- "That speeder is one of my most prized possessions."
- ―Simon Greyshade
The XJ-6 airspeeder was a custom-built airspeeder fashioned to Senator Simon Greyshade's elitist and performance-driven tastes. Using a prefabricated kit produced by Narglatch AirTech, the senator's personal mechanics designed and built the custom airspeeder. The XJ-6 was constructed with exotic materials and incorporated advanced systems into its design, including an inertial compensator—typically only used in space-bound craft. Two prominent, oversized turbofan engines at the fore of the craft provided immense power to the XJ-6, and an electrogravitic gyro flywheel allowed the craft to make abrupt turns without requiring traction. The souped-up speeder also sported a custom yellow paint job. Greyshade used the speeder both as a luxury transport as well as a racing vehicle in Coruscant's airspeeder races.
The airspeeder gained attention in 22 BBY after its apparent theft outside of the Senate Apartment Complex. Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker appropriated the speeder to rescue his Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, as the latter plummeted through the Coruscant skylanes. Once Kenobi was saved, the two Jedi took turns piloting the XJ-6 airspeeder as they pursued the bounty hunter Zam Wesell through the cityscape following her failed assassination attempt on Senator Padmé Amidala. After the chase had ended, Coruscant authorities tracked the XJ-6 to Vos Gesal Street, over a hundred kilometers from its original parking spot in the Senate District. Reymet Autem, son of a Senate Guard who worked with Greyshade, was initially charged with the theft, but the airspeeder was clandestinely returned to its spot in the lot of 500 Republica before charges could be filed. The authorities never discovered the true thief, much to Greyshade's disdain, and he vowed to find the party responsible.
Built for sport
- "It took my mechanics years to perfect it."
- ―Simon Greyshade
Senator Simon Greyshade commissioned his mechanics to build a hot-rod airspeeder using a prefabricated kit produced by Narglatch AirTech. The resulting open-top, designated as an XJ-6 airspeeder and wholly unique to other vehicles, took Greyshade's mechanics years to design and build and contained several features intended to show off the senator's passions for both speed and luxury. The airspeeder was flown by a lone pilot, with the design including a secondary passenger seat situated beside the pilot's. This catered to the senator's desire for privacy while escorting others, ranging from fellow senators and influential politicians to his latest female companion. The design of the aircraft itself was similar to Greyshade's B69 Elektra airspeeder, including the structure and placement of the forward-mounted engines.
Exotic metal alloys, condensed-matter composite, and a number of other metals made up the main body of the craft, which measured 6.23 meters long, 2.66 meters wide, and 1.4 meters tall. The front bumper was specifically designed to distribute forces evenly across the craft to prevent any harmful structure vibrations. Due to this structural composition, the XJ-6 had a relatively low mass—1,600 kilograms—which allowed it to move quickly and reliably maintain the momentum that the massive engines created.
Electrogravitic gyro flywheels located toward the rear of the XJ-6 airspeeder allowed the craft impressive feats of maneuvering at sharp angles uncommon to air vehicles of its class. These flywheels also allowed the XJ-6 airspeeder to turn without traction or aerodynamic influence. A pair of flaps, located on the underside of the speeder, assisted in braking and turning. An inertial compensator, generally only found in space-bound craft, was utilized to keep pilot and passenger safe from the effects of these harsh maneuvers. Despite the existence of equipment used in spacecraft installed in the XJ-6, it was unable to travel into deep space. In addition to the inertial compensator, riders were held in the craft's seats by a pair of miniature tractor units.
The speeder's exterior was dominated by the over-scaled engines in the craft's fore as well as the striking curves in the hull design of the aft compartment. Two running boards, one on each side of the airspeeder, spanned the distance from the fore engine bay to the seats located in the midsection of the craft. Between the engines and the cockpit, a sloped hull section contained the ship's steering controls and thruster ducts and was topped by a short windscreen. The airspeeder's engine exhausts and electrogravitic gyro flywheel assemblies were concealed by the curvaceous nature of the rear hull section. Headrests for the vehicle's occupants were built into the aft hull, each respectively located just above the top of the speeder's two seats. The sweeping underside of the XJ-6 featured two thin, ridged strips, colored gray, running parallel from the fore to the aft of the airspeeder.
The airspeeder was painted yellow, the color customary to all of the senator's vehicles. Both Greyshade and Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker described the speeder's color as "gonzo." Dull green and orange accented the yellow and were scattered throughout the craft's paint scheme, and the airspeeder's interior, including the dual seats, was predominantly dark brown. Both rear fins of the craft sported racing stickers, which revealed racing venues Greyshade had visited during his after-hours activities.
