All You Need To Know About X-Wings, A-Wings, B-Wings and Y-Wings

Star Wars is famous for many things and the ships piloted by the rebels are one of them. If you asked a casual fan to name a ship from Star Wars you'd find many of them would offer the X-wing as their first offering. And why not? The X-wing was the starfighter that Luke Skywalker was flying when he launched a couple of torpedoes into the bowels of the Death Star!

Here's a brief description of some of the fighter ships that the rebels flew in the movies, starting with some of Ralph McQuarrie's early concept designs for the X-wing:
x wing trench run concept picture
Depicted as the primary interceptor and dogfighter of the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic, the craft is a fan favorite. It has been merchandised as a variety of toys and models and licensed for use in games, novels, and comics. The X-wing PC game was hugely popular in the early 1990s.

2 xwing versus tie concept design

While the trench run from A New Hope is a famous scene, the X-wing features in a key part of The Empire Strikes Back when it is stuck in the swamp. Yoda chooses to show Luke what the Force really is about and, after uttering his famous “do or do not, there is no try,” he lifts the ship out of its watery dwelling and into the air, thus inspiring Luke.

xwing vs tie


The A-wing was one of two Rebel Alliance Starfighters created for the Return of the Jedi movie.

Ralph McQuarrie's A-wing concept art showed them to be colored blue but, because of bluescreen technology limitations at the time, red was eventually used:

awing concpet art mcquarrie

The starfighter was intended to resemble the snowspeeders seen in The Empire Strikes Back during the Hoth Battle:

snowspeeder design sketch mcquarrie


bwing -concept-art

Along with the A-Wing, the B-wing first appeared in Return of the Jedi. The B-wing's gyrostabilized cockpit allows its pilot to maintain a consistent horizon while the craft's body rotates around it. The ship's rotating cockpit stems from an initial design for the Millennium Falcon by McQuarrie.

The B-wing is the largest and most powerful fighter designed by the Rebel Alliance, and it is generally viewed as the successor to the older Y-wing fighter/bomber.

B-wings have powerful shields which are considerably stronger than the shields featured on most Imperial or Rebel fighter designs, and they are armed with a greater variety of weapons.


Y-wings are durable but slow tactical strike spacecraft, although notes and diagrams by the special effects crew for Return of the Jedi (shown in The Art of Return of the Jedi) show the Y-wing as possessing the same speed and maneuverability as the X-wing and standard TIE fighter.

ywings trenchrun starwars

The destruction of Y-wings tasked with destroying the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope led to Luke Skywalker firing the proton torpedoes that destroyed the Empire's battle station. Only one Y-wing survived the Battle of Yavin.

1 ywing concept art starwars

Which is your favorite “wing” craft in the Star Wars universe? Feel free to let us know!

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.