When Lucasfilm threw the Star Wars Expanded Universe into the garbage masher to pave way for The Force Awakens, they scrapped hundreds, if not thousands, of ship designs. Luckily for fans, the designers and Story Group are scrounging the scrap heaps to recycle the best bits for new designs. Here are 10 of our favorite Star Wars starships salvaged from the graveyard and brought into new service.
This menacing, tri-winged Starfighter first appeared in the 1994 computer game TIE Fighter. Players had the opportunity to take the stick of the Defender, an advanced TIE fighter with shields and improved firepower.
In the original material, the TIE Defender’s development is fraught with drama. Pirates steal the plans, fringe groups copycat them, and even the renegade Grand Admiral Demetrius Zaarin uses them. One other figure is linked to the development and use of the ships in the old Expanded Universe: then Vice Admiral Thrawn. His efforts to stop the rebellious Zaarin are what get him elevated to Grand Admiral.
In the new canon, Thrawn’s fate may be similarly tied to the TIE Defender. The ship featured heavily in Rebels’ recent season. The imperial shipyards on Lothal are producing the fighter, and since Thrawn is tasked with defending that system, things may end poorly for him if Hera and company manage to bring the factory down.
While not technically canonical, this upcoming Tracker I Lego set from the Freemaker Adventures has roots in the Expanded Universe. The ship’s design is modeled on the TIE Phantom, which first appeared in the Rebel Assault II computer game.
Equipped with stealth technology and impressive firepower, the TIE Phantom was a terrifying addition to the Imperial fleet. The TIE Phantom also appears in the X-Wing Miniatures game, and I can attest from personal experience that being jumped by one of these babies is nothing short of terrifying.
The bounty hunter Bossk’s heavily modified YV-666 light freighter was pulled almost exactly as-is from the Expanded Universe. The blocky, rectangular ship really reflects the character of its gruff Trandoshan owner.
Star Wars novelist, Kathy Tyers dreamed up the ship for her short story The Prize Pelt. It appeared once in the Clone Wars and has come up in other printed media set in the Rebels era. Bounty hunters have a habit of popping up where you least expect them, so it’s likely we haven’t seen the last of Bossk or his Hound’s Tooth.
The YT-2400 entered Star Wars lore as Dash Rendar’s Outrider. It featured heavily in the Nintendo 64 game Shadows of the Empire, and the novel and comic books of the same name. It reappeared in Rebels as the flagship of Iron Squadron, led by Commander Sato’s nephew, Mart Mattin. But that wasn’t even its first canonical appearance. The YT-2400 can be seen leaving Mos Eisley spaceport in the special edition version of A New Hope.
The ship’s appearance wasn’t the only thing that was recycled, either; the same designers who made the ship for Shadows of the Empire had the opportunity to redesign it for Rebels. In either case, the YT-2400 deserves the superlative of being the “Correllian Freighter Most Likely to be Cooler than the Millennium Falcon.”
Quasar Fire Cruiser-Carrier
Before the canon novel Aftermath, we had The Truce at Bakura to fill in the story of what happened immediately after Return of the Jedi. Now, the plot of that particular novel was a bit on the odd side of the spectrum, dealing with a race of lizard people who stole the life force of other living beings to power their technology. But it also gave us the Flurry, a starfighter carrier that met a tragic end defending the citizens of a former Imperial world.
Conceived as a hauler that was converted to carry starfighters, it was as if someone took an oil tanker and turned it into an aircraft carrier. It was first rendered as a drawing in the roleplaying game sourcebook for The Truce at Bakura, and it was a cool enough ship to merit its own Micro Machine toy in the late ’90s.
When the ship was reintroduced to the Star Wars universe, it was put back into the story as an Imperial starfighter carrier. Stolen by the Ghost crew, this wedge-shaped wonder becomes the mobile base and flagship for Hera’s famed fighter group, Phoenix Squadron.
