Star Wars: The Spaceships populating the distant galaxy

You don't have to be a nerd or a sci-fi enthusiast to recognize how the Star Wars saga has influenced the collective imagination of the aesthetic future.One common element in all the films, from the '70s to today, is a meticulous attention to detail seen in the set design, costumes, and makeup, and which certainly doesn't overlook the world of transportation.In fact, the opening scene of the first film, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), involves two ships: against a starry sky, the small rebel corvette Tantive IV appears, desperately fleeing from the laser shots that precede the majestic appearance of the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator. A brief sequence that summarizes the eternal conflict between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance in a few images.All the Star Wars ships are so accurate and well-defined that they almost speak for themselves: their appearance, style, and movements tell the story of the characters and pilots driving them. This holds true for all the films and factions. TIE Fighters, Star Destroyers, and Lambda shuttles describe the Empire better than a thousand words. Here’s an overview of the iconic ships that have made one of the most enduring sagas of our times unmistakable.
MILLENNIUM FALCONThe Millennium Falcon, originally designated YT 492727ZED and formerly known as Stellar Envoy, and registered or known under various aliases and pseudonyms, is a Corellian YT-1300 light freighter. Achieving legendary status under their ownership, the ship is used by smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca before, during, and after the Galactic Civil War. After Solo's death, the Millennium Falcon becomes a Resistance ship piloted by its new owner, Rey, during much of the First Order Resistance War.Fun Fact - The Millennium Falcon first appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the first chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy. In the scenes with Lando Calrissian and Nien Nunb in the Falcon in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, the ship's set was rocked to simulate the Falcon's flight.
DEATH STAR Officially known as the DS-1 Battle Station (Death Star 1), it's a Battle Station of enormous proportions, designed and built by the Galactic Empire to acquire and maintain dominance over the galaxy. Its main weapon is a huge laser cannon powered by a hypermatter reactor that, using 8 kyber crystals, can destroy a planet the size of Earth in a few seconds; but it takes a long time to fully recharge its super-laser.Fun Fact - The Death Star is the size of a small moon, over 160 kilometers in diameter.
NABOO ROYAL STARSHIP The Nubian type J 327 Royal Starship (also known as the Naboo Royal Starship) is the ship used by Queen Amidala, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, during the invasion of Naboo. A perfect example of the fusion of art and design, the ship is designed to embody the glory of Naboo's royalty and is reserved exclusively for the Naboo sovereign.Fun Fact - The design of this spaceship was inspired by the chrome hood ornaments of '50s cars. The ship was also inspired by the American reconnaissance jet Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird."
TIE FIGHTER The most representative fighter associated with the Imperial Fleet is surely the TIE fighter, named after its propulsion system (Twin Ionic Engines, twin ion engines), but also referring to its bow tie shape. The TIE fighter exemplifies the Imperial war philosophy, favoring quantity over quality: a minimal hull, no shields or hyperdrive. The good maneuverability given by the hull's lightness is one of the few advantages of this craft, along with its numerical superiority, which makes it dangerous when acting in swarms.Fun Fact - The TIE fighter is especially known for the distinctive sound of its engines. Like most other sounds, it's the creation of Ben Burtt, the original trilogy's sound technician, who achieved it by blending an elephant's trumpeting with a car's braking screech.
TIE ADVANCED Darth Vader and a few other elite pilots fly an advanced version of the TIE fighter equipped with shields and hyperdrive, as well as a more robust hull. The TIE Advanced is distinguished from its basic counterparts by its curved and elongated wings.Fun Fact - During the production of A New Hope in 1977, the TIE Advanced appeared in various production sketches as another generic ship. Later, it was decided to make it something more exclusive, configuring it as Darth Vader's personal fighter.
TIE INTERCEPTOR The TIE Interceptor is an evolution of the regular TIE fighter, debuting in Episode VI, Return of the Jedi. Designed to allow Imperial pilots to better match Rebel fighters of superior quality, it appears in various scenes of the space battle into the Endor sky, but it’s has not so important scene to mention.Fun Fact - Fans and curious onlookers of the saga have long debated the number of cannons the Interceptor has. Recently, the issue was resolved, determining that the craft is equipped with six cannons in total.
TIE BOMBER One of the most massive and least maneuverable ships in the Imperial fleet is the TIE Bomber, primarily used in bombing and demolition missions. It features a double elongated cockpit, one for the pilot and the other for the arsenal. It's rarely seen on screen, with its most notable appearance in the asteroid field in The Empire Strikes Back, where a squadron of bombers attempts to flush out the Millennium Falcon.Fun Fact - The TIE Bomber was designed as early as Episode IV but wasn't used in the final version of the film. It was used in the first Marvel comic book series, debuting in issue #12, Doomworld.
