You might call the A-Wing the unsung hero of the realm of Star Wars’ aerospace engineering. Though outnumbered and overshadowed by the likes of the ubiquitous X-Wing and its bomb-deploying counterpart the Y-Wing, the A earns its seat at the head of the alphabet thanks to its invaluable contribution to the Battle of Endor. Thirty-odd years after its inception into the Star Wars universe in Return of the Jedi, the A-Wing will meet the big screen once more in Star Wars: Episode VIII.
Screenrant reports that Rian Johnson’s upcoming will unearth the woefully unappreciated interceptor aircraft, which has since only found home on the Star Wars Rebels animated show, in the Shattered Empire comic book series, and in a number of video games.
…All right, all right, that list is no slouch; maybe I’ve been overselling just how bum a deal the A-Wing has gotten. Still, it’s hardly the first—or even fifth—ship you think of when it comes to the Star Wars world. But perhaps new spotlight at the hands of writer and director Johnson will boost the A-Wing’s notability to the caliber deserved of its premier handle.
To be fair, the in-universe history of the A-Wing is a little cloudy. Though the A-Wing was not featured in the Battle of Yavin, it was used heavily during the Battle of Endor. One might assume, then, that the A-Wing was invented sometime after A New Hope, but Star Wars Rebels proved that they do pre-date Yavin. The original coloration of the A-wings makes its first appearance on the A-wings of Phoenix Squadron in the second season of Star Wars Rebels. But then again, canon is a tricky thing when it comes to Star Wars.
The ship’s history is a lot clearer in the real (albeit slightly less wondrous) world. Ralph McQuarrie, conceptual artist extraordinaire, designed the ship during production of Return of the Jedi. Fans who’d only had the Xs and Ys to revel in up to that point (oh, and the Millennium Falcon, if that piece of junk is even your thing) got to enjoy a whole new member of the fleet. Johnson appears to have been among those many A-Wing appreciators, and we’re excited to see just how he puts the Rebels’ fastest flying starfighter to good use.
Does an A-Wing show up in Rogue One? Check out our trailer breakdown!
Michael Arbeiter is the East Coast Editor for Nerdist, and a diehard fan of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. Find him on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.