The reappearance of this ship brought me particular joy. Capable of generating a gravity effect that pulls other ships out of hyperspace, Interdictors are the perfect ambush tools. Interdictor cruisers were created for the original Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game and they appeared in Timothy Zahn’s incomparable novel, Heir to the Empire. The mad genius Grand Admiral Thrawn uses one to intercept Luke Skywalker, and only after some clever flying does the Jedi Knight escape.
Similarly, in “Stealth Strike“, from the second season of Rebels, the Empire uses the cruisers to intercept Commander Sato and Ezra while they are en route to a mission location. The reintroduction of these vessels in Rebels and in some of the newer novels paves the way for more examples of clever naval tactics in Star Wars stories to come.
These beauties were at the heart of the most memorable space battle in Rogue One, and arguably in all of Star Wars media. In the heat of the battle above Scarif, Admiral Raddus calls on one of the Corvettes, the Lightmaker, to ram into the side of a disabled Star Destroyer and swing the massive ship like a giant sword blade to knock out the shield generator. It’s a brilliant maneuver, and marvelously demonstrates the quick thinking and inventiveness of the smaller Rebel fleet in the face of massive, overwhelming firepower and technology of the Imperials.
This humble ship has appeared many times in other Star Wars media, including as a fleet of ships in the employ of Princess Leia and her father, Bail Organa. The ships were derived from the Hammerhead-class cruisers from the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series. While the original material was cool, I think it’s safe to say that the newer ships take the cake for the sheer chutzpah of their crew.
V-19 Torrent Starfighter
Before we had the sweeping animated saga of The Clone Wars, we had Genndy Tartakovsky’s masterful take on the famous conflict. He and his team brought to life many characters who carried over to the new 3-D animated TV series, like Asajj Ventress, and enriched the Star Wars universe with plenty of great designs.
One of those designs was the V-19 Torrent Starfighter, used by the Grand Army of the Republic. Like many Star Wars vessels, the V-19 was inspired in part by a World War II-era plane, in this case, the F4-U Corsair. The ship was taken almost directly as-is for its appearance in the Clone Wars series, and its inclusion is a welcome homage to the incredible work of Tartakovsky and his crew.
Z-95 Clone Starfighter/Headhunter
In Star Wars lore, some of the most famous pilots in the galaxy have flown Z-95s at one point or another. The ship first appeared in Brian Daley’s pulp Han Solo novel, Han Solo at Star’s End, when everyone’s favorite scoundrel flew one of the fighters against, well, the cops. Fan favorite crack pilots Mara Jade, Jaina Solo, and Corran Horn also flew Headhunters at one point or another.
Since the introduction of the new canon, the ship has branched out to become two separate ships -the Z-95 Clone Starfighter and the Z-95 Headhunter. The Clone Starfighter version first appeared in the Battle for Umbara plot line of the Clone Wars animated series, and the Headhunter has appeared in everything from video games to comic books.
The new version is also seeing its fair share of use. Poe Dameron flew in a Z-95 Headhunter in one mission against the First Order. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, we’ll get a live-action representation of the ship in an anthology film too.
Once upon a time (or, perhaps, a long time ago), Emperor Palpatine had a massive, terrifying flagship. Conceived for the Dark Empire comics, the ship was appropriately menacing. The Eclipse was a monstrous, onyx-colored Super Star Destroyer. The ship possessed a super-laser in its prow capable of felling a capital-ship in one shot.
Now, the ship has re-entered the Star Wars canon, and we know very little about it. In the Aftermath novels, Gallius Rax, the man entrusted with the ultimate fate of the Empire, reveals that the Emperor sent his massive flagship into the Unknown Regions. The series ends with Admiral Rae Sloane finding her way there and boarding the massive vessel.
We know very little of its crew, complement, and capabilities. But what impact could this ship have on the current story? I think that it’s safe to venture that if the Eclipse is still around by the time of The Force Awakens, the mysterious Supreme Leader of the First Order may be on this massive ship and plotting his next move. And, frankly, that’s the only Snoke theory I’m willing to entertain at this point.