It is a moment frozen in many people's movie memories.
Intergalactic space pirate, smuggler, and future rebel general Han Solo is captured by Darth Vader. He says goodbye to his friends and is lowered into a chamber ... and sealed in carbonite!
His best Wookiee buddy, Chewbacca, howls with sadness as a giant grey slab slams down on to the floor. It is Han, frozen!
Despite being released back in 1980, this scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a sci-fi moment that spans generations. So it makes sense that it was chosen as the subject of a recent mother-daughter art project at a family bakery in California.
At the One House Bakery, Catherine Pervan and her daughter Hannalee have made a life-size version of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. They call him Pan Solo and he is made entirely out of bread!
Not your average bread
When you hear this fact, we're pretty sure that your first thought is the same as ours.
Bread? But it's so soft! How does the sculpture keep its shape?
The answer is in that the Pervans used special 'dead dough' to make the sculpture. This is dough with flour, sugar, and water, but without any leavening or yeast. That is the stuff that helps create all of those air bubbles in the bread and allows it to rise.
Without that stuff in it, you can bake the bread for about five hours until it is rock hard. Bingo! You've got a sculpture.
Many hours of work
Or at least you've got part of a sculpture. To create a life-size replica of Han Solo, this mother and daughter had to spend about 100 total hours in their bakery, sculpting things piece-by-piece. And not everything worked out as planned.
In an interview with CBC, Catherine said that sometimes "you pull [a piece] out of the oven and you look at what you thought was going to be a wrist or an ankle or a leg … and it doesn't look like anything like that!"
When those moments happened, she and her daughter just worked with what they had and kept at it. The one part of Pan Solo that they couldn't mess up was Han's face. To help them, they bought a face mask of Han Solo to get it just right!
Come for the statue, stay for the food!
Pan Solo was originally made as an entry into a scarecrow competition being held on their street. But since it was completed, it has become a real hit, both with customers and with the internet. Even Han's buddy, Luke, was excited.
Mmmm...... Pan Solo! 😋 https://t.co/Kt75i4Srv8
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) October 16, 2022
The Pervans are surprised by how popular it has become. But the real payoff for them is not becoming internet famous. It was the time that they got to spend with each other, working on a fun, creative project.
"[It] gives us the opportunity to just hang out and, you know, put some music on, and be creative and silly," she said in the interview. What fun!