Personal priority shuttle
|Maximum speed (atmosphere)|
|Cargo handling systems||
1 metric ton
- "Get a shuttle ready. I shall assume full responsibility for losing them, and apologize to Lord Vader."
- ―Captain Lorth Needa
The TIE/sh shuttle or, more commonly, the TIE shuttle, was a short-range personal priority shuttle the Imperial Navy used to quickly transport high-ranking officers and other cargo between capital ships of a fleet and ground stations. A modified variant of the TIE/sa bomber and TIE boarding craft, the TIE shuttle had room for two passengers aside from the pilot. Unlike the TIE bomber, the TIE shuttle was not designed for combat. Armed with only a single laser cannon and not very maneuverable, the craft lacked hyperdrive capability and deflector shields, similar to other starfighters of the Sienar Fleet Systems-designed TIE series. Darth Vader's Imperial Death Squadron made extensive use of the TIE shuttle during the Hoth campaign of 3 ABY to deliver face-to-face messages between Star Destroyers of the fleet in order to minimize sensor and communications interference. By 44 ABY, Snaplaunce, the Ithorian mayor of the capital city of the planet Nam Chorios, used a modified TIE shuttle that was formerly in the service of the Imperial Navy as his personal vehicle, which he named Vote Snaplaunce.
The Sienar Fleet Systems TIE/sh was a variant model of the twin-pod TIE/sa bomber and TIE boarding craft used by the Imperial Navy as a priority transport for command-level officers and other cargo between starships of a fleet and ground installations. Unlike the TIE bomber, the TIE shuttle was not designed for combat. Minimally armed with a single laser cannon for protection of important passengers and not very maneuverable, the TIE shuttle, like most other TIE series starfighters, lacked a hyperdrive, shielding system, and other advances.
Measuring 7.8 meters in length, the TIE shuttle achieved a maximum atmospheric speed of 1,050 km/h. The shuttle had room for a single pilot, occupying the starboard-side cockpit, and two passengers, sitting one in front of the other, in the port-side pod.
The Galactic Empire frequently used TIE shuttles to quickly ferry high-ranking officers between Imperial Star Destroyers. Each capital ship in a line carrying TIE/LN starfighters typically had one TIE shuttle aboard. Whereas higher-ranking flag officers usually employed the larger Lambda-class shuttle as a means of transport, lower-ranking officers were relegated to TIE shuttles.
The TIE shuttle specialized primarily in transporting personnel or cargo over short distances, unlike other Imperial shuttle classes, including the Lambda-class shuttle and the Sentinel-class landing craft, which were meant to carry a greater number of passengers over longer distances. As an alternative to passengers, the shuttle could hold one metric ton of cargo, and contained consumables for two days.
Not long after Alderaan's destruction, Darth Vader piloted a TIE shuttle with Imperial Captain Ryko Vant aboard over the sandy wastes of the planet Jerne, from the Jerne City H.Q. to the nearby Imperial outpost Adony Station, in pursuit of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Vader devised a plan that lured the two Rebels to Jerne, where he hoped to capture them while they searched for the purported Eternity Crystal that would allow them to turn back time and save Alderaan from its fate. However, Skywalker and Organa eluded Vader's trap and escaped Jerne aboard his TIE shuttle.
In 2 ABY, Lieutenant Commander Bakki Sourthol of the Rebel Alliance filed a report on the Empire's TIE-series starfighters for the Task Force on Alliance Security for Alliance Intelligence. The compiled report contained detailed technical information on the TIE shuttle's specifications, including a set of schematics.
Vader's personal fleet of Star Destroyers, the Imperial Death Squadron, extensively utilized the TIE shuttle during the Hoth campaign in 3 ABY. Because standard comm traffic between the fleet's Star Destroyers would have interrupted sensor scans and the vital communications from dispatched Viper probe droids, Death Squadron used shuttles to physically deliver non-vital messages back and forth when the fleet was not in hyperspace. Instead of the high-profile Lambda-class shuttle, the squadron opted to use the TIE shuttle.
Captain Lorth Needa of the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Avenger made his final space voyage in a TIE shuttle. After the Avenger lost Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon while pursuing the fugitive Rebel freighter through the Hoth asteroid field in the wake of the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY, Needa rode a TIE shuttle from the Avenger to the Super Star Destroyer Executor to personally apologize to Darth Vader for allowing the Rebel freighter to escape. Vader executed Needa for his failure.
- "You have a TIE shuttle."
