Here’s why Han Solo inning the Falcon playing Sabacc is one of the most satisfying moments in Solo: A Star Wars Story, or the entire Star Wars franchise, for that matter.
In Solo: A Star Wars Story we witness one of the moments in all of the franchise that we could only previously imagine, Han Solo winning the Falcon from Lando Calrissian.
The way the film sets up the scene is an excellent piece of storytelling. With some light spoilers, let’s take a look at what makes this scene so satisfying.
Once again, spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story are ahead.
Beginners luck vs. Veteran Savy
A scene earlier in the film sets up the legendary Star Wars moment. Needing a ship fast enough to pull of the Kessel Run, Qi’ra looks to recruit retired Smuggler Lando Calrissian and his ship the Millennium Falcon.
The search for Lando brings Han Solo, Chewie, and Qi’ra right to a Sabacc table. Being a bit of a hustler himself, Han thinks he can win the Falcon if Qi’ra stakes him in the game.
Photo Credit: [Solo: A Star Wars Story] LucasfilmAfter taking his place at the table, Han and Lando go back and forth winning hands of the fabled Star Wars card game. A bit of beginners luck for Han helps him push the pots higher and higher until finally, both players put their ships on the line.
And with the Millennium Falcon on the line Han Solo…loses the hand and Lando prevails? That can’t be right, could it?
Photo Credit: [Solo: A Star Wars Story] LucasfilmShortly after Lando wins the pot, we get a shot of the literal card up his sleeve. It appears Lando’s veteran savviness is merely tilting the odds in his favor. Of course, this encounter sets up what turns out to be the great piece of fanservice that closes out the film.
The moment we were waiting for
The films final moments have Han and Chewie track down Lando to another Sabacc table. Lando feigns delight at seeing that both Han and his Wookie companion are still alive. It’s at this moment that the characters embrace with Han taking note of the card up Lando’s sleeve.
Photo Credit: [Solo: A Star Wars Story] Lucasfilm
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Han buys into the Sabacc game, and once again trades pot victories with Lando. The two push the wagers higher and higher until the Falcon is once again included in the wager.
Lando as confident and smooth as ever reaches for the card up his sleeve only to discover it’s gone. Having been dealt a good hand, to begin with, Lando presses on hoping his cards are good enough to win.
One look at Lando’s cards and Han Solo knew he had the retired smuggler right where he wanted him. And as if winning wasn’t good enough, Han showed Lando the card he’d just taken off of him, the card that would have guaranteed Lando keeping the Falcon. Han then flipped over his card and the rest is history.
Why we loved the moment
These two scenes of everyone’s two favorite scoundrels playing Sabacc is the ultimate fan service. A Han Solo origin story would not have been complete without Han winning the Falcon from Lando.
The build-up to Han winning the Falcon was handled perfectly. Losing in their first round of playing at the Sabacc table to a crafty Lando only adds to the lore of the moment.
Photo Credit: [Solo: A Star Wars Story] LucasfilmThe fact that the scene plays out so well is a credit to Ron Howard’s directing, Kasdan’s writing, and Glover and Ehrenreich’s ability to make both these characters as charming as we remember.
If we get a Solo: A Star Wars Story Solo sequel or a Lando anthology film, we’ll undoubtedly be looking for more moments like these. It was indeed great to see an Expanded Universe moment get curated to fit into the new canon with such care.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is playing in theaters, worldwide.