Audiences were immediately drawn to the charismatic smuggler in 1977's Star Wars who boasted about his battered ship being the fastest in the galaxy, having made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. That sounds impressive and all, except ... a parsec a measure of distance, not speed. Franchise sources have provided a variety of conflicting explanations, including the possibility that Han Solo is just a plain liar. Fans have debated for decades what Han actually meant, but the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story promises to actually show the Kessel Run, and perhaps set the record straight.
After months of marketing silence, the teaser trailer for Solo finally arrived this morning, providing us with an official look at an unmodified Millennium Falcon, a young Han and Lando, and what may just be the legendary Kessel Run. It's the sequence toward the end, as the Falcon flees Imperial pursuers, and soars through the grasp of a monstrous tentacles beneath skies illuminated by lightning.
But what is the Kessel Run, beyond part of a boast made Han to Obi-Wan Kenobi and a young Luke Skywalker? In Star Wars lore, the criminal ring known as the Pyke Syndicate would move spices from the mines of Kessel using smugglers who would endure long and perilous journeys through space to deliver the illegal substances to customers. Han and the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run using a shorter (less than 12 parsecs) but more hazardous route. In the trailer, we see how just how dangerous it is, as even Empire's ships can't survive the journey.
That run isn't merely a demonstration of Han's piloting skills, however; it's also part of the Millennium Falcon's story. It's the most iconic ship in the Star Wars franchise, more so than the Empire's TIE Fighters, the Rebels' X-wings or Boba Fett's Slave I. And, as illustrated by the trailer, the Falcon has undergone significant modifications over the years, so seeing how it fares in its early days is no doubt exciting for hardcore Star Wars fans. There's even a good chance the dangerous Kessel Run is the reason for at least some of those updates.
If you need more evidence the trailer sequence is indeed the Kessel Run, the same setting appears to serve as the backdrop for the packaging of LEGO's upcoming Kessel Run Millennium Falcon set, as we can see in a leaked image.
Solo: A Star Wars Story will be released in theatres on May 25th. The film is directed by Ron Howard and stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett and Joonas Suotomo as Chewbacca.