Posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2013 by Peter Sciretta
How Did Han Solo Make the Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs, Or Did He?
In Episode IV: A New Hope, Han Solo convinces Obi-Wan that his ship, the Millenium Falcon, is fast enough to get to Alderaan by saying: “You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?… It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.” I’m sure we’ll probably see the Kessel Run and learn just how Solo was able to do a 18-parsec route in only 12 Parsecs, or if he actually did it at all.
Lucas kind of messed up by writing the original bit of dialogue, because a parsec is a unit of distance, not time — equivalent to about 19 trillion miles or 3.26 light-years.
Many fans have theorized that the seemingly nonsensical claim was something Solo made up to impress Obi-Wan. Solo is not beyond lying to get his way. If you remember, Luke gave Solo a disbelieving look of after he made the claim.
The Kessel Run is a popular travel route for smuggling operations that goes around the Maw, a cluster of black holes. The expanded Universe claimed that Solo was able to shave a third of the distance and time off the normal route by flying dangerously close to the black holes. About.com argues that Han’s Kessel Run claim “was therefore not just a boast about his ship’s speed, but also his skills and daring as a pilot.”
First encounters with the bounty hunter Greedo.
In the expanded universe, Greedo had encountered Solo twice after being hired by Jabba the Hutt, “demanding payment, but was humiliated both times.” I’m sure we’ll see an early encounter with Greedo, further proving George Lucas’ revisionist intentions that Han didn’t shoot first.
Why Han favors the Blaster
The quote from A New Hope also establishes the Blaster as Han’s weapon of choice. While I’m not sure there is any explanations of how that came to be in the books, I’m sure we might get a fun little aside to why Solo trusts an old fashion laser gun (which Obi-Wan calls “clumsy” and “random”) to some of the more technological advanced weaponry available in the Star Wars galaxy.
What Does This All Mean?
I could be incredibly wrong in my speculation. This could just be one chapter in the adventures of young Solo, a fun galactic adventure story that doesn’t attempt to provide any answers. It seems more obvious that this film would have to be Han’s Batman Begins-style origin story. Its hard to tell how much of this mythology could make it into the movie, but the broad strokes are there.
Han might not rescue Chewbacca from slavery, but we’ll see how Han and Chewie first meet and how their friendship develops. We will definitely see how he gets the Millenium Falcon from his friend Lando, although it might not be the result of a big game tournament. We’ll definitely see how a life of smuggling and a few wrong choices led Solo into a sticky situation with Jabba the Hutt, and we may see the aftermath of bounty hunters. Han will probably have a love interest, but it doesn’t have to be Bria Tharen (who kinda serves as a funhouse mirror of the woman he would later fall in love with). We might never learn why Han favors the blaster or why he is a non-believer, but the backstory from the books was interesting enough to be in a movie.