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The Millennium Falcon is one of the most iconic spaceships in movie history, but how much do you really know about it?
We’ve collected some little-known facts about everyone’s favorite smuggling ship, including the origin story of the gold dice in the Falcon’s cockpit, and who actually does the cooking in Leia’s shipboard kitchen. Read on, and wow your friends with some deep cut Star Wars trivia—just in time for the Han Solo spinoff movie.
10 things you didn’t know about the Millennium Falcon
1) The Millennium Falcon shares something in common with the ‘Doctor Who’ TARDIS
Unlike the TARDIS, this was a total accident. The film’s interior sets, built for getting the right camera angles, just don’t match the models of the Falcon’s outer structure. This fact presents some difficulty for anyone building scale models (like the Lego Millennium Falcon) or drawing cutaway diagrams of the ship.
2) There’s a canon explanation for the dice in the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit
Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed a fun Easter egg in the original Star Wars trilogy: a pair of gold dice hanging in the Falcon’s cockpit. (It was the 1970s after all.)
It turns out their placement was more than a timely joke. The dice are a reference to the backstory of Han winning the Falcon from Lando Calrissian during a game of Sabacc.
3) The ship includes a kitchen for Leia—but not so she can cook
Leia isn’t really the housewife type, but she is a princess, and that means she’s used to eating good food. Han, on the other hand, probably lives on the space equivalent of pre-packaged truckstop sandwiches. According to the visual guide book for The Force Awakens, Han installed a galley kitchen in the Millennium Falcon as a wedding present for Leia. Here’s what it looks like:
Author Jason Fry explained that Leia wouldn’t be doing the cooking herself, and the kitchen is there “so someone else could use it to make something that Leia might want to eat.”
“Leia’s a military leader, so I don’t see her as finicky. But she grew up as a member of the royal house of Alderaan and served in the Imperial Senate. Those months eating Corellian TV dinners and reheated Wookiee goulash on the Falcon had to rankle—and I imagined that later they’d become a humorous bone of contention between her and Han.”
Fry imagined that Chewie might do the cooking, or possibly a food preparation droid. Leia only uses the kitchen to make coffee, because she’s too busy saving the galaxy.
4) One fan is taking his Millennium Falcon obsession to an impressive new level
Despite the logistical discrepancies of the Falcon’s weird dimensions, someone is building a scale model in real life. The fan, named Chris Lee, has been working on the ship since 2005, gradually assembling the structure in a field in Tennessee. When (or if) he ever finishes it, it’s going to be a seriously awesome tourist attraction.
5) The holographic game table belongs to Chewbacca
The Falcon’s holographic game table is for a game called Dejarik, a cross between chess and Robot Wars. Players battle each other with holograms of eight alien monsters, and Chewie is apparently a big fan. Each of the eight creatures has its own name and strategic abilities, because Star Wars can never resist adding as much background detail as humanly possible.
6) How the Millennium Falcon got its iconic shape
Han’s ship originally looked like the Tantive IV, Leia’s diplomatic ship from A New Hope and the end of Rogue One. But according to the Star Wars website, this looked too similar to a ship in the movie Space 1999, so the filmmakers quickly had to invent a different design. The Millennium Falcon’s flat, lemon-shaped hull was the result of one day’s brainstorming, the shortest time the designers worked on any ship in the film. It feels oddly appropriate for the Falcon, a cobbled-together smuggling ship that’s deceptively fast.
7) The Millennium Falcon’s origin story starts long before Han Solo
We know that Han won the Falcon in a game of Sabacc, but that’s not where the ship’s story began. It’s a Corellian YT-1300f freighter, which Han and Chewie modified so it could famously make the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs. (They also added some hefty firepower like concussion missiles and a blaster cannon, because smuggling ships need more guns than an ordinary freighter.) Han himself is Corellian, which may explain why he feels right at home in this particular ship.
According to this extremely nerd Millennium Falcon modeling book, the Falcon was built more than 90 years before the events of The Force Awakens. So, it’s at least 25 years older than Han himself. Speaking of which…
8) The Millennium Falcon has a cameo in the prequel trilogy
Chronologically speaking, the Millennium Falcon makes its first appearance during Revenge of the Sith.
It shows up for a cameo appearance on Coruscant, although we never find out who was flying it at the time. (Certainly not Han, who was still a little kid at that point.)
9) What happened to the Millennium Falcon’s satellite dish?
The Falcon’s satellite dish—or rather, its sensor dish—is one of those little details that Star Wars fans love to point out. The dish in question is very visible in the original trilogy, placed on top of the hull:
The dish got knocked off when Lando piloted the Falcon into the Death Star in Return of the Jedi. And for some reason, fans became obsessed with what happened next. When the ship reappeared in The Force Awakens, the dish had been replaced by a curved, rectangular model. Which, as it turns out, was borrowed from the same model as Leia’s Tantive IV, the original design for the Falcon. What goes around comes around.
10) Han and Chewie may have never cleaned the Falcon
While Han Solo made technical improvements to boost the Falcon’s performance, the first trailer for the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story shows he never really bothered to clean the ship. The Han Solo standalone movie takes place when Han is a young man from ages 18 to 24. We meet him again at age 29 in A New Hope. Somehow, in those few years, the Millennium Falcon goes from pristine to a grimy dump.
We know you’re busy having space adventures, Han, but would it kill you to do a little tidying up once in a while?
11) The Millennium Falcon is on Google Maps
An eagle-eyed Google Maps user found what appears to be the Millennium Falcon hiding in plain sight at Longcross Studios, a production facility outside of London, where some of the filming for The Last Jedi took place. The surrounding shipping containers might have prevented random passersby from discovering the old piece of junk, but its iconic shape is unmistakable from satellite.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor