Something that was very prevalent in the prequel trilogy was foreshadowing. Many things show a sort of evolution into the original trilogy. One that makes perfect sense is the portrayal of the Old Republic. Given that we see the Republic becomes the Galactic Empire in Revenge of the Sith, it makes sense that the Republic has many similarities to the Empire:

To name a few:

  • Clone Troopers look like Stormtroopers
  • Jedi Starfighters look like Star Destroyers
  • Jedi Interceptors and V-Wings look like Tie Fighters
  • Both the Republic and the Empire used walkers and Star Destroyers

It's obvious that the Republic becomes the Empire. There is, however, one ship that not only breaks this pattern, it goes in the complete opposite direction - the ARC-170 Starfighter. Instead of resembling something the Empire would eventually use, this Republic fighter closely resembles something the Rebellion would eventually use - the X-Wing Starfighter.

arc vs x-wing image

Both starfighters have:

  • a long and thin nose/fuseloge
  • large cylindrical engines placed between the fuseloge and the wings thin horizontal wings
  • long blaster cannons at the ends
  • s-foils that open to form a sort of x-shape
  • both have the red and grey/white color scheme

I mean, it is as if the filmmakers were trying to imply that the ARC-170 starfighter is some sort of predecessor of the rebel x-wing fighter, which seems to go against the Republic's trend of having things that evolve into Imperial things.

TL;DR: Why was the ARC-170 starfighter made to resemble the x-wing? Have the filmmakers commented on the decision? Is there some sort of backstory/retcon to explain why a rebel fighter would look like a descendent of the Republic/Imperial fighter?

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    Forgive me, but why wouldn't a newer model incorporate designs from an older one? Seems like a no-brainer.
    – user47739
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 1:43
  • It's not so likely that the republic it the gastric empire manufacture their own vehicles.
    – user47739
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 1:44
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    Incorporating designs from older tech, even enemy tech, is common. The USA's M60 machine gun 's tech and appearance is based on the Nazi MG42 machine gun, examples of which were captured and reverse-engineered. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 14:41

3 Answers 3


They may have been made by the same company

It’s not particularly surprising that the fighters look similar, considering that they were produced by the same company, Incom Corporation. Apparently, Subpro also produced some of the same ships, so we can’t really be sure that the design of the Arc 170 starfighters influenced the X-wings. It seems likely, though.

The ARC-170s were not in accordance with Imperial doctrine

More to the point, though, the abandonment of the ARC-170 represented a fundamental change in the fighting philosophy of the Empire, as compared to the Republic. The Republic relied on a small number of highly skilled pilots and soldiers (Jedi and clones). As such, a highly capable fighter such as the ARC-170 or X-wing made sense. By contrast, the Empire relied on a combination of highly expensive capital ships and incredible numbers of disposable TIE-fighters (and their equally disposable pilots):

The old Delta-7 Aethersprite was roomy by comparison, the ARC-170 luxurious. Things could have been worse, however. The Goliath could have been carrying a squadron of the new—and seemingly disposable—TIE fighters.


From the Empire’s point of view, there was no point in keeping the ARC-170s, with their expensive hyperdrive systems and deflector shields. Why bother, when you can just throw pilot after pilot at the Rebels in ships that cost the absolute minimum? By contrast, the Rebellion, with its relatively few, relatively skilled, relatively free-thinking pilots, would want to save every soldier they had, and so the design philosophy of Incom and the ARC-170s would seem very attractive. Thus the X-wings.

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    Having Incom design/produce the ship along with Subpro producing them is not that far-fetched. During WWII, the jeeps were designed (mostly) by Bantam, with the design being sold to Willys. Willys produced most of the jeeps while Ford also produced Jeeps as well. I think during a Total world/galatic war, industries are willing to share their designs to keep up with the war's demands; they expect the government to protect their post war design rights.
    – Josafoot
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 1:00
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    What's also weird is that the fighters associated with the Jedi during the war ended up foreshadowing the Empire's TIE fighters. The whole thing is backwards, feels like the resemblances/allegiances should be the reverse.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 2:24
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    @Omegacron on the contrary, it makes sense that Vader would have approved of a new starfighter design that resembled one that he had previously flown and was familiar with. Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 16:54
  • according to legends, incom lost their contracts shortly after the proclamation of the new order, and were merged with Sienar and Kuat, the TIE and star destroyer manufacturers. But by that time, they had sold thousands of ships of all their lines, from the z-95 to the next-gen T-65. Some of their ships had republic hull shaping vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/e/e0/… and others were unbranded/bare. vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/c/ce/…
    – CptEric
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 8:43

They were both made/designed by Incom. When the Empire took control they gave most of their shipbuilding contracts to Kuat Systems Engineering (a subsidiary of Kuat Drive Yards) and Sienar Fleet Systems. The X-Wing was designed to be the main starfighter for the Empire, but Sienar's TIE was chosen instead. The designs were eventually taken by rebel engineers and upgraded for Rebel use.

You also didn't mention the Y-Wing, which was used by the Republic, decommissioned by the Empire, then adopted by the rebellion.

The bulk of this is from the Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide supplemented by Ultimate Star Wars.

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    Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! Are there any sources you can find for your answer to provide evidence for you thoughts to strengthen your answer?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 2:33
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    @Edlothiad thanks for making me check my sources. Some of my info was a little off. I updated the info and added the sources. Anything else I can do to make my answers better let me know.
    – Alchemus
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 3:50

The incom company made both the z-95 Headhunter and the ARC-170. The incom company used the z-95 Headhunter and the ARC-170 as their basis for the T 65 X-Wing design and gave it to the rebels before the empire nationalized their company for Imperial TIE fighter production. wars.fandom.com/wiki/icom_corporation

  • 2
    Could you please provide sources for this?
    – DavidW
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 5:52

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