This past February, the Internet briefly became embroiled in war over the color of a dress, because winter is very boring. That argument—over whether the dress was blue and black, white and gold, or personally making a fool of you—was engaging precisely because it was so meaningless, and it allowed strangers to forge allegiances and call each other idiots over a bit of minutiae that no rational adult should care about this much. Of course, Star Wars fans invented that.
In fact, a similar debate has disproportionately raged for decades over another article of clothing no one’s actually going to wear in real life: the parka worn by Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. As you can see from the above still, Harrison Ford is grimacing in what many people will tell you emphatically is a navy blue coat. However, there is also a Dark Side—a legion of people who will contend that the coat is, in fact, brown. Loyalties thus divided, the two factions have repeatedly taken aim at each other over the years, like Han Solo with what is clearly his fuschia-colored blaster if you think that’s fucking brown.
However, if you are among those who think it’s brown, congratulations. You’ve just received what some are calling conclusive evidence in the form of a new video attached to the just-released, Digital HD version of Attack Of The Clones, finally making that movie useful for something. Titled Discoveries From Inside: Costumes Revealed, the clip—currently hosted at Collider—reveals that all of the clothes you see Star Wars characters wearing are costumes; the actors didn’t just bring them from home. And also, under this latest digital scrubbing, even blue coat truthers will have to admit that Han’s coat is pretty clearly brown. So there you go. That is certainly insider information worth shelling out for all over again.
Of course, it’s not that easy, because then we would have to go back to thinking about our lives. There are some who will maintain that, despite these shocking revelations, the coat is still blue. As you can see in photos like the one below, much of that can be attributed to the film itself, which cast many of the Hoth scenes in a blue tint, to convey that a planet made of ice is cold. “Cold as a witch’s teat, which is blue,” they say.
But so much more can be blamed on Kenner, the Pied Piper toymaker who released the original “Han Solo In Hoth Gear” action figure, and subsequently brainwashed an entire generation of its slavish child followers into believing the coat was blue. To say that it was not blue is to crush this totem of your youth, and cause you to question everything you thought you knew. Maybe your parents splitting up was your fault.
And since then, other toy companies have attempted to court the controversy by releasing multiple versions of the Han Solo figure, aimed at sparing you the embarrassment of having the beau monde attend one of your dinner parties, peruse your collection of Star Wars toys, then whisper pointedly about yours having the wrong-colored coat. You could prevent this faux pas by simply buying both.
In fact, there’s an entire range of Han Solo dolls floating out there now, in a boring rainbow of colors that includes blue for traditionalists, brown for stubborn iconoclasts, and even light gray for dogs and people who should not be allowed to drive.
That kerfuffle even spilled over into Return Of The Jedi, when Hasbro attempted to gin up another shitstorm by giving its late-’90s “Han Solo In Endor Gear” figures both blue and brown pants. Nice try, Hasbro. Nobody cares that much about what happened on Endor.
And throughout it all, there have been some who attempted to bring a voice of sober reason into this Internet argument about toys and space movies. Back in 2007, in fact, several members of The Replica Prop Forum posted photos of the actual coat worn in The Empire Strikes Back, as seen on display at a Star Wars convention. Here’s one from user “KidL,” whose screen name ostensibly does not stand for “Kid Liar.” And so we just have to trust him.
The evidence seems fairly damning: That coat is brown. Brown as the soil our forefathers fought for and tilled until their hands bled and their hearts gave out, all so that we might have the freedom to sit in front of glowing boxes and quarrel over whether an imaginary spaceman’s jacket is one hue or another. And so it seems these many years of discord have been a waste of time that could have been spent discussing much more important things, such as whether Han shot blue. (It changes his character completely if he doesn’t shoot blue!)
Or maybe not. Much as those photos were posted, then immediately disregarded by those who simply weren’t ready to face them, it’s likely this latest video evidence, too, will do little to sway those who believe in their hearts and minds that the coat was blue. No, we’ll just keep yelling at each other like this, this great Coat Rebellion joining the other, newly raging arguments over Greedo and the sudden lack of 20th Century Fox fanfare, until we are all brown in the face.