Greetings sentients of all races and genders, and welcome to the Sarlacc Pit. Last week we discussed galactic politics and how they changed throughout the Star Wars timeline. This week, I wanted to have a little more fun and share with you my top 10 list of Star Wars vehicles. These are not necessarily the most important vehicles, or the strongest, but rather the vehicles that most capture my attention and imagination whenever I watch this series. I will be focusing on standard vehicles, so this will not be a list of modified ships used by individuals. While this should be relatively spoiler-free, it covers just about all of canon, so read at your own risk!
#10: TIE Interceptor
Notable pilots: Elite Imperial pilots
I like fast stuff, so the first two vehicles on my list were two of the fastest starfighters in both the Rebel and Imperial fleets. The TIE Interceptor was essentially just a souped-up version of your basic TIE Fighter. Still lacking shields and a hyperdrive, the TIE Interceptor made up for its defensive shortcomings with faster sublight speeds (topping at 1,250 kph, just 50 kph slower than the A-Wing) and stronger laser cannons than the standard TIE Fighter. The TIE Interceptor was designed by Sienar fleet systems as a cheaper, mass-production-friendly version of the Advanced TIE X1. By the Battle of Endor, Interceptors made up 20% of the Empire’s fleet.
#9: RZ-1 A-Wing Interceptor (A-Wing)
Notable Pilots: Phoenix Squadron pilots, Shara Bey (Poe Dameron’s mother)
The A-Wing was one of the fastest ships the Rebel Alliance had. Designed by Kuat Systems Engineering for the Rebel Alliance based on Republic starfighters, this ship had two laser canons and twelve concussion missiles. After the Empire introduced their TIE Interceptors, the Alliance modified their A-Wings, removing shields, armor plating, and any heavy weapons, allowing for a top speed of 1,300 kph. The A-Wing did have a hyperdrive equipped, although the lack of a port for an astromech only allowed the pilot to program two hyperdrive coordrinates, one for the target area, and one for the return trip. In Legends Canon, some pilots hard-wired an astromech droid directly into the ship’s hyperdrive, essentially fusing a droid to the ship. This allowed the pilots to have a fully-programmable hyperdrive, while minimizing the weight added by a droid.
#8: Executor-class Star Dreadnought (Super Star Destroyer)
Notable Operators: Darth Vader and Grand General Cassio Tagge both used these ships as their command ships.
Apparently, the gigantic Star Destroyer ships were not good enough for the Empire. So what do they do? Make one that’s about twelve times the size and put “Super” in front of its name. These sons of banthas were incredible, about 19,000 meters long, with 12 colossal engine thrusters and over 5,000 turbolasers and ion cannons. These were manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards, probably with the distinct intent to totally kill just about anyone who tried to step to the Empire. These deserve a spot on any top vehicle lists because Super is in the name, and it’s got the size and fired power to back it up.
#7: 74-Z Speeder Bike
Notable Operators: Scout troopers and anyone else suicidal enough to ride these death machines.
You ask anyone who has ever tried to operate one of these Imperial speeder bikes in a video game and they will tell you that driving one of these is the quickest way to achieve death by tree. Made for speed and maneuverability (at the expense of stability), these bad boys could move. They were also equipped with one blaster cannon, and could jam communications. Now here’s where I have to be embarrassingly honest: just about every time I go to Hollywood Studios in Disney World, I always end up waiting in line behind a bunch of children just so I can get a picture like this:
Classic. The speeder bike is on the list because it is the untamable stallion of my childhood. To this day whenever I play a Star Wars video game I know that driving one of these bad boys is courting death.
#6: TIE Advanced x1
Notable Pilot: Darth Vader
The TIE Advanced x1 (or Advanced TIE Fighter), was designed by Sienar Fleet Systems as a prototype of a more advanced version of the TIE Fighter. Unlike the standard TIE Fighters, the TIE Advanced x1 had both deflector shields and a hyperdrive, as well as heavy twin blaster cannons and the ability to add secondary weapons such as cluster missiles. Sienar Fleet Systems was unable to mass-produce this ship at the scale that the Empire needed, so the only one of these ships made was flown by Vader himself, when he wanted to leave his cushy Super Star Destroyer and blast some nerf-herders himself. Darth Vader used this fighter to chase down Luke Skywalker during his Death Star trench run. Vader almost killed Luke, but was stopped when some scrub in a TIE Fighter broke formation in bumped into him. While this ship is really only seen once in the movies and rarely in “Star Wars: Rebels,” if it’s good enough for Darth Vader, it’s good enough for this list.
#5: CR90 Corvette (Blockade Runner, Alderaan Cruiser, or Corellian Corvette)
Notable Operators: Mostly used to transport diplomats, such as Princess Leia Organa
The manufacturing of these corvettes began during the Clone Wars era by the Corellian Engineering Corporation, and these ships saw continued use through the Galactic Civil War. While these ships had limited armaments (only 2 dual turbolaser turrets and 4 single turbolasers), this ship’s carrying capacity and speed made it an excellent transport ship for ground troops or supplies. These corvettes could also carry up to 4 A-wings via external docking systems. This ship was not much of a fighter, but it’s speed and transport capabilities made it very useful for the Rebel Alliance. This was also the first ship ever seen in theaters, and that is a big reason why this ship makes my Top 10 Vehicles list.
