Saturday, June 15, 2019

The TIE Echelon At Galaxy's Edge Was Designed By Colin Trevorrow's 'Episode IX' Team

By: Dominic Jones

If you believe in parallel dimensions then there's possibly a version of May 2019 where the biggest thing in Star Wars to happen would have been the release of Star Wars Episode IX, directed by Colin Trevorrow.  In our dimension, however, Trevorrow was let go from working on Episode IX in 2017, Episode IX will be released in December and directed by JJ Abrams, and the biggest thing to happen last month was the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland in California.

Despite the change in direction for Episode IX, there is still one major lingering element from Trevorrow's time on Star Wars that survived and made it's way into our world last month: the TIE Echelon in Galaxy's Edge.  A life size version of the ship can currently be seen in the First Order controlled, market area of Baatu (the in-universe setting of Galaxy's Edge), and is one of many photo ops for visitors to the park.
The TIE Echelon, which is now a photo op in the recently opened theme park expansion, was originally designed by Trevorrow and his team working on Episode IX.  The director confirmed this in a new interview with Collider, recalling, "The Imagineering team asked us to develop a new ship for the park while we were designing the film. I took it pretty seriously—it’s not every day you get to be a part of something like that."

He went on to describe the inspiration for the TIE Echelon's design, saying, "It was part of an upgraded First Order fleet. An armed troop transport—the equivalent of a Blackhawk stealth helicopter. We wanted it to evoke memories of earlier ships while still being its own thing. If you look at the elements, it’s kind of a hybrid of designs from VII and VIII, with some familiar elements from OT Tie Fighters like Vader’s Advanced x1. There’s a lot of history in it."

Sadly, it seems unlikely that the ship will actually appear in The Rise Of Skywalker, though we can never truly rule that out until the film hits theaters later this year.  In the meantime, visitors to Galaxy's Edge can get an up close look at a potential piece of the path not taken for Star Wars while they're getting their picture taken in front of the TIE Echelon.
Trevorrow was originally hired to work on Star Wars Episode IX back in 2015, with his hiring being announced at the D23 Expo in August of that year (four months before The Force Awakens was released in theaters).  Trevorrow was later removed from the film, due to rumored disputes over the script, and replaced by JJ Abrams in September 2017.  The release date for the film was subsequently moved from May 24th, 2019 to December 20th, 2019.

Galaxy's Edge is currently open at Disneyland in California and will open on August 29th at Disney World in Florida. 

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th, 2019.  The film is directed by JJ Abrams, with a script by Abrams and Chris Terio, and stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie Fisher.

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