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As many Star Wars fans know, the version of Episode IX we’ll be getting with J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t the first movie idea Disney and Lucasfilm had originally queued up for the Skywalker saga’s finale. Before Abrams took over creative control on Episode IX, the project was in the hands of Jurassic World writer/director Colin Trevorrow.
Thanks to a TIE fighter-sized easter egg at Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, though, Trevorrow’s ideas for submission into the Star Wars canon haven’t been relegated to the Jakku junk heap. One of the new Disney park’s most eye-grabbing bits of scenery, it turns out, is an Imperial fighter taken straight from the pages of his unused Episode IX playbook.
Behold the First Order TIE Echelon — an “armed troop transport” that’s the “equivalent of a Blackhawk stealth helicopter,” as Trevorrow told Collider. (SYFY WIRE snagged the pic below as part of our on-site opening-week coverage.)Disney’s early concept work on Galaxy’s Edge was happening around the same time Trevorrow was putting together a story for Episode IX, and integrating ideas from the expanding movie-verse into the park was a big part of Disney’s plan, he told Collider. “The Imagineering team asked us to develop a new ship for the park while we were designing the film,” he said. “I took it pretty seriously — it’s not every day you get to be a part of something like that.”
Borrowing ideas that date all the way back to George Lucas’ original trilogy, Trevorrow’s team came up with an all-business TIE transporter that marked, in his words, “kind of a hybrid of designs from VII and VIII, with some familiar elements from OT Tie fighters like Vader’s Advanced x1.”
It’s an angular, tactical, and almost brutalist design — and, thanks to Disney’s decision to make the Echelon a key part of the visual story at Galaxy’s Edge, it’s now an official piece of Star Wars lore.
With the Disneyland flavor of Galaxy’s Edge now open to huge demand and rave reviews, we’re less than a parsec from the Aug. 29 debut of its Star Wars sibling at Disney World. Game plan your first visit by boning up on the complete backstory of how Disney brought the galaxy far, far away down to Earth, and be sure to check out SYFY WIRE’s handy all-in-one explainer of everything you need to you know to make your trip as immersive as a C-3PO oil bath.