Han Shot First, But Did He Make the Kessel Run?

Who Piloted The Falcon During That Record-Breaking Kessel Run?

Every Star Wars fan knows the story. Han Solo made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. But, that isn’t entirely accurate. Han is a great pilot, but his accomplishments don’t necessarily include making the famous Kessel Run.

In spite of incorrectly using the term parsec, there is very little evidence in Star Wars lore that proves Han had anything to do with it. The facts might even point to Lando Calrissian being at the controls of the Millennium Falcon at the time.

In Star Wars: A New Hope, Han simply boasted that it was the Millennium Falcon that made the Kessel Run. He never said who actually did it. Instead, he bragged about outrunning Imperial ships including the big Corellian ships.


It’s also well-known that Lando Calrissian once owned the Falcon and lost her to Han in a card game. It is quite likely that Lando had already made the smuggling run by the time he lost possession of the ship.

There is more evidence in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Rey acknowledges (incorrectly) that the Falcon, not Han, made the Kessel Run in less than fourteen parsecs.


Now to the Kessel Run itself. The Star Wars Wookiepedia describes the Kessel Run:

The Kessel Run was a hyperspace route[1] used by smugglers and unscrupulous freighter captains to move spice from the spice mines of Kessel at the behest of the Pyke Syndicate, who relied on the foolhardy Kessel Runs to deliver the illicit substance to their customers.[2] Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon, claimed to have made the infamous run in less than 12 parsecs,[3] boasting about his ship’s ability to endure shorter but more hazardous routes through hyperspace.[4] By doing so, Solo broke a long-held record.[1]

The description does specify that Solo himself made the trip, but there is little evidence to actually support it.

In the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, there appears to be a scene that is described as the Kessel Run, where the Falcon is being pursued by an Imperial Star Destroyer and TIE Fighters. This scene might confirm the first occurrence of Han outrunning the seemingly new class of Imperial ship. At the same time, breaking the record of the Kessel Run. There has been enough evidence to point at this in the latest trailer from the film.

Han Shot First, But Did He Make The Kessel Run?
An Imperial Star Destroyer under construction above Corellia.

Corellia is known for producing skilled pilots as well as large ships. It’s likely that the Imperial-class Star Destroyers are built or at least assembled there.

Han Shot First, But Did He Make The Kessel Run? Han Shot First, But Did He Make The Kessel Run?
Han Shot First, But Did He Make The Kessel Run? Han Shot First, But Did He Make The Kessel Run?
Han Shot First, But Did He Make The Kessel Run? Han Shot First, But Did He Make The Kessel Run?

In the stills above (slightly out of order) from Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Falcon could be making the run with the Empire on her tail.

It looks as if the upcoming film could put a lot of theories and speculation to rest in just one scene. Was it Han or Lando who made the Kessel Run? On May 25th, the answers will be revealed.

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About the author

Bryan Brown

The founder of Word of the Nerd and semi-fearless leader. Bryan is an all around nerd, from Star Trek to comic books to collecting action figures. If it's nerd related, he's into it or at least has an opinion on it.

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