Stay on Target! Star Wars Most Iconic Ships, Ranked Engines to Speed!

Star Wars is what’s referred to as a “Space Opera.”

In brief terms, a space opera is a grand story with a scale that expands across a whole galaxy in distant space. So it’s always been interesting to me that so much emphasis is put on the “ground-level” elements of the franchise. We’ve seen countless running gun battles and laser sword fights all across planets.

Yes, many of those areas have been on planets far, far away. However, the landscapes are similar. We’ve seen battles in deserts, jungles, and snowy forests. We’ve seen a few scenes in futuristic cities and incredibly high-tech facilities. We’ve also seen mystical locations like the inside of Jedi Temples and ancient trees (also somehow Jedi temples?).

However, Star Wars has always been at its best when it embraces the Science-Fiction, (or Science-Fantasy,) elements to truly showcase the galaxy of imagination it can tap into.

For me, one of the most engaging ways has always been the space element. The planets are fine, but mainstream science fiction can only get so wild with its settings before losing the audience. We can see a “weird forest” with CGI creatures running through the underbrush in so many ways before we get bored.

Instead, one of the surest bets to enhance the experience has always been to go beyond the sky. But how do we reach that endless expanse? Using some of the most incredible inventions known to man and extraterrestrials: starships.

They can be big or small. Fast or Slow. They can be boxy, smooth, glittery, or so rusted that it’s a surprise they’re air-worthy, let alone spaceworthy! Ships in Star Wars come in all shapes and sizes. Star Wars is a franchise that does spaceships right. They’re not bound by the conventions of Star Trek. Nor are they focused on a specific aesthetic like Firefly. 

Instead, Star Wars has always focused on how large the galaxy is and tried to fill it with unique and memorable ships.

But how does one decide which of those ships is the MOST memorable?

Bottom Line Up Front

It may start with one of the last letters of the alphabet, but the X-Wing is one of the first things people think of the franchise. It showed up early and has reappeared often. It’s got a very unique silhouette. No one will ever mistake another ship for an X-Wing, and everyone knows where X-Wings originate. For that reason and several others, the X-Wing is the most Iconic Starship in Star Wars.


Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom

In a franchise with thousands of star ships, how does one choose the most iconic ones? I’m going to be basing my judgments on four criteria today. 

  • Function – It must be a Ship. It must be a craft designed to move with quickness and alacrity. It can be a large ship, it can be a ship designed for low orbit, but it has to be a ship.
  • Appearance –  Ships in Star Wars come from different planets, races, factions, and many other groups. They’re made for various tasks and functions, but none of that really matters to the audience. What matters to us is how cool it looks! 
  • Essentialism – Some are more important than others within the Star Wars timelines. A factor that I’m going to consider is how essential either a ship type or a singular ship is to the overall franchise timeline. If history had gone very differently without a specific ship, that ship will probably get rated higher on the list.
  • Feeling – This one is harder to quantify. I’m a child of the late eighties from a proud nerd family. That means I’ve been watching Star Wars my entire life. I can remember seeing the original trilogy rereleased in theatres. I can remember the original remasters. I can remember the second remaster. I was in some of the first audiences for the prequel trilogy, and I was there for the debut of the sequel trilogy. If a ship made a more significant impact on me, I’m gonna rate it higher on my list. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Before we get started, I wanted to go ahead and do a quick list of honorable mentions. There’s a galaxy full of ships, and I couldn’t keep it contained to just fifteen.

  • ARC 170 – One of the predecessors of the X-Wing. It’s a beautiful ship with too little screen time to count it.
  • A-Wing – Did you know there was an A-Wing? If you paid attention, of course, you did! If not, this one kind of zipped by.
  • The Scimitar – This ship is dark. It’s sinister. It’s all things that good villain ships should be… and we never even learn its name on-screen because it’s used so little!
  • Naboo Royal Ship – A BEAUTIFUL Ship. This caused a lot of controversy in the fandom at the time. It was also really JUST a transport that showcased CGI tech. Any pretty ship would have done the same job.
  • The Ebon Hawk – A great ship from an amazing series. It clearly took design cues from the Millenium Falcon. Unfortunately, its status in Canon is in such debate right now that I couldn’t justify including it.

