X-wing starfighters were a type of starfighter marked by their distinctive S-foils that resembled the High Galactic script's character "X" in attack formation. They were heavily armed with four laser cannons on the S-foils and proton torpedo launchers in the fuselage. X-wings were designed for dogfighting and long missions. During the Galactic Civil War, the Rebel Alliance used T-65B X-wing starfighters and T-65C-A2 X-wings in many battles, including the Battle of Yavin and the Battle of Endor.
Approximately thirty years later, a different and upgraded variation of X-wing, the T-70, was used by the Resistance, whereas a more advanced model, the T-85, was used by the New Republic Defense Fleet.
Design and development
The X-wing was descended from Incom Corporation's Clone Wars–era starfighters, namely the Aggressive ReConnaissance-170 starfighter, Clone Z-95 Headhunter, and Z-95 Headhunter. Incom's engineers strove to build a well-rounded, hyperdrive-equipped snubfighter with no exploitable weakness. The new starfighter was intended to become the backbone of the Imperial Navy, but political forces led to the Galactic Empire deciding to rely on Sienar Fleet Systems' more affordable TIE line. The Alliance to Restore the Republic then adopted the X-wing design as its own.
In 5 ABY, Incom-FreiTek Corporation introduced the T-70 model, which incorporated many improvements over the T-65 series. The Incom engineers, having learned a valuable lesson from the loss of so many X-wings in the trenches at Battle of Yavin, equipped the T-70 with a swiveling blaster cannon that could be used to fend off attacks from behind. At least one prototype had been constructed prior to the Battle of Jakku. By 34 ABY, the New Republic had retired most of its T-70s in favor of the T-85s, which were even more capable than the already impressive T-70s.
The Alliance to Restore the Republic operated T-65B X-wings as early as 1 BBY. During the attack on Lothal at least 10 T-65B X-wing starfighters alongside BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bombers participated in the assault, but all were destroyed by the Imperial defenses. Hera Syndulla, Mart Mattin, Secon Daree, C1-10P, and R3-A3 survived being shot down, but many other pilots were killed and their astromechs destroyed.
The Alliance had at least three squadrons equipped with the T-65 series by 0 BBY. X-wings were also used by Saw Gerrera's Partisans, who had been ejected from the Alliance for Gerrera's extremist views. X-wings saw action shortly before the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War in both the Liberation of Erso and the Mission to Eadu.
The full-scale Galactic Civil War began with the Battle of Scarif, a costly but significant victory for the Alliance. The newly assembled squad, Rogue One, a special forces team created by Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Baze Malbus, Chirrut Îmwe, Bodhi Rook, and K-2SO disobeyed direct orders from Alliance High Command and instead deployed itself to Scarif in a desperate bid to steal the technical readouts for the Empire's Death Star battle station, and was subsequently joined by the Alliance Fleet. X-wings from Red Squadron, Green Squadron, Blue Squadron, and Gold Squadron engaged Imperial TIEs and attempted to destroy the Shield Gate, while the capital ships joined the Shield Gate assault and fought the Imperial Star Destroyers. Shortly after the Alliance acquired the Death Star plans, the Death Star arrived at Scarif and fired a low-power blast at the Citadel Tower, killing all forces at the Imperial surface installation.
Within days of Scarif, the Empire learned that the Alliance was headquartered at Yavin 4, and deployed the Death Star to crush the Alliance. The Alliance, having learned of the battle station's fatal design flaw, deployed a force of 30 starfighters (including 22 X-wings) to attempt a series of attack runs on the planet-killing space station. The result was another costly victory for the Alliance. Luke Skywalker, a Force-sensitive Rebel pilot, fired a pair of proton torpedoes into the Death Star's thermal exhaust port, causing a chain reaction in the reactor that destroyed the entire station. Although the Death Star was gone, the Alliance lost 27 starfighters (including 20 X-wings) in the assault.