#4: Delta -7 Aethersprite-Class Light Interceptor (Jedi Starfighter)
Notable Pilots: Old Republic Jedi including Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu
These starfighters were designed by Kuat Systems Engineering with oversight by the Jedi Order to create starfighters that were best suited to the skills of Jedi. These ships had minimal internal systems and maximum control responses, allowing the Jedi to better use the Force for piloting. These ships used external hyperspace rings which they locked into in order to travel through hyperspace. They were also equipped with 4 laser cannons. There were actually two models of this starfighter, the Delta -7B Aethersprite-Class Light Interceptor (pictured above) had a slightly larger hull and an astromech slot, allowing pilots to use their own astromech droids and were more widely used during the Clone Wars. The original Delta -7 Aethersprite-Class Light Interceptor featured an integrated astromech, where the astromech dome was intact, but was built into the ship itself. These ships were fast, maneuverable, and made just for the Jedi. While they might not have been the best starfighters, I still think they deserve a place close to the top of this top 10 list.
#3: ETA-2 Actics-Class Interceptor (Jedi Interceptor or Jedi Starfighter)
Notable Pilots: Jedi who fought in the Clone Wars such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker
The ETA-2 Interceptor was designed by Kuat Systems Engineering and shared many design characteristics with the Delta-7. Shaving off a chunk of the Delta-7’s forward frame gave the ETA-2 a forked look, as well as helped to increase the starfighter’s speed. The S-foils on the wings expanded to radiate excess engine heat during battle, however this meant that the region around the S-foils were lightly armored, making them prime targets for cannon fire and buzz droids. Sienar Fleet Systems later used this design as inspiration for the more expendable TIE Fighters. While these ships were large enough to accommodate a full astromech via a slot on the left wing, they were still not large enough for their own hyperdrive, once again relying on external hyperdrive rings. Fun fact: Master Yoda had a more specialized ETA-2 Interceptor modified to accommodate his small size.
I mean look at this thing, it’s just downright adorable. So tiny, but so powerful. Anyways, speed, maneuverability, and battle-capable, the opening scene in “Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith” is all that you need to watch to prove that these starfighters deserve a spot at the top of this list.
#2: X-Wing Starfighter (Both the T-65B [top] and the T-70 [bottom])
Notable Pilots: Jek Porkens, Wedge Antilles, and some nerf herder named Luke
Notable Pilots: Everyone’s new favorite pilot: Poe Dameron, as well as Snap Wexley and all the other Resistance pilots
Ok, so technically I’m giving the number 2 spot to two different starfighters. I could have grouped them both together, but both models deserve distinction, and both deserve a spot on this list. Few vehicles are as iconic as the T-65B X-Wing, so when they debuted the T-70 in “The Force Awakens” I was pumped that they were just as awesome as the originals. Both starfighters get their names from the two pairs of S-foils mounted on either side of the fighter. Normally, the foils were locked flush with each other, but during battle spread out into and X formation.
The T-65B were designed by the Incom Corporation as personal ships. But their flexibility as starfighters (could hold its own against individual starfighters or do major damage to capital ships), as well as familiarity to anyone used to Clone Wars-era ARC-170 Starfighters made these ships useful to the Rebel Alliance, and so they became almost exclusively used by Rebel pilots. The T-65B was equipped with 4 engines, a hyperdrive, 4 laser cannons, and 2 proton torpedo launcers. The hyperdrive system was a long-range syhstem, and as such the fighter accomodated with an astromech slot behind the singular cockpit. The shields were also pretty sophisticated in that they could be adjusted, giving more shielding to the front or back of the craft as needed.
The T-70 maintained the flexibility of the T-65B while improving on the design. Manufactured by Incom-FreiTek for the New Republic, star systems sympathetic to the cause of the Resistance donated these ships to form Red, Blue, and Black Squadrons for the Resistance’s fleet. The T-70 still had 4 engines and 4 laser cannons, but had one weapons bay that could be used as a paired proton torpedo launcher, a mag-pulse launcher, or concussion missiles, and could also house an anti-personnel blaster cannon under the S-foils. The T-70 also featured a new ejector-seat system as well as a large spotlight at the nose. The astromech slot behind the cockpit could also be modified to accommodate different astromech models, including the new BB droid design. After all is said the T-70 was even faster and bettered armed than the T-65B, but you just can’t beat the classics, and so both starfighters share the number 2 spot.
