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The recent Star Wars timeline, so far, has been challenging to follow. Every time we reach the end of a Saga story -- be it The Force Awakens, or The Last Jedi -- we flash back to an earlier movie set between the Prequels and Star Wars: A New Hope, meaning fans have to establish their bearings, remember what they knew, and learn more stuff along the way. At the same time, whenever a new movie opens, we're able to add to the Star Wars canon by introducing new aliens, droids, villains and ships. Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story introduces the new TIE Fighters shown above. They are known as TIE/rb, and Lucasfilm recently released more details on the ships, explaining:
Compensating for the relative fragility of the unshielded TIE starfighter is the armored TIE/rb, a reinforced heavy starfighter with much more powerful laser cannons.
Ships take a beating in the Star Wars universe. Most of the smaller TIE fighters and even Wing Fighters can be taken out in a single blast. And have you seen the multi-ship space battles that occupy almost every Star Wars movie to date? It's virtually impossible NOT to get hit when engaging in an airstrike between the Rebel alliance and the First Order -- or, in the case of Solo: A Star Wars Movie, the evil Empire.
Watch the space-only scenes from the climactic Battle of Endor in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi to get a sense of how many TIE fighters bite the dust from laser blasts:
Of course, this begs the obvious question: If the armored TIE/rb compensates for the "relative fragility" of a normal TIE Fighter, why then aren't ALL TIE Fighters just built like TIE/rbs so that they don't all fall apart at the first blast? It's like that classic question of why airplanes aren't made of the same material as the Black Box that's designed to survive any crash. Maybe this is aa question that will be answered in Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story?
With about a month to go before release, there's still a lot that we don't know about the story being told in Solo: A Star Wars Story. We know that it's a "Young Han Solo" adventure, with Alden Ehrenreich standing in for Harrison Ford. Donald Glover will play the younger version of original Millennium Falcon owner Lando Calrissian, while Chewbacca comes along for the ride. A new version of a TV spot just landed online, so check this one out:
Look for Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story in theaters on May 25.