Here’s a fun fact: Something you thought was blue is actually brown. Okay, maybe that’s not so fun, but I thought I’d shed some light on the controversy over an iconic movie costume, Han Solo’s winter duds from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
While everyone who has seen the film and loves is knows that Han Solo is seen sporting a blue coat on Hoth. And if you’re a certain age, you grew up with the Kenner version of this outfit:
Unfortunately, the coat isn’t actually blue. In reality it’s brown. I know because I have personally seen the screen used brown coat at a Star Wars Celebration (Star Wars convention). You can see it right here:
That really blew my mind to see that. To think, all these years I had been wrong… but personally I’m partially color blind so I guess I shouldn’t have been all that surprised.
Furthermore here’s a screen grab from the Rebel Scum forums. A user by the name of “Old Cocky” had done color samples of the coat:
So we can call this one and say that Han Solo definitely has a brown coat.
There’s some question as to why we have all seen it as a blue coat, though. The major reason for this is that every kid who grew up from around 1980 to 1986 grew up with the Kenner action figure that had a blue coat. The other part of this is that the film itself has an overall blue tint to it.
Just look at the above video comparing the 2004 DVD release to the infamous fan edit Empire Strikes Back Revisited, which is still in the works. Among the many other changes to Empire, they are removing most of the blue tint. It’s easy to see why your perception of colors could be off and if you grew up with an action figure it reinforced those beliefs. When you watched the movie you probably wouldn’t notice the difference.
I did a highly unscientific poll on my Facebooks and people who watched the film and hadn’t played with the toys more often than not responded by saying that Han Solo’s coat was dark gray, brown, etc. rather than blue. Take that for what you will.
This brings us the the problem that makers of collectible goods have, do they go with the blue coat that every falsely remembers or the brown coat? In the case of Sideshow Toy’s version of Han on Hoth they went with both. Regular brown coat and a Sideshow exclusive blue coat.
Of course, this both confused fans that didn’t know the coat was brown and angered others who love to yell, “Cash grab!” The fact is that the blue coat is so burned into our consciousness that the brown version just looks weird. Sure they could have packed the figure with two coats, but having the blue one as an exclusive is a pretty smart idea.