No other movie in this galaxy or one far, far away may be more anticipated this year than that of Disney's Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The J. J. Abrams-directed sci-fi film has been on the top on most people's "must see" list since Disney first announced there would be a series of new Star Wars films, which wasn't long after they purchased the legendary franchise from Lucasfilm.
While the original trilogy introduced classic vehicles into the Star Wars universe, such as the AT-AT, the Tie Fighter, the X-Wing fighter, and of course, the Millennium Falcon, arguably the only memorable vehicle the prequel trilogy gave fans was the pod racer from Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The Force Awakens looks to improve upon the mostly forgettable vehicles from the prequels, returning to the classic ships and transports from the original films.
Many of the vehicles in this film are upgrades to existing ships found in the first six films, while others are brand new to the Star Wars Universe. Let's take a look at all of the ones we know about so far in this Star Wars – Episode VII – The Force Awakens Vehicle Guide.
Little is known about Rey, including her last name and her past, but it's clear she makes her living scavenging for parts on her home planet of Jakku. The planet has a harsh desert environment which would take a deadly toll on the unlucky soul crossing it on foot (due to a crashed Tie fighter, perhaps?) but fortunately, Rey has her trusty speeder to help her cross the treacherous terrain.
Speeders are a huge part Star Wars universe and are used in various forms across most, if not all, of the planets in the known galaxy. Rey's speeder appears to get the job done for her, but some of the design elements - such as sitting directly on the engine and the tiny, almost useless windshield - are questionable.
One of the other scavengers Rey has to compete with on Jakku is the brutish Teedo. Unlike Rey's speeder, which is built to haul minimal equipment at fast speeds, Teedo chooses to patrol the Jakku deserts on a lumbering, semi-mechanical animal called a Luggabeast. This beast of burden may be slow but can carry a lot more weight than an average speeder, giving Teedo a slight advantage above other scavengers.
At first glance, Luggabeast doesn't appear to fit the qualifications of a typical "vehicle," but when you consider how heavily mechanized the animal is, it's close to enough to consider for this guide. Animal transport is nothing new to the Star Wars universe, as most people will remember that Luke Skywalker used a Tantan to stay alive while lost on the planet Hoth.
Perhaps the best known vehicle in the entire Star Wars universe is the one belonging to smuggler-turned-hero Han Solo, the Millennium Falcon. Along with his faithful partner in crime, Chewbacca, Solo and his spaceship fought the Galactic Empire across the galaxy and was instrumental in helping the Rebel Alliance defeat them. That was then - jump forward several decades and the aging Solo has returned to once again help in bringing down the rising evil known as The First Order.
On the outside, it doesn't appear much has changed with the design of the new Millennium Falcon, but since there has yet to be a good look at the inside of the famous ship, there could be some changes to the interior we haven't seen. Regardless of any changes made to the ship, as long as Han Solo is behind the stick and Chewbacca is manning the turrets, Kylo Ren and his First Order army would be wise to avoid conflict with it.
Poe Dameron's X-Wing Starfighter
Not much is known about Poe Dameron but as the leader of an elite squadron of T-70 X-Wing fighters called "Black Squadron," it's assumed he's a highly skilled fighter pilot for The Resistance. Whether his entire squadron flies in black X-Wings or it's just his ship that stands out is unknown, but it's not hard to immediately be in awe of this space fighter and it's sleek new design.
Every space hero needs a good space ship he can count on to work consistently in battle when they need it to; it appears that Poe's new X-Wing fighter will do the job nicely. Newcomer astromech droid BB-8 is assumed to be Poe's onboard X-Wing copilot (based solely on promotional material).
Rebel Alliance T-70 X-Wing Starfighter
T-65 X-Wing Starfighters were the main ships used by the Rebel Alliance's army in the first trilogy. They're so important to the story that without one, Luke wouldn't have been able to take down the Death Star, so it's no surprise to see this classic ship return in Episode 7 as the upgraded T-70. The ships are reliable and usually have a droid sitting atop (like R2-D2 or BB-8) serving as co-pilot, controlling things like shields and on-board computer repairs.
Minor modifications have been made to the T-70, with the most obvious being the change from quad engines to the two-engine design. Apart from the switch to the blue stripe (the originals had a red/orange stripe), the reduction in engine size makes the aesthetics of this new ship very different. However, while the ship has a new look in "cruise" mode, the more familiar "X" look appears once the fighter goes into "attack" mode.
Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle
One of the newest, and arguably the coolest-looking bad guys in the Star Wars Universe is Kylo Ren. It's clear he has some background with The Force and that he's working with the First Order, but whether he is a Sith, like Darth Maul and Darth Vader before him, is unclear. However, it's obvious while he's wielding his cross-guard lightsaber that he intends to destroy all Jedi in his path and perhaps his actions are guided by the Supreme Leader Snoke.
Regardless, like most vehicles in the Galactic Empire's arsenal, Ren's shuttle is dark and menacing, with many sharp angular edges making up its form, as opposed to the smoother look of the other ships in the universe. When someone in the galaxy sees one of these ships approaching, they know that no good can come from it.
