With last week’s debut of the first teaser for Solo: A Star Wars Story, audiences witnessed a slightly different Millennium Falcon than the one we first met 40 years ago in Star Wars. The modifications were minimal, yet seeing the iconic ship with a slightly different shape and fresh interior reminded fans just how recognizable the ship had become over the years.
No matter what the objective of each different ship in the Star Wars universe, the series has regularly combined both real-world physics and just enough fantasy and imagination to deliver audiences a wide range of fascinating and immediately recognizable ships. Whether it was intended to smuggle spice or serve as a flagship in the Galactic Empire’s fleet, the series always creates memorable ships that remain beloved to sci-fi fans after four decades.
Check out our picks for the best ships from a galaxy far, far away!
Throughout much of the original trilogy, audiences saw the Rebellion’s ships, which looked like they’d seen their fair share of combat, creating an interesting juxtaposition to the Galactic Empire’s ships that looked like they’d just rolled off of an assembly line. With the prequel trilogy, that all changed, as audiences got to see the early stages of air combat.
Far from the rusty fighters the Rebellion regularly had to repair and modify to keep operable, the Naboo Starfighter was sleek, elegant and flawless. The design was so surprising that many audiences wondered why the older ships looked more “futuristic” than what we saw in the original trilogy, forever embedding their pristine appearances into our memory.
This modified freighter reminds audiences of an A-Wing and of the Millennium Falcon, and with the number of impressive missions the ship has been on in Star Wars Rebels, the Ghost has become one of our favorite ships.
One of the reasons we love the Ghost is because it feels like an extension of the crew that inhabits the vessel on Rebels, as the crew is as protective of the ship as they are of one another. Whether it needs to go head to head with the Empire’s best ships or carry out a covert operation, it seems like there’s nothing the Ghost can’t do, even going on to make an appearance in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
When you’re facing a threat like the Death Star II and a Super Star Destroyer, you pull out the big guns, which is why the Rebel Alliance brought B-Wings to their epic attack in Return of the Jedi.
The final dogfight in the original Star Wars mirrored aerial attacks during World War II, setting the standard for outer space combat. By the time Return of the Jedi rolled around, the filmmakers knew they had to go bigger, creating these B-Wing bombers that were designed to destroy massive ships.
The ship’s appearances in various other Star Wars stories, from Rebels to comic books to Legends novels, have all depicted just how devastating the ship can be when confronting the worst that the Empire has to offer.
It’s hard to compare with an iconic ship like the Millennium Falcon, which is why it made perfect sense that the Outrider would mimic the famous freighter so closely, even down to the similar profession of the pilot, smuggler Dash Rendar.
The Shadows of the Empire project was comprised of books, comics, toys and a video game that depicted the events that took place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. With Lando taking the Falcon to search for Han, fans were given the Outrider, which nearly rivaled how badass the Falcon was.
This ship might not be as well-known as the Falcon, but those familiar with the Outrider might even consider this ship’s design to be cooler than the more popular freighter.
When a Star Destroyer was no longer intimidating enough, the Galactic Empire had to debut something bigger, better and stronger: the Super Star Destroyer.
Over ten times the size of a standard Star Destroyer, the Executor had thousands of canons and served as Darth Vader’s personal flagship. The Empire’s Star Destroyers always boasted an angular design, yet the Executor looked like it was designed for no other purpose than to destroy everything in its path, almost looking like a spear that was designed to rip a planet in half.
Unfortunately, the Executor unwillingly tore the Death Star II in half when a rogue A-Wing pilot crashed into the bridge, once again showing that one of the Empire’s biggest flaws was not compensating for a vessel’s Achilles heel.
For a mysterious bounty hunter like Boba Fett, you need a spaceship that’s equally as mysterious. The impractical design of the Slave I still leaves many audiences dumbfounded, as it was first depicted as flying vertically and then shown to land horizontally.
Our first glimpse of the ship came from its pursuit of the Millennium Falcon, with its bizarre design seemingly mirroring the visage of the bounty hunter we’d come to know as Boba Fett, as the ship’s hull and color scheme matched the look of his Mandalorian armor.
Ultimately, much like the ship’s pilots, the Slave I just needs to look cool and the more you think about it, the less it makes sense.
The Galactic Empire utilized a wide variety of TIE ships in its fleet, but none of them became quite as iconic as the original TIE Fighter, which audiences first saw after the Millennium Falcon exited hyperspace when attempting to find Alderaan.
Previous ships seen in the film made some sort of logical sense, but the bizarre vertical wings of the TIE Fighter made no sense at all.
The strength of TIEs lay in their numbers and disposable nature, as it seemed as though for every one destroyed, two more would take its place, much like the Empire’s Stormtroopers.
In addition to their unique appearances, the ships also have a signature sound, possibly becoming one of the most familiar sound effects in the Star Wars saga.
Sci-fi films had regularly depicted starships that somewhat resembled real-world planes, which is what made the sheer size and otherworldly nature of the Star Destroyer immediately capture the attention of audiences from our first glimpse of the vessel.
Thanks to George Lucas’ clever use of perspective, our the first shot of the original film gave audiences the impression that a Star Destroyer was almost endless in its size, tracking down the Tantive IV. As if its massive size wasn’t impressive enough, its angular design felt more akin to being a battleship than something that should have ever taken flight.
Pilots of Star Destroyers may have been outsmarted and outmaneuvered, but in the right hands, a Star Destroyer was nearly unstoppable.
An X-Wing immediately conjures feelings of familiarity, as it looks like a standard jet fighter on initial glance. Being able to explore the uncharted corners of space, however, made the vessels immediately more fascinating, in addition to its massive amounts of firepower.
Fans may have known what they were in for when the X-Wings first took formation at the end of the original film, but the ships were immediately transformed into something incredibly exciting when their S-foils shifted into position to give them their iconic “X” shape.
From there, we couldn’t get enough sequences of X-Wings rocketing through trenches and across bizarre landscapes, maneuvering in and out of dangerous situations with ease.
Not only is the Millennium Falcon the most iconic ship in the Star Wars saga, it’s arguably one of the most recognizable ships in all of cinema.
Far from being an elegant fighter like an X-Wing or capable of massive destruction like a Star Destroyer, the Millennium Falcon regularly surprised audiences, and sometimes its crew, with its versatility and adaptability to get every necessary task done.
The Falcon was far from a sports car and is much more like your very first automobile, as it was reliable and always got the job done, yet never tried to draw attention to itself.
Having a cockpit on the side, a two-pronged hull, bizarre placement of quad laser cannons and smuggling compartments makes the Falcon refuse to be defined, as it was as much of a diverse amount of skills as its crew, making it a fitting representation of Han Solo, Chewbacca and its many other inhabitants.