A few days of the Battle of Yavin, Leia Organa and Evaan Verlaine disobeyed orders from Alliance High Command and departed on mission to rescue the survivors of Alderaan. Skywalker and Wedge Antilles were scrambled to intercept their shuttle, but the rebels jumped to hyperspace.
After the Assault on Cymoon, Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 flew an X-wing to Hradreek in order to obtain credits for the Rebel war effort. Before long, a four-sided skirmish erupted over possession of Darth Atrius' lightsabers, with R2 rescuing Skywalker by bringing him the ship.
Later, Skywalker flew an X-wing from the Alliance Fleet to Tatooine, accompanied by R2-D2. There, he revisited Obi-Wan Kenobi's hut and discovered the deceased Jedi Master's journal. Disappointed that the journal didn't contain any information on Jedi training, Skywalker set course for Nar Shaddaa.
X-wings would again see large-scale action against the Empire in the Battle of Vrogas Vas. The battle was a costly defeat for the Alliance, with Blue Squadron completely destroyed and Red Squadron suffering heavy casualties.
The Alliance struck back against the Empire with the hijacking of the Harbinger, a major space battle that resulted a rare case of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer being successfully boarded and hijacked. The Alliance used the Harbinger to break through the Siege on Tureen VII and bring relief supplies to the planet's population. Although the hijacking ended with an Alliance victory, it resulted in C-3PO's capture by Task Force 99. The astromech droid R2-D2 took it upon himself to stage a mission to rescue C-3PO in a stolen X-wing, while Luke Skywalker and S4 gave chase and embarked on a mission to an unidentified planet.
At least five Rebel X-wings saw action in a dogfight over Odona, where a pair of them shot down a TIE fighter. They were deployed Odona again to help rescue Han Solo and Leia Organa when a mission to scout locations for a new Rebel base devolved into a skirmish with Frax and Selt.
X-wings again saw large-scale action at the mutiny on Mon Cala, a strategic Alliance victory. After the battle, the Mon Cala Mercantile Fleet became part of the Alliance Fleet, but the Mon Calamari King Lee-Char and his Regent Urtya were both killed by Imperial forces.
Months later, X-wings defended the Alliance Fleet from an assault on the Mako-Ta Space Docks, a major blow for the Rebellion. The attack destroyed more than half of the Rebel cruisers and 90 percent of its available starfighter forces.
A number of X-wings accompanied the 61st Mobile Infantry company, known to most as "Twilight Company," on the Coyerti campaign in the Mid Rim Retreat. The campaign ended with the destruction of an Imperial biotoxin production facility and an Alliance victory.
In 3 ABY, numerous X-wings served as fighter escorts for the Alliance's GR-75 medium transports during the Battle of Hoth. The rearguard actions on the surface covering the evacuation proved costly to the Alliance, with many personnel killed. Additionally, the Alliance was forced to leave behind much of their heavy equipment, and the fleet scattered throughout the Outer Rim Territories. Most X-wings joined the Alliance fleet at a predetermined rendezvous point.
Luke Skywalker, however, traveled to the Dagobah system to seek out Yoda, the former Grand Master of the Jedi Order. Due to Dagobah's thick fog, Skywalker crashed his X-wing in a swamp. Some time later, the starfighter sank further until it was almost fully submerged, at which point Skywalker attempted to recover it. While he had developed some skill with telekinesis, his self-doubt led to his ultimate inability to lift his waterlogged X-wing from the bog, and only with Yoda's assistance was the starfighter moved to solid ground. When Skywalker left the system, he traveled to Bespin, where he ended up abandoning his X-wing when circumstances compelled him to depart in the Millennium Falcon.
Later, X-wings assisted Twilight Company in Operation Ringbreaker, an attempt to divert Imperial forces from Kuat to make the planet more vulnerable to attack. The operation saw numerous engagements with X-wings in combat, including an attack on the dockyards of Najan-Rovi. The campaign scored some notable successes, but it ultimately ended with the Siege of Inyusu Tor and the failure to reach Kuat. Although the Alliance squad was stranded on Sullust and on the verge of defeat from the outset, an uprising of the Cobalt Laborers' Reformation Front liberated a part of the planet.
