A pair of TIE fighters
|First appearance||Star Wars (1977)|
TIE fighters are fictional starfighters in the Star Wars universe. Propelled by twin ion engines (hence the TIE acronym), TIE fighters are fast, agile, yet fragile starfighters produced by Sienar Fleet Systems for the Galactic Empire. TIE fighters and other TIE craft appear in Star Wars films, television shows, and throughout the Star Wars expanded universe. Several TIE fighter replicas and toys, as well as a TIE flight simulator, have been produced and sold by merchandise companies.
Origin and design
Industrial Light & Magic's (ILM) Colin Cantwell created the concept model that established the TIE fighter's ball-cockpit and hexagonal panels design for Star Wars (1977). Star Wars creator George Lucas liked the basic design consisting of two panels connected by a stick with a ball-shaped cockpit, but the Cantwell's concept had few details. Joe Johnston created additional details, such as the cockpit window and the attachment points between the solar panels and the hull.
Initially given a blue color scheme, the TIE fighter models for the first film were grey to better film against a bluescreen; TIE fighters in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) shifted back to being a muted blue. Sound designer Ben Burtt created the distinctive TIE fighter sound effect by combining an elephant call with a car driving on wet pavement. Combat scenes between TIE fighters and the Millennium Falcon and Rebel Alliance X-wing fighters in Star Wars were meant to be reminiscent of World War II dogfight footage; editors used World War II air combat clips as placeholders while Industrial Light & Magic completed the movie's special effects. Darth Vader's distinct TIE advanced X1 in Star Wars was designed to make it instantly recognizable, and the TIE interceptors developed for Jedi were designed to look fast, deadly, and frightening.
The Jedi starfighter, created for Revenge of the Sith (2005), was designed to bridge the appearance of the Jedi starfighter in Attack of the Clones (2002) and the TIE fighter design from the original trilogy. The V-wing starfighter, seen at the end of Revenge of the Sith, also makes the distinctive TIE fighter sound when flying by a Star Destroyer. Dark Horse Comics' Sean Cooke designed the TIE predator for Star Wars: Legacy (2006), set 130 years after the events of Star Wars, to appear both reminiscent of and more advanced than the original TIE fighter.
Designers for The Force Awakens (2015) had numerous discussions about how much to "update" the TIE fighter for the first sequel film set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. They retained the starfighter's design but altered its aesthetic to suggest improvements to the vessel's manufacturing process and materials.
Star Wars literature states that Sienar Fleet Systems manufactures TIE fighters and most TIE variants. TIE fighters' solar panels power a twin ion engine (TIE) system that accelerates gases at a high speed along almost any vector, affording the ships tremendous speed and maneuverability. Described as lacking a hyperdrive, life support, or shield generators, the fragile TIE fighters are deployed in large numbers from bases or larger ships; a Star Destroyer carries a wing of 72 various TIE craft. Expanded Universe material holds that TIE fighter pilots, who undergo intense physical and psychological testing, are trained to be intensely loyal to Emperor Palpatine and the Empire, willing to sacrifice themselves and their wingmates to accomplish their mission. TIE pilots were seen as expendable assets, as it was far cheaper to manufacture a great deal of standardized spacecraft in overwhelming numbers than it was to fully equip the craft. Although Expanded Universe material often describes TIE fighters as lacking an ejection seat, the player can eject from TIE craft in LucasArts' TIE Fighter flight simulator. During the events of The Force Awakens, the First Order sees the value in its TIE pilots and equips its TIE fighters with shields to protect their occupants. A TIE fighter stolen by Poe Dameron and Finn in The Force Awakens has an ejection seat, allowing both characters to survive a crash.
