The very first moment of Star Wars experienced by audiences in 1977 changed cinema forever. The Tantive IV blasts onto the screen and is immediately followed by the seemingly endless bulk of the Star Destroyer Devastator coming across the top of the screen. Even 40 years later, that opening scene is the gold standard by which other films are judged.
The ships and vehicles of Star Wars have always been one of the more iconic and defining aspects of the franchise. There's Star Destroyers, the Millennium Falcon, TIE Fighters, X-Wings, Snowspeeders, and AT-ATs. Star Wars is often at its best when there’s starships racing across the screen.
Rogue One continues this tradition with both nostalgic fan favorites as well as a few new ships. Breaking down what we know about each of them, here’s our Complete Guide to the Vehicles and Vessels of Rogue One.
[The following contains spoilers for Rogue One and other Star Wars properties]
Rogue One introduced Star Wars fans to the UT-60D U-Wing starfighter for the first time. The Alliance leaned heavily on the Incom manufactured U-Wing, depending on it as a starfighter, support craft, troop transport, air support, med-evac, cargo transport, courier ship, and and personal shuttle.
The U-Wing never saw full scale production by Incom, because the Empire nationalized the corporation before many were produced, but the Alliance saw to it that many of the versatile ships were taken off the Empire’s hands. With a crew of 2 pilots and space for 8 passengers, the heavy armor and shielding of the U-Wing made it ideal for deploying troops into combat situations, as it could linger to provide cover and support fire to aid troops in getting into position.
While not perfectly suited for ship-to-ship combat, the U-Wing was versatile enough to engage enemy starfighters when necessary, utilizing its swing wing design to increase the deflector shield spread for increased defense.
19 Delta-Class T-3C Shuttle
While most Imperials prefer Sienar Fleet Systems’s Lambda-class, Orson Krennic appreciation for unique design had him stick with the Delta-class shuttle long after it had been replaced by the newer Lambda-class (which we'll cover later). In fact, Sienar originally never even intended to put the Delta-class into production, but Krennic’s appreciation for the design convinced them to move forward.
Functionally the Delta-class is far more sparse than the Lambda, but since Krennic’s shuttle, designated T-3C (with no alternate call sign), is mainly used to transport Krennic and his elite Death Troopers, creature comforts aren’t a top priority.
What the T-3C lacks in amenities, it makes up for in function. Its hull shape, surface texture, and engine are all configured to maximize stealth operations, allowing Krennic to move to and from secret build sites unnoticed. Also, the Delta-class has an additional forward cannon in lieu of the rear cannon of the Lambda-class, making the Delta more suited for direct engagement, when necessary.
18 Alderaan Cruiser
As the first ship type to appear on screen in a Star Wars movie, Alderaan Cruisers hold a special place in the heart of many fans and a significant place in the history of the Rebel Alliance. Manufactured by the Corellian Engineering Corporation, the Alderaan Cruiser was central to Bail Organa’s efforts to build the Rebel Alliance. Sometimes called “blockade runners,” the cruisers featured a massive bank of eleven thrusters that enabled them to make quick and decisive attacks on unsuspecting Imperial forces.
The Tantive IV, the Cruiser most used by the Organa family, was undergoing repairs in the docking bay of the Mon Calamari Cruiser Profundity immediately before the Rebels’ attack on Scarif. When the cruiser is compromised by Darth Vader, the plans are rushed aboard the Tantive IV to Princess Leia, who’s just about to leave on a mission to recruit the legendary Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi to the Rebellion’s cause.
Not to be confused with its more heavily armored sibling, the All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT), the All Terrain Armored Cargo Transport is not the battlefield behemoth many fans remember from the Battle of Hoth in the Empire Strikes Back. Designed to transport construction materials, tactical equipment, and other heavy cargoes, the AT-ACT has slightly longer legs than the AT-AT, giving it greater speed, and favors storage space over heavy armor. Since the AT-ACT isn’t officially designated as a combat vehicle, most Imperial personnel are qualified to operate the walker.
