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Star Wars: What Is A Parsec?

Han Solo’s parsec line from “A New Hope” always seemed like a huge “Star Wars” plot hole. It would finally get further clarification in 2018’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which sees a younger Han (Alden Ehrenreich) go through the Kessel Run, a route that’s 18 parsecs long. However, Han and crew have to circumnavigate the typical route to evade the Empire, meaning they have to take a perilous shortcut. As such, Han literally completes the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs as opposed to 18, which is why it’s a bragging point in “A New Hope.” it’s Han boasting about how the Millennium Falcon can handle even the toughest paths.

However, while the original line was discussed and analyzed for decades, there’s a chance people overlooked what it actually could’ve meant. When rewatching Han’s encounter with Luke (Mark Hamill) and Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness), it’s important to look at Obi-Wan’s reaction. Han has the line about making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, and then it cuts to Obi-Wan making a quizzical look. Han is a rogue and a scoundrel. It’s within his character to lie to get any job, and a guy like him, who may have only heard the term “parsec” in passing, may have lied so that Obi-Wan and Luke would hire him. Han’s talking a big game and misusing a term, which may fool Luke, but Obi-Wan sees right through him.

Han Solo’s parsec line may have never needed correcting. Either way, at least plenty of laypeople who don’t work in the science field will forever know parsec refers to distance, not time.

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