New vehicles from The Last Jedi give The First Order some serious firepower

If I may re-purpose a line from another franchise, "Where does The First Order get these wonderful toys?" After the defeat of the Galactic Empire, it seems that The First Order has spent every moment constructing new and more impressive weapons to retake the galaxy. Although the Resistance won a hard-earned victory in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS by destroying Starkiller Base, The First Order will have more than enough weapons and vehicles of destruction to give them a run for their money in the upcoming STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. In the latest installment of The Star Wars Show, two new First Order vehicles were revealed - the AT-M6 walker and the Dreadnought warship.

First up, the AT-M6 walker, which stands for All Terrain MegaCaliber Six, so named because of the giant laser cannon strapped to its friggin' back. Unlike the AT-AT, this new walker will walk with a "simian-like gait" which will help to stabilize the cannon.

Kevin Jenkins, Lucasfilm’s design supervisor for THE LAST JEDI, said that the design emerged when they began thinking about the evolution of tanks, as well as ways for the AT-M6 to avoid being taken down by Snowspeeders as the AT-AT's were in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

We went through this whole discussion about iteration. Iteration, to me, makes more sense than random walker design. So we talked about the way a Sherman tank in World War II evolved into an Abrams tank, for various reasons, or a Chieftain tank, or a Challenger, or whatever you want to say. And so we were trying to think about what made sense for a walker and I just said, “Look, a walker, to me, it’s essentially a Panzer tank mixed with a dog.” One of the questions that tied us up a lot is the fact that they’d been taken down by snowspeeders in The Empire Strikes Back, and it felt like everyone else is trying to avoid the problem of a four-legged version of a walker because they had been defeated on Hoth. So I sort of took that on board and I suggested to Rian, “Well, instead of a dog, what about a gorilla?” I can’t remember why I said a gorilla, but I just said, “They have a great stance, they are very aggressive,” and that’s how the idea of the gorilla came. And literally in profile, I molded it over an actual photo of a gorilla to get the initial base pose.

As for The Dreadnought, it continues The First Order's obsession with size. The Mandator IV-class warship comes in at a whopping 7,669.72 meters, or 25,162.8 feet, in length. It also features two absolutely enormous orbital auto-cannons for large-scale bombardments.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI director Rian Johnson needed a new vessel which would be a ground-firing gun platform, it also needed a flat surface covered with gun turrets. Kevin Jenkins spent a lot of time looking at big battleships from World War II, all the while keeping Johnson's need for guns, the bigger the better, in mind.

I spent a lot of time looking at real-world references. Looking at the big battleships, the Yamato and all those kinds of things from World War II, and the way those guns would lower or rise. So the idea of them coming out the bottom of the Dreadnought became a design feature, because rather than just being there pointing down, we wanted to imply the danger that they sort of unlocked themselves and then moved into position. Just like the big 14-inch guns you used to see on those old battleships. It was a capitol ship. That was what we were kind of going for.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI will hit theaters on December 15, 2017.



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