Any day that a new Star Wars LEGO set is announced is a great day. But a day when the build in question is a ship I’ve only ever seen mentioned deep within the archive of books now considered Star Wars Legends? Fantastic.
Today was such a day. The set in question: “New Republic E-Wing vs. Shin Hati’s Starfighter.”
Take a look at that New Republic E-Wing escort starfighter. It’s got the feel of a New Republic X-Wing: blue lines over a metallic-white body. The wings don’t open into that classic X-formation but curve downward—like an X-Wing if you tore off one of the S-foils and hopelessly bent the other.
But that all makes sense. I went down the rabbit hole on the E-Wing so you don’t have to.
In Legends, the E-Wing was the first starfighter commissioned under the New Republic. Introduced in Tom Veitch’s 1992 comic Dark Empire 3: The Battle for Calamari and developed by FreiTek Inc., the hope was that the new E-Wing would replace the legendary X-Wing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as reliable, and pilots continued to resort to the older, more trustworthy starfighter.
Nonetheless, the E-Wing was used by the New Republic in response to Grand Admiral Thrawn’s attempt to rebuild the Empire, and later to combat the resurrected Emperor Palpatine. Its versatility, speed and shields saw the E-Wing gain in popularity, and it continued to play a role in galactic combat throughout the Second Galactic Civil War.
These plot beats might sound familiar. We’ve already seen Palpatine resurrected in current Star Wars canon—and we’ve also already seen the E-Wing, though barely. The Resistance in the sequel trilogy continues to rely on the X-Wing, and we’ve seen no hint of the E-Wing in other live-action Star Wars projects.
So, where has it shown up? It’s first canon appearance was in Charles Soul’s comic Poe Dameron 23; its first non-canon appearance was in an episode of LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures entitled “The Embersteel Blade.” That episode committed the E-Wing’s developer, FreiTek Inc., to canon—from a certain point of view. In both cases, the E-Wing was more of a collector’s piece than a formidable starfighter.
In a way, the jump from The Freemaker Adventures to Ahsoka by way of a new LEGO set makes sense. Animated LEGO to plastic LEGO to actual ship. Legends to non-canon to canon. And the plot beats all seem to rhyme.
The E-Wing itself is an example of Ahsoka’s own words: “There’s always a bit of truth in legends.”
The question is: Will this new canon E-Wing go the way of the ship of Legends? Or, seeing as the starfighter doesn’t appear in the Resistance fleet, does it meet with some unfortunate end? Is it phased out, or commandeered? Will it continue to be the New Republic’s first bit of starfighter glory, or another testament to the government’s inevitable failure?
Regardless, you can get your hands on your own LEGO set on September 1, 2023, along with “Ahsoka Tano’s T-6 Jedi Shuttle”—with minifigures Ahsoka, Sabine Wren, Huyang and the Inquisitor Marrok—and a brand-new “Ghost & Phantom II” build, including minifigures Hera Syndulla, Lt. Beyta, First Officer Hawkins, Chopper and a decidedly not green-headed Jacen Syndulla.