The AT-ACT is more than capable of engaging enemy forces, as the Rebel commandos learn in Rogue One, but the AT-ACTs stationed at Scarif are there for utility, not defense. The lumbering cargo transport has the ability to store up to 550 cubic meters and thousands of metric tons of cargo and are heavily utilized on Scarif to transport valuable materials to various sites for use in experimental projects, such as the Tarkin Initiative.
A product of the Corellian Engineering Corporation and flown by Rebel Alliance General Hera Syndulla, the Ghost is a VCX-100 light freighter that has been a thorn in the side of the Empire for over a decade by the time of Rogue One, and chronicled in the novel A New Dawn and the Rebels animated series.
The Ghost's speed makes it hard for the Empire to catch, evading capture for years in the Lothal sector in the early days of the Rebellion. Even when the Ghost’s speed isn’t enough, a suite of stealth technology and jamming equipment help it evade Imperial sensors. Also a threat in a dogfight, the freighter's dorsal, ventral, and nose turrets are all responsible for destroying hundreds of TIE fighters over the course of the Ghost’s years in service.
To top it off, the Ghost includes a rear docked shuttle/fighter. The original accompanying craft, the Phantom, was destroyed in combat, but was replaced by the Phantom II. The shuttle doesn’t appear to be attached during the battle of Scarif, so it remains to be seen if it has been destroyed again, or if it survived the intervening years, or if it’s simply on another mission.
The AT-ST is another product of the Kuat Drive Yards. The two legged walker is fitted with a specialized gyroscope at the base of the cockpit to allow its legs to move independently without topping the walker altogether. Despite its avian wobble, earning it the nickname of “chicken walker,” the scout transport is quite sturdy and capable of speeds of up to 90kph and is regularly deployed for additional ground support or to aid in recon missions.
The Empire deployed AT-ST walkers to Jedha City to help control Saw Gerrera’s rebel forces. The many narrow and winding streets of the city may not have been the most ideal for the scout walker’s speed and typical application, but the twin laser cannon and side mounted blaster cannon and concussion grenade launcher made the AT-ST a great option for crowd control - aided by its intentionally intimidating design, where front windows give the walker the appearance of a skull or combat droid.
14 Hammerhead Corvette
The Hammerhead Corvette gets its obvious name from the tall, blunt front end. A fairly popular ship in the Rebellion, several Hammerheads were added to the Rebel fleet with the aid of Princess Leia Organa and the Lothal Rebel cell. Under the guise of a mercy mission, Leia has 3 of the corvettes with relief supplies sent to Lothal, where the Rebels ambush and steal the ships.
This initiative would come in handy years later during the battle of Scarif when Admiral Raddus calls upon the Hammerhead Lightmaker to ram a disabled I-class Star Destroyer, forcing it to collide with another Star Destroyer and take out the Scarif shield gate. Insistent on staying aboard to ensure success, Captain Kado Oquoné and a skeleton crew see the effort through to completion, allowing the Rogue One team to successfully transmit the Death Star plans to the Profundity.
13 DS-1 Death Star
There have been several Death Star or Death Star like weapons used throughout the Star Wars saga (especially if you wade into Star Wars Legends material), but Rogue One takes us back to the original. The OG DS-1 Death Star.
The Death Star plans were originally seized from the Separatists at the start of the Clone Wars, but with Sheev Palpatine pulling the strings on both sides, it was likely just a matter of him desiring to use Confederate designers and Republic resources to bring the station to fruition.
With a diameter of 160 kilometers, the Death Star is one of the most massive space faring engineering accomplishments in the history of the galaxy. With most of the construction overseen by Director Orsen Krennic, the Death Star took over 20 years to complete, but much of that was due to delays in developing the kyber crystal powered superlaser. Once it came online, a single reactor test was more than enough to obliterate Jedha City. At full power, the Death Star can destroy an entire planet.
