Landspeeder

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Landspeeder

Landspeeders are fictional anti-gravity craft used through the Star Wars movies and Star Wars Expanded Universe. They are depicted both in civilian and military capacities, and several versions have been merchandised as toys and models.

Origin and design[edit]

Landspeeders first appear in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Two of them—Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) X-34 and a V-35—were designed by noted special effects artist John Stears and were fitted around cars. Skywalker's landspeeder was designed and built by Ogle Design around the chassis of a Bond Bug.[1][2][3] One of the major challenges the production crew faced was disguising the wheels to create the illusion that the craft was hovering.[4][5] For certain shots, they shot from camera angles that masked the wheels; for long-distance shots, they used reflective material, gelatin on the camera lens, and shadow effects. A small blur could be seen under the speeder, which George Lucas called "The Force Spot" (stated in Special Edition Tape).[4] Production designer Roger Christian used an angled mirror and a broom attached to the vehicle's underside to create, at certain angles, the illusion that the craft was hovering and kicking up dust.[3] Star Wars creator George Lucas used digital technology to enhance the landspeeder effects in the Special Edition of A New Hope.[4] Industrial Light and Magic's (ILM) Doug Chiang design the Naboo Flash speeder with a "race car look" while the Gian speeder's appearance is ILM's response to Lucas' request that the Naboo troops have "a pick-up truck with guns."[6][7]

Depiction[edit]

Expanded Universe material describes speeders as using a "repulsorlift" that allows them to travel above a world's surface; a key differentiating point between landspeeders and airspeeders is the altitude the repulsorlift allows the craft to reach.[8] In A New Hope, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) sells his landspeeder in order to pay Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to take him, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) to Alderaan. Naboo security forces use landspeeders in their attempt to retake the capital city of Theed in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and various speeders appear in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Speeders are playable-controllable craft in a variety of LucasArts titles.

Cultural impact[edit]

A Star Wars fan named Daniel Deutsch built a full-scale replica of the landspeeder that can be driven like an automobile.[9] It first surfaced at the Neatorama website where it was discovered by rapper Kanye West who posted pictures of the landspeeder in his blog. One of the photographs show former 'N Sync member Joey Fatone posing next to the landspeeder. Kanye West described the replica landspeeder as made of a "custom aluminum chassis, fiberglass body, and an electric drive system that hits lightspeed at 25 mph".[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Force is strong with this three-wheeler from Preston". The Independent. 17 June 2010. 
  2. ^ http://www.gardencitymuseum.org/about_us/history_letchworth_gc/history/ogle_design
  3. ^ a b "Star Wars Insider #98 Excerpt: Roger Christian". Lucasfilm. 2007-12-04. Archived from the original on 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  4. ^ a b c "Star Wars Databank: X-34 Landspeeder (Behind the Scenes)". Starwars.com. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  5. ^ "V-35 landspeeder (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  6. ^ "Gian speeder". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  7. ^ "Flash speeder". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  8. ^ Star Wars Roleplaying Game (Second Edition, Expanded & Revised ed.). West End Games. 1996. ISBN 0-87431-435-6. 
  9. ^ Star Wars Fan Shows Off Drivable Landspeeder
  10. ^ http://www.kanyeuniversecity.com/blog/?em3106=204385_-1__0_~0_-1_5_2008_0_0&em3161=&em3281=

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