15.) Slave I

Slave I Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars: Clone Wars
  • Faction Affiliation: Mandalorian
  • Owner: Boba Fett
  • Construction Era: Republic
  • Model: Firespray-31-class patrol and attack craft

Initially, this beauty belonged to the bounty hunter Jango Fett. However, when he lost his head during the battle of Geonosis, ownership of this vehicle (as well as his armor and a planet-load of trauma) dropped into the lap of his son, Boba.

I was never a big fan of this ship. It was bulky. It was ugly. It looked weird when it was flying.

Also, candidly… I always disliked Boba Fett.

I know! That’s heresy in the modern day. “But Boba Fett is so cool!” They would say. I would ask, “Why? In the name of god, what did he do other than stand around mysteriously and get shot into a Sarlacc Pit?” Yes, in the old Legends Canon, he did a LOT. But the old Legends Canon was basically homework for Star Wars fans. Sure, I enjoyed some parts of it, but I don’t think that any of it should be considered required reading.

Of course, I HAVE reconsidered after the Book of Boba Fett recognized some of that and gave us much more depth to the character. (Including some much loved Indigenous Representation.) However, that was largely to do with Boba’s character and not the ship.

So, it’s gonna stay docked here, at the bottom of the list.

14.) The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars: Clone Wars
  • Faction Affiliation: Mandalorian
  • Owner: Bo-Katan Kryze
  • Construction Era: Clone Wars
  • Model: Kom’rk-class fighter/transport

This Mandalorian vessel is a testament to the ingenuity and artistry of its creators. The sleek and formidable design exudes strength and power, reflecting the warrior spirit of its Mandalorian owners. With its impressive armaments and advanced technology, the Gauntlet ship strikes fear into the hearts of its adversaries. It’s like a floating fortress, ready to defend the Mandalorian way of life with unwavering determination.

The Gauntlet is the personal ship of Bo-Katan Kryze. Its importance to the timeline is engaging in that it was designed after the original trilogy but has appearances both before and after the original Star Wars trilogy.

Moreover, it’s the first ship specifically designed for an animated series that appeared in live-action. It jumped to the third dimension during the second season of The Mandalorian. 

13.) Snowspeeder

Snowspeeder Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  • Faction Affiliation: Rebel Alliance
  • Owner: Rebel Alliance
  • Construction Era: Galactic Civil War
  • Model: Modified T-47 Airspeeder

This rugged and iconic vehicle is the epitome of coolness in the frozen landscapes of Hoth. Its sleek and aerodynamic design makes it like an elegant bird tearing through the snow.

The Snowspeeder’s harpoon and tow cable maneuver were crucial in defending Hoth. It’s a testament to the resourcefulness and bravery of the Rebel Alliance, who turned even the humble tow cable into a weapon capable of bringing down the Empire’s most advanced weapons. These small, nimble craft may seem insignificant compared to the Empire’s colossal war machines, but they prove that courage and determination can overcome any obstacle.

The AT-AT Walkers may have been mighty feats of Imperial Engineering. However, their bizarre design feature of having crude legs was their undoing. If the Empire had used tracked or hovering vehicles in their assault on Hoth, the Snowspeeders tow cables would have been useless. They were designed for a purpose that included never leaving orbit, and it’s just an obvious design flaw that’s keeping these ships in low orbit on the list.

12.)Tantive IV (Imperial Blockade Runner)

Tantive IV Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  • Faction Affiliation: Rebel Alliance
  • Owner: Leia Organa
  • Construction Era: Republic
  • Model: CR90 Corvette

This slender, sleek ship was designed to be incredibly fast and stealthy. It was capable of slipping past the naval blockades of Imperial Star Destroyers. Of course, that proved to be only partially accurate. It was unfortunate for the people on board but very fortunate for the fandom. Because if it HAD avoided detection, we wouldn’t have a franchise to watch!

I always disliked how it looked. It’s too plain. It’s a rocket with a hammerhead at the front and extra rockets attached to the back. It loses points for that.

