Ships are very important in the Star Wars universe. After all, the very first scene in George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope in 1977 features a relatively small, nimble spaceship being fired upon by another vessel that gradually devours the screen. The shot prompted opening-week audiences to break out into gasps and applause.
The stark contrast of the smaller Alderaanian cruiser fleeing a monstrous Imperial Star Destroyer communicated volumes to audiences. By instinct, we knew this was a classic case of good (small ship) versus evil (big ship).
Pursued by the Empire on Disney Video
That was quickly confirmed after the rebel ship was boarded by Stormtroopers under the command of Darth Vader. J.J. Abrams paid homage by including a similar, though shorter shot in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The movie featured a wonderful variety of vessels both old (the Millennium Falcon) and new (Kylo Ren's command shuttle, below).
The series' first spin-off movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, looks to continue that tradition. It's set in the period leading up to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, so we expect it to include certain elements that are familiar. The first teaser trailer and poster, however, have already revealed hints of the surprises in store.
Now the latest edition of The Star Wars Show highlights one of the new spaceships. As reported by SlashFilm, it's known as the U-Wing; its formal designation is INCOM UT-60. Matt Martin of the Lucasfilm Story Group described it as a "troop transport and gun ship… it's there to drop off troops and provide air support" for rebel soldiers.
The ship was first glimpsed in concept art that debuted at Star Wars Celebration in 2015.
Here are several additional views of the ship.
The only downside to the news is that we'll probably have to wait until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16 to see it in action.