THE DARK TIMES
Building on the Clone Wars’ advances in starfighter design, the TIE became the signature fighter of the Empire. TIE fighters lacked shields and tough armor, depending on maneuverability and their pilots’ skill for effectiveness in combat. As the Empire tightened its grip on the planets of the galaxy, the Imperial war machine built TIE fighters on more and more worlds, and they became common sights in the skies of planets such as Lothal.
A TIE cockpit was cramped, and the fighter’s lack of defenses made flying one a dangerous calling. But TIE pilots took a perverse pride in the flaws of their craft. They saw the ability to fly a TIE effectively as the sign of true ability for a pilot, and TIE aces were held in great esteem by pilots who dreamed of amassing similarly impressive service records.
The Empire continually tested new technology for TIE fighters, with corporations such as Sienar Fleet Systems creating prototypes for expert pilots to fly. Some of these experimental TIEs had shields, advanced weaponry, tracking capabilities or superior maneuverability. The Empire unveiled one experimental TIE -- the TIE Advanced v1 -- on Lothal during Empire Day festivities. The Imperial agent known as the Inquisitor then piloted one of these prototype craft in combat against Lothal’s rebels.
GALACTIC CIVIL WAR
The Rebel Alliance countered the Empire’s TIE squadrons with X-wings and Y-wings, which boasted heavier weapons and protective shields. But all Rebel pilots learned to fear the trademark howl of a TIE in flight. TIE fighters played many roles within the Imperial fleet: conducting reconnaissance for Star Destroyers, serving as sentry ships for the Death Star, neutralizing or destroying ships flown smugglers and pirates, and patrolling the skies of Imperial worlds.
The campaign against the Rebellion spurred new research and testing of TIE models. During the Battle of Yavin, Darth Vader led the Death Star’s TIE corps in a prototype TIE Advanced. Vader and his wingmen destroyed numerous Rebel fighters during their defense of the Death Star, which was thwarted by an unexpected attack by the Millennium Falcon.
At the Battle of Hoth, TIE fighters harassed fleeing Rebel transports and fighters, and pursued the Falcon into the tumbling chaos of an asteroid field -- a spectacularly dangerous mission for unshielded starfighters. When the Falcon went to ground deep within the field, TIE bombers prowled the asteroids, dropping ordnance in an effort to flush the freighter out of hiding.
The wedge-shaped Imperial Star Destroyer is a capital ship bristling with weapons emplacements. Turbolasers and tractor beam projectors dot its surface. Its belly hangar bay can launch TIE fighters, boarding craft, land assault units, hyperspace probes, or be used to hold captured craft. In the days of the Empire, its bustling bridge would be staffed by the finest crewers in the Imperial starfleet. Its presence in a system mark matters of extreme Imperial import. Though, as is typical of the Empire, not even the Star Destroyer was enough to sate the Imperial hunger for displays of power. Larger vessels, such as the Super Star Destroyer, dwarf even these giants.
Once a heroic Jedi Knight, Darth Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force, became a Sith Lord, and led the Empire’s eradication of the Jedi Order. He remained in service of the Emperor -- the evil Darth Sidious -- for decades, enforcing his Master’s will and seeking to crush the fledgling Rebel Alliance. But there was still good in him…
A TIE fighter pilot, Baron Valen Rudor was transferred to Lothal with the promise that he would be the test pilot on some of the Empire's newest vehicles and technology. Once there, he hated the Outer Rim world, and the experience turned out to be more than he bargained for, including numerous encounters with a small band of Lothal rebels. In one meeting, Lasat rebel Zeb Orrelios threw Rudor from his TIE, commandeering the vehicle for his own use.
Tasked personally by Darth Vader with a mission to destroy all children of the Force, the Inquisitor was given access to the Empire's latest technologies. The Inquisitor's TIE Advanced prototype was superior to typical TIE fighters, featuring faster engines, S-foils with more efficient solar gather panels, upgraded laser cannons, and a projectile launcher that fired Imperial XX-23 S-Thread Tracers.