So in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Han Solo—in an effort to elude the Imperial Fleet—piloted the Millennium Falcon out of the asteroid field, accelerated to attack speed and then… Suddenly stopped, turned around and attached the Millennium Falcon to the Conning Tower of a Star Destroyer.

Is there any in-universe explanation or description that explains what happened? Did the ship just come to a complete stop and then swiftly attach itself or something else?

Canon or legends in-universe explanation is sought.

The Millennium Falcon attached to the bridge of a Star Destroyer

  • 1
    I think the scene might have played out a little more explicitly in the NPR audio drama, but it's been a very long time since I listened to it.
    – Buzz
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 1:52
  • I don't think he stopped on a dime. All he needed to to was be out of sensor range of the Destroyer. That works for both long and short distances. If you are so close to the craft, and hidden behind something, that the sensors can not see you then you are invisible to them. The Destroyer was still using forward motion so the side-to-side motion would just need to be directed in the direction of the Destroyer as it slowed to grant more deceleration space (making it easier)... clearly the craft was capable of such a maneuver so it just needed a pilot that could pull it off! Enter Han Solo!
    – Odin1806
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 4:26

1 Answer 1


There's an oblique reference to this in Zahn's Heir To The Empire:

Luke clenched his teeth. This was going to be dangerous but he'd run out of choices. And he had heard stories of this working at least once before. 'Artoo, we're going to try something tricky ... On my signal, I want you to reverse-trigger the acceleration compensator - full power and bypass the cutoffs if you have to' ... And with a scream of horribly stressed electronics, the X-wing came to a sudden dead stop.

And it goes on to explain why Han and the Falcon had to limp to Bespin:

Thrawn raised an eyebrow ... 'He's out there right now, not very far away. And ... he's helpless' ... 'That maneuver he used has an interesting side-effect I suspect he didn't know about ... Backfiring an acceleration compensator like that does severe damage to the adjoining hyperdrive. A light-year away, no further, and it will fail completely'

Heir To The Empire, Timothy Zahn, pp.174-179 of my paperback copy.


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