The Millennium Falcon is my Thing: Wonderful news from Disney’s D23 Expo

Stunning is all I have to say about the news out of Disney regarding Star Wars.  Everyone who reads here and knows me understands that I am a Star Wars fan.  They know that my primary love in life is that of mythology and the power of it.  That one of my great personal teachers was the maverick professor at Sarah Lawrence College—Joseph Campbell and that I spent many of my formative years associating with the Joseph Campbell Foundation of which George Lucas was one of the Board of Directors.  And I have said on many occasions that I think the new Star Wars films, and all the books and media that will follow will reshape our modern culture not only regionally, but globally. There is tremendous power in Star Wars and Disney’s marketing machine will only accentuate that in glorious ways that only capitalism can fully extract.  The news around the upcoming film The Force Awakens is exciting.  But that’s not all, a whole slate of new films following that one are upcoming.  All the mythology that the previous six Star Wars films have produced over the last 30 years will soon be eclipsed by the six new films in the pipeline produced over the next six years.  And supporting those will be all new novels, video games, commercial products but best of all a new Star Wars land at the Disney parks.  Click here to read some of my previous work on this topic.  I predicted this a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away. 

For me the biggest news of this century which has stirred in me a delight that is quite epic is the information that not only will Disney build a 14 acre Star Wars specific land in both the Anaheim location and Orlando location, but that a full-sized Millennium Falcon will be present.  That is a game changer in these films that I have been wanting to see my entire life.  And now I’m going to get to see it.   At the D23 Expo over this last weekend Bob Iger released the details and showed the concept art and that just did it for me.  I have been in love with the Millennium Falcon since I was very young and it may actually be stronger today than even when I was a kid because not only through the movies, but the many novels, I have spent a lot of time on that ship in my head—and I completely understand the world it traverses through.  I am very happy that Disney as a company has done precisely what I said they would do with the Star Wars acquisition when they first bought it in 2012 and at the heart of it they intend to keep the Millennium Falcon a central character to the entire saga.

Honestly if Jesus Christ came again to judge the living and the dead on judgment day and I had a chance to attend that or to go see the Millennium Falcon in real life, I would choose the Falcon.  I am pretty stoic when it comes to controlling my emotions.  I don’t get crazy about many things—especially sad things. But I do allow myself to feel elation over positive things, and I really don’t know how I will handle seeing a Millennium Falcon in real life—seriously.  When the place opens I may take a week of vacation just to reside in that land day after day soaking up everything—because I love the Star Wars mythology from top to bottom—and within that world I have a love of the Millennium Falcon that is central to that passion.  Still to this day, out of all the successes and experiences I’ve had—which are quite extraordinary, things I’ve won and achieved—one of the best memories I have ever had was seeing the real life model of the Millennium Falcon in the Smithsonian in 1997.  I really felt when I put my hands against the glass that I had died and gone to heaven.  It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever put my eyes on.  Given that context I really don’t know how I’ll react to seeing a model of the Falcon in full-scale that I can walk up to and see close.

Han Solo is the modern embodiment of the classic western cowboy.  His quick draw pistol is famous within the Star Wars storyline and his super fast Millennium Falcon gives a tip of the hat to two film genres, the classic car hot rod and a gun fighting cowboy.  Those two things are just impossible not to like—and to top that off, the Falcon was a pirate ship within that galaxy—so I’m not the only one who finds the Millennium Falcon appealing.  I was amazed to see Harrison Ford on stage at D23, and that it was Han Solo who made the cut on the new poster for The Force Awakens.  There will be a new film about specifically Han Solo as a young 20 something that will be exciting, so there is a lot of news coming from Disney to be excited about for—particularly for Millennium Falcon fans.  I know how I feel about all this information, so I can’t help but think of the scientific implications of it.

As recently as last week I was thinking of a way to build a real Millennium Falcon as a real usable space vessel moving to and from earth to explore the reaches of space.  I really don’t think we are that far away, and one design with sentimental value is as good as any other.  The Falcon offers a lot of options for deep space travel particularly in its circular design.  A change of scenery is important when spending a lot of time in space, and the Falcon is cleverly designed for just such an experience.

Also announced at D23 was the new photo for Rogue One which showed Felicity Jones as the main actress standing among a group of daredevils and hackers about to steal the Death Star plans leading up to the original Star Wars film,  A New Hope.  As I looked at that I couldn’t help but wonder if she wasn’t playing Bria Tharen who was one of Han Solo’s girl friends from the Expanded Universe.  If she was her back story could easily be a part of the stand alone Han Solo film coming on May 25th 2018.  I’m already in line!  Likely being that young, Han Solo wouldn’t yet have the Millennium Falcon, but I’m sure it will make an appearance in that film as the ship owned by Lando Calrissian.   It is obvious that Disney, knowing the popularity of the vessel is finding ways to put it in most of the new Star Wars films in some support role or another.  There will also be a Boba Fett film and in that story I’m sure he will be chasing around a younger Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon—so there is a theme emerging that is quite justifiable in placing a full-sized Falcon in the center of the new Star Wars land at Disney.

Knowing the effect the Falcon has had on me I shudder to think of what effect it will have on a new generation who can actually walk up and touch it.  I got goose bumps the first time I saw new footage of the Falcon in a hangar on the Star Tours ride in Orlando.  Part of the ride flies off behind the popular vessel in a dog fight and I was blasted with excitement in just seeing it sit there.  For my birthday this year we went to Dave & Busters just so I could fly the Falcon in the video game there exclusive to the popular gaming destination.  But these are all images that take imagination to enjoy.  They are not something you can put your hands on and feel.  Disney is now taking that step and I am emphatically excited about it.  I think the influence it will have on science for years to come will be extraordinary.  These new films will open up the mythology in ways that nobody thought was possible before and the effect they will have on civilization will be extremely powerful.  Being able to reach out and touch it will just make it that much more influential as a mythic device.  So yes, there is a lot of good news floating around out there.  But for me, nothing is more exciting than the D23 news coming out of Disney.  I would pay $100,000 just to see an actual movie prop of the Falcon on set.  I would spend unknown amounts to see one all dressed up at Disney World.  The Millennium Falcon is my thing—and I share that with a lot of other enthusiasts. It was probably the best thing that Disney could have done with Star Wars—and they are just getting started.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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