Is it too much Star Wars and not enough Porsche?
After Porsche and Lucasfilm's teaser for a collaboration to create a starship for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the spacecraft is finally here. The Tri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter looks far more like something from a galaxy far, far away than a product of the German automaker, no matter what the designers claim.
Gallery: Porsche Star Wars Tri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter
Porsche suggests the way the Pegasus' front air curtains incorporate into the headlights is a reference to the Taycan. The louvred rear area behind the droid is a touch from the tail of the latest 911. Both of these elements are very subtle and don't immediately make the Pegasus evoke a Porsche.
Motor1.com has its own Star Wars expert to offer an opinion on the Pegasus. Jason Marker is the editorial director of our motorcycle-focused sibling RideApart. He also writes for the Star Wars RPG series from Fantasy Flight Games with a speciality in starships, naval technology, and general gear.
"The astromech socket bugs me. By the New-Order-era the galaxy has navicomputers that are small, cheap, and powerful enough to be fitted to starfighters. Twenty-five years before The Force Awakens both the B-Wing (my favorite starfighter ever) and the A-wing had on-board navicomputers. If you don't know, astromech droids like Industrial Automaton's R-series (like R2-D2) do all the work of a navicomputer (plotting courses, doing lightspeed calculations, etc) along with some light damage control. So, the astromech socket suggests that the Pegasus is probably a late-Imperial/early-New Republic-era design."
Marker can even figure out the Pegasus' role within the greater hierarchy of Star Wars ships.
"It has a lot of Koensayr design language in it. Koensayr built the Y-wing and this might be a successor model? It's lightly armed as far as I can see, with a pair of laser cannons, but it's probably packing at least concussion missile launchers on it. It looks like it fills a similar role to Incom's X-Wing, i.e. aerospace superiority. It's a one position fighter, so if it is related to the Y-wing (which is mostly a two-position fighter with some one-position variants) it's a lighter, faster model."
If you want to see more of the Pegasus, Porsche and Lucasfilm have a real-world model of the ship measuring five feet long (1.5 metres). It goes on display at the Rise of Skywalker's Los Angeles premiere. A Porsche Taycan will be there, too, so people will be able to see the very subtle similarities between it and the spacecraft.
Porsche and Lucasfilm present starship design
Designers from Porsche AG and Lucasfilm Ltd. have joined forces to develop a fantasy starship that brings together the design DNA of the two brands.
Over a period of two months, the project team worked together at their respective design studios in Weissach and San Francisco to create initial ideas and drafts before finally coming up with a concrete concept. The fantasy starship, named Tri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter, will be presented as a detailed model measuring 1.5 metres (5 feet) in length at the December film premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in Los Angeles.
“The design of the spaceship is harmoniously integrated into the Star Wars film world while at the same time demonstrating clear analogies with the characteristic Porsche styling and proportions,” says Michael Mauer, Vice President Style Porsche at Porsche AG. “The basic shape of the cabin, which tapers towards the rear, and a highly distinctive topography from the cockpit flyline to the turbines establish visual parallels with the iconic design of the 911 and the Taycan. The very compact layout conveys dynamism and agility, lending emphasis to the Porsche design features mentioned.”
“This collaboration is an amazing opportunity to merge the design aesthetics of Porsche and Star Wars. I found it to be creatively challenging and extremely inspiring,” says Doug Chiang, Vice President and Executive Creative Director for Lucasfilm. “It is thrilling to infuse Star Wars with Porsche styling to create an iconic new spaceship that could exist both on Earth or in the cinematic universe.”
While legal requirements impose certain restrictions on creativity in the classic design process for a series-production vehicle, this project opens up a whole new dimension of freedom. At the same time, the Style Porsche team faced fresh challenges, since creating a purely virtual design is demanding, too. On the screen, the starship is only seen in two dimensions, while classic series-production vehicles appear physically in three dimensions. In addition, starships usually only appear dynamically in the film and are only visible for a brief moment – so the design has to create an impression and be recognisable within a matter of seconds.
A glance at the details reveals a number of features familiar from the Porsche design style. The front is reminiscent of the so-called “air curtains” (air inlets) that go together with the headlights to create a single formal entity in the Taycan. In addition to the four-point daytime running light typical of Porsche, the so-called “blasters” – long gun barrels at the front – are located at the tip. The rear grid with the louvres and integrated third brake light was inspired by the current 911 generation, and the rear section of the starship bears the brand’s hallmark light bar. Porsche design criteria have been applied to the interior, too: the instruments in the cockpit are clearly aligned with the driver's axis, while the low seating position is reminiscent of the sporty ergonomics in the Porsche 918 Spyder. All in all, the design follows a basic principle that is characteristic of the brand: all the elements on the exterior have a clear function, and purely visual features have largely been dispensed with.
“Our collaborative project with Star Wars goes perfectly with the launch of the Taycan. The design teams have brought the differing worlds of Porsche and Star Wars together to make a very special gift for the fans of the two brands,” says Kjell Gruner, Head of Marketing at Porsche. Porsche will also be showcasing the all-new Taycan at the premiere event in Los Angeles.
A special behind the scenes look at how the finished starship came to be is now available online at www.thedesigneralliance.com which was produced in partnership with WIRED Brand Lab.