- "It's a gonzo color. I won't rest until I've destroyed the life of the sleemo who took it."
- ―Simon Greyshade, upon the recovery of his airspeeder
The low profile of the XJ-6's windscreen forced both pilot and passenger to sit low, and a powerful sound system occupied a space on the dashboard for the senator's enjoyment. A set of piloting controls that included a gear selector and two joysticks to control direction sat above the port-side seat, and an eight-speed combination thrust control was fixed between the pilot and passenger seats. Communications gear sat behind the driver and passenger, between the two headrests built into the hull. The high-power antennas in the communications suite allowed Greyshade to communicate with fellow lawmakers and other contacts while in the airspeeder.
Dual low-beam lights flanking the engines lit the speeder's way, and a combination longer-range widebeam light and collision scanner mounted on the front bumper kept the pilot aware of obstacles in the flight path. An electric field system ensured that oncoming objects, such as flying insects and debris, were repulsed from striking the craft. However, the possibility remained for objects to pass through this field. Items that breached the field posed a risk to the exposed engines. In addition, the construction of the XJ-6 airspeeder allowed it to pass through the discharge of two power coupling prongs unscathed, though riders were not as well protected. On the rear of the craft, tucked in various places on the shapely rear plating, were a number of red braking lights. These lights illuminated upon the craft's deceleration, indicating to other drivers that the XJ-6 was slowing down.
The XJ-6 lacked any sort of offensive capability, such as blaster cannons, forcing those piloting the craft to rely on the vehicle's speed and agility in any altercations. To ensure the speeder's protection from theft, movement sensors were installed. If they were tripped, an alarm would go off, notifying Greyshade and any bystanders of the illegal action. However, this security system was vulnerable to a technologically-adept thief. A tracking device was built into the speeder in case the craft was ever lost. Described as hyper-accurate, the tracking device allowed Coruscanti authorities to locate the speeder a mere thirty minutes after it had disappeared.
- "Oh, you know, Master. I couldn't find a speeder that I really liked, with the open cockpit and the right speed capabilities."
- ―Anakin Skywalker, on appropriating Greyshade's XJ-6 airspeeder
In addition to its distinct paint scheme, the yellow hot-rod airspeeder was also recognizable due to the custom, dual turbofan engines fitted in the front of the craft. These two engines, running on Deuterium fuel and capable of producing thirty megawatts of power, were originally built to be used in groups of fifty for the colossal seventh-stage bank-courier repulsor-trucks of Aargau. They eventually came into Greyshade's possession, and he had his mechanics install them into the XJ-6 airspeeder and modify the already powerful engines to further utilize their potential. The immense weight of the engines required a dedicated repulsorlift engine. The original cowlings were removed to allow easy modifications, repair, and tweaking. A cold-start generator allowed the XJ-6 to start up almost immediately without the warm-up period standard in vehicles of its class. The oversized engines could reach speeds up to 720 kilometers per hour with an acceleration of seventy G and operated much like two Podracer engines in function and ability due to their stance on the craft. This stance also minimized the craft's width, granting the speeder good clearance for tight maneuvers. The engines were expensive, gaudy, and displayed Greyshade's tastes in expensive and overpowered devices. In appearance, the engines were common to another speeder owned by the senator, a customized B69 Elektra.
The twin engines functioned by drawing air into the forward turbines, which fed into the compression chambers. This air was over-pressurized due to the exposed turbofans and was then forced through ignitions and narrow ducts situated in the sidewalls and undercarriage of the craft at incredible speeds. The air continued to travel to the rear thrusters after passing through another set of afterburner centrifuges. An internal shutter system acted as a braking mechanism to stop, slow, and precisely maneuver the craft, working in conjunction with the flywheels in the aft of the aircraft. Debris, such as a flag, proved a possible hazard to the engines by dropping the power output, as the turbofan assembly was highly exposed.
The senator's need for speed
Simon Greyshade lived on Coruscant by 23 BBY after replacing his assassinated cousin as senator of the Vorzyd sector in the Galactic Senate. An airspeeder hobbyist and racing enthusiast, the senator used his position's power and wealth to commission the construction of a luxury personal transport for use while on Coruscant. Using a modification kit produced by Narglatch AirTech, Greyshade's personal mechanics took months to perfect the resulting craft, the XJ-6 airspeeder, to Greyshade's exacting specifications. Additionally, its coloration, unique to Greyshade's vehicles, had taken years to develop. The speeder incorporated an array of exotic metals and components, two oversized engines providing the XJ-6 with incredible power, and a flywheel system responsible for the quick turns and sharp ascents and descents for which the craft's profile called. The mechanics even installed an inertial compensator to shield both pilot and passenger from the craft's harsh maneuvers and blinding speeds. After construction, the speeder was painted Greyshade's customary yellow—common to all of his vehicles.
