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First appearance The Empire Strikes Back
Affiliation Rebel Alliance
References Databank[1]
General characteristics
Armaments Laser cannons
Harpoon and tow cable
Length 5.3 meters

A snowspeeder is a Rebel Alliance vehicle featured in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and several books, comics, and video games in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Snowspeeder models and replicas have been merchandised by several companies.


Origin and design

During production of The Empire Strikes Back, designer Joe Johnston conceived a ship that combined the body of an X-wing and the cockpit of the Y-wing.[2] However, this design was scrapped for the T-47, which featured no elements from previous craft.[2] Johnston's designs for the Snowspeeders have influenced later Star Wars designers, such as Tommy Lee Edwards.[3]

The models were built in three different scales by Steve Gawley, Charlie Bailey, and Mike Fulmer of ILM, with the smallest (20 inches) used for motion control photography, and the largest (2½ feet) for hero and pyrotechnic shots.[4] All models included motor-controlled flaps to imply maneuverability, and the largest version also possessed motor-articulated crew.[4] Several full-scale props were built in London for the hangar, cockpit, and speeder crash scenes.[4]


In The Empire Strikes Back, Rogue Group, led by Lieutenant Commander Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), pilot snowspeeders against Imperial AT-AT walkers during the Battle of Hoth.[5] When their lasers prove ineffective the Rebel pilots turn to tripping the walkers with the snowspeeders' harpoons and tow cables.[5]

The snowspeeders used on Hoth are modified Incom T-47 airspeeders initially used for civilians;[5] they are modified to survive the "hostile environment of the ice planet Hoth".[6] Expanded Universe material states that the Y-wing cockpit and other features were donated to the airspeeders.[5] The two-man craft has an advanced power system and repulsorlift to compensate for additional armaments and armor, affording them a top speed of 1,000 km/h and combat speed of 600 km/h.[7] The playable snowspeeder in Star Wars: Battlefront II is armed with concussion missiles.


Kenner released a toy snowspeeder in 1980. Hasbro released an electronic version in 1995 in anticipation of the theatrical re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy. Hasbro also released a battle-damaged snowspeeder.[8] LEGO has also sold snowspeeder models,[9][10] and Snowspeeder models used in The Empire Strikes Back have been sold online.[11]


  1. ^ "snowspeeder". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2008-06-23.  
  2. ^ a b "snowspeeder (Behind the scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2007-08-12.  
  3. ^ "Tommy Lee Edwards: Saga Artist". January 2, 2003. Retrieved 2007-08-12.  
  4. ^ a b c Peterson, Lorne (2006). Sculpting A Galaxy - Inside the Star Wars Model Shop. San Rafael, California: Insight Editions. ISBN 1-933-784-03-2.  
  5. ^ a b c d "Star Wars: Databank: snowspeeder (The Movies)". Retrieved 2007-07-20.  
  6. ^ Slavicsek, Bill (2000). A Guide to the Star Wars Universe. Del Ray and Lucas Books. p. 494. ISBN 0-345-42066-7.  
  7. ^ "Star Wars: Databank: snowspeeder (Expanded Universe)". Retrieved 2007-07-20.  
  8. ^ "Star Wars: Collecting: Hasbro TIE Bomber and Snowspeeder Exclusives". 2001-05-24. Retrieved 2007-07-20.  
  9. ^ "Star Wars: Collecting: LEGO Goes Retro". 2004-07-12. Retrieved 2007-07-20.  
  10. ^ "Star Wars: Collecting: Free LEGO Mini-Building Set". 2002-11-26. Retrieved 2007-07-20.  
  11. ^ IGNFilmForce (July 6, 2005). "Star Wars for Sale". Retrieved 2007-08-12.  

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