In 1980, The Empire Strikes back introduce a brilliant concept which will remain in the entire saga : the combat walker. Walkers in Star Wars are traditionnally on the Empire or Old Republic side and look always the same as one or two big canons mounted on a number of legs designed to transport them on the battle field. The all thing displays a heavy armour plating. Even if the concept is totally foolish military speaking, it is really amazing in terms of cinematography.
Indeed, the stuff doesn’t hold water tactically. Walkers are slow and too little manoeuvrable. They always show a weak side that -thank the Maker- rebels always forgot to exploit. In short, some good old Star Wars.
I seize the opportuniy of my new diorama review of the battle of Hoth and its famous imperial AT-ATs to show you this article about every single walkers seen in Star Wars movies. You will learn everything about them : their name and function and all the movies where you can see them. Finally you’ll find a link to a Star Wars encyclopedia for more technical details.
Always one there is
Since the Empire strikes back, every new episode introduces a new walker (sometimes more), as they do with stormtroopers. Let there be no mistake : the aim is to sell toys but, hey, no evil in that. Most of the time, they fit well in the scenario. So, let’s go for a “walkers in Star Wars” review.
The Empire strikes back : the king of the walkers, the AT-AT
Shakings and rattlings when the Star Wars audience discovers in 1980 the huge AT-AT (All Terrain – Armored Transport) on screen. That was something we had never seen before in SF History. Those monumentals vehicles seem indestructible and flatten everything standing on their way.
Anyway, many things could be told on a technically speaking : the AT-AT can only fire on the front, the firing angle seems very constrained because of the head joint, the rear of the vehicle shows many vulnerabilities… but never mind, what a show ! When I watched the Empire for the first time, the entrance of the imperial walkers made me understand that this second Star Wars would be more than up to the first one.
Echo Station Three-T-Eight, we have spotted imperial walkers !John-Jake, rebel officer
AT-AT’s are indubitably the stars of the battle of Hoth but another specimen will be seen in the Return of the Jedi (Luke Skywalker will have the opportunity of getting a ride when he was caught). Wen can also see an AT-AT wreck in the Force awakens.
The Return of the Jedi : the “chicken”, the AT-ST
The AT-ST for “All Terrain – Scout Transport” is the star of the ground battle of Endor, the main action of the Reurn of the Jedi in 1983. Well, the star, not so much, it is easily beaten by heavily armed Ewoks using catapults and bows.
George Lucas‘ purpose was the transpose the Viet-Nam war. AT-ST‘s was meant to figure the military power facing the native’s guerilla.
Again, on a strictly tactical level, the vehicle is flawed. The firing angle is improved compared to its big brother AT-AT since the gun is mounted on a 360° turret. However, it is still vulnerable to rear attacks. Indeed, the rear panel contains vital unprotected devices as the main computer.
The top of the vehicle is vulnerable too because a commando can easily climb and penetrate inside to get rid of the pilots.
One thing remarquable about the AT-ST is thait it is the only walker to have been entirely built at scale 1 for the movies. The AT-ATs were models and a small part of decor for the scene where Luke is hanged under and every single walker further made were CGI.
I’ve seen that thing take out entire companies of soldiersCara Dune
It is shown from every angle in the Return of the Jedi but it does appear also in others episodes. We can see one quickly in Empire strikes back although with a slightly different form. The AT-ST is also shown in the spin-off Rogue One and is at the center of one of the most remarquable episode of the Mandalorian.
The Phantom Menace : nothing
The Phantom Menace appears to be the only episode featuring no new walker in Star Wars. Every ground vehicles in the movie work on repulsors. Indeed, the Commerce Federation decided to base its strike force on legless armored tanks.
Well, to be perfectly honest, we can find one walker in the movie. The space droid fighters have a “walking” mod we can see quickly during on shot in the movie :
Attack of the Clones : the “beatle”, the AT-TE
Real combat platform, backbone of the clone army, the AT-TE (All Terrain – Tactical Enforcer) brings a renewal in the in Star Wars walkers collection. The clone army of the old Republic uses them for the forst time during the battle of Geonosis.
This is an hexapod, so it features six legs. This make the less dumb concept of the collection : it is very stable contrary to the AT-AT. Furthermore, it is better armed, can fire forward, backward and laterally with its rotative turret. However, the sides remains vulnerable. The cockpit is vulnerable too as we can see during the battle of Geonosis.
Blast him !Commander Cody after receiving order 66
We can see it in the Revenge of the Sith, after the order 66 was given. An AT-TE attempts to shoot Obi-Wan Kenobi on Utapau. Another one is patrolling with Aayla Secura when she is murdered by her own clone troups on Felucia.
In this episode another walker can also be found : the SPHA-T (Self Propeled Heavy Artillery mark T) which is the heavy artillery of the clone army. A few seconds on screen during the battle of Geonosis :
The Revenge of the Sith : the revenge of the walkers
In this third episode of the Star Wars prelogy, no less than three new walkers are shown. Their usefullness in the narration is not obvious, they are shown only a few seconds each on screen. We can feel the desire to sell new toys… But let’s not spoil our fun, the concepts remain interesting.
