Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will have a lot of familiar sights due to being set right before A New Hope, but there will also be plenty of material never before seen from that era. Along with new characters and new kinds of Imperial operatives, there will also be some new vehicles that weren't seen in the Original Trilogy, including a new ship for the Rebel Alliance to use against the Empire. Following in the alphabetical footsteps of previous Rebel starfighters, the U-Wing has officially been unveiled for Rogue One.
This first look at the new Rebel ship was shown today during The Star Wars Show when Lucasfilm Story Group Creative Executive Matt Martin stopped by to explain what the ship's purpose is in battle. He said:
It's a troop transport and gunship, so it's there to bring in Rebel troops to heavy fire zones and get out of there as quickly as possible.
So rather than be a strict dogfighter against TIE Fighters and other Imperial ships, the U-Wing is also used to drop soldiers off to the necessary location and then hightail it out of there. Like the X-Wing and B-Wing, the U-Wing also can also spread its wings out depending on the situation, as seen below, with Martin saying the ship is meant to "drop off troops and provide air support."
Although this is the first official look at the U-Wing (its official name is the INCOM UT-60D) in Rogue One, Martin also mentioned that the straighter was subtly seen in the first piece of concept art shown at last year's Star Wars Celebration. That particular scene showed a U-Wing dropping off troops in the middle of a rainy battle.
Most of the ships we've glimpsed in the Rogue One previews so far were prominent in the first three Star Wars movies, from the X-Wings to the AT-ATs. The U-Wing is one of the many ways that the spinoff is expanding on that time period, and the ship will undoubtedly be incorporated into books, video games and even made into a toy later on. Just as long as they don't go back and digitally insert a U-Wing into one of the future home media rereleases of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, we should remain fine.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16. Let us know what you think of the U-Wing in the comments below.