LAMBDA SHUTTLE The elegant tri-winged vessel known as the Lambda shuttle is the main liaison ship used by the Empire. The most famous version to the general public is the VIP passenger transport. Return of the Jedi is the film that makes the most extensive use of the Lambda shuttle: it's the one that first transports Darth Vader and then the Emperor aboard the second Death Star. The Rebels, in turn, use a stolen Lambda shuttle to infiltrate the moon of Endor. The ship recently returned to prominence in the finale of The Mandalorian’s second season.Fun Fact - The Lambda shuttle was retroactively introduced in The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition, showing Darth Vader's return aboard the Executor. Digitally, its Sentinel variant was added to A New Hope Special Edition to show the landing of Imperial troops on Tatooine.
TIE DEFENDER In creating the Defender, the Empire aimed to provide its best pilots with an all-around fighter: fast, maneuverable, solid, equipped with shields, and state-of-the-art weaponry. The TIE Defender's story is detailed in the animated series Star Wars Rebels.Fun Fact - The Defender was originally designed for a video game, TIE Fighter.
TIE PHANTOM Another Imperial fighter designed for a video game, the TIE Phantom, debuted in Rebel Assault II, one of the first LucasArts games released on CD in the '90s. A cross between a TIE and a Lambda, with the typical central spherical cockpit and three wings around it, the Phantom has not been used outside the story where it was the protagonist in Rebel Assault II, but its role and unique features (thanks to a special device, it can become invisible to other ships) left a mark on the relevant imagination.Fun Fact - Based on an old sketch for an initial Lambda shuttle variant, the Phantom is produced in the secret station of Imdaar Alpha. In the course of the game, the protagonists discover that the same stealth field used by the fighter also protects the production facility and a Super Star Destroyer, the Terror.
TIE STRIKER One of the last (chronologically) to make its screen appearance but technically one of the first TIE fighters used by the Empire, the TIE Striker stands out for being primarily an atmospheric fighter rather than a space fighter. Its wings are designed in glider mode and adjustable at various angles to best exploit currents and regulate atmospheric flight. The TIE Striker appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.Fun Fact - A larger scale variant of the Striker, the TIE Reaper, is designed as a transport vehicle and can also be seen in Rogue One.
GOZANTI CRUISER The previously seen ships are all of small or medium/small scale, while the Gozanti Cruiser enters the larger ships category. Besides being a viable armored and battle transport, it also plays a crucial role for the Imperial forces: transporting TIE fighters from one region to another of the galaxy. The Gozanti appears in the space battles of Star Wars Rebels and recently shined as the object of contention in the episode "The Heir" of The Mandalorian TV series.Fun Fact - The Gozanti is one of the few Star Wars ships never produced as a toy or model. Recently, Fantasy Flight Games filled this gap with an X-Wing miniatures game version, followed by a LEGO version named Imperial Assault Carrier.
STAR DESTROYER A true suspended city and cornerstone of the Imperial fleet, the Star Destroyer is the protagonist of numerous memorable scenes, particularly the opening scene of Episode IV, where it chases Princess Leia's Corellian Corvette in a seemingly endless downward scroll. Iconic is also the Millennium Falcon's escape in The Empire Strikes Back, where Han Solo evades Imperial pursuers thanks to a Destroyer hull.Fun Fact - In one of the alternative openings for Episode VII: The Force Awakens, a Star Destroyer wreck is slowly dragged through space by some New Republic tow ships. The scene was cut, but the Star Destroyer wreck, later crashed on Jakku, still appears in the film, in the scene where Rey is introduced as a scavenger.
SUPER STAR DESTROYER The quintessential flagship, five times the size of a normal Star Destroyer, is Darth Vader's Super Star Destroyer, the Executor. It maintains the base triangular shape but expands its capacity for vehicles, troops, and firepower.Fun Fact - Both scenes in which it appears and disappears from the saga are epic. The scene in which the Executor looms is the presentation of the Imperial fleet in Episode V, where we gradually discover its existence as its shadow overshadows regular fleet ships. Also worth noting is its exit when, under the joint attack of the Rebel fleet's ships, it crashes onto the surface of the incomplete second Death Star.
INCOM T-65 X-WING The Incom T-65 X-Wing is the main multi-role starfighter of the Rebel Alliance and its subsequent governments. With shields, hyperdrive, an R2-series droid for in-flight repairs and navigation, and proton torpedoes, the X-Wing enabled the Rebellion to make raids into Imperial territories with high success rates. It's well known as the fighter that destroyed the Death Star under the young Luke Skywalker's guidance.Fun Fact - There were two X-Wing identification systems: one was the ACx suffix system, where x indicated the revision number, while the other used a letter next to the base name (T-65x) indicating the revision's progress.
RAZOR CREST The Razor Crest M-111 assault ship of the ST-70 class is used by the Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin. Before the Galactic Empire's birth, it served as a military patrol ship.Fun Fact - The ship was conceived by Jon Favreau and designed by veteran Lucasfilm Ltd. concept artist Ryan Church. The inspiration comes from the aesthetic of World War II planes, military-style aircraft, and those abandoned in airport graveyards.
And now, after all this talk of spaceships, Empires, and galaxies, what better thing to do than start the saga all over again for a nice refresher?
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