J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm got the internet buzzing today about their final video for philanthropic initiative “Star Wars: Force for Change”. (Read about some very cool last-minute incentives to get involved, including an opportunity to have a private, pre-release screening of the film here!) Recorded on the set of Episode VII, the video began with a tight shot of Abrams standing in front of what appeared to be a battered metal object of some sort.
As the camera widened focus, the the object behind the director was revealed to be worn and possibly battle-damaged star fighter that more than a handful of fans – myself included – took to be a Z-95 Headhunter: the small but nimble predecessor of the Rebel Alliance’s signature T-65 X-Wing. While not a perfect match for either fighter, the craft behind Abrams did not appear to sport the S-Foil wing arrangement characteristic of the X-Wing, a feature that is also absent in the older Z-95.
The appearance of a battered, Clone Wars-era star ship on the set of Episode VII could have been the start of (even more) speculation regarding the film’s plot, but this update from the official Star Wars Twitter account put the rumors to rest before they even started:
@CDCanimation It is in fact an Episode VII X-wing, not a Z-95.
— Star Wars (@starwars) July 21, 2014
Amusingly enough, six hours prior to the release of the Abrams video, @starwars had tweeted a Ralph McQuarrie concept painting for the X-Wing that looks very similar to Episode VII’s revamped star fighter. The painting was accompanied by two words: “Look familiar?”
Well, it certainly does now.