12 Nebulon B Frigate
Originally manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards, the Nebulon B Frigate was one of the Rebel Alliance’s most versatile capital ships. Able to be modified to fit a variety of roles for any mission from reconnaissance to rescue missions, the Nebulon B Frigate is most well known in the Alliance for its use as a Medical Frigate where injured Rebels can sit out of the action while they heal up. Its use in Rogue One is far more standard, though, participating in the Alliance Fleet’s attack on Scarif, equipped to serve as a warship during the ensuing battle.
While its size may pale in comparison to the larger Alliance capital ships or Calamari Cruisers like the Profundity - it's measures roughly a little over twice the length of an Alderaan Cruiser - the Nebulon B Frigate serves as an exemplary mid-size capital ship and escort craft for the Rebel Alliance during the battle of Scarif.
11 HAVw A6 Juggernaut
Formerly known as the Clone Turbo Tank, the Kuat Drive Yards’s HAVw A6 Juggernaut was once a mainstay of the Republic’s army during the Clone Wars. The Juggernaut served as both a troop transport and a tank on intense ground missions like those seen at Felucia or Kashyyyk. The Turbo Tank’s heavy armor allowed it to ensure its passenger clones arrived safely at their destination on the battlefield.
Years after the Clone Wars, the Juggernaut is still in service by the Empire, but it’s no longer a military vehicle, and it no longer carries clones. Now it’s in use at some of the many Imperial labor camps, such as Wobani, where the Empire uses it to transport laborers to and from dig sites or mining operations. Jyn Erso, under the name Lianna Hallik, is one such laborer when the Rebel Alliance initially attacks her transport to extract her for aid in their search for Galen Erso.
When the Empire first occupied the watery planet of Mon Cala, many of the aquarian Mon Calamari structures, which were also equipped for space travel, blasted free from the planet, carrying many Mon Calamari refugees with them. Over the years, they began heavily modifying these ships for battle, adding armor and shielding, crafting them into the legendary Mon Calamari Cruisers.
The Profundity, under the command of Admiral Raddus, was the former civic governance tower of Nystullum, an icy Mon Cala city of which Raddus was the Mayor. As one one of the first Mon Calamari Cruisers ready for Battle, Raddus and his Calamari crew would command the bulk of the fleet from the command deck at the end of the ventral mast beneath the hulking ship.
Coming in at just under 1.2 kilometers long, just a little shorter than an I-class Star Destroyer, the Profundity bore an intentional resemblance to massive predators from Mon Cala, serving as a reminder for its crew to stay vigilant. Having seen first hand just how willing the Empire was to subjugate entire planets, Raddus and his crew are willing to sacrifice their lives to ensure the Emperor’s new “planet killer” never comes anywhere near their watery homeworld.
9 Imperial Assault Tank - TX-225 GAVw “Occupier”
The Empire’s occupation of Jedha as they extract kyber crystals has two main requirements: first, they need to subjugate and control the citizens of Jedha, and second, they need to collect the kyber crystals for transfer back to the Star Destroyer Dauntless above the city. The TX-225 GAVw Occupier Imperial Combat Tank fits both of those requirements perfectly.
The Rothana Heavy Engineering manufactured vehicle sports a composite laminate armor for maximum protection of the 3 crew members (commander, driver, and gunner) and equipment, while the forward facing cannons boast support for anti-personnel, anti-armor, and anti-aircraft engagements, making the Occupier a strong presence on Jedha’s streets.
In addition to its military functionality, the continuous track version of the tank (the one in use in Jedha) has a flatbed used to transport kyber crystals collected from around the city and the nearby temple to be sent back to the Dauntless for use in the Death Star.
8 Imperial Star Destroyers
After the end of the Clone Wars and the end of the Galactic Republic, the newly formed Galactic Empire determined that space superiority was the most effective way to maintain control of the galaxy. Iterating on the smaller Venator class Jedi cruisers of the Clone Wars, the Empire developed the Star Destroyer, making it the backbone of their navy.
