The latest Star Wars novel attempts to explain why the Sequel Trilogy has so many old ships. Attentive viewers will have noticed something strange about the recent sequels: although decades have passed since the Empire's defeat in Return of the Jedi, technology really doesn't seem to have moved on. They're absolutely packed with spaceships and freighters that are between 30 and 60 years old - the equivalent of seeing everybody driving down the road in Triumph Heralds and Maserati 5000s.
Star Wars 9 looks set to take this even further, with a whole host of Prequel era ships appearing in the final battle. The final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker features a shot in which the Millennium Falcon - still the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy - joins a Resistance fleet. It includes a Lucrehulk Droid Control Ship from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, a Venator-class Star Destroyer from the Clone Wars, and even a Bunker Buster from the Galactic Civil War. In thematic terms, this is probably an attempt to make the Star Wars franchise seem cohesive, to tie the "trilogy of trilogies" together stylistically. But, from an in-universe perspective, why would the galaxy still be using all these old ships?
The latest Star Wars novel, Rebecca Roanhorse's Resistance Reborn, attempts to provide an answer. It's set shortly after the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with the Resistance desperately attempting to rebuild after their losses at Crait. General Leia Organa sends a group of agents to the planet Corellia in order to retrieve First Order intelligence on potential Resistance allies. Along the way, they stop off at the Corellian shipyards - and realize that the First Order has them hard at work. They're constructing brand new TIE Fighters, perhaps even Kylo Ren's TIE Whisper or the TIE Dagger, but they're also constructing older ships.
It seems the shipyards of Corellia have effectively been commandeered by the First Order, and all the planet's resources are being used to construct more ships. The First Order are interested in quantity not quality, and as a result even older construction lines have been reactivated. As a result, the Resistance agents see everything from Balleen-class bulk frigates (like Han's ship, the Ervana in Star Wars: The Force Awakens) to the old Corellian Corvette. The Resistance steal as many ships as they can on their way out, notably the Corvette, which may well be the same one shown landing on the Resistance jungle planet in the final Star Wars 9 trailer.
The explanation makes sense, but in truth it's more than a little amusing that it had to be made in the first place. The Resistance was always going to be struggling to rebuild after Crait, and they'd have likely had to pick up any scraps they could find - including old corvettes. What makes this more interesting, though, is the fact the First Order were the ones who commissioned the production of older vessels. That means the Resistance may not be the only ones fighting with outdated equipment.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019