While filmmaker Colin Trevorrow never got to bring his vision of the Star Wars universe to life after he was cut loose from directing duties on “Star Wars: Episode IX” in September of 2017, at least one part of his creation still lives on, albeit in an unexpected place. At Disney’s Anaheim location of its much-hyped Galaxy’s Edge theme park — dedicated to delivering the full Star Wars experience via immersive, experiential storytelling, plus make-your-own-lightsabers and blue milk — sharp-eyed fans have noticed a previously unreleased ship hanging out with other life-sized versions of well-known craft.
As Collider reports, tucked in alongside full-scale takes on recognizable ships like an X-wing fighter and the Millennium Falcon, there’s a new craft, designed by Trevorrow. It’s billed as a First Order TIE Echelon, a transport ship for the members of the evil First Order that drew inspiration from actual military craft like the Blackhawk stealth helicopter.
And yes, it was designed by Trevorrow himself, back when he was still on board “Episode IX” and providing concept material to the teams building the theme park. Collider reached out to the filmmaker to find out more about the origin of the ship, and what part — if any — it might play in “The Rise of Skywalker,” directed by JJ Abrams and out later this year.
“The Imagineering team asked us to develop a new ship for the park while we were designing the film,” Trevorrow said when asked about the provenance of the TIE Echelon. “I took it pretty seriously — it’s not every day you get to be a part of something like that. … It was part of an upgraded First Order fleet. An armed troop transport — the equivalent of a Blackhawk stealth helicopter. We wanted it to evoke memories of earlier ships while still being its own thing.”
The “Jurassic World” director added, “If you look at the elements, it’s kind of a hybrid of designs from ‘VII’ and ‘VIII,’ with some familiar elements from OT TIE Fighters like Vader’s Advanced x1. There’s a lot of history in it.”
Asked if he could share the sequence the TIE Echelon would have appeared in had Trevorrow made his film, the filmmaker demurred. “I’m pretty sure you know the answer to that, but I respect the question,” he said. “Honestly, I’m just proud to have been a part of it. I love that ship. Put my ashes in it, man.”
Head over to Collider to read the full interview with Trevorrow and to get a look at the TIE Echelon in question.
Disney opens “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” in theaters nationwide on December 20.