The Millennium Falcon is a name known across the world, and all over that galaxy far, far away. But where did it come from? There has always been debate about the origin of the namesake for Han Solo’s infamous Corellian freighter, but no one involved with Star Wars has ever confirmed these theories one way or another. All the same, it is likely that the answer is simpler than most people assume.
If you ever need a devastatingly thorough investigation of the Falcon’s journey from concept to model-readiness, Kitbashed.com has you covered. Michael Heilemann has put together one of the most comprehensive records regarding the creation of the ship that you can find online… or anywhere else for that matter. This includes the fact that the Falcon’s moniker before official naming was simply “the pirate ship,” and that it was initially a completely different shape altogether—before the “burger and olive” design that fans know so well, the first pirate ship ended up looking quite similar to the Eagles seen in the British television show Space: 1999. The original Falcon design was then further modified and became the Rebel blockade runner instead.
It took multiple rounds of concept art and construction before the Millennium Falcon took shape, and Kitbashed has a wonderful slew of sources to give fans an idea of the just how much thought, and time, and money was poured into making certain that this “pirate ship” looked exactly right.
As far as the naming of the ship was concerned, Heilemann admitting to wondering if it wasn’t named for The Maltese Falcon, given that Humphrey Bogart was said to be an inspirational source behind Han Solo. That is, until another possibility popped up:
I also noticed of course that The Eagle from Space 1999 was similarly a bird of prey, but it wasn’t until I ran across a reddit post that it clicked.
Add a year to Space 1999 and you get Space 2000, a new millennium.
The Millennium Falcon.
So it is entirely possible—nay, probable—that Han Solo’s home that does the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs was named as a tip-of-the-hat to another ship that almost inspired the Falcon’s look. A little wink in Space 1999’s direction, if you will.