Jeremy hopes the Force is with him as he pursues a forensics career in the swamps of Louisiana.
Spaceships in Star Wars
Space battles, and the vehicles involved, have always played a huge role in the Star Wars films. Each of the first six movies opens in space, and most feature at least one vehicular battle. From the Death Star trench run to the assault on the Separatist capital ship, these clashes expand the world and allow non-Jedi to show their mettle as pilots.
Which vehicles have achieved a cult status over the years? Here are the six most iconic spaceships in Star Wars!
6. Death Star
Strengths: Heavily armored, incredible firepower
Weaknesses: Exposed venting port (the first Death Star), exposed power regulator (the second)
Okay okay, we're fudging here, as the Death Star is more of a space station than ship. Still, even non-fans often recognize this colossal metal sphere, and it is technically being piloted through space. The Empire used its ability to destroy entire planets to great effect against the Rebellion before it was shattered by Luke Skywalker. Years later, the Empire built a second and improved Death Star, but was forced to send it into battle before construction was complete, again exposing a vital weakness.
5. Slave 1
Pilot: Jango/Boba Fett
Strengths: Several weapons including twin lasers, concussion missiles, and seismic charges
Weaknesses: Questionable shield rating (at least in the Rebel Strike video game)
A modified Firespray-class ship, Slave 1 ravaged many foes under the skilled piloting of bounty hunters Jango and Boba Fett. Jango overwhelms Obi-Wan Kenobi in a dogfight in Episode 2 with the aircraft while Boba uses it to stealthily track Han Solo in Episode 5, and it escapes both encounters unscathed.
Bolstered using the Fett family fortune, Slave 1 harbors few weaknesses and never suffered a single scratch in the first two trilogies.
4. TIE Fighter
Pilot: Imperial troops
Strengths: Fast, inexpensive to construct
Weaknesses: No deflector shields or hyperdrive
These mass-produced ships are given to Imperial grunts. While they're far from durable thanks to a lack of deflector shields, and incapable of hyperspace travel, they're intended to overwhelm foes in swarms with their distinctive green lasers. TIEs won't be winning many dogfights, but they're maneuverable and easy to manufacture, making them the Empire's selection for its footmen.
Many upgraded versions, like Darth Vader's TIE Advanced, are provided to high-ranking members of the Empire. Bonus points if you knew TIE stands for Twin Ion Engine.
Pilot: Various Rebels such as Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles
Strengths: Impressive all-around vehicle
Weaknesses: Hard to remove from swamps
The Rebellion's craft of choice, the X-Wing is often cited as the best dogfighter of its age. With four laser cannons, respectable agility, impressive shields, and lethal proton torpedoes, the small ship impresses in every aspect. It's also capable of housing an astromech droid, like R2-D2, to further assist the pilot and conduct repairs. The X-wing can also switch between two modes: the pictured attack mode with its S-foil wings parted or a faster flight mode with the wings joined.
The Resistance would later use a modified version of X-Wings to combat the First Order.
2. Star Destroyer
Strengths: Incredible firepower and armor
Weaknesses: Vulnerable to ion blasts, low maneuverability thanks to size
A capital ship but a ship nonetheless, aptly-named Star Destroyers can obliterate entire stars when grouped. In fact, the first movie began with the Rebel ship Tantive IV completely dwarfed by a titanic Star Destroyer. Armed to the teeth with turbolasers, ion cannons, and nearly-impenetrable armor, these dagger-shaped beasts consistently demonstrated the vehicular advantage the Empire sported over the Rebellion.
Several variants exist, including the even larger Super Star Destroyers, like Darth Vader's command ship, the Executor.
1. Millennium Falcon
Pilot: Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Rey, Chewbacca
Strengths: Fast, heavily modified, cannons can fire from multiple locations
Weaknesses: Aging build leads to faulty systems
A light freighter, the Millennium Falcon is large enough to sport technical advantages over starships like the X-Wing but small enough to outrun cruisers and participate in dogfights. Though often viewed as a "piece of junk" by onlookers, the Falcon proves its mettle with speed, maneuverability, and several modifications like a cloaking system and laser turret. It was also instrumental in the destruction of both Death Stars. and it's design allows for a pilot and copilot to work in tangent. Just don't count on its hyperdrive to always function flawlessly.
With the passing of Han in The Force Awakens, we'll see what the future holds for his beloved ship.
As new Star Wars movies release, they continue to prove that some of the series' most thrilling moments originate from space combat as well as the more-renowned lightsaber duels. Thankfully, with the debut of a variety of skilled pilots like Poe Dameron, we can expect to see more spectacular airborne adventures for years to come.
But for now, as we eagerly await more starship battles in the galaxy far far away, vote for your favorite spacecraft and I'll see you at our next Star Wars countdown!
© 2017 Jeremy Gill