However, it gets points back for one huge factor: It’s the VERY First ship we ever see onscreen in the first Star Wars movie. It’s literally the First Star Wars ship. They got better, sure. They’d almost have to. However, this ship is the very first one, making it essential to the franchise out of the universe and in-universe.

11.) Home One

Home One Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Faction Affiliation: Rebel Alliance
  • Owner: Rebels
  • Construction Era: Galactic Civil War
  • Model: MC80 Star Cruiser

The name of this ship might look unfamiliar. However, if you fell for that line of thinking… It’s a TRAP!

A symbol of defiance, Home One serves as a central hub for strategic planning, housing esteemed leaders of the Rebel Alliance. The exceptional command of Admiral Ackbar ensures effective coordination and tactical brilliance.

True to its reputation, this ship possesses formidable firepower and impenetrable shields, capable of facing the Empire head-on. It operates as a mobile base, providing refuge and support for rebel forces.

Revered for its pivotal role in the Battle of Endor, Home One led the charge against the Empire, initiating a daring assault. Its strategic significance was undeniable as it coordinated the assault on the second Death Star.

10.) Imperial Star Destroyer

Imperial Star Destroyer Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  • Faction Affiliation: Galactic Empire
  • Owner: Moff Tarkin
  • Construction Era: Galactic Civil War
  • Model: Imperial-class Star Destroyer

The Imperial Star Destroyer is the epitome of dark, imposing might, a weaponized marvel that strikes fear into the hearts of its enemies.

Just look at its massive, menacing silhouette, bristling with turbo lasers and ion cannons, ready to unleash a devastating barrage upon anyone foolish enough to cross the Galactic Empire. Its size is mind-boggling, dwarfing everything in its path with an intimidating presence that commands respect.

And let’s not forget the iconic opening shot in Episode IV, where the Star Destroyer emerges from the darkness, filling the entire screen with its overwhelming presence. That moment alone has become legendary, forever etching the Star Destroyer in the annals of cinematic history.

Its design’s meticulous attention to detail is mind-blowing, from the intricate paneling to the perfectly symmetrical command bridge. The sheer scale of its hangar bays, capable of housing countless TIE fighters and stormtroopers, is a testament to the Empire’s relentless pursuit of power.

But it’s not just about its intimidating aesthetics; the Star Destroyer symbolizes the Empire’s iron grip on the galaxy. It represents the unyielding might of the dark side, reminding them that resistance is futile in the face of such overwhelming force.

9.) Din Djarin’s Bounty Transport

Din Djarin's Bounty Transport Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom

When I first saw this ship, I utterly loved it.

Not the least of which because it was very similar to a situation I’d devised years before in a Star Wars Roleplaying Game. Of course, in my case, it was a Mandalorian Jedi character in a G1-Dunelizard Transport. However, it was close enough to me that I was squealing the entire episode.

The two ships aren’t exactly similar at first glance. However, they are both ships that involved a Mandalorian. They were both used for transport and combat operations and designed for a single person to use for long deep-space excursions.

I was somewhat sad when the ship was destroyed during the second season of The Mandalorian. Still, it survived almost four things that should have killed it before it exploded.

8.) Y-Wing

Y-Wing Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars: Episode IV New Hope
  • Faction Affiliation: Rebel Alliance
  • Owner: Rebel Alliance
  • Construction Era: Galactic Civil War
  • Model: BTL-A4 Y-wing

Okay, my love for this ship comes from the old Galactic Battlegrounds games.

It was one of the middle-tier ships the Rebel Alliance could get access to. However, after you got it, the game became almost trivially easy on that particular storyline. They were powerful enough that you could overwhelm any anti-aircraft weapons if you built enough of them. The AI of the opponent was also such that if you used them early to destroy the enemy’s building capabilities, there was no way for the enemy to counter them. So if you used them tactically, they were comparatively invincible.

This is also pretty close to what happened in the Star Wars universe. While this ship had been in use since before the Galactic Civil War (early versions were in use during the clone wars), it was not until the Rebel Alliance used several of them in their fight against the Empire that their potential was revealed.

