The Millennium Falcon: Not Just A Piece Of Junk

Quick – name the coolest spaceships ever to fly across a movie screen. Never mind, I’ll do it: Discovery One. Enterprise. Serenity.

But the one that tops the list, the coolest spacecraft by far, is the Millennium Falcon. And because of that, the students of Parkland High School in eastern Pennsylvania are the coolest kids around.

And these are some cool adults: Ryder Windham, Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas. Together they wrote and illustrated the Haynes Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual, published in the U.S. earlier this year.

Having worked on two previous publications about the Millennium Falcon, these guys know just about everything there is to know about the ship. “I don’t want to say that we know it better than anybody,” says Reiff, “but I think we’ve explored it as much as anybody has.”

Claiming Han Solo as its captain doesn’t hurt, but a big part of what makes the Millennium Falcon special is its distinctive look. “The Falcon was such a unique design at the time,” explains Trevas. Its shape alone, says Reiff, has become iconic. “You can just do a silhouette of it, and everybody knows right away what it is.”

He’s right — just look below at an aerial view of the aforementioned Parkland High School, the spitting image of Han’s ride of choice.

Unlike many of its sci-fi peers, the Falcon isn’t smooth and sexy on the surface. “It’s not pretending to be some super-sleek thing,” says Reiff. “It’s all about having everything hanging out and just going.”

A fun fact about the Millennium Falcon is that when it was first conceived, it looked nothing like the ship that made its debut in “A New Hope.” The original design for the Falcon became another entity entirely. “They had redesigned that whole ship because they thought it bared too much resemblance to the ships in the TV series ‘Space: 1999,’” Trevas explains. “Back then, the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit was on the front of Princess Leia’s ship. They took that cockpit off and put it onto the other model that we know now.”

The rest, as they say, is history. And it’s a history that’s been perpetuated by Windham, Reiff and Trevas. “It’s great to be able to contribute to the Star Wars universe in that way,” says Reiff. “We’re in a great spot to do that because we’re fans as well as doing this as a job.”

In The Comlink, “Star Wars” fan and MTV News producer Tami Katzoff explores the glory days of a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Whether you’re Team Jedi or Team Sith, friend of Wookiees or wanted by bounty hunters, any and all “Star Wars” fans are welcome along for the ride.