Porsche and Lucasfilm have a lot in common — obsession with design and an easily excitable cult fanbase.
The luxury carmaker and the epic home to “Star Wars” started discussing ways to collaborate in 2016, but the partnership finally came to fruition six weeks ago. The two formed “The Designer Alliance,” creating a brand-new spaceship called the Tri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter in time for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
Despite all this effort, and a lot of investment from the Porsche team — the company would not disclose how much it invested into the project — the Tri-Wing doesn’t appear in the film but may appear in a future Disney project.
“We literally just finished it now. We’re going to get it into one of our future storytelling projects for sure,” said Doug Chiang, vice president and executive creative director of “Star Wars.” “The idea of [completing this in six weeks] was [to do it] pretty close to the end of the film already — we were locked into the premiere schedule.” Yahoo Finance spoke with Chiang at the world premiere of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the final episode of the third trilogy.
The Tri-Wing has many classic elements of Porsche design. “The basic shape of the cabin, which tapers towards the rear, and a highly distinctive topography from the cockpit flyline to the turbines establish visual parallels with the iconic design of the 911 and the Taycan,” described Michael Mauer, Porsche’s vice president of style.
The Taycan, the brand’s first electric vehicle, is coming out in 2020.
While the ship isn’t in the film, Chiang said it certainly would belong to the light side of the Force. “We actually came up with a backstory on our own. We decided this was a good guy ship. This person perhaps found this is in an old barn, like an old race car, and he refurbished it, fixed it up to be his own hot rod.”
Why did Porsche want to work with Lucasfilm on this project?
“You have to find where those two strong brands touch but don’t overlap. You want to find something that’s authentic and that people are actually interested in — and it’s not just bought eyeballs. That’s why we said design is something that we would like to share with ‘Star Wars’...It was a mutual win,” Porsche North America CEO Klaus Zellmer told Yahoo Finance.
“For me it was such a wonderful opportunity to try to merge the two aesthetics. Of course, Porsche lives in our real world. Star Wars design lives in this cinematic universe where we can make believe stuff so the technology doesn’t really have to work. Spaceships are really hard because they all have to have personality. Personality in both what the ship is and the kinds of characters that are piloting it,” added Chiang.
Personally, Chiang, who has been with Lucasfilm for two decades, loved The Millennium Falcon because of its pilot — Han Solo.
“It’s one of those designs that has set the benchmark for ‘Star Wars’ designs for years. Our goal was to create something that could possibly live up to that. In designing for ‘Star Wars,’ we always try to go for something that’s very graphic, that’s easy to draw, more like a movie logo really. When you can do that, it actually gives it a lot of power because you can read it very quickly cinematically,” he said.
Porsche hopes the Tri-Wing will eventually join the likes of iconic ships like The Falcon, Star Destroyer, and Tie Fighter.
Melody Hahm is Yahoo Finance’s west coast correspondent, covering entrepreneurship, technology and culture. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.