In 4 ABY, Corona Squadron engaged Imperial TIEs in a dogfight in the Hudalla system. The small but drawn-out engagement resulted in each side losing a single starfighter, and it set the stage for the Battle of Endor.
By this time, Luke Skywalker had acquired another X-wing and flew it to Tatooine to lead the rescue of Han Solo, who had been arrested by Boba Fett and encased in carbonite at Jabba's Palace. Upon the successful completion of the rescue, Skywalker returned to Dagobah, fulfilling a promise to Yoda. After Yoda's death, Skywalker departed Dagobah for the final time, en route to Sullust to rejoin the Alliance fleet. On Skywalker's arrival, the entirety of the Alliance Fleet staged a large-scale assault on the DS-2 Death Star II Mobile Battle Station, an under-construction Imperial battle station with even more firepower than the original Death Star. Wedge Antilles and Lando Calrissian, accompanied by a group of starfighters, led an attack run deep within the bowels of the station and fired ordnance at the reactor core, destroying the station.
X-wings fought Imperial forces at the Battle of Fondor alongside A-wings and U-wings. The battle ultimately ended with a Rebel defeat, and the Empire securing weather control satellites for Operation Cinder.
By the end of the Battle of Naboo, the Alliance had reorganized itself into the New Republic and continued to operate the Alliance's starfighters. New Republic X-wings saw action at the Battle of Naalol and the Rebellion on Akiva, both victories for the Republic.
In 5 ABY, the Empire continued to put up resistance against the New Republic's liberation of the galaxy. Inferno Squad, a former Imperial special forces unit, flew X-wings against their former comrades in a skirmish on Takodana. Later, Inferno Squad would fly X-wings again in a mission to Chinook Station. X-wings accompanied the A/SF-01 B-wing starfighters of Blade Squadron in the Battle for Kuat Drive Yards, which crippled the Empire's capability to produce starships and walkers. The twelve X-wings of Phantom Squadron took part in the liberation of Kashyyyk, which deprived the Empire of much of its slave labor. Corona Squadron's X-wings fought Imperial forces during the Naboo invasions. Shepherd Squadron operated X-wings in the Battle of Fondor Shipyards
The Galactic Concordance treaty was signed in the middle of the Battle of Jakku, which marked the final surrender of the Empire. The Imperial ships that hadn't been destroyed in the fighting began jumping into the Unknown Regions, and went on to form the nucleus of the First Order Navy.
New Republic Era
In 28 ABY, the Amaxine warriors operated numerous X-wings alongside Y-wings, B-wings, and Imperial TIEs. Although these starfighters were all destroyed in a mission to Sibensko, the Amaxine warrior crisis resulted in the formation of the Resistance.
In 33 ABY, the New Republic T-85 X-wings of Rapier Squadron fought First Order TIEs over Suraz 4. The First Order hijacked the Yissira Zyde freighter during the Suraz engagement, prompting Rapier Leader Poe Dameron to launch an unsanctioned mission to recover the ship. The resulting skirmish in OR-Kappa-2722 led Dameron to trouble with the New Republic authorities, and Dameron defected to the Resistance shortly after.
During the hunt for Lor San Tekka, the T-70 X-wings of Black Squadron engaged First Order TIEs in a mission to Ovanis. The dogfight ended in a draw, although Black Squadron shot down several TIEs without suffering any casualties.
Later on in 34 ABY, during the mission to Kaddak, Commander Poe Dameron stowed his own personal T-70 X-wing, Black One, in the cargo compartment of a freighter. After a series of complications required a quick evacuation from the planet, Dameron abandoned the freighter and left in Black One.
