The first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released today, which means that it’s now vitally important that I scrutinize it looking for new vehicles, because so far nobody has told me not to. From what I can tell, there’s two new vehicles shown in the trailer. Time to scrutinize the crap out of them.
In case you’ve yet to see the trailer, I happen to have a copy right here you can use. Here, try it out!
The first, and I think most notable, batch of new vehicles comes right about 1:15 into the trailer, when we find ourselves skimming along the surface of a planet, heading to what looks like a bunch of AT-ATs far on the horizon.
These appear to be some manner of atmospheric vehicle, something like a speeder, or maybe some kind of ground-effect aircraft.
So what can we tell about these things? In the clip, we can see that, whatever the hell they are, they’re pretty tough, since the one we’re following slams into the ground, bounces back up, and keeps on going.
As to what these things are doing, with that little probe that seems to dig into the ground and release an under-layer of vivid scarlet dust, I have no idea, but it sure looks cool.
The structure of whatever these things are is interesting. They’re asymmetrical, which is always novel, with three main pod-like things, joined by arms or wings. It’s not clear if the ‘wings’ have any aerodynamic function, but there is a large rudder visible at the rear, which must be used for steering/yaw control.
We get another view of these things which helps us figure out what’s going on a bit:
In that view, if we zoom [zoom-in whirring sounds] in on a couple of these fast-moving dust-diggers, we can see a bit more detail, and start to make some sense of the layout and design of these:
It looks like the left-side pod (when viewed from the rear, as in the pictures of it above)—is that the port side pod, I guess?—is where the pilot is housed, and presumably drives the crazy thing. The middle part with the rudder must be some sort of propulsion unit, though we can’t really see any glowing exhaust or spinning whatevers that are the usual sci-fi shorthand for ‘this makes the thing go.’
At the (I think) starboard side the small pod appears to hold a pair of long tubes that I’m guessing are some sort of projectile/beam weapon sort of thing.
I still have no good theories about why they have that deployable arm to dig up the red dust. Maybe these are some very exciting and high-speed agricultural implements? Is this some manner of super-fast ploughing? Is there finally going to be a Star Wars movie based on the high-stakes action of farming?
I’m sure we’ll find out whatever’s going on here, but in the meantime, those are an interesting new type of speeder/aircraft we’ve never seen before in the series.
The trailer also gives us some glimpses of a spacecraft type I don’t believe we’ve seen before as well, and there seems to be a bunch of them:
They seem to be on the side of the Rebellion, or I guess Resistance in these movies. There’s a blurry X-Wing in that shot, which shows these are much bigger than a small fighter. They don’t appear to be as large as capital ships, though, so they must be some kind of smaller frigate or something.
At first glance, I thought these were B-Wing fighters, but it’s clear they’re much larger and a very different design. B-Wings are sort of vertically-oriented like these are, though, so maybe you see my confusion.
It’s possible we have seen these before and I’ve just not noticed, but I think these may be new for this movie. They seem to have some sort of familial relationship to another ship we’ve seen in the Rebel fleets before, which I just now learned is called an EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate. That’s a nice super-geeky fact to have in your back pocket, right?
If we look at the Nebulon-B, while it’s much more complicated and full of lumps and spikes and protuberances, the essential plan is similar to those new ships up there:
They both have the general shape of a fish wearing a wide necktie. I feel like the new ship is a much smaller vessel, but was maybe designed and built by the same engineers who came up with the Nebulon.
As always, I’m eager to hear your speculation to add/detract from my painful, crippling geekery here!