'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
Credit: ILM/Lucasfilm

Step aboard the U-wing fighter, the newest Star Wars starship — but one with a retro vibe.

Rogue One is set just before the events in 1977’s Star Wars, so the machines of galactic battle needed to look similar to that era. Director Gareth Edwards also wanted something fresh, which led to the creation of this hybrid starship.

The U-wing is completely new to the Star Wars universe, but some of its pieces may look familiar, having been cribbed from previous aerial designs.


Credit: Lucasfilm LFL 2005

The Jedi Interceptor, a single-seat starfighter from the Star Wars prequels, was the preferred method of travel for the solitary members of the Jedi order.

Although it existed decades before the U-wing in the mythology, both ships share a forward-facing wing design, similar to a tuning fork.

The larger, troop-transporting U-wing can also retract those wings to form a more traditional airplane profile for maneuvering through heavier atmosphere.


Credit: ILM/© Lucasfilm LFL 2016

First seen in the original trilogy as the Rebellion’s heavy-duty bombers, the Y-wings — as we’ve learned from the Disney XD series Star Wars: Rebels — were outdated, decommissioned ships the uprising stole from the Empire.

The Y-wing is easily recognized by its egg-beater engines, but the tapered rectangular cockpit was the element Rogue One designers decided to incorporate into the U-wing’s form.


Credit: ILM/© Lucasfilm LFL 2016

The Cadillac of the skies. The X-wing’s cigar-shaped engines give the U-wing its necessary thrust.

“Our conceit is that the U-wing came from the same factory that was manufacturing X-wings,” says John Knoll, an executive producer and visual-effects supervisor for Rogue One. “It’s just like if you look at cars from one [automaker], you see design themes carried across multiple different product lines.”

Put all those things together, and this is what you get:

Credit: ILM/© Lucasfilm LFL 2016

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
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