- "I'm going to be sitting in a Z-95 cockpit wearing an EVA suit, and you want to sit on my lap? Worry less about being left behind and more about making certain the concussion missiles are fitted with the proper warheads, okay, buddy?"
- ―Poe Dameron, to BB-8
The Z-95 Headhunter, also referred to as the Z-95 starfighter or simply the Z-95, was a multi-purpose starfighter jointly manufactured by Incom Corporation and Sublights Products Corporation. Despite being considered outdated, the Z-95 was durable and adaptable to a variety of different roles, which led many to recognize it as a versatile and respectable snub-fighter of its era. Countless variants of the Headhunter were produced, including one model designed specifically for the Grand Army of the Republic's clone pilots during the Clone Wars. The Z-95 was the forerunner of Incom's popular T-65B X-wing starfighter.
- "I'm transmitting jump coordinates to your fighter. Ease out of the fight while Tarkin is concentrating on us. The Headhunter's hyperdrive will do the rest."
- ―Salikk, to Berch Teller
Though already outdated by the time it entered production, the multi-purpose Z-95 Headhunter starfighter boasted endurance and adaptability and was largely recognized as a respectable and versatile snub-fighter of its era. Named after the Coromon Headhunter, the Z-95 was equipped with two pairs of engines, the Z-95 was originally manufactured without a hyperdrive, though it could be retrofitted with a rudimentary one. However, as it lacked an astromech socket, its pilot was forced to pre-program hyperspace routes or force-feed its navicomputer jump coordinates provided by data chips. The Z-95 was also noted for its cramped one-man cockpit.
Despite these drawbacks, the Z-95 featured internal environmental controls and a pair of wingtip-mounted, high-powered blaster cannons. It also boasted concussion missile launchers and a center-mounted ion cannon, which was capable of penetrating deflector shields. The Z-95 was the forerunner of Incom's incredibly successful T-65B X-wing starfighter, which implemented technologies and designs tested in the Z-95. Another successor to the Headhunter was the Z-96, introduced after the Clone Wars.
- "The Headhunter starfighters seen in the holovid could have come from anywhere."
- ―An Imperial technician, following a rebel attack on Sentinel Base
Jointly manufactured by Incom Corporation and Subpro, the Z-95 Headhunter entered production during the Clone Wars and spawned countless variants. The Galactic Republic made its own mark on the Headhunter's large production run with a clone-specific model. Reaper Squadron was one unit that flew Headhunters. Decades after the end of the war, the wreckage of one of Reaper Squadron's Z-95s was recovered from Castilon's Karavian Trench by Synara San.
Even after the war had ended, Z-95s were extremely common. Idryssa Barruck flew a Headhunter during her time with Saw Gerrera's Partisans, and several modified with basic hyperdrives and upgraded weaponry were used by Berch Teller's rebel cell in its fight against the Galactic Empire. Hask Taff, a member of Teller's cell, used several Headhunters to craft a false holovid that was transmitted to the Empire's Sentinel Base. The signal was meant to deceive the Imperials into believing that their Rampart Station had fallen under attack, thus inciting them to protect the station and leave Sentinel Base vulnerable. However, Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, the base's commander, detected that the message was a fraud and instead set a trap for the insurgents, who were immediately ambushed upon entering the system and forced to retreat into hyperspace. The rebels later used Z-95s to attack an Imperial convoy near the Gulf of Tatooine; all but one were obliterated, as Teller used the remaining Headhunter to escape to the planet Christophsis while the rest of his cell was captured and summarily executed. A gang of Pakiphantos also used Z-95s modified with proton cannons. The gang tried to capture the Millennium Falcon on Dhandu 3, but were outflown or outgunned.
- "General, with respect, I've fought the First Order before and beat them every time. Once in a ship that had to be at least fifty years old."
- ―Poe Dameron, to General Leia Organa, on fighting the First Order in a Z-95 Headhunter
During the Galactic Civil War, the Alliance to Restore the Republic continued to use Z-95s. Despite being slightly slower and less maneuverable than its successors, including the T-65B, the Z-95 proved a close-air-support staple of the Rebel Alliance Starfighter Corps. The TIE fighter pilots of the Imperial Navy referred to Z-95s as "skulls." During a battle on Portocari, Rebel Headhunters killed an Imperial pilot named Barsay.
Though they had long been retired from military use, Z-95s were a favorite among smugglers, gangsters, pirates, and a variety of others seeking to do both legitimate and illegitimate business twenty-nine years after the end of the Galactic Civil War. In one instance, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron acquired three Z-95s for a covert mission designated Operation: Sabre Strike.
Behind the scenes
The Z-95 Headhunter made its first appearance in the new Star Wars canon in the mobile game Star Wars: Commander, published by Disney Interactive on August 21, 2014. Before that, it was referenced in the clone Z-95 starfighter entry in the now-discontinued StarWars.com Encyclopedia. This entry, including the Z-95's mention, has since transferred over to the Encyclopedia's current replacement, the Databank. The Z-95 Headhunter was originally created for the 1979 Star Wars Legends novel Han Solo at Stars' End, written by Brian Daley as the first entry in The Han Solo Adventures trilogy.
While Poe Dameron: Flight Log says the length of the Z-95 is 16.74 meters, Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 59 says the ship is only 11.8 meters long. This article assumes the former is correct.
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Commander
- Poe Dameron: Flight Log
- Before the Awakening
- Pirate's Price
- Rebel Rising
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 59 (Starship Fact File: Incom/SubPro Z-95 Headhunter)
- Star Wars Resistance – "Bibo"
- "Last Call at the Zero Angle" – Star Wars Insider 156
- Before the Awakening takes place shortly before Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, which Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary dates to twenty-nine years after the Battle of Jakku, the endpoint of the Galactic Civil War.
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker's events is dated to 35 ABY as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary states its events took place one year after the Starkiller Incident, which took place in 34 BBY per Star Wars: Galactic Atlas.
- Han Solo at Stars' End