Honorable Mention: The Millennium Falcon
Notable Pilots: Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, and some stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder
Ok, I said at the beginning that this list was going to focus on standard vehicles in the Star Wars universe and would not focus on individually modified ships. But no list of Star Wars vehicles is complete without at least mentioning (honorably) the Millennium Falcon. This ship was a highly modified Corellian YT-1300 Freighter made by the Corellian Engineering Corporation. By the time we first see her in “A New Hope,” she was old and highly modified to increase speed, shielding, and firepower. By the events of “The Force Awakens,” she had been modified by over 7 different pilots. The Falcon‘s design as a light freighter made it great for transporting cargo, and after the modifications to increase her speed and defensive capabilities, as well as its offensive power, it was the perfect ship for a smuggler like Han Solo. Solo and the Falcon‘s claim to fame was the fact that it made the Kessel Run in less than 14 parsecs….oh sorry, that was 12, my bad. What that means is that Solo was able to pilot through the infamous Kessel Run, a hysperspace route (that required a large amount of extreme velocity changes to jump in and out of hypespace) used to smuggle spice from Kessel for the Pyke syndicate, in the shortest amount of distance. His 12 parsec run broke a long-standing record that has yet to be broken.
The Falcon‘s renowned Isu-Sim SSP05 hyperdrive is said to make her the “fastest ship in the galaxy,” her backup hyperdrive, however, is much slower, often taking weeks to months to reach the nearest star system. The Falcon also boasts a set of Girodyne sublight drives that gives it a maximum sublight speed of 1,050 kph. When it comes to firepower, this baby’s got 2 CEC-AG-2G quad laser cannon gunner turrets, 2 Arakyd ST2 concussion missile tubes, a BlasTech AX-108 “Ground Buzzer” blaster cannon, as well as a couple tractor beam projectors, oooooh girl. The Falcon requires a minimum 2-person crew to operate, but can comfortably carry 6 passengers and 100 metric tons of cargo. The interior also houses various hidden cargo areas for carrying illicit goods. Not that an upstanding member of society like Han Solo would ever have any use of these. Unfortunately, the sheer number of modifications, as well as the age of the Falcon requires a large amount of maintenance, and often results in major malfunctions, often at the worst possible moments. However, this ship is definitely one of the best, and credit must be given where credit is due.
#1: All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT, or Imperial Walkers)
Notable Operator: General Maximilian Veers, who’s that, you ask? This angry-looking son of a bantha right here:
Look at him, controlling one of the strongest units the Empire has to offer.
Anyways, many people may be upset that the AT-AT is at the top of this list. But blast ’em, this is my list and the AT-AT is absolutely my favorite vehicle in the Star Wars universe. What’s so cool about the AT-AT? Do you mean besides the point that the Empire dropped five of them miles away from the Rebel base and the Rebels soiled themselves so bad that they had to leave the planet? Plenty is cool about these walkers, so let’s break it down:
These walkers were designed by Kuat Drive Yards as walking fortresses. Their main job is to transport combat personnel and arms (with the capability to move up to 40 troops with pretty much zero risk of them getting shot along the way). Standing at 22.5 meters (over 73 feet), these walkers often served for psychological effect. That’s right, they were just plain scary. While AT-AT’s were vulnerable against blasts from other AT-AT’s (because everything is vulnerable from these guys) the only points that could be effected by blaster cannons were the neck (which was pretty well-protected by the head), and the joints (which generally prove to be relatively small targets and had to be shot numerous times to actually be affected). The AT-AT also boasted a pair of chin-mounted heavy laser cannons and a pair of temple-mounted medium blaster cannons. So it didn’t matter if they were taking down people, vehicles, or buildings, it was going down. Each AT-AT also hosted a large complement of troops including at least 5 speeder bikes, 25 proton mines, and at least 25 troops with both blaster rifles and heavy blaster rifles.
There are a lot of haters out there. “But Eli,” they say,”the walker design means it has obvious weak points at the legs.” Well, the haters are wrong. While I mentioned above that the leg joints were weak spots, in canon so far it has shown that one joint must be shot numerous times before it goes down, and that’s all while dodging cannon blasts, rifle blasts, mines, and any other imperial troops. Now it’s true that in “Rebels,” Kanan was able to cut off a leg with his lightsaber, but Jedi were not that prevalent during the era of the AT-AT (it was around during the Galactic Civil War), so that does not count.
“But Eli,” say the haters once again, “what about when they were tripped by the T-47 airspeeders during the battle of Hoth.” Fair point, haters. However, this happened once, and most of the speeders that tried this maneuver got shot down. Plus, if we check the scoreboard, the Empire still won that battle, so stop hating.
This giant walking camel fortresses are nothing short of awesome, and as such they will always be at the top of my favorite Star Wars vehicles.
So there you have it. My top 10 favorite vehicles in the Star Wars universe. Now this is by no means a full list of the vehicles of this universe. There are TIE Fighters, B-Wings, Y-Wings, AT-ST’s, AT-ACT’s, and speeder bikes of all sorts of varieties. So what do you think? Hop on down to the comments and let me know what your favorite vehicles are? You never know, I might end up doing another post all about vehicles I didn’t mention this week.As for next week I’m going to do something different. Next week, instead of talking about Star Wars canon, I want to talk about my personal experience at Walt Disney World’s Star Wars Weekend 2015, where I spent two days enjoying all Disney had to offer in the way of Star Wars, as well as where I met the man behind the dented helmet: Jeremy Bulloch. Once again, thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!