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One of the big things avid Star Wars fans noticed at the start of 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back was the dilapidated state of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon. At the end of A New Hope three years earlier, it was in perfectly great condition, helping Luke Skywalker and the Resistance X-Wings destroy the Death Star.

This left audiences wondering what happened between the movies to leave the Falcon so banged up and in poor working order. Well, Star Wars #53 finally fills in this particular plot hole, finally revealing why the galaxy’s fastest spaceship was in such torrid condition.

The beginning of Empire found the Rebel Alliance on the ice planet, Hoth, trying to escape an incoming attack from Darth Vader’s forces. However, the Falcon’s hyperdrive wasn’t working; in fact, the ship was basically a hot mess, an odd detail given it was in stellar condition in the previous film. No explanation was given as we witnessed Han and Chewbacca struggling to get it up to par, and we simply accepted it as plot convenience in order to add extra drama by leaving our heroes at the mercy of the Empire’s fleet.

This issue, though, shows that the Falcon was damaged badly due to the assault on the Rebel Alliance at Mako-Ta. Here, thanks to the betrayal of Queen Trios, the rebels have been sold out and trapped by Vader’s blockade, including the Death Squadron we’d also come to see in Empire. However, the Falcon arrived to save the day, freeing Luke and his fellow X-Wing pilots (now christened as the Rogue Squadron), allowing the Resistance to push back. After besting Vader in a thrilling one-on-one, despite what he thinks, Han isn’t out of the Sith Lord’s crosshairs just yet.

we look forward to reading Star Wars #53 in the next couple of days. Read the article in full.