Expanded universe material called this ship “the fighter that broke the Empire’s back” because it was critical in destroying supply lines. We don’t see that onscreen, but it’s part of the current canon. …even if it is basically homework to find that.

Still, it’s another ship that’s impossible to mistake the silhouette for anything else, and everyone knows where it’s from.

7.) Jedi Starfighter

Jedi Starfighter Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom

I recall seeing at some point that these may have influenced the Rebel Alliance’s design of their A-wings years later. However, that may have been in the old Legends Canon. (Things blend together at some point.) Regardless, this ship had a small but crucial role in the franchise.

The concept of a Jedi ship made sense for the era that this was introduced into the Canon. After all, the Jedi were a galaxy-wide organization controlling multiple planets from behind the scenes. What’s a cult without a way to expand its religious, dogmatic crusade to the furthest parts of the known universe?

(I’m not a big fan of the Jedi.)

However, I do like Obi-Wan Kenobi specifically, and this ship is one of the factors that saved his life several times. This is actually one of my absolute favorite ships in the whole franchise. It had a relatively small part in the series. However, it looks so very cool!

6.) TIE Fighter

TIE Fighter Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  • Faction Affiliation: Galactic Empire
  • Owner: Galactic Empire
  • Construction Era: Galactic Civil War
  • Model: TIE Fighter

You wanna talk about recognizable silhouettes? It’s hard to get more instantly recognizable than the TIE Fighter. Several variations of this appear throughout the franchise.

It was created after transitioning from the Galactic Republic to the Galactic Empire to serve as a fighter ship capable of going from planet to space. It was made to be incredibly maneuverable in the realm of open space. The thing’s essentially circular makeup was designed to spin around on any axis at the drop of a hat, whether or not gravity was present.

One of the most recognizable was Darth Vader’s personal TIE Fighter X-1 Advanced Fighter. It was all these things and more, as it was so expensive to produce that only a pilot of Anakin Skywalker’s capability and standing could fly it. However, that didn’t stop it from being heavily damaged in the spacial dogfight during the Battle of Yavin (ironically, what saved Vader from the destruction of the Death Star.)

However, even that defeat wouldn’t knock these ships out of the franchise.

5.) TIE Interceptor

TIE Interceptor Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom

The thing about a war is that it profits some people very well. Specifically weapons manufacturers.

Necessity is the mother of invention, after all. What need could be more urgent (and expensive) than requiring a brand new vehicle more superior on every front than an enemy’s attack vehicles?

The TIE interceptor was the next step in an arms race between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance. The idea of the interceptor was that they were the fastest, deadliest ships on the battlefield. They were designed to go from being a speck in the distance to shooting down enemy ships before the rebels could respond.

Which they absolutely needed to do. Because they had no shields.

That’s right. These babies were glass cannons. One hit had a good shot of destroying them, so they never wanted to go toe-to-toe in a dogfight, even though they were technically superior to the X-Wings and the Y-wings.

4.) Naboo Starfighter

Naboo Starfighter Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom

These canary yellow ships were the mainline fighters of the Naboo royal navy. They saw their heaviest use in the franchise at the end of Episode I when they finally went up against the Trade Unions’ ships during the Battle of Naboo. Here, we got our first taste of Anakin Skywalker as a star pilot. We’d seen that he was an excellent pod racer earlier in the same film.

However, it was here that we saw him hide in one of these before its autopilot kicked in and carried him to the site of the battle. Through a series of wacky shenanigans, he would inadvertently destroy a crucial ship in the Trade Unions’ blockade and, subsequently, help bring victory and freedom to the peoples of Naboo. 

The galaxy would never recover from the massive boost that gave the young Skywalker’s ego. 

Its next most significant appearance was when Din Djarin ended up with one after the destruction of his Razor Crest. He and his mechanic would strip off the yellow paint and convert the place for an onboard astromech droid to make space for the young Grogu. After that, it would serve him ably to the point of writing this article. 

I was never a big fan of the design, but it was unique and unmistakable. It also gets bonus points for being consequential in two places in the franchise relatively organically. 

