Den of Geek on the Star Wars TIE fighter

Colin Cantwell’s design for the Empire’s short-range [TIE] fighters is one of the most distinctive visual motifs of Star Wars. In a decade newly (perhaps foolishly) obsessed with the possibilities of solar power, it seemed at the cutting edge to make that source of energy a part of the craft’s design. The shape and dynamic of the craft has pretty much no forebear in any terrestrial technology with the possible exception of marine exploration – it’s truly an ‘alien’ aesthetic, despite the use of solar panels and the cloister-like windows with their primitive support struts. As with the UFOs in Gerry Anderson’s UFO, the craft have a distinctive and impressive flying noise, created by Ben Burtt from recordings of vehicles skidding on a wet motorway, mixed in with the braying of an elephant . . . This is technology designed to show 1977 audiences that they were in big trouble, as opposed to the noble and classic shapes of the rebellion’s X-Wing, which might have fitted in unnoticed to the Battle Of Britain. My only complaint is that I can’t really ‘see’ a TIE fighter landing on those abutting solar panels, and it appears to have no landing gear of any other kind.

Den of Geek


About the author

Davey Dreamnation (1972–?) is an Australalian musician, vocalist, pirate and record-label owner who now lives 'in the third person'.

View his full biography.

O hai. Would you like to add a comment?