X-wings are fictional starfighters from the original Star Wars trilogy and the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They are depicted as the primary interceptor and dogfighter of the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic. The craft has been merchandised as a variety of toys and models and licensed for use in games, novels and comics.
In addition to miniatures, the production crew made a full-size X-wing for scenes in the Rebels' Yavin IV base hangar; combined with cardboard cutouts and careful editing, the Rebels appear to have dozens of fighters. The production crew also made a full-size X-wing cockpit that was used for all actors; the astromech droid visible behind each actor was changed for each starfighter. Background noise pitch and tone also varied between X-wings to further differentiate the characters piloting them. The "lake" in which Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) crashes his X-wing in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was only 3.5 feet (1 meter) deep, requiring the creation of a rig resembling the starfighter sitting in the lake at an angle. The rig was built in hinged sections so it could be manipulated by frogmen to sink or rise, a key feature for the scene when Luke fails to levitate his ship from the water.
In 1993, ILM visual effects specialist John Knoll created a proof of concept test of dogfighting X-wings and TIE fighters to demonstrate the feasibility of using commercially-available desktop computer software for simple animation work. This resulted in numerous parts of space battle scenes being "re-shot" as digital animations for original trilogy's Special Edition releases. The ARC-170 starfighter seen in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is deliberately reminiscent of the X-wing's design.
The Expanded Universe states that Incom Corporation designers defected to the Rebel Alliance and handed over the X-wing's design. One design of the Z-95 Headhunter is based on an initial Johnston X-wing sketch; the Z-95 has since been described as an X-wing precursor.
According to roleplaying and other material, X-wings depicted in the movies and Expanded Universe material that takes place around the same era are equipped with four laser cannons and a pair of proton torpedo launchers. The fighter has two flight modes: one in which the wings are flat and another when they are expanded into "attack position", affording the wingtip lasers a larger fire area. "S-foil" servomotors control the transition between the two, hence the expression "to lock s-foils in attack position". Lacking an on-board navigation computer, they rely on an astromech droid to calculate hyperspace jumps. The presence of a hyperdrive and deflector shields differentiate the X-wing from the Empire's more-mobile but unshielded TIE fighters, emphasizing the importance the Rebels place on pilots surviving their missions. Novels and roleplaying material state that the X-wing continues to be refined and upgraded in the years beyond Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi; the "XJ"-series X-wings depicted in the war against the Yuuzhan Vong have a third proton torpedo launcher, stronger lasers, and faster engines.
The X-wing appeared in four Micro Machines three-packs, including the first Star Wars pack released, a bronzed version, and a pack of three "battle damaged" X-wings with different coloured markings. The Micro Machines X-wing has also been released in two single-packs, as a promotional souvenir with German video releases, in a nine-pack of Original Trilogy vehicles, and once in clear plastic. The X-wing appears eight times in the Micro Machines Action Fleet toy line: Luke's starfighter on its own, with "targeter" stand, with Dagobah swamp damage, and in a double pack with a TIE Fighter, Wedge's starfighter on its own, and as a component of the Yavin Rebel Base playset, a toy based on the prototype packaged with Biggs Darklighter's starfighter, and Jek Porkins' starfighter. Lego also released several X-wing models, including a 76-piece X-wing/TIE advanced kit, a 263-piece X-wing, and a 1,304-piece "Ultimate Collector's" model.
X-wings also appear in numerous Star Wars games and Expanded Universe stories. The player pilots an X-wing in the Atari Star Wars game. It is also a playable ship in LucasArts' X-Wing, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, X-Wing Alliance, Rogue Squadron, Battlefront II, and Lego Star Wars II. Both the Rebel Assault and Rebel Assault II rail shooters include X-wing levels, and X-wings are controllable units in the Rebellion and Empire at War strategy games. Decipher and Wizards of the Coast published X-wing and X-wing-related cards for the Star Wars Customizable Card Game and Star Wars Trading Card Game, respectively. Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston wrote the X-wing novel series that focuses on the X-wing pilots of Rogue Squadron and Wraith Squadron, the former expanding the story of pilots like Wedge Antilles who appear in the films. Dark Horse comics has also published an X-Wing Rogue Squadron series.