When the marketing for Solo: A Star Wars Story first started ramping up, fans were quick to point out that the Millennium Falcon, one of the most famous ships in the galaxy, looked an awful lot different than the version we first became accustomed to in 1977. Part of that has to do with the fact that the ship is in Lando Calrissian's possession during the events of Solo, but why does Han make all of those changes to it once he becomes the owner? We're here to break that down.
Warning: major spoilers ahead for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Last chance to turn back before we dig into some of the core plot points and big reveals. This movie finally shows us the famed Kessel Run, which is one of the things that Han and the Falcon are most famous for. At the time of that particular event, the ship was still in Lando's possession, but Han and Chewie were the ones in the cockpit piloting her through some of the roughest terrain in space. That being the case, what was a gorgeous and arguably flawless ship took a major beating during the course of the Kessel Run. That largely explains why Han had to fix her up after winning her from Lando in the famed game of Sabacc at the end of the movie.
One of the biggest inconsistencies is the fact that the version of the Falcon we see in Solo has a solid front end as opposed to having an empty space between the forward mandibles. So what was this attachment on the front of the ship and why is it gone when we first see the Falcon in A New Hope? At one point during the Kessel Run, the gang finds themselves in trouble and they need to distract an unreasonably giant space monster. In order to accomplish that, Han decides to eject the escape pod from the ship, which happens to be that big bit at the end that was filling in the empty space. Jon Kasdan, who co-write the script along with Empire Strikes Back scribe and his father, Lawrence Kasdan, had this to say in February prior to the movie's release.
"Where Han gave it a certain shabby coolness and a dinged up quality that reflected where he was at that point in his life, this Falcon reflects its owner very clearly in its shape and aesthetic and his needs, even if those needs be a little more space to entertain...One of the things Larry [Kasdan] and I had talked about was the Falcon should always reflect the personality of its captain."
Indeed, in that respect, they succeed. The Falcon, when in Lando's possession, certainly reflects his personality, cape room and all. When Han has it, it's a much more dirty, grimy and unsuspecting ship. He's a smuggler, after all. The last thing he needs is some Imperial troopers digging around in his very suspicious cape room. The important thing is, the latest Star Wars standalone adds to the mythology of the Falcon and manages to not screw up the history of the ship that has already been established previously.