Rogue One features several Imperial I-class Star Destroyers: Tarkin’s flagship, the Executrix; Vader’s flagship, the Devastator; the ship occupying Jedha, Dauntless; and a handful of other unnamed Star Destroyers seen at the Death Star and over Scarif.
Constructed by Kuat Drive Yards, the Imperial Star Destroyer is over 1.6 kilometers long, and can be staffed by upwards of 46,000 officers, pilots, stormtroopers, and other personnel at any given time. Even though the hull of the I-class Star Destroyer is rippling with turbolasers and ion cannons, the Destroyer’s arrowhead design and reputation is typically intimidating enough for it to never have to fire a shot.
The most classic ship in all of Star Wars, the X-wing, specifically the Incom T-65C-A2 model X-Wing (as opposed to the T-70 seen in The Force Awakens), made its triumphant return for Rogue One.
Originally inspired by workhorses from the Clone Wars, the ARC-170 and Z95 Headhunter, the Incom corporation designed the X-Wing to be the new premier fighter for the Empire, but a political falling out lead the Empire to partner with Sienar Fleet Systems for the majority of its fighters. Not ones to let good plans go to waste, the Rebel Alliance stole the plans for the top of the line fighter, modified it to be even more powerful than the original Incom designs, and made it their go-to craft of the Alliance Navy.
The X-Wing gets its iconic name from the way the S-foils open so the wings make the shape of an X (even though the Arubesh alphabet typically used in Star Wars has a completely different symbol for X). This expanded wing shape in “attack mode” gives the two-fold benefit of expanding deflector shield coverage and expanding the firing cone for its four wing mounted laser cannons. The X-Wing’s 1,050 kph top speed isn’t as fast as the TIE Figher’s, but the craft excels in almost every other category, making it one of the biggest threats in the Alliance’s arsenal.
6 Lambda-Class shuttle
Most of what Sienar Fleet Systems manufactures for the Empire, specifically the various TIEs, comes from a very industrial aesthetic, but the Lambda-class Imperial Shuttle diverges from this style in almost every way. Eschewing the matte black and grey colors and the more rough cut edges of the TIEs, the Lambda-class is far more sleek and elegant with a white finish that is almost high gloss.
The Lambda was the preferred shuttle of both Emperor Sheev Palpatine and Darth Vader as well as most Imperial officers and government officials. It was typically used just to shuttle between two capital ships or to the surface of a planet, even though the it was capable of hyperspace travel. Ideally it will never see combat - it usually flies with a TIE escort - but it is well armed for a shuttle of its size with both forward mounted and wing cannons in addition to a rear facing cannon. At the end of the battle of Scarif, Darth Vader takes a Lambda shuttle from the Devastator to the Profundity in search of the stolen Death Star plans.
5 Rogue One (stolen Zeta-Class Cargo Shuttle)
During a time when the Empire was flooding resources into various projects to build its war machine, the Zeta-class Cargo Shuttle was rarely out of demand. As a joint project between the Telgorn Corporation and Sienar Fleet Systems, the Zeta shuttles saw near constant use, transporting building materials, munitions, or other sensitive goods around the galaxy, particularly to worlds like Eadu and Scarif or building projects like the Death Star.
The Zeta-class Cargo Shuttle was perfectly equipped for transporting almost any material. Any cargo pods in the hold could utilize the ship’s power for temperature sensitive cargo, or any live cargo in containers with specific atmospheric requirements. The shuttle was also optimized to use as little landing space as possible, with wings that fold vertically for takeoff and landing.
During the Rebels’ infiltration of Eadu in search of Galen Erso, Bodhi Rook, the former Imperial pilot, steals Zeta Class shuttle SW-0608 to get back to Yavin IV. The ship is repurposed and dubbed “Rogue One” to take the team, plus a squad of Rebel commandos to Scarif to steal the Death Star plans.
4 TIE Bomber
The Tie Bomber makes only the briefest of appearances in Rogue One, wher it can be spotted escorting Vader’s boarding shuttle toward the end of the film. The first time TIE bombers appeared on screen was in The Empire Strikes Back when they're dropping charges onto the larger asteroids as the Empire searches for the Millennium Falcon.
