If you have been through my last post on the old Expanded Universe, you have a general idea what makes it so incredible, to me. Aside from the amazing characters that were created, or expanded upon, the EU gave us some amazing ships. Whether it is an evolution of a ship that was introduced in the movies series’, such as the X-Wing or Star Destroyer, or a completely new ship like the E-Wing or Star Defender, some incredibly bad while other exceedingly great, ships give the Galaxy Far, Far Away a look, feel and flavor all its own.
In the game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, players were introduced to several new ships that resemble the Star Destroyers that were made famous in the opening moments of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, and with the game greatly expanding the knowledge of the Dark Side and those who use it. Being the first time I remember the concept of the Sith being fleshed out so completely and introduced us an “ancestor” of the Star Destroyer, the Centurion-class Battle Cruiser. Clearly, it can be seen in the design of the ship, that the Centurion-class, at the very least, inspired the Star Destroyer, in the history of the Galaxy Far, Far Away. And it wasn’t alone, the Harrower-class dreadnought had the familiar wedge or dagger shape and the raised command platform but was bisected along the center horizontal axis for the incorporation of more landing bays. The design became a mainstay of the galaxy after the reign of Emperor Palpatine and the Galactic Civil War as well. From the adoption of several captured Imperial-class Star Destroyers, to the development of two new classes, the Endurance- and Nebula-class, of the defining ship of the troubled time, into the New Republic Navy, or the development of the Pellaeon-class, used by the factions of the late Legacy Era the Star Destroyer was synonymous with Star Wars lore in the old EU just as it has become in the recent Disney owned Lucasfilm sequels.
Another ship that became super iconic because of Star Wars was the X-Wing starfighter. The X-Wing really became more that just a really cool ship on screen. To most people who were fans of the EU it became a symbol for the good, just, and honorable. It’s direct predecessors the ARC-170 and the Z-95 Headhunter were seen on screen in The Clone Wars animated series and the sixth installment of the movie franchise, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Throughout the entirety of the old “Legends” lore, not only did the X-Wing get continually upgraded culminating in the XJ7- and the Stealth X but there were also successors, in the E-Wing and the X-83 Twin Tail, with the E-wing being a cousin and the X-83 being a direct descendant. I could be argued that the roots for the X-Wing could go further back in the lore just as the origination of the Star Destroyers do. In the Old Republic Era, the Star Saber XC-01 is very reminiscent of the Z-95 and the Aurek- and Liberatior-class fighter with the variable geometry wing placement could be considered an ancestor to the X-Wing.
In the games, novels and comics of the Star Wars Expanded Universe run the gamut of original ship designs as well. In the video games the Shadows of the Empire, The Force Unleashed and the Dark Forces Saga the hero ships became a huge focus of the game and icons within the fandom as well. In Shadows of the Empire takes place during the events of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and immediately following, the Outrider is the main character’s ship, being very reminiscent of the Millennium Falcon became an instant classic. The ship Starkiller used in The Force Unleashed, Rogue Shadow, had been a well-loved design. The Dark Forces Saga had two hero ship the Moldy Crow and Raven Claw, both of which are very streamlined and have a profile similar to a large starfighter. Not to mention all the other ship from novels that are only represented in still images and writing, like the Wild Karrde, Jade Shadow, Jade’s Fire, Pulsar Skate, and the Lady Luck, to name just a few from the primary era most everyone knows about, became pivotal in the continuous stories of the Star Wars Galaxy within the Expanded Universe. The defining feature that links all these ships, it they are all definitively Star Wars, in look and feel giving such depth to the world.
Through all the novels, video games, and comic books, the ships that are introduced to the fan is usually an extension of one of the characters in the tale. As the character grows and develops, so does the ship, becoming its own character, of sorts, much like the Millennium Falcon was in the Original Trilogy of movies. The Star War Expanded Universe reaches well beyond what so many people, including those who would be fans, know or have seen. I have run and played in several tabletop RPG’s in the Star Wars Universe and developed ships for my characters or my players that may never see the light of anyone else’s imagination, but they to give depth and feel defining, very much, what Star Wars is.