Attentive “Star Wars” fans may have noticed that “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” introduces a new ship to the Rebel cause. Visible at various points in the film’s trailers, the new craft is dubbed the U-Wing. While we haven’t seen it on screen in any of the previous (or chronologically subsequent) “Star Wars” films, a recent article (and video) from Entertainment Weekly reveals that the U-Wing apparently shares a lineage with a number of other “Star Wars” vessels.
A versatile troop carrier, the U-Wing’s forward-facing wing design is similar to that of the Jedi Interceptor, the one-man fighter favored by various Jedi Knights towards the end of the Clone Wars. But the U-Wing’s cockpit owes more of a debt to the obsolescent Y-Wing, while the four engine arrangement is replicated in the classic X-Wing fighter.
As “Rogue One” executive producer and visual-effects supervisor John Knoll puts it,
“our conceit is that the U-Wing came from the same factory that was manufacturing X-Wings… It’s just like if you look at cars from one [automaker], you see design themes carried across multiple different product lines.”
The U-Wing also has a further surprise, one that has not yet been clearly seen on-screen. As EW journalist Anthony Breznican demonstrates using a toy in the video below, the U-Wings don’t just sweep forward — they can sweep back too, theoretically increasing the craft’s maneuverability in planetary atmosphere.
Hopefully, we will actually get to see the U-Wings changing their wing configurations at some point during “Rogue One.” That would surely be an awesome sight and the equivalent of watching the the X-Wing pilots moving to “lock ‘S’ foils in attack position” in the original 1977 “Star Wars” movie.
Directed by Gareth Edwards from a script by Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna and Riz Ahmed and opens on December 15 in the UK and December 16 in North America.
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