Other TIE craft
In addition to the TIE fighter, a variety of other TIE craft appear throughout the films. Darth Vader flies a TIE Advanced in Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back introduces a TIE shuttle and TIE bombers, which ferry Captain Needa (Michael Culver) to Darth Vader's Super Star Destroyer and bomb asteroids in the hunt for the Millennium Falcon, respectively. Both TIE craft have a design that stems from an unused "TIE boarding craft" concept developed for A New Hope. The TIE bomber's double-hull design led ILM's modelmakers to dub the ship a "double chili dog" fighter. TIE interceptors — faster TIE fighters with dagger-shaped wings and four laser cannons — appear at various points in Return of the Jedi. Two scales of TIE interceptor models were used during filming. The Force Awakens features TIE/FO starfighters that have deflector shields and special operations TIE/SF fighters with heavier weapons, a hyperdrive, and shields. "Flatter, fang-like" TIE Striker interceptors appears in Rogue One (2016).
Additionally, LucasArts Star Wars video games introduce several TIE variants, such as the TIE Hunter starfighter in Rogue Squadron III and the TIE Mauler surface vehicle in Empire at War. The TIE Advanced (nicknamed "Avenger" in-game) and TIE Defender — heavily upgraded derivatives of previous craft seen in the Star Wars universe — first appear in TIE Fighter as player-pilotable craft. The plot of Rebel Assault II revolves around destroying the Empire's ability to manufacture the cloaking TIE Phantom starfighter, and a campaign in X-Wing Alliance centers on destroying experimental remote-controlled TIE fighters. Star Wars Rebels introduces an experimental TIE Advanced model used by Imperial Inquisitors.
Star Wars literature also introduces TIE varieties. Corran Horn flies a TIE clutch in I, Jedi and TIE raptors attack Rogue Squadron in Solo Command. TYE wings — TIE fighter and Y-wing hybrids — appear both in I, Jedi and Rogue Squadron: Masquerade. Dark Horse's Dark Empire introduces both the droid-piloted TIE/D and the TIE crawler "century tank". West End Games' roleplaying sourcebooks introduce varieties that include the TIE/fc fire-control support ship, the TIE/gt ground-attack fighter, the TIE/rc reconnaissance vessel, and the TIE scout.
A TIE fighter model used in filming the climax of Star Wars sold at auction for $350,000. Fans built a 16-foot-by-20-foot, 1,000-pound TIE fighter float to commemorate Star Wars' thirtieth anniversary as part of the 2007 Gala Parade in Crystal Lake, Illinois. A Wired editor's creation of a TIE fighter model out of Starbucks cups and stirrers prompted the magazine to create a contest for its readers to submit their own art out of similar Starbucks material. io9 mocked the variety of TIE fighters in the franchise, listing four TIE models on its list of the eleven "silliest" Star Wars ships.
Kenner released TIE fighter and TIE interceptor toys during the original Star Wars trilogy's theatrical release, and Kenner's die-cast TIE bomber is a rare collector's item. Hasbro also released TIE fighter, TIE bomber, and TIE interceptor toys. Both Kenner and Hasbro also manufactured TIE fighter pilot action figures. Lego manufactured TIE fighter, TIE bomber, TIE interceptor, TIE defender, and TIE advanced models. Decipher and Wizards of the Coast published various TIE starfighter and TIE-related cards for the Star Wars Customizable Card Game and Star Wars Trading Card Game, respectively. In 2012, Fantasy Flight Games released Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, a miniatures game with pre-painted and to scale miniature X-wings and TIE fighters. In 1994, LucasArts released the TIE Fighter flight simulator, which casts the player as an Imperial pilot flying a variety of TIE starfighters. TIE starfighters and their variants are also playable in third- or first-person perspectives in several Star Wars titles.
- Bouzereau, Laurent (1997). Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays. Ballentine Books. pp. 99, 311. ISBN 0345409817.
- Star Wars: The Power of Myth. DK Publishing. 2000-03-01. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7894-5591-8.
- Burns, Kevin and Edith Becker (2004). Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (Documentary).
