WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story, in theaters now.
While the original Star Wars trilogy provided some details about Han Solo’s past, none may be more intriguing than how he won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian, "fair and square." Ever since 1980's The Empire Strikes Back, fans have wondered about the scenario in which Lando wagered the prized ship on a game of sabacc. At last, after nearly four decades, the events that led up to the legendary high-stakes showdown are depicted in Solo: A Star War Story.
Before it was decreed in 2014 that Expanded Universe -- all the previously released novels, comics, video games and TV series -- was no longer part of Star Wars canon, and renamed it Legends, author A.C. Crispin tackled this famous encounter in her 1998 novel Rebel Dawn novel. Although her depiction was relegated to limbo four years ago, aspects of it were made official by The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, which established that Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando in the “Corellian Spike” variant of sabacc, a card game that's a cross between blackjack and poker. However, that version also employs a pair of six-sided dice.
RELATED: How Do You Play Sabacc, Anyway?
In the film, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Tobias Beckett and Qi’ra hatch a plan to steal a large amount of valuable hyperfuel for crime boss Dryden Vos. Beckett says he can get the gear they need for the job, but asks Qi’ra, “You got a line on a ship?” She responds, “I know a guy … and I know just where to find him. It’s a long shot, but it’s worth a try. He’s the best smuggler around.” That, of course, is Lando Calrissian, who's introduced as he's charming the crowd at the sabacc table of a large gambling house.
Qi’ra explains to Han that he won the ship in a game of sabacc. The Corellian rogue retorts, “You say he won his ship? Then I can take it. Let me at him.” She advises against it, telling him that Lando and the other players are serious gamblers. Solo is dealt in anyway, and baits Lando by telling him he has a VCX-100, the fastest ship in the galaxy. They play a couple of hands, and when Han is up, he goes all in. To match him, Lando stakes his customized YT-1300. Solo is sure he has his opponent beat, and lays down Straight Staves. However, Lando drops Full Sabacc, and dashes the young rogue's dreams of flying away with the Falcon. We’re not sure if "Full Sabacc" is the same thing as "Pure Sabacc," but if it is, that's the second-highest hand a player can have. As Han walks away, he tells Qi'ra that Lando is cheating.
Fast-forward to after the heist. Calrissian is fed up and abandons his cohorts, even before getting his payout. Once Han and Chewie’s business is wrapped up with Vos, they track down Lando on an unnamed jungle world. He is once again entertaining a crowd at a sabacc table, and gives them a warm welcome. Han tells him that he should have Chewie rip the flashy gambler's arms off. However, when he sees that Lando has a card hidden up his sleeve, he gives him a hug, reminiscent of their Cloud City reunion in The Empire Strikes Back, and tells him he wants to buy in. Once they are the final two players left, Lando says, “You walk away now and you’ll have enough for your own little ship. You call, I’m gonna clean you out again.”
Han calls, and when Lando goes for the card that's usually up his sleeve, nothing's there. Han holds up the card and taunts Lando, knowing he’s won. Then the film cuts to Han and Chewie taking off in their iconic starship.
Directed by Ron Howard, Solo: A Star Wars Story stars Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca. They’re joined by Thandie Newton as Val, Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37, Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos and Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett. The film is playing in theaters nationwide.