3.) The Raddus

The Raddus Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom

This ship was created to fill a purpose. 

In-universe, it was made as the latest in the same line as Home One had served in the Galactic Civil War. Out-of-Universe, it was precisely the same reason. 

Specifically: it was made as a copy-and-paste of Home One to serve the same story beats that Home One had in Episode V. That was a big problem that I had with the Sequel Trilogy. Specifically, that so much of it WAS just a poorly executed ripoff of the original. So it’s interesting that this ship was there in the movie that broke the mold. 

I was confused because, throughout the movie, I was surprised by its differences. Yes, I thought the whole casino scene was pointless. I think Luke could have had a better exit, and there were flaws. But it did something DIFFERENT in so many places. Not the least was the theme that “ANYONE can be special.” So it was strange that they’d used a ship like this. 

…And then we reach “The Holdo Maneuver.” 

I won’t pretend that the whole plotline was perfectly written. However, I UTTERLY love what the writers did with this ship. The Holdo Maneuver demonstrated the effect that ONE dedicated person could have on the universe. It showed exactly what a person, ANY person, willing to dedicate themselves to a cause could do. 

2.) The Millenium Falcon

The Millenium Falcon Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  • Faction Affiliation: Rebel Alliance
  • Owner: Han Solo (Sort of)
  • Construction Era: Republic
  • Model: Corellian Freighter
  • Timeline: Canon

Okay. What can I say about this ship that hasn’t already been said? 

It’s one of the most iconic ships in the franchise and the history of Science Fiction. It has a silhouette that is impossible to miss, and its importance to the franchise is impossible to understate. It appeared in most pieces of Star Wars media that any ship has. It has one of the most unique and fascinating histories of any Star Wars ship and appears as the main transport for two separate trilogies. 

As iconic, unique, and unmistakable as it is: I never liked the design. I thought it was ugly from the time I was a small child. However, that’s not why it’s losing out to another ship. There is honestly just one more ship that appeared in more pieces of media and one that is more quintessentially Star Wars.

1.) X-Wing

X-Wing Star Wars Ship
Image from Fandom
  • First Appearance: Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  • Faction Affiliation: A New Hope
  • Owner: Luke Skywalker (and So Many Others)
  • Construction Era: Galactic Civil War
  • Model: T-65B X-wing Starfighter

It’s impossible to think about Star Wars without thinking about this ship. 

It’s in more Star Wars than any other ship. It’s more crucial to the series than any other ship, with perhaps the exception of number two. 

It’s also impossible to think this ship comes from anything else. It’s so utterly ingrained in the mythos that it shows up in eras outside of its standard one. It’s also the ship that gets used to cameo and represents Star Wars in unofficial crossovers. This is the ship that ACTUALLY broke the Empire. It was the one that destroyed the first Death Star. 

It’s the one that carried Luke into exile BOTH times. It was in service long after the Galactic Civil War, and I guarantee that one will be in the last piece of Star Wars media ever produced. 


Star Wars ships come in many shapes and sizes. I had so many other ships that I wanted to talk about, but if I had done that, this list would have been the length of a full-sized novel and worthy of entry into the old Star Wars Extended Universe. 

We will see more and more of these ships as the movies and shows get produced, so it wouldn’t surprise me if I had to return and do another entry for this shortly. 

Starships are an integral part of the franchise and the genre. As long as we’re dreaming of space, we’ll be dreaming of the vehicles that carry us far, far away. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why didn’t X ship appear on this list?!

Answer: Honestly? I ran out of space! I wanted to talk about SO MANY Others!

Question: What Era do you believe had the best ships?

Answer: It’s hard to beat the classics. Some of the ships from the old Legends canon are pretty cool and unique. However, when we introduce a new, mainline entry to the franchise, like the sequel trilogy, then we see far fewer of those. The ones we see instead are following the form and design aesthetics of the original films.

Question: Which ship is your favorite? 

Answer: It may be heresy, but I will go with Amidala’s Barge. I just LOVE the shape and how shiny it is! Also, I was at the perfect age for it when the movie came out!

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