- "TIE Advanced X1 Starfighter (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on April 2, 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "Jedi starfighter (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
- Interview in Star Wars Insider #89
- Thompson, Luke Y. (2016-04-03). "Star Wars: The Force Awakens Designer Explains Starkiller Base and Updating TIE Fighters". Nerdist. Nerdist Industries. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
- "TIE fighter (Expanded Universe)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on August 22, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "TIE fighter (The Movies)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "TIE fighter pilots (Expanded Universe)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on June 3, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "Star Wars TIE Fighter". Atthamovies.com. Atthamovies.com. Retrieved 2015-05-18.[dead link]
- "First Order TIE Fighter Pilots". StarWars.com. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
- "First Order TIE Fighter". StarWars.com. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
- "TIE shuttle (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on March 7, 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "TIE bomber (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on December 1, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "TIE interceptor". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on 2007-06-18. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
- "TIE interceptor (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
- "First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter". StarWars.com. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
- Breznican, Anthony (June 22, 2016). "This Week's Cover: New details on the new Star Wars stand-alone film 'Rogue One'". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
- "LucasArts: Star Wars: Empire at War". LucasArts. Retrieved 2007-07-25. Gallery -> The Armies -> TIE Mauler
- "TIE defender (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on November 12, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- Stackpole, Michael A. (1998-05-04). I, Jedi. Bantam Spectra. ISBN 0-553-10820-4.
- Allston, Aaron (1999-02-01). Solo Command. X-wing. Bantam Spectra. ISBN 0-553-57900-2.
- Horne, Michael Allen (June 1993). Dark Empire Sourcebook. West End Games. ISBN 0-87431-194-2.
- Star Wars Roleplaying Game (Second Edition, Expanded & Revised ed.). West End Games. 1996. ISBN 0-87431-435-6.
- Gorden, Greg (1993). Star Wars Imperial Sourcebook (2nd ed.). West End Games. ISBN 0-87431-210-8.
- "Star Wars model sold for $350,000". BBC. 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- Foster, Regan (2007-06-28). "No dark side for builders of 'Star Wars' model". Northwest Herald. Retrieved 2007-08-26.[dead link]
- "Contest: Make Art From Starbuck's Junk". Wired. Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- Whitbrook, James (May 27, 2016). "The 11 Silliest Ships in the Star Wars Galaxy". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- "Box Front". SirStevesGuide.com Photo Galler. SirStevesGuide.com. 2005-04-02. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "TIE Interceptor: Box Front". SirStevesGuide.com Photo Galler. SirStevesGuide.com. 2005-04-24. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "Larger Scale TIE Fighter Loose and Boxed High-Res". SirStevesGuide.com. 2006-07-26. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
- "Hasbro TIE Bomber and Snowspeeder Exclusives". Star Wars Collecting. Lucasfilm. 2001-05-24. Archived from the original on April 15, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "Hasbro 2001 Plans Intercepted". Star Wars Collecting. Lucasfilm. 2001-06-08. Archived from the original on April 2, 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "Imperial Tie Fighter Pilot: Carded Front". SirStevesGuide.com Photo Galler. SirStevesGuide.com. 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "Episode III Goes Full Throttle at StarWarsShop.com". Star Wars Collecting. Lucasfilm. 2005-02-01. Archived from the original on May 23, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "LEGO '03: Vehicles and Jabba's". Star Wars Collecting. Lucasfilm. 2002-12-19. Archived from the original on December 30, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "TIE Interceptor". LEGO Store. Lego. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "Vader's TIE Advanced". LEGO Store. Lego. Archived from the original on June 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "Star Wars Customizable Card Game Complete Card List" (PDF). Decipher, Inc. 2001-08-23. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
- "A New Hope (Trading Card Game)". Star Wars Cargo Bay. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on September 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-24.
- TIE Fighter in the StarWars.com Databank
- TIE Bomber in the StarWars.com Databank
- TIE Interceptor in the StarWars.com Databank
- First Order TIE Fighter in the StarWars.com Databank
- First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter in the StarWars.com Databank
- Darth Vader's TIE Fighter in the StarWars.com Databank
- Inquisitor's TIE Advanced Prototype in the StarWars.com Databank
- TIE Series on Wookieepedia, a Star Wars wiki
- TIE line on Wookieepedia, a Star Wars wiki
- TIE pilot on Wookieepedia, a Star Wars wiki
- Star Wars Technical Commentaries- TIE Fighters -theforce.net