First Order Assault Walker
Whether it's in battle against the Rebel Alliance or just patrolling a planet in a police-like fashion for the Galactic Empire, Stormtroopers have always had a bevy of on-the-ground weapons at their disposal. Any of their machines that move about on legs is considered a "walker", with the coolest being the AT-AT (All-Terrain Armored Transport) used during the Battle of Hoth, but they always use smaller versions that carry only one or two soldiers.
The walker legacy continues in The Force Awakens with the addition of this new bi-ped First Order Assault Walker. The "toes" of the machine are shaped like the claw of a predatory bird, giving them the ability to clamp down on a multitude of environmental terrains, such as wood or ice. It appears to be well-armed and has plenty of front armor to deflect enemy fire, but the backside is severely lacking in that department. Once an enemy gets behind them, it's game over.
First Order Special Forces Stormtrooper Speeder Bike
Speeder bikes were first introduced in the forests of Endor during Return of the Jedi and when it comes to mode of transportation in the Star Wars Universe, quickly became a fan favorite. Speeders come in many different forms (see: Rey's Speeder above) but Stormtroopers generally use them as implements of war. Because speeder bikes are super fast they require extreme skill and ultra-quick reflexes to pilot them properly (read: without smashing into something and dying).
Each speeder bike comes equipped with side-mounted laser cannons that can make quick work of ground personnel and light-armored enemy vehicles. Upon first inspection, it appears the Special Force edition of the First Order speeder bike is just like any other speeder bike, with the exception of the paint scheme. However, there's likely some modifications we won't know about until we see the movie.
First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter
Just as the X-Wing Starfighter is the main staple in the Rebel Alliance's army, so is the the TIE Fighter in the Empire's army. The typical TIE fighter isn't very powerful or well-armored but it's quick and, for the most part, easy to maneuver in both space and in a planet's atmosphere. They usually go into battle in pairs and easily work together to wipe out their enemies, overwhelming them in numbers instead of brute force.
It's assumed that with this Special Forces version of the TIE Fighter, there will be many upgrades to make the ship more powerful and therefore on par to go one-on-one with a T-70 X-Wing Starfighter. It's unknown exactly what those upgrades will be, but speculation includes the addition of more armor, better laser cannons and increased maneuverability.
First Order Snowspeeder
When it came to the Battle of Hoth in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the Galactic Empire thought it could (literally) crush the Rebel Alliance under the feet of its AT-ATs, but they didn't count on the Alliance's quick and nimble Snowspeeder to trip them up. This new Snowspeeder is the First Order's response to not having any real air support in icy environments.
The original Alliance Snowspeeder was a military-modified T-47 civilian ship which included over-the-wing mounted lasers and a tow-cable launcher but this new version was created specifically with war in mind. It can hold several Stormtroopers, has plenty of armor and a vast array of armaments, including laser cannons and missile launchers, to help take down enemies.
First Order Star Destroyer - The Finalizer
When it comes to the sheer size of a space vehicle or weapon, nothing comes close to what the Galactic Empire could produce. While the Death Star was perhaps its largest piece of weaponry, it was its Star Destroyer and Super Star Destroyer-class of space ships that tended to dwarf everything in sight. The physical length of one of these ships was so incredible that it was actually parodied in the opening of Mel Brooks' classic movie Spaceballs.
The Finalizer is essentially a floating empire cruising around in space carrying many of the First Order's equipment, personnel, weapons, fighters and Stormtroopers. While the Finalizer may not be very nimble, don't let its massive size fool you. It's covered in energy shields and armor and has a battery of cannons that will annihilate incoming enemy ships before they can get close enough to even take a shot. This is one spaceship that will require more than brute force to eliminate.
First Order Troop Carrier
In the prequels, it was easy to transport battle droids as they folded easily into a small space and could be carried in large numbers in basically any size ship. However, while Stormtroopers were superior to droids in just about every way, they could only really travel in groups via AT-ATs or small groups via walkers. With the introduction of the new troop carrier, the First Order can now carry as many medium-size squads of Troopers as they need, to any planet they want, thereby insuring they win whatever battle they happen to be in at the time.
The troop carrier is a no-frills ship that has enough armor to make sure the troops aren't blown up in space but is light enough to out-maneuver incoming enemy ships. It has front and rear-mounted laser cannons with side ports that allow troops inside the ability to shoot back - vaguely reminiscent of the B-17 bombers used during World War II.
The ships and vehicles in this post represent everything we know to date, using concept art, trailers, and the newly released Star Wars toy line as the source. We'll update this Star Wars – Episode VII – The Force Awakens Vehicle Guide with new vehicles as that information becomes available. Also, be sure to check out our complete Star Wars – Episode VII – The Force Awakens Character Guide afterwards to see all the new (and old) characters from the upcoming film.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens opens in theaters December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 should reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.