Han Solo has to be filthy-rich to run the Falcon, engineers say

Owning the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy would require a considerable amount of money just to keep it flying through space.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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Millennium Falcon
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Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon as it appears in a "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer. The movie opens next week.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

It's tough being a space smuggler indebted to a massive slug-like alien. You have to take on odd jobs just to survive and pay down your bill. In the original Star Wars films, Han Solo isn't exactly rolling in galactic dough. Maybe he was hiding something.

SGS Engineering, a UK company specializing in hydraulics, did the calculations and figured that Han Solo must have a considerable fortune stashed away somewhere.

The engineering firm took the Millennium Falcon out of its fictional universe and treated it as if were a real vehicle in our world. SGS worked out that it would cost over $3 million (about £2 million, AU$4.2 million) just to keep the spaceship up to date on repairs and maintenance for a year. And that's for a "good year," not counting the toll taken by hiding in asteroid fields or fighting the forces of the Empire.

SGS cites the Falcon's reputation for being unreliable along with its age (over 50 years) when sorting out the cost of parts and labor to keep it flying as the fastest ship in the galaxy. The figure is based on data taken from the annual maintenance costs of commercial jets, fighter jets and labor rates from our real world.

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SGS matched up the size of the Millennium Falcon with existing cargo and combat jets and applied the upkeep costs of those vehicles to Solo's ride. This doesn't include the price of Wookiee chow or repairs for R2-D2.

In trailers for the new film, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the Millennium Falcon is involved in a soaring battle with some TIE fighters, so expect Solo's budget to take a beating. The movie, directed by J.J. Abrams, opens next week.

"Anything mechanical that is known as a hunk of junk is going to be expensive to upkeep," notes SGS owner and founder Andy Wyatt. "We're not professing that these are definitive calculations, there is a certain amount of conjecture in there -- after all there's not much to base a replacement hyperdrive on -- but they do give a good idea of just how much of a financial burden the Millennium Falcon would have been on Solo."

It looks like Solo is going to need to do a lot more smuggling to keep his craft space-worthy. He just might want to turn down any future jobs from anybody with the last name of "the Hutt."