Greyshade used the custom hot rod in after-hours races through the cityscape of Coruscant with his legislature colleagues. He showed off his prowess with the racing stickers plastered on the rear fins of the craft. In fact, his constant use of the XJ-6 airspeeder convinced fellow senator Bail Prestor Organa of Alderaan to purchase and construct the Narglatch Airtech XJ-2 airspeeder for personal use. Greyshade often kept the XJ-6 in a speeder dock of the Senate Apartment Complex, where he held a designated parking spot.
Chase through Coruscant
- "Anakin! How many times have I told you… stay away from power… couplings?"
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi, to Anakin Skywalker, as the latter pilots the XJ-6 through a pair of discharging power couplings
Shortly before the outbreak of the Clone Wars in 22 BBY, Simon Greyshade's airspeeder became an instrumental factor in the pursuit of fugitive bounty hunter Zam Wesell, whose failed attempt on the life of Senator Padmé Amidala prompted investigation. After the discovery of the presence of an ASN-121 assassin droid outside the window of Amidala's apartment in the Senate Apartment Complex, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi attempted to pursue the attacker by grabbing hold of the droid as it exited the premises. Rather than follow his Master out the window into the Coruscant skylanes, Padawan Anakin Skywalker opted to retrieve an airspeeder from a speeder dock located several levels below Amidala's apartment. Assessing the available options, Skywalker chose Greyshade's XJ-6 airspeeder, as it was the only convertible speeder on the lot. Using a combination of technical knowledge and the Force, Skywalker disabled the security countermeasures installed by Greyshade's mechanics and took off in pursuit of Kenobi, still hanging from the escaping assassin droid.
Breaking Jedi policies on airship piloting, Skywalker pushed the craft's engines to catch up to his Master, who was plummeting through the skylanes of Galactic City, as Wesell had shot the ASN-121 droid in an attempt to lose the Jedi investigator. Skywalker relied on the XJ-6 airspeeder's impressive speed and maneuverability as he placed the craft into a near-vertical dive in order to reach the free-falling Kenobi. Once Kenobi landed safely in the speeder's passenger seat, Skywalker piloted the craft to follow Wesell's Koro-2 airspeeder. The chase grew more intense as the two speeding craft made their respective ways through Coruscant's bustling traffic and maze of buildings, each narrowly evading oncoming vehicles. During the pursuit, Skywalker hit a flag, which caught in one of the engines, but Kenobi removed the object to prevent adverse affects to the speeder.
Both Skywalker's piloting skills and the vessel's integrity were tested as Wesell led the Jedi into The Works, a large industrial area of Coruscant near the Senate District. Intending to use the lack of protection offered by the XJ-6 airspeeder's open cockpit against her Jedi pursuit, Wesell passed between large smokestacks spewing toxic fumes and flames with the Jedi following closely behind. As a pair of power coupling prongs, sabotaged by a blaster bolt from Wesell, began discharging electricity, Skywalker flew through them. The XJ-6 was unscathed, attesting to its craftsmanship and ability, but the Jedi piloting the craft were not so fortunate and suffered electrical shocks that, without the assistance of the Force, would have induced heart attacks. The tight passageways and many environmental hazards of The Works took a toll on Skywalker, and he lost control of his maneuvering briefly enough for the airspeeder to graze a number of objects and stall. Skywalker managed to restart the speeder—now smoking slightly, with flames coming out of the dashboard—and again pursued the assassin.
Once out of The Works, Skywalker left the safer confines of the speeder to confront the assassin by free-falling through the skylanes to land directly on Wesell's airspeeder. With Skywalker and Wesell wrestling for control of the assassin's craft, Kenobi took over piloting of the XJ-6 airspeeder and continued to follow the Koro-2. Kenobi tracked Wesell closely enough to catch Skywalker's lost lightsaber, which was thrown from Skywalker's grasp during his struggle. Eventually, the skirmish between the Padawan and the assassin resulted in a crash-landing. Kenobi circled the crash area before parking the XJ-6 near the Outlander Club on Vos Gesal Street. Once the Jedi pair reunited, the two proceeded to track the assassin into the Outlander, leaving the XJ-6 parked on the street. Once the Jedi found Wesell amongst the club patrons, they apprehended her. However, before Wesell could be brought back and questioned, her employer, the Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett, killed her.
- "I never fully trusted that kid. He was always protective and envious of my speeder."
