You’re braver than I thought

The other really great thing about the Millennium Falcon‘s shooting model (yes, I’m still on about that) is all the detail the creators put into it — wear and tear that, again, would never be visible on-screen but went a long way toward creating a convincing film. Even in remastered high-definition form, the Falcon doesn’t look like a miniature. No doubt the fact that it was a four-foot model factors in there, but you can’t say the same about the television Enterprise, which was even larger. But the Enterprise was pristine and smooth; the Falcon is a jumbled mess of tacked-on parts, exposed inner surfaces, and fender-bender damage. Like back here:

How does a spaceship end up with crumpled edges like that? I can only assume Han bumped into a light pole while he was backing out of a tight parking space.

More details no one would ever see in the movie: These aft vent covers or whatever look like the vents on a old metal screen that’s about three years overdue for replacement after being abused by rambunctious kids on a playground. In reality, these vents are about four inches across. It’s not just that the model-makers poured a lot of information and detail into the ship, it’s that the process must have been meticulous and excruciating due to the scale of the work.

There are even huge, open weapon bolt punctures on the port side of the main body. I have no idea what this part of the ship is supposed to be, but presumably this means there’s a hold or room of the Falcon that’s perpetually open to vacuum that no one ever mentions. This falls somewhere along the lines of writing up a character bio full of details that never appear in a story. The reader or viewer may not know those details, but the fact that you put that kind of thought into it means a lot to its underlying substance.

And this model is why Star Wars was really good, despite… well, everything. Before it became about merchandising and expanded universe novels, it was just about creating a thoughtful sci-fi reimagining of classic fantasy tropes.

7 thoughts on “You’re braver than I thought

  1. I’ve never seen the detail on those dinged-up rear vent covers before – how in the hell did the model makers even pull that off?

    I’d like to think that Han and Chewie just stuck an upside-down Tupperware bin beneath those blast holes and let the Falcon’s internal air pressure hold it in place as a seal against the vacuum outside.

  2. Those vents alone look better than any vehicle or set in the entire prequel trilogy. I get that they wanted stuff to look shiny and new in the pre-empire era but the earthy, lived-in feel of the original trilogy is just way cooler… Most of that model was probably taken off of some actual piece of industrial machinery.

    • Yeah, that’s the one thing that’s always bugged the hell out of me that nobody ever mentions. It’s not like the real Star Wars movies have some post-apocalyptic thing going on, so you can’t argue these are designs we’ve lost the technology to reproduce.

      You could excuse the disparity with the rebel ships easily enough with the argument that they were hastily slapped together from whatever materials are at hand, and stand them next to streamlined stuff… except oh wait, look at what the empire is running with. There is no plausible reason people would go from finely detailed mirror polished glitzy ships to the giant triangular bricks that are star destroyers… or for that matter, from those sucky little stick-limbed droids and forcefield ball things to great boxes on wobbly legs that collapse if they hit an unexpected bungie cord. Even if you could argue that there was a sudden production rush and they couldn’t spare effort on the aesthetics (which, again, you totally can’t. Giant prospering empire at the height of its power with no real external threats here), the imperial shuttles there are the equivalent of luxury limo, and even they seem at least several decades behind anything in the prequels.

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