Every Type of Starship and Starfighter in Star Wars, Explained

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There are a lot of ships in the Battle of Endor. It’s a great scene — learn how to recognize the Starfighters here.

It’s kind of interesting when this happens: I come up with an idea for a RunPee article, start my research, and then find someone made an entire video with more detail and authority then I ever could. This has been happening frequently with Star Wars.

In this case, I was personally interested in differences and uses of the Starfighters used each in each movie. (A Starfighter is a one — sometimes two — manned, dogfighting style,  maneuverable armed space attacker. Some are modified for specifically atmosphere, as in the Imperial Tie Strikers on Rogue One.)

What are these Starfighters and who flies them?

Who gets to  fly certain designs and why? What does each ship look like? Offhand, can you tell the difference between a B-Wing and an A-Wing fighter?

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The Empire & First Order Ships

For example, if you’re an Imperial or First Order pilot, you might get a Tie Fighter, a Silencer, or an Interceptor. We also see a lot of distinctive Imperial Shuttles with folding bird-type wings. Darth Vader has his own elegant Tie Fighter design that we see in the Death Star trenches of A New Hope.

Capital ships include Star Destroyers and Dreadnoughts (and Death Stars), but we’re not covering the big cruisers / spacestations here. (“That’s no moon.”)

You probably noticed the Tie-Class Starfighters have a distinctive ‘whine’ sound. Here’s one minute of the classic Tie Fighter sound as they flyby and spin out:

Here is is again if you want to listen to the Tie Fighter whine as ambient sound for 12 hours, because, why not?

(Photo embed below shows Darth Vader’s Advanced X-1 Tie Fighter)

Rebels & Resistance Ships

Everyone knows what an X-Wing looks like. It’s Luke’s ship design, after all. But there are also Y-Wings, B-Wings, A-Wings, the Naboo N-1, and on and on until they merge together with minor changes of design.

 

Rebel and Resistance capital ships include Cruisers, Bombers, and Ramming ships (and some rag tag unique boats, like the Millennium Falcon, owned by scrappy individuals like Han Solo). But again, the video below has enough to cover without leaving the realm of Star Fighter.

Where do we see these Starfighters?

The best space battles are in A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, The Last Jedi, Rogue One, and finally, Rise of Skywalker. I’m not going to include The Phantom Menace, which does have a space battle, but is kind of dodgy. Except for Rise of Skywalker, you can find these scenes on You Tube, so you can easily start and stop the action to pick out the different Starfighters and big capital ships.

(Here are all the Star Wars movies ranked by my thoughts on re-watchability.)

OK, where’s the Starfighter Video?

Honestly, I’d been listing things on my own, looking over scenes in various movies, and then I found THIS. It’s the definitive answer, taking almost 18 minutes to watch, created/hosted by design crewmembers of Lucasfilms.

I can’t compete with that. 😉

So here’s the video. Can you name each type of Starfighter as it appears on the screen? 

The other big article I’m no longer going to write is about Stormtroopers. There are more types of troopers than I originally noticed, and I really thought my personal list was pretty good. Oh well! This video is also by Lucasfilm designers, and I’ve written about that here.

Star Wars – Death Stars and Planet Killers: Enough Already

The 6 Most Epic Lightsaber Fights in Star Wars (plus 3 that didn’t make the cut)

Who rated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker higher, men or women?

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