A whole new era in the Star Wars saga begins with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set some 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. In this period the Empire is supposedly on the decline, but much of its imposing fleet remains intact, with many powerful figures still loyal. The Rebellion may have seen some significant victories, but their war is far from over.
It should be noted, however, that this theory is simply all conjecture, as Oscar Isaac pointed out just recently that most rumors surrounding Episode VII aren't true. That being said, what we've seen of the film's costumes and those new X-Wings seem to imply Episode VII will be more in line aesthetically with the original trilogy than the prequels.
Now there's yet another new design of a classic ship which may also be indicative of Episode VII's close ties with the original trilogy. The concept art comes via Indie Revolver and is an image of a new TIE Fighter design.
The TIE Fighters, if you'll recall, were the Empire's smaller ships, often seen dog-fighting with the X-Wings. There have been several different versions of the TIE Fighter, with Darth Vader famously piloting one with a curved wing design in A New Hope.
This new TIE Fighter appears much larger than a typical TIE Fighter, with its cockpit positioned lower on the wings. Those wings, too, have a different design, with the top half appearing significantly longer than the bottom half, which is shorter and more squat.
There may also be a different purpose to these TIE Fighters than simply shooting X-Wings out of the sky. Near the bottom of the image you'll notice a gangplank descending from its body with a pair of Imperial Guards standing watch. This visually echoes anytime The Emperor would exit his ship in the original trilogy, but with The Emperor dead (if he's dead, that is) who would warrant such pageantry?
The have been persistent rumors that Gwendoline Christie is playing some sort of elite Imperial officer - perhaps even an Inquisitor or a Sith. If her character does indeed hold a high rank within what remains of the Empire then a couple of Imperial Guards (and rows upon rows of Stormtroopers) would be an apt welcoming party for such a dignitary.
Indie Revolver goes on to note this concept art - which also included an image of a more traditional looking TIE Fighter painted black with red markings - was labeled as "TIE-Fighter - Special Forces." If that is indeed true, then it appears this much larger TIE Fighter could be the command ship, and possibly even Christie's personal transport.
What do you think of possible new design for the TIE Fighter? Could this ship be the commander to a new fleet of Special Forces TIE Fighters? Let us hear from you in the comments below!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2015.
Source: Indie Revolver