The young New Republic pilot later turned Resistance spy by Poe Dameron, Kazuda Xiono, along with his squadron, consisting of Hugh Sion and Mia Gabon, engaged Major Vonreg's Tie in deep space with their T-85 X-wings to provide Poe Dameron with critical intelligence about the First Order by the New Republic Command's orders. Xiono and Dameron flew X-wings on missions together at least twice more in an Investigation of a G-class freighter and a Mission to Station Theta Black.
Zay Versio and Iden Versio both flew X-wings in a mission to Athulla. Later, Shriv Suurgav and Iden flew them to Vardos, where the two fought both First Order and Jinata Security forces in the battle of Kestro.
At some point after Snoke drew Ben Solo to the dark side of the Force, renaming him Kylo Ren, he and the Knights of Ren killed all of Skywalker's students and burned the Jedi temple. Skywalker went into exile, and went in search of the First Jedi Temple. Before leaving, he gave half the map to his astromech droid, R2-D2, and the other half to Lor San Tekka. After traveling to Ahch-To, he landed his X-wing in a shallow inlet, leaving himself stranded on the island, and cut himself from the Force.
Later, Dameron and BB-8 flew a T-70 to Jakku in order to meet San Tekka in the village of Tuanul. San Tekka had in his possession the Map to Skywalker, which was eagerly sought by both the First Order and the Resistance. The First Order also tracked down San Tekka and launched an attack on Tuanul, killing him and all the villagers. Dameron attempted to flee in his X-wing, but the ship was damaged and subsequently destroyed.
First Order-Resistance war
Within hours, the First Order's learned that the droid had escaped to Takodana Castle, and initiated the Battle of Takodana in an attempt to recover BB-8 and the map. Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Finn were captured, but the X-wings of the Starfighter Corps intervened and forced the First Order's ground forces to retreat, allowing the trio to escape.
Upon learning that the First Order planned to destroy the Resistance base in the Ileenium system, the Resistance deployed a force of T-70 X-wings in a desperate Battle of Starkiller Base. Despite the loss of all but seven X-wings in the offensive, the Resistance managed to destroy the base's thermal oscillator, resulting in the destruction of the base.
The First Order soon retaliated, however, with another attack on the Resistance's main base. Dameron led a force of X-wings, A-wings, and MG-100 StarFortress SF-17 bombers into battle to cover the evacuation of D'Qar. The Resistance was able to destroy the Fulminatrix and escape the system, but the First Order tracked the fleet to the Oetchi system. There, Kylo Ren and his wingmen destroyed the entire Resistance Starfighter Corps while their craft were still parked in the Raddus's hangar.
Behind the scenes
The X-wing series of starfighters first appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, during the climactic Battle of Yavin. These ships quickly became iconic of the original film, the Original trilogy, and the Star Wars franchise as a whole. X-wings reappeared in the other two films of the Original Trilogy, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Many Expanded Universe products also featured the X-wings and their crewmembers, including Star Wars: X-Wing, Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, and Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron. For the Prequel trilogy, the Star War: The Clone Wars television series, and other projects, Lucasfilm Ltd. created numerous ships that served as in-universe predecessors and successors of the X-wing. These included the Z-95 Headhunter starfighter, ARC-170 starfighter, and X-83 TwinTail starfighter.
On April 25, 2014, Lucasfilm announced that the Expanded Universe would be discontinued and rebranded as "Legends" in anticipation of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. All existing Expanded Universe material was declared non-canon, and the only previously published works that would still be canon were the original trilogy, prequel trilogy, the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film and TV series, and Part I of Blade Squadron. All products published on or after that date, with the exception of the continuation of a few Legends stories, would be part of a new, unified canonicity system in which all works were declared either canon or non-canon from the outset. Legends characters, organizations, titles, creatures, sentient species, droid models, vehicles, vessels, events, weapons, and locations would still be available for authors of new canon material with the approval of the Lucasfilm Story Group.
After the announcement, Lucasfilm began publishing new canon material that introduced new X-wing models, including the T-70 and T-85 X-wing fighters. An X-wing model that was formerly unique to Legends, the T-65C-A2 X-wing starfighter, was re-canonized by the release of Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide.
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