'Solo' Brings Back an Old 'Star Wars' Ship (Not the One You Think)

The Star Destroyer in 'Rogue One'

By now, we all know the Millennium Falcon will sporting a different look in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is partially inspired by retro Ralph McQuarrie production design paintings from the Seventies. But, there’s another retro spaceship design making a comeback, and it’s not even from McQuarrie’s old concepts, nor does it really look much like other Star Wars ships at all.

On Monday, fans started noticing images for toy versions of new ships for Solo, including the Arrestor Cruiser. Looking like something straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Arrestor Cruiser is based on a design by artist Colin Cantwell. Cantwell is the guy responsible for the way X-Wings, TIE Fighters and the Death Star actually ended-up looking. On his Instagram, Cantwell confirmed the “new” Arrestor Cruiser was based on his early design for the Star Destroyer. Cantwell said he designed the ships around “the function of the impact on the viewer,” implying we might not want to think too hard about how these spaceships work, even though we’re totally going to anyway.

The creation of the #Stardestroyer - I asked George about the scenes. We had a few words in which he described the scenes. I then asked "Is it bigger than Burbank?" to determine the size of the Imperial Cruiser and the opening scenes of the movie. The hatch concept was developed in terms of the need of actual scenes later in the movie. In the opeing I was describing something WWII-ish of a concept with a gunner in the fuscelage. The ship was designed with a lot of thought on what the viewer would experience related to the massiveness of the ship. This involved thinking of things and creating relationships between all of the ships and their interactions with each other. George and I also discussed several other topics in which I asked qualifying questions. This gave me enough information to start designing the ships. It also gave him the information to continue with his work. I was separate from George for most of that time and worked on the final products alone. I started by creating what had to be in the middle and things were added on and so forth. I basically designed this ship and other ships around the function and the impact of the ship on the viewer. The sequence of function and the emotion and it had to feel like it was already there. When starting on a ship, I never did know what it would look like by the end. PS - those fighters in the concept illustration were the original imperial attack ships. I didn't create the #TIE until much later. See the other concepts at www.cantwellcollection.com

A post shared by Colin Cantwell (@colin_cantwell) on

Here’s the forthcoming toy for the Arrestor Cruiser, along with another ship called an Imperial Hauler.

The exact role the Arrestor Cruiser will play in Solo is still unknown. In fact, in the film, it may not end up being an Imperial ship at all. Instead, the ship could have something to with Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) or some other as yet unseen character. In the old Brian Daley Han Solo novels, Star Destroyer-esque ships were used by an organization called the Corporate Authority, which was not the Empire, but kind of acted like it. Who knows, maybe Solo will reboot non-Imperial antagonists for the new film.

Either way, this ship design is a good reminder of just how many different people’s artistic and design concepts went into Star Wars in the first place.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is out everywhere on May 25.

Media via Lucasfilm