One of the greatest things about the Star Wars films is their design sensibility. Even in the unfairly maligned prequels, design was strong. The worlds were full of visually stimulating and stunning imagery.
The X–Wing is iconic and a weighty symbol of the rugged mentality of the rebellion. Their Mon Cal star cruisers speak of art and spontaneity. The Star Destroyers and Death Stars use simpler geometries to speak to the Empire’s bleak philosophies. The Naboo ships inform us of their devotion to art and clean lines, and the Gungan technologies speak of their continued tie to the natural world.
There are some ships I love more than others. The A-Wing is a fantastic ship for instance. Its compact form declares power in a small package, an echo of the rebellion. The Millennium Falcon looks like floating labor of love. The Jedi Starfighter (both models) show a bare utility and displacement of a peaceful order gone to war.
But one ship I’ve always loved, which I cannot explain, is the B-Wing.
There’s nothing particularly sleek or even well-imagined about the ship. There is the neat concept that the cockpit stays steady while the ship rotates around it; I don’t think this concept is demonstrated practically in Return of the Jedi though. The only reason any fan knows it is because the toy did that or some other supplemental material explained that.
The letter-naming conceit falls apart for this ship, too. A-Wing was a stretch, but the Expanded Universe justification for the “B” is that it looks like a blade.
Whatever. I just know that I love the ship. I love the way it looks.
But I’m not sure why. It’s completely different from the other ship designs I love so dearly. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why I’d love this ship design so much that I just put a die-cast metal set on my Christmas list in hopes I’d have one to place on my desk and look at longingly?
Is it the fulfilled promise that the Y-Wing could be improved? Is it the accidental religious imagery of a cross? Is it that there was a pilot called Ten Nunb that flew one?
I’m willing to entertain any theories.