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Entertainment Weekly

Star Wars

Secrets of The Last Jedi: Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer starship

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Just like his beloved, tyrannical grandfather, Kylo Ren gets a special class of starship in Star Wars: The Last Jedi — a new design reminiscent of Darth Vader’s old fighter.

The TIE Silencer is a sleek new fighter designed for speed and destruction. And in one deep space battle, it will deliver a shot through the heart of the Resistance.

In The Force Awakens, Adam Driver’s dark side acolyte travel by bat-winged shuttle, and a similar aesthetic went into devising his new fighter, which was put together by James Kline of Industrial Light and Magic’s art department.

There’s a practical filmmaking reason for giving Kylo an unusual looking ship. “He’s the main villain in a space battle and you want him to stand out in face of all the anonymous TIES,” says Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm story group. “It is definitely rare and specialized.”

The TIE Silencer is a variation on the quad-fanged TIE Interceptors previously seen in Return of the Jedi, which were sleeker, deadlier dogfighters than the original, boxy TIE Fighters.

By comparison, the TIE Fighter is a disposable ship, flown by expendable pilots. They have no shields, no heavy weapons, and their power is derived solely from volume – the bigger the swarm, the harder they are to swat.

The TIE Silencer is the opposite. It’s a sleek stealth bomber amid a cloud of crop-dusters. It is larger, bulkier, and more heavily armored — but it’s also faster than all the other TIES with a stronger engine and a stiletto-like design.

Hidalgo says the note that writer-director Rian Johnson kept giving to the designer was: Longer, make it longer. The model in the video is a Hasbro toy, and its wings are so long that the blasters at the end are removable. Better to fall off during playtime than to break off.

But the ship also incorporates elements from Darth Vader’s concave-winged TIE Advanced X1, which he used to zero-in on Luke Skywalker in the trench run on the Death Star in 1977’s original Star Wars.

The official description of Ren’s ship doesn’t specify this, but Vader’s craft had more armor than a typical TIE and was equipped with a hyperdrive for deep-space travel (which explains how he returned safely from the destroyed Death Star after spiraling out of control).

Kylo Ren would settle for no less.

Previous Secrets of Star Wars videos:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters Dec. 15.