While the TIE Bombers evoked the same design language as the other Sienar Fleet Systems manufactured TIEs, the Bomber had an elongated body, a second pod for storing munitions, and was notably slower than the TIE/ln and other fighter variants, making it ideal to withhold the Bomber from heavy combat situations unless a larger TIE escort was available. If the Bomber was deployed, though, it would regularly spell doom for enemy bases and capital ships, as the TIE Bomber’s secondary pod typically contained a large payload of bombs, missiles, torpedoes, and other high impact ordinance.
3 TIE Fighter
If the Imperial Star Destroyer is the spine of the Empire’s space superiority, then TIE Fighters are the appendages. Star Destroyers are massive, well shielded, and bristling with weapons, while TIE fighters are lightweight, inexpensive, and numerous. The early days of the Empire saw no need for overpowered starfighters, so the TIE was created as a pared down short range fighter to take on weaker opponents generally unequipped to face the full might of the Empire.
In order to produce the fighters cheaply and en masse, the TIE/ln (line edition) was manufactured by Sienar Fleet Systems with no hyperdrive (and therefore limited navigational computing functions), a small fuel tank, and minimal life support, necessitating that all TIE pilots wear full flight suits.
The TIE name comes from the ship’s twin ion engines, which result in the iconic scream of a TIE fighter (fun fact, audio engineer Ben Burtt originally designed that sound by combining the sounds of an elephant and tires on wet pavement). The vessel’s minimal amenities and twin ion engines give it a major speed punch with a top speed of over 1,200 kph. The TIE's biggest weakness is that it may become useless if it strays too far from its Star Destroyer, but strength in numbers makes the Empire’s dominant navy a force to be reckoned with.
The X-Wing might be the favorite craft of the Rebel Alliance, but the BTL-A4 Y-Wing (which also doesn’t match the Arubesh alphabet) is an unquestioned close second. Originally built by Koensayr Manufacturing during the Clone Wars, the Y-Wing was as rugged as they come and able to take a beating unlike any other craft, making it a great option for bombing runs, although its fixed laser cannons and top mounted ion turret also made it versatile in a dogfight.
After the fall of the Republic, the Empire didn’t see much need for the Y-Wing, so Koensayr began selling them to private parties and independent planetary defense forces before the Empire put a stop to their operation, seizing their remaining inventory with the intent to have them destroyed. Catching wind of the Empire’s plans, the Alliance began stealing the fighters for their own use.
While the Y-Wing originally had external body pieces to cover its structural and internal components, repeated combat use, regular repairs, and the passage of time saw the Alliance’s Y-Wings lose this aesthetic outer shell, leaving much of the rugged fighter as an exposed skeleton.
1 TIE Striker
Scarif’s Imperial base found itself at the heart of the Tarkin Initiative, and thus benefited from experimental technology that the rest of the Empire rarely saw. The most prominent example is the TIE/sk x1 TIE Striker. The TIE Striker is an experimental fighter designed specifically for atmospheric flight. The low profile and slanted wings are meant to compensate for the wind effect seen by standard TIE Fighters, which don’t perform as well outside the vacuum of space.
Breaking from the minimalist design of a typical TIE/ln, the Tie Striker had added repulsor lifts on its underside, relieving some weight from the twin ion engines, allowing them to give the craft that extra oomph to get up to speeds as high as 1,500 kph. The Striker was also manned by two man crews, with a pilot and a gunner, with the latter manning either ground support cannons, or dropping bombs.
The Striker wasn't designed for extended trips out of the atmosphere, but so long as it remained suborbital, it was a major threat to any foe. Even so, many high ranking officers in the Imperial Navy saw the Striker as a needless extravagance, which limited its use mostly to experimental sites like Scarif.
What was your favorite vehicle in Rogue One? Did you prefer the new additions, or do you like the nostalgia of returning vessels more? Let us hear about it in the comments!