11

In ANH, an Imperial officer reports to Darth Vader regarding the recently captured Millennium Falcon:

There's no one on board, sir. According to the log, the crew abandoned ship right after takeoff. It must be a decoy, sir. Several of the escape pods have been jettisoned.

What happened to the escape pods? All of the crew and passengers that were aboard the ship when it departed from Tatooine are still there at this point (only hiding), and there was no discussion of jettisoning anything in a pod or jettisoning any pods as a distraction. Is anything known about when and/or where the escape pods were actually jettisoned? Does supplementary material establish that Han and/or Chewie intentionally jettisoned some empty pods to make it appear that the ship had been abandoned (and probably falsified the ship's log at the same time)?

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    It takes much longer to check that no escape pods have been used, than to read the log. The officer reports almost immediately after Falcon is captured, he refers to the log. So I believe it was falsified. – TimSparrow Apr 13 '18 at 12:28
  • 2
    The log states when they abandoned the ship, not if the pods are still there or not (which can be seen with a visual inspection). – Max Apr 13 '18 at 13:49
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    Knowing the general state of things onboard Falcon, some pods may be already missing (mentioned jettisoning of Jabba's cargo). So maybe the inspection crew saw the missing pods and did not doubt the log records – TimSparrow Apr 13 '18 at 14:34
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    I doubt they were jettissioned recently. The first thing to know about the Millennium Falcon is what a piece of junk it is, so the escape pods were probably lost years ago and never worth replacing. – J Doe Apr 13 '18 at 17:04
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    I always assumed they'd been jettisoned many adventures ago, and never replaced, the way people don't always replace the expensive air bag assemblies after an accident. – VBartilucci Apr 13 '18 at 17:23
10

Han jettisoned real escape pods. We see him doing so in the film's (canon) junior novelisation.

“You might want to jettison escape pods,” Ben said as Chewie stood and started to usher them out of the cockpit.
“Do you know how expensive those are to replace?” Han asked, outraged.
“More or less valuable than your life?” was the calm response.
Han was still muttering about old men and their stupid questions when he turned back to the console and went to work writing up a quick notation in the captain’s log. Abandoned ship upon entering the Alderaan system due to safety concerns. With a resigned sigh, he launched the empty escape pods. He listened to the pop and hiss as their restraints released and sent them spiraling into space.

A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy

He evidently never recovered them from the Alderaan debris field since the five

CEC Class-1 Escape Pods

Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know

he was using at this time were replaced by

ESCAPE POD CLASS A9-40

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition

by the time of The Last Jedi.

  • This is a great answer, however this isn't really canon canon. It's merely a canon. As LucasFilm themselves say: "When it comes to absolute canon, the real story of Star Wars, you must turn to the films themselves—and only the films. Even novelizations are interpretations of the film..." – Django Reinhardt Apr 14 '18 at 23:55
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    @DjangoReinhardt - Actually that quote only refers to the original film novelisations (those written pre-2014); books.google.co.uk/… – Valorum Apr 14 '18 at 23:57
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    @DjangoReinhardt - The quote you should be looking at is this one from 2014; "To be clear, there is no 'new EU.' There is only the established EU--hereafter known as Star Wars Legends, and the main, canon storyline, which includes the films, The Clone Wars and Rebels television shows, and the new novels beginning this September with A NEW DAWN. It sounds like a minor thing to point out, but it's significant in the fact that even the term "EU" always meant it was outside the main, whereas now, all new material will be part of a unified whole." – Valorum Apr 15 '18 at 0:00
  • Yes, you are right. I think it's quite silly to insist a junior novelisation is on the same level of canon as the original films, but that's technically Disney's stance right now. – Django Reinhardt Apr 15 '18 at 0:06
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    The first chapter or so is here. I can't say I agree with your assessment of it being "identical to the adult novels": books.disney.com/content/uploads/2015/05/ANewHope.pdf The first pages of adult novelisation can be found here: amazon.com/gp/product/0345341465 I don't agree that Alan Dean Foster used "big words... to make adult readers feel smart", either. – Django Reinhardt Apr 15 '18 at 0:14
3

There's no George Lucas approved canonical* answer to this, but I think if there's any logic, it's in the dialogue. As the Stormtrooper says:

According to the log...

Visually we never seen anything resembling escape pods, or locations where escape pods could be. Indeed there's no visual difference in the Millennium Falcon on Tatooine to when it's captured on the Death Star.

From this I think we can safely say it's a simple deceit manufactured purely in the logs. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that altering the logs is probably a ploy that Solo and Chewbacca have used in their career as smugglers before.


* Disney, the current copyright holder, has other ideas, however. They have decided that any novelisation or TV shows that are released from September 2014 onwards are now completely canon. This means that the Star Wars Junior Novels are considered canon, which (according to that version of the story) means that Han did indeed eject the escape pods.

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    There is a canonical answer to this. – Valorum Apr 14 '18 at 22:23
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    Alas, your answer still contains an inaccuracy. Post-2014 there are no canon "levels", merely Canon and Legends (e.g. not canon). Where things directly disagree with the films, we assume that they're simply a writing error. Where they elaborate, those facts are still canon. – Valorum Apr 15 '18 at 0:02
  • @Valorum Yes, a big corporation tells you what to think. I'd rather go with the artist, myself. – Django Reinhardt May 21 '18 at 11:47
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    The original artist isn't in control of the story anymore - he sold that right (which is great for him). Disney and the Lucasfilm Story Group soley determine what is or isn't 'officially' part of the Star Wars story now, and they have established that, to the best of their abilities, any comics, books (YA or adult), certain video games (single player storylines), TV shows, and films are all intended to be consistent with each other and are 'canon'. There are many artists now - we should go with them and the people they work for who own the property. – NKCampbell May 21 '18 at 13:22
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    Your answer could be changed from George Lucas canon to "Legends" canon and it might be accurate under that scope. – NKCampbell May 21 '18 at 13:24
0

In the Star Wars wiki, there is an entry that "At the advice of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo jettisoned the escape pods of the Millennium Falcon when the ship was caught in the tractor beam of the Death Star", but no evidence can be found in either the movie script or book. This may be inferred since Kenobi mentions "there are always alternatives to fighting" as the Falcon is pulled towards the Death Star. Were the pods still on the ship? Maybe, since only the ship's log was referenced. The full scan did not happen because the Death Star techs were captured by Solo.

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    I'm not convinced that a scanner tech is really required to determine whether a ship's escape pods have been used. Should be pretty easy -- go to wherever they are and look for them. The Falcon may have been heavily modified, but was at least originally of a fairly common type, so it should be pretty easy to work out where they were supposed to be. – Jules Apr 13 '18 at 15:24
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    True, but neither a full scan or physical inspection was done. In the book, they remotely opened the cargo doors, inspected the hold, then went to the cockpit. From there, a soldier read the ship's log and reported what he found. Vader ordered a full search and dismissed the soldiers. In the book, it was a Sergeant who read the ship's log and no techs were in the initial boarding. The tech crew went in alone and were quickly overpowered. Yes, the soldiers could have done a physical inspection on the pods, but this could have been a "not my job" scenario. – GeorgeN Apr 13 '18 at 15:59
  • @Jules, While a scanner isn't needed to see if the pods are gone or not, it might reveal other information such as when it happened, in what system, mass of contents, etc. By examining the friction marks it might show that the pods were empty and only jettisoned recently (depth of, and lack of residue in, the scratches). – MivaScott Apr 13 '18 at 21:54

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