Han Solo’s trusty starship the Millennium Falcon has helped the space smuggler and his friends escape numerous brushes with disaster, but before Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters, the origins of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy remained largely a mystery.
When we first met the Falcon in 1977’s Star Wars, which takes place years after the events of Solo, the ship is already worse for wear. “Most of us are used to seeing the Millennial Falcon as this dirty, falling apart ship that happens to barely escape by the skin of its teeth,” says PEOPLE’s Entertainment Projects Editor Mary Green.
Luke Skywalker agreed on his first time inside spaceship, exclaiming, “What a piece of junk!”
Solo, starring Alden Ehrenreich in the role originally played by Harrison Ford, promises to feature a newer, shinier Falcon that still has that fresh starship smell. The film also explores how Solo came to pilot it, which we already know has something to do with him beating the ship’s original owner, Lando Carlissian (played in the film by Donald Glover), in a high stakes card game.
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Star Wars nerds will also recognize some details about the Falcon from previous films and other official materials from the Star Wars universe. For instance, the vessel is a YT-1300 Corellian light freighter, designed by the Corellian Engineering Corporation on Solo’s home planet of Corellia. We also know from past films that the ship is heavily modified, making it extra durable and, most importantly, fast.
Which brings us to the famous Kessel Run, a smuggler’s shipping route Solo uses in the franchise’s first film to brag about his ship’s speed. While trying to impress Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker about the Falcon, Solo proudly declares, “It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs!” (Parsecs are a fictional unit of time).
In a DVD commentary for Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, George Lucas explains that the parsecs are due to the Millennium Falcon’s advanced navigational computer rather than its engines, so the navigational computer would calculate much faster routes than other ships could.
Check out the galaxy’s most famous bucket of bolts in Solo: A Star Wars Story, in theaters now.