- ―Senator Simon Greyshade, on Reymet Autem, after the latter's arrest
Coruscanti officials found the vehicle shortly thereafter over 100 kilometers from its original position in the Senate District. Reymet Autem, son of a Senate security guard employed by Greyshade, was initially charged with the theft of the speeder. However, before any charges could be filed against the twenty-year-old, the XJ-6 disappeared from the crime scene. It reappeared in the Senatorial speeder barn at 500 Republica, where Greyshade had a luxurious apartment and held a designated speeder stall. While Coruscant Security Force officer Wets Tranoj blamed the premature return on "rookie error," it was actually Skywalker and Kenobi who returned the speeder.
Greyshade never discovered who had stolen his airspeeder, which left the senator fuming. Sometime later, he relayed the events to Anakin Skywalker at a state dinner. Greyshade vowed that he would find the thief, unaware that the culprit was right in front of him. Skywalker only commented that the speeder must have been taken by a skilled individual to have evaded detection. Though designed as a one-of-a-kind vessel, the XJ-6 airspeeder was later mass-produced and made available to spacers during the Galactic Civil War.
Behind the scenes
Flying in style
- "George liked the idea that perhaps some young teenage kid from Coruscant has cooked up this machine. So it has special modifications; that's why you don't see the engine cowlings on there. It's somebody's passion, this little hot rod."
- ―Doug Chiang
The XJ-6 airspeeder was originally featured on StarWars.com in June 2001 in a behind-the-scenes article detailing the creation of the speeder as part of the lead up to Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. The XJ-6 made a cameo appearance in the December 2001 video game Star Wars: Obi-Wan, which featured the speeder on an in-game billboard. The speeder later featured in Attack of the Clones in 2002 during the chase scene that began Obi-Wan Kenobi's quest to locate Zam Wesell's employer and Kenobi's eventual discovery of the Republic's clone army on the planet Kamino. The airspeeder's features, including its connection to Senator Simon Greyshade, were first described briefly by the April 2002 reference book Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary. The 2003 book The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels was the first source to provide the airspeeder's designation.
Creating a hot rod
- "It didn't take long at all to design. The chosen sketch was done 15-20 minutes before one of the art meetings. There were six or seven drawings on the board, and I had thought 'George is never going to pick this one.' Sure enough, though, you never know what he's going to pick. There was a certain character to it that he enjoyed."
- ―Concept artist Jay Shuster
Both the XJ-6 airspeeder and the chase through Coruscant, as depicted in Attack of the Clones, were based mostly on Star Wars creator George Lucas's love of classic vehicles. For the pivotal chase scene, a team of art designers was asked to create a hot-rod airspeeder with a distinct style. Concept artist Jay Shuster created the original design of the XJ-6 airspeeder mere minutes before a meeting to determine the airspeeder's design. Though the decision was unexpected, Lucas chose this design over numerous other choices.
Shuster supposed that Lucas saw Anakin Skywalker's Podracer, featured in the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, in the design, which influenced his decision. By Lucas's own admission, the speeder also bears a strong resemblance to a car driven by Paul Le Mat's character John Milner in Lucas's 1973 film, American Graffiti. Lucas selected the yellow paint scheme minutes after selecting the XJ-6's design; the yellow was chosen because, as Shuster recalled, it mimicked the coloration of the hot rod Harrison Ford's character Bob Falfa drove in American Graffiti.
Both Shuster and Design Director Doug Chiang were responsible for many of the final design features of the XJ-6, including the speeder's convertible nature; the exposed, souped-up engines; and even the striking yellow color scheme, intended to make the craft stand out in a nighttime Coruscant sky. With the basic design chosen, concept modeler John Goodson created a scale model to further fill out the speeder's details. The production model shop team, led by Peter Wyborn, built both the XJ-6 and Koro-2 models for filming. The XJ-6 was then mounted to a set of highly flexible rigging, created by special effects supervisor Dave Young, to recreate the banks and pitch of a craft in flight. Actors Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, playing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, respectively, were filmed interacting with the full-scale model. The two spent hours performing maneuvers as the cameras rolled. In addition to the realistic model, Industrial Light & Magic created an extensively detailed computerized version of the speeder to assist in filming. Long after filming was complete, sound designers Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood developed the distinctive noise of the XJ-6 to be used in the final film.
- Star Wars: Obi-Wan (First appearance) (seen on a billboard)
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones novelization
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones unabridged audiobook
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones junior novelization
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones PhotoComic
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Movie Storybook
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Mighty Chronicles
- Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones 1
- I Am a Jedi Apprentice
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided