When it comes to movies, some designs take a long time to perfect. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Star Wars films. The Millennium Falcon, for instance, has one of the most iconic designs in sci-fi history, but that wouldn’t be the case if the original model had made it to the screen.
A Completely Different Looking Design
The original Millennium Falcon looked like the complete opposite of the ship we all know and love. It was essentially one long tube with a cockpit at one end and engines at the other. Not only was it kind of ugly, but it closely resembled another popular spaceship of the time, Space 1999‘s Eagle One.
George Lucas Says No
Luckily, George Lucas intervened and instructed the design team to come up with something else. According to Lucas, he wanted something “really off the wall,” with “more personality.” George claims that while on a flight back from London, he had an epiphany: the ship should be shaped like a hamburger!
Specifically, Lucas was said to have been inspired by “a half-eaten hamburger with the cockpit resembling an olive on the side.” Whether that’s really true or another example of George Lucas’s self-mythologizing is up for debate. One could easily see the director looking at the final Millennium Falcon design and comparing it to a hamburger afterward.
Star Wars Didn’t Scarp The Original Design Entirely
Because nothing ever gets thrown out when it comes to Star Wars, the original design for the Falcon was later reworked into the Rebel Blockade Runner or Correllian Corvette. You might remember it better as the ship carrying Princess Leia and the droids at the beginning of A New Hope.
More Food Connections
The Millennium Falcon isn’t the only Star Wars ship to be compared to food. The TIE bomber first seen in The Empire Strikes Back was dubbed the “double chili dog” fighter for its side-by-side cylindrical design by the model makers at ILM. Another food-related Star Wars oddity is the literal potatoes floating through space during the asteroid field sequence in Empire.
Did George Lucas just not feed his FX crew or something? Those ILM dudes sure did think about food a lot.
Boba Fett’s Ship Inspiration
The ship, in hot pursuit of the Millenium Falcon during the Empire Strikes Back asteroid sequence also had its basis in something interesting. The design for Boba Fett’s unique-looking Slave I is said to be based on the Californian street lamps visible outside the ILM offices. The lights resemble the shape of the Slave I when it’s docked to an almost uncanny degree.
Many fans claim that the Star Wars prequels were the result of George Lucas having free reign to follow his every whim with no one to tell him no. That may be the case to some extent, but what people don’t realize is that most of the iconic aliens and technology they love from Star Wars are the result of Lucas himself telling people no. If George Lucas’s instincts were as bad as some fans say, then he would have approved the weird, long-boi version of the Millennium Falcon for Star Wars.
Instead, big George stepped in and made sure that fans got the half-eaten burger they deserved.