Imperial pilots were treated as expendable, sent into combat in unshielded TIEs, but the First Order treats its fighter pilots as important parts of its war machine. Potential First Order pilots are identified as children and given rigorous training, often within the corridors of warships, then tested ruthlessly throughout their careers to ensure their reflexes, visual acuity and coordination measure up. Elite Special Forces fighter pilots bear red flashes on their helmets, and report to the upper ranks of the First Order hierarchy.
A two-seat strike fighter used by the First Order’s elite Special Forces pilots, the TIE/SF boasts weapons far more powerful than a standard TIE, combining laser cannons with a heavy turret and warhead launcher. Special Forces TIEs have hyperdrives, deflector shields and high-yield cells that provide additional power to onboard systems. These versatile attack ships are used for everything from reconnaissance to combat operations.
The Incom T-70 X-wing is the latest incarnation of a classic design, and the signature combat craft of the Resistance’s Starfighter Corps. Faster than the Alliance-era T-65s, Resistance X-wings are maneuverable enough to engage TIE fighters in dogfights, yet powerful enough to take down capital ships. The credit-strapped Resistance relies on X-wings donated or lent by sympathetic New Republic senators and local security forces. Poe Dameron flew a customized, dark-hulled X-wing called Black One.
A young, ruthless officer in the First Order, General Hux has complete confidence in his troops, training methods and weapons. A rival of Kylo Ren’s, Hux eagerly awaits the day when the First Order’s technological innovations will help bring down the hated New Republic and the Resistance, and considers it his destiny to rule the galaxy.
A lush green world in the galaxy’s Western Reaches, Takodana has long served as the base of operations for the diminutive pirate queen Maz Kanata, whose ancient castle is a haven for smugglers, brigands, scouts and spies from numerous worlds. Takodana has been largely spared war over the centuries, remaining neutral as galaxy-ruling regimes come and go around it.
Deep in the Unknown Regions, the First Order constructed a superweapon that used an entire planet as its weapons platform. The deadly Starkiller harvested energy from its system’s star, contained it within magnetic fields inside the planetary core, and then converted that energy into an ultra-powerful beam that blasted through hyperspace, able to sterilize the worlds of a distant star system with a single shot. Starkiller Base’s first shot obliterated the New Republic capital of Hosnian Prime. The planet was then destroyed in a daring Resistance raid.