“Solo” Toy Merch Reveals Unused Design for Star Destroyer as New Imperial Ship

In the Star Wars films done by Lucasfilm under the Disney umbrella, some old discarded ideas have found new life. The X-Wing fighters used by the Resistance in The Force Awakens for example, were supposed to be the original concept drawing passed over for the look in the original trilogy.

With the second Star Wars Story movie Solo, coming this May, another recycled mechanical design from the days of Lucasfilm under George Lucas is about to see the light. This was supposedly revealed through the product preview of some Solo tie-in merchandise at the soon-to-conclude 2018 New York Toy Fair.

These Solo: A Star Wars Story toys are from Mattel, which is manufacturing them under their Hot Wheels toy line. One of them is a dead ringer for a design submitted by Colin Cantwell for a spaceship that would later become the Imperial Star Destroyer. His design drawing appears below.

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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

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As seen in the illustration, while the general planes and contours of the pitch and the final appearance in the films is pretty close, this Cantwell design looks more like a space aircraft carrier than a battleship, with its open launch ports opposed to the Star Destroyers’ underside deployment bays.

The small fighter craft in the illustration are also another interesting element. They were supposed to be the Imperial star-fighters before the now-iconic TIE Fighter was finalized. The designs were later revamped into the Rebel Alliance’s A-Wing fighters. The Cantwell ship is now called the “Arrestor Cruiser” as of Solo.

Aside from the arrestor cruiser, another Solo toy from Mattel is the Imperial Hauler, a transport ship that can dock with the Conveyex, the high-speed train seen in the film’s trailer. Together these two vessels make for a great expansion of the Star Wars galaxy in Solo, premiering May 25.

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