The AT-RT : sitting duck
No real protection for the “All Terrain – Reconnaissance Transport” pilot. A catastrophic manoeuvrability to point the gun since it can’t rotate… This thing must be the ultimate punishment for the clones who don’t finish their soup at lunch.
The AT-AP : an under-use good concept
The “All Terrain – Attack Pod” should have participated in amazing fighting scenes. Its third leg deploys when the main gun fires to improve the stability. Alas, the battle of Kashyyyk scene last less than one minute on screen and we barely have time to quickly see them on the background of the wookie assault. A shame.
The AT-OT : death on eight legs
Barely seen during the murder of Aaylia Secura on Felucia after the order 66 was given, the “All Terrain – Open Transport” is a close cousin of the AT-TE.
But contrary to the AT-TE, it has no armor on the top ! It is told in the very name of the vehicle in case of the separatists didn’t notice. A small thermal detonator and hey presto, the all 34 clones is wiped out. This is collective punishment for the all batallion…
The Force awakens : a very small cameo, the AT-MA
The Force awakens provides us with only one new walker. It must be said that the movie action is not around big ground battles. We can see the “All Terrain – Mobile Artillery” only a few seconds when the general Hux shouts out his speech on the Starkiller base. So we don’t know many things about its military possibilities.
The next espisode, the Last Jedi will be more generous with no less than 4 new walkers.
Rogue One : the most expensive container carrier in the galaxy, the AT-ACT
Nothing very original, just recycling the exisiting thing but slightly modified to keep selling toys to people who already own an AT-AT. Indeed, it is not obvious when you watch the movie but these are not exactly Empire strikes back AT-ATs.
Taller than the AT-AT (32 meters vs 22), the “All Terrain – Armored Cargo Transport” is not a combat vehicle but a cargo transport. The orange center crate is removable. Poorly armed, it features a powerful armor but not enough to resist an X-Wing assault from flanc. If only rebels had thought of using their X-Wings during the battle of Hoth… But that’s another story.
The last Jedi : new record, 4 new walkers
And this time, contrary to the Revenge of the Sith, they are useful.
First order AT-ST
The First Order is no more than an extension of the galactic Empire, seeing vehicle coming out of the Empire’s ones is logical.
The AT-ST is very similar. The armor is a little bit more stylised but nothing insane.
Two for the price of one :
AT-M6 and AT-AT
On balance, the poor AT-AT seems very tiny side ti side the enormous AT-M6 (Armored Transport – MegaCalibre 6). The ape-ike walk of the vehicle is designed to avoid cabel attacks the AT-ATs suffered on Hoth.
Used during the battle of Crait, the vehicles were just an escort for the huge main canon dropped by the First Order 50 km away and tracted by a… thing I will told you about in one minute. If it was me on command, I would have dropped the canon just in front of the door or get a destroyer down in order to blast the door but, hey, I’m not in command.
The AT-HH, the First Order gastropod
The “All Terrain – Heavy Hauler” is used to pull heavy things on the battle field. Big canons, most of the time. Featuring 14856 legs (because 4 is not enough), it is quite a galactic mechanical ox.
First, the First Order thought about using snails but they live in a galaxy far far away so they couldn’t find ones. So they had to go with this stuff moving at the incredible speedd of 3 km per hour.
Quoi qu’il en soit, on imagine la séance d’affectation pré-bataille au premier ordre :
We can easily imagine the pre-affectation session :
- John-Jack, AT-AT number 4
- John-Jack, AT-M6 number 12
- John-Jack, AT-HH…
Oh no, it was already me the last time ! John-Jack never did it, that’s so unfair, oh crap !John-Jack, Firs Order ground vehicles pilot
Solo : a solo, the AT-DT
The very good Solo movie shows only one walker, very quickly during the short scene of de battle of Mimban. Mimban is a muddy planet. If I were the Empire, such a junk planet would have been abandonned to the Mimbaniens. Anyway.
You must have an hawk eye to see the “All Terrain – Defense Turret” during the half-second it appears.
Open on three sides, it offers a very weak protection to the pilot. It is mainly used as a medium artillery during infentery assaults.
The Rise of Skywalker, high tech garbage collector, the UA-TT
Very influenced by the alien vehicles of the War of the Worlds collecting humans to guzzle them, the Urban Assault – Triped Transport have pliers instead of the third leg. It was designed to maintain order in the cities with its big pliers which can collect seditious people lying on the ground. Poe Dameron and Elizabeth Jennings are watching one on a roof during the occupation of the Santa Claus village on Kijimi.
Conclusion, compared sizes of the walkers in Star Wars
I found on the net this very intersting picture comparing the size of the walkers in Star Wars. I’ll conclude on that.
We can see that the majestic AT-AT from the Empire strikes back is deeply outclassed in size by the newest models. And in fire power and tactical suitability by the old AT-TE.
Tnaks for having read this article to the end and see you soon for another analysis.
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