"I'm not sure I can recall ever seeing one in private hands."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Snaplaunce
In the decades following the collapse of the Empire, a retired mechanic formerly of the Imperial Navy settled on the planet Nam Chorios around 29 ABY, where he carefully restored and sold Imperial vessels to private owners. Among the vehicles the mechanic sold was a disarmed TIE shuttle to an Ithorian named Snaplaunce, who proceeded to paint the ship a bright yellow and adorn its external hull with his campaign slogan for the mayoral office of Hweg Shul, capital city of Nam Chorios: "Vote Snaplaunce," which was also registered as the shuttle's official name. The Ithorian modified Vote Snaplaunce for civilian use, so that the shuttle effectively served as both his personal transport and a traveling campaign advertisement.
Vote Snaplaunce remained in the mayor's personal service by 44 ABY, when exiled Grand Master Luke Skywalker of the New Jedi Order, accompanied by his son, Jedi Knight Ben Skywalker, and Lost Tribe of Sith member Vestara Khai, arrived on Nam Chorios in pursuit of the dark side entity known as Abeloth. Snaplaunce, a previous acquaintance of Skywalker's, agreed to loan his shuttle to the motley group to aid in conjunction with their quest. With the elder Skywalker at the controls, however, Vote Snaplaunce soon fell under attack by Ship, a Sith Meditation Sphere in the service of Abeloth, and was forced to ground following complications brought about by sabotage. Although the damage that the sabotage caused rendered repairs on the shuttle impractical under the circumstances, the group resorted to extensive configurations that essentially turned Vote Snaplaunce into a wind-propelled landspeeder, allowing them to continue their pursuit of Abeloth. Skywalker's team eventually abandoned the shuttle outside Hweg Shul, though media interests reported that Vote Snaplaunce was later recovered.
Behind the scenes
Conception and creation
The TIE shuttle, essentially a TIE bomber without the bomb-chute, first appeared fleetingly in the 1980 film Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, carrying Captain Lorth Needa to his death aboard Darth Vader's flagship, the Executor. The idea of a twin-pod boarding vehicle dates back to the original conception stages of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, in which such a vessel was to be seen among the Imperial forces. The twin-pod craft was included in a brief scene in early versions of A New Hope, the deleted scene of which can be seen here, although the craft was dropped before the final version of the film. Nevertheless, the concept was resurrected for The Empire Strikes Back. The 1998 reference book Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections later established for canonical purposes that the originally conceptualized TIE boarding craft did in fact participate in the Imperial capture of the Tantive IV, the opening battle of A New Hope.
The craft that appears in The Empire Strikes Back was first identified by its proper classification, the "TIE/sh," in the May 1996 article Alliance Intelligence Report: TIE Fighters, appearing in the tenth issue of the Star Wars Adventure Journal, which also provided a list of specifications. The article is intended to be written from an in-universe perspective by Rebel Alliance starfighter pilot Bakki Sourthol.
A craft that appears near-identical to the TIE shuttle from The Empire Strikes Back appears in both Dark Knight's Devilry, a comic originally published by Marvel UK in the early 1980s, and also in Marvel's Star Wars 53: The Last Gift From Alderaan!, published in November 1981. Since both the TIE shuttle and TIE boarding craft are virtually indistinguishable, confusion may arise as to which craft appears in these stories. The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, released in 2008, has identified the Star Wars 53 craft as indeed being a TIE boarding craft, but the Dark Knight's Devilry craft remains ambiguous, although the TIE boarding craft would seem to be the natural inspiration. However, the Dark Knight's Devilry craft features a port-side pod with an ovular inset, different from the more circular inset of the TIE boarding craft, as illustrated in Incredible Cross-Sections, which more closely resembles the TIE shuttle passenger pod. Given this slight visual variation, this article assumes a TIE shuttle, not a TIE boarding craft, appears in Dark Knight's Devilry.
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novelization (First mentioned)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back junior novelization (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (First appearance)
- Fate of the Jedi: Conviction
- The Empire Strikes Back Notebook (Indirect mention only)
- "Alliance Intelligence Report: TIE Fighters"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 10 (First identified as TIE/sh shuttle)
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
- Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Trilogy Sourcebook - Special Edition
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- Rebellion Era Campaign Guide
- (Video clip only)
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Rebellion Era Campaign Guide
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "Alliance Intelligence Report: TIE Fighters"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 10
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Fate of the Jedi: Conviction
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Dark Knight's Devilry
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections
- ↑ Star Wars 53: The Last Gift From Alderaan!
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia