My Bizarre Fascination with the B-Wing

B-Wings, Bitches!
Ever since I first saw this photo in the Return of the Jedi magazine my dad bought for me at the Safeway magazine rack, I’ve loved this ship.

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.

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11 thoughts on “My Bizarre Fascination with the B-Wing

  1. I love the B-Wing. I was trying to find the B-Wing that was two of them stitched together. When I was running the Star Wars Role-Playing Game, I had my Sith Bith or Bith Sith using first a b-wing and then the two put together. It was a gnarly ship and almost unstoppable. The manoeuvrability of the B-Wing with twice the fire power and twice the shields. Oh, and the Sith had a Barradium detonator attached to his heart. When they finally killed him, he he took out half a planet. Along with his Double B

      1. It was originally an NPC who was with the party and bordering on light side/dark side. But I let the party get away with a little too much, so I had to make him as hard as possible. The were bringing buildings down on everything and crushing them. I decided to stick with D&D after that. Unfortunately everyone has gone their separate ways now, so I got rid of the lot.

  2. Perhaps it’s because it is decidedly not-sleek. Like the Falcon, it’s broken symmetry. If it weren’t for advanced technologies, like anti-grav or shields, it wouldn’t fly in an atmosphere. It’s something the at least in your mind, “Could only work in space”. Possibly in a subconscious way, it makes itself and the rest of the Star Wars universe “more real”. Think of real work spacecraft. The ones that have to go from the surface and atmosphere to space (the rockets and space shuttle) have to be sleek and aerodynamic. But the one’s that spend thier entire lives in (near) vacuum (the lunar lander, the ISS, satellites) work fine and even more efficiently as dispersed structures.

  3. It’s aesthetically pleasing, in an elaborate but strangely practical way. Perhaps its just the fact that it looks like it would be fun to fly. Or it could be the fact that it really didn’t get a very good or thorough treatment in the original movies as the X and Y wings did. There’s something to be said for the mystery factor…

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