Why Using Parsecs Makes Sense For Han Solo and the Kessel Run

Han Solo: It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs…

Nerd: Mr. Solo, isn’t a parsec a unit of distance?

Solo: Yes, it’s about 3.26 light years.

Nerd: Then how does it make any sense to brag about your ship because of a distance it travelled?

Solo: You see, Tommy—

Nerd: Timmy.

Solo: Whatever. Traveling through space is like driving from your house to a nearby store. You can’t just go in a straight line. There are things to avoid, like houses.

Nerd: …and cows.

Solo: Sure. Staying on the road allows you to avoid running into these things, but there are many routes that you can take. Let’s look at this helpful visual aid.


Solo: Here are three routes that you can take, outlined in orange, red, and blue. There is an unlimited number of potential routes you could take, and all will get you from your house to the store, but the orange one is clearly shorter than the other two.

Nerd: What’s this got to do with space? There are no roads there, so you don’t have any houses to run into.

Solo: Well, there are things like planets and in the case of the Kessel Run, there is the Maw Black Hole Cluster, which would kill you if you got too close. The big ships would plug their destination into their Universal Positioning System, which would probably give them a route like the red or blue one. But the Millennium Falcon has a navigation system, which I built, to give me an even shorter route, that still won’t get me sucked into a painful death. It’s like if you built a GPS that had twice as many roads as the standard models.


Nerd: Can I fly your ship?

Solo: No.

Nerd: Your wife is hot.

Solo: I know.