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This has been nagging at me for quite some time:

Where are the cannons that are seen firing above the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon?

Their use can be distinctly seen approximately 40 seconds after dropping out of hyperspace near what was Alderaan. A lone patrolling TIE fighter overtakes them and Han throws a quick switch in the ceiling, firing as the fighter zooms past.

enter image description here

I just rewatched the scene mentioned above, just to confirm I'm not imagining things. Then I went and looked at various shots of the Falcon, models and in the movies.

Just to be safe, I allowed that it might actually have been the TIE that took a quick pot-shot, but to me it's definitely Han shooting first (har har!)

There's nothing I can identify as looking like cannons above the cockpit.

  • 4
    +1 just for asking a question about canon cannons! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 21 '16 at 3:59
  • What is going on with canon\legends around here? I know that canon takes priority, but are legends answers still acceptable? – erdiede Apr 21 '16 at 4:45
  • It's super hard to understand your question, I had to read it around 3 time before I was sure what you were asking. Maybe edit to clarify. :) – RedCaio Apr 21 '16 at 5:31
  • Heh, ouch. I try to compress a lot into sentences and loathe the modern trend to short sentences, but I really thought I phrased the content fairly clear and linear. I'll do a bit of editing. :) – Marakai Apr 21 '16 at 6:47
  • Thanks for the edited addition of the video. Though I noticed only a bam! not a *boom!, so the manga is clearly wrong! ;) – Marakai Apr 21 '16 at 10:41
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The film's official novelisation indicates that the flash you see was a strike (by the TIE fighter) on the Falcon's deflector shields:

“A survivor, maybe—someone who might know what happened,” Luke ventured hopefully.
Ben Kenobi’s next words shattered more than that hope. “That’s an Imperial fighter.”
Chewbacca suddenly gave an angry bark. A huge flower of destruction blossomed outside the port, battering the freighter violently. A tiny, double-winged ball raced past the cockpit port.

and from the junior novel

As if in response to Ben’s words, a huge explosion burst outside the cockpit window, then an Imperial TIE fighter streaked past the Falcon. The Twin Ion Engine ship was immediately recognizable by its two hexagonal solar array wings on either side of a small, spherical command pod.

You can actually see the explosion from the rear view in the Manga adaptation (BAM! BOOM!)

enter image description here

And from the top-down view in the 2015 comic adaptation A New Hope: The Special Edition (WHANG!)

enter image description here

  • A huge flower of destruction blossomed outside the port... Didn't really translate as such on screen 😁 – Daft Apr 21 '16 at 8:04
  • @Daft - Don't make me have to come over and WHANG! you... – Valorum Apr 21 '16 at 8:06
  • Novel and comics quotes! I'm going to have to go with this one as the answer! Many thanks! – Marakai Apr 21 '16 at 10:21
  • so, basically what my answer said, just with different sources? hmm... want to upvote my answer (if you haven't already)? I'll upvote your answer. :) – RedCaio May 5 '16 at 3:50
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There are a few reasons to believe it was actually the TIE fighter shooting at the Millennium Falcon, and not the Falcon firing those shots.

  1. The Millennium Falcon has multiple weapons at its disposal, None of which are above the cockpit.

    • upper quad-laser cannon - these are on the top of the ship, to the left of the cockpit
    • lower quad-laser cannon - these are on the belly of the ship, to the left of the cockpit
    • concussion missiles - these are at the front, to the left of the cockpit

      Falcon cross-section

    Since none of the weapons are directly above the cockpit, it doesn't make sense for those shots to be coming from the Falcon.

  2. The TIE Fighter wasn't visible from the cockpit until after the flashing light from the shot/explosion, so it wasn't the Falcon firing. The Falcon wouldn't have fired yet since there was nothing to shoot at in front of it.

    Kenobi had asked Han to avoid Imperial entanglements, and in fact agreed to pay extra to ensure it. It is therefore unlikely that Han would immediately fire at a TIE fighter the second he saw one.

    It makes much more sense for the TIE Fighter, on the other hand, to shoot at the Falcon since

    • the Empire is evil and likes to shoot at people, and
    • it was possibly doing so to get the Falcon to chase after it in order to bring the Falcon within range of the Death Star's tractor beam.

All this leads us to believe that it was actually the TIE fighter shooting at the Millennium Falcon, and not the Falcon firing those shots.

  • I need to watch that scene in single frame, because the timing just doesn't seem to point at the TIE firing. As for Han firing, despite being asked not to: as if that would stop him! ;) Personally, I'm simply thinking "they goofed", but surely there is a "canon retconn" explanation? – Marakai Apr 21 '16 at 6:54
  • @Marakai The TIE Fighter wasn't visible from the cockpit until after the flashing from the shot/explosion, so it wasn't the Falcon firing. The Falcon wouldn't have fired since there was nothing to shoot at in front of it. – RedCaio Apr 21 '16 at 7:41
  • confused - you say no weapons are above the cockpit, then you highlight that the upper quad-laser cannon is "above the cockpit"... – LevenTrek Dec 24 '17 at 6:06

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