the trailers.
Solo: A Star Wars Story hits cinemas in the UK on 24 May 2018, and across the US on May 25.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh episode of the Star Wars saga. Production was announced by George Lucas in 2011, years after initially claiming that the story of Star Wars ended with Return of the Jedi. In 2012 Lucas sold Lucasfilm, along with the entire Star Wars franchise, to The Walt Disney Company who then assembled a new team to rework Episode VII to their own design. This marks the start of a new trilogy of Star Wars movies, and effectively reboots the franchise by casting off the old Star Wars Expanded Universe, opening the doors for new stories to take place in various media.
The film was widely anticipated and went on to break several box office records, and is currently the third highest grossing film of all time, behind Avatar and Titanic (unadjusted for inflation, as of February 2016). It won a Bafta for Best Special Visual Effects at the 2016 British Academy Film Awards, and was the American Film Institute's Movie of the Year for 2015.
The Force Awakens is set roughly 30 years after the end of Return of the Jedi and follows new heroes Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron, as they assist the the Resistance in the fight against the evil forces of the First Order, which has risen from the ashes of the defeated Galactic Empire.
So a few days ago, ILM released a link to their portfolio of concept art drafted up for The Force Awakens.
It's really quite interesting to see how closely the film actually got to these concepts... and which ones didn't.
Plus, the artwork is just freaking beautiful.