In the original Star Wars movie Han Solo sold himself as being a hot shot pilot because he had made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. This line has always appeared broken because we normally say “I made it to the grocery story in 10 minutes”. That is, we talk about fast as taking less time not less distance, and parsec is a measure of distance not time, just like light year. So the use of the term parsec is jarring because you expect to hear a time and not a distance.

The new back-story movie “Solo” answers several questions about Han’s past, including how he got his name, but the story is mainly tells the story of “The Kessel Run” and thus explains the use of a distance term instead of time.

When told that the trip would be long enough for the unstable explosive they were carrying to destabilize and explode, he asks why they can’t just jump there, as a jump takes little or no time. It turns out there is an area of space that can’t be jumped through but can be flown through by following a maze like path of safe tunnels through a totally destructive area of space. The distance through the “safe passage” area was 20 parsecs and would take up most of the time they had available. When they inevitably got behind on time, Han was able to use his daring but excellent piloting skills to dive through the dangerous area shortening the path by 8 parsecs. Thus he “Made the Kessel run in 12 parsecs” now makes perfect sense.

This story is a great rendering of the young Solo, with lots of bravado and little experience he often misquotes his later point of view by saying “I really have a good feeling about this…”, but then he is trying to get his cohorts to go along with another insane plan. There is more going on than I have suggested in this review, but I didn’t want to generate any spoilers.

The movie is great fun and fills in many of the details of Han’s life that are only hinted at in the Star Wars Saga itself, but then I’m a fan of the Back Story anyway. Even if you don’t particularly like back stories I think you will find this movie to be great fun.

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