“What a piece of junk!”
That’s what Luke Skywalker declared the first time he laid eyes on the Millennium Falcon. But he might have tempered his reaction if he’d ever seen a Resistance ski speeder.
While most new vehicles in the Star Wars universe are designed to be impressive or cool, the ski speeders from The Last Jedi were built to underwhelm.
These janky, rattletrap surface skimmers are meant to evoke dread as the Resistance uses the old machines to face down a phalanx of gargantuan AT-M6 “gorilla walkers” on the mineral-rich world of Crait.
Writer-director Rian Johnson wanted to up the stakes by increasing the peril for the good guys. The ski speeers show just how outmatched the Resistance fighters are in this battle.
“One of Rian’s overriding principals on them is … they are basically heaps of crap,” says Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm story group. “They are old and not meant to instill confidence. They are like a lot of things in the Resistance — weapons of last resort. Use what you have on hand, even old, outdated stuff falling apart for years. If you believe in it, hopefully it will fly.”
As you can see from the Hasbro toy in the video, the ski speeders are so wobbly that they can only stay upright with a stabilizer strut that drags across the salt flats, stirring up a plume of red dust just below the crystalline crust.
With a cockpit hanging off one side, a bulky engine and fin in the middle, and another long wing dangling off the opposite end, the ski speeders look a little like old-timey flying contraptions we’ve seen in sepia-toned footage of wannabe fliers, plunging off short cliffs.
But there’s something cool about being this uncool. And if they can somehow beat the bad guys with these vehicles, the victory will be even more impressive.
Previous Secrets of Star Wars videos:
- Beware of BB-9E — the evil First Order droid
- Canto Bight police speeders patrol the galaxy’s wealthy playground
Coming up this week:
- Kylo Ren’s sleek TIE Silencer