Boba Fett’s Slave I is among the coolest ships in the Star Wars canon. Originally designed by The Empire Strikes Back art director Nilo Rodis-Jamero, he explained in interviews that the craft’s unique look was based on a radar dish. In-universe, it’s a modified Firespray-31 attack craft that was stolen by Jango Fett and kitted out with all manner of advanced weaponry. After Jango’s death, it was passed down to Boba and played a major role in The Mandalorian‘s second season, becoming the gang’s main ride after the Razor Crest was destroyed.
But there’s long been a big question about the ship and how it functions. Slave I flies vertically and lands horizontally and we’ve seen that the pilot is sitting up when flying. So, when it lands, is the inside of the ship now on its side? Attack of the Clones seemed to indicate this might be the case, as the young Boba had to climb up to get a view out the window when Jango was fighting Obi-Wan.
But now The Mandalorian has definitively answered this by revealing that the interior of Slave I is on a gimbal, allowing the ship to rotate while the crew area remains static. This was seen in the show itself and has been expanded upon in the behind-the-scenes Disney Gallery series.
“Nobody’s ever seen what goes on inside that ship when it rotates. We’ve only seen the outside, so that was one of the inspirations for doing it on the stage, taking advantage of what the stage can do,” said Jon Favreau.
Production designer Andrew L. Jones and VFX supervisor Richard Bluff went into more detail on how the effect was achieved, saying:
“It was a bit of a challenge to see if this would work on the screens, but to do that with traditional special effects you can imagine would be this huge complicated rig. So we built an elevated deck with some seats on it and there’s a console as well, but that’s the set. All the rest of the vehicle is on the screens.”
Bluff also explained how everyone got excited when they realized their plan would work.
“Instantly I knew that was going to be something we were going to try in The Volume and it got me incredibly excited because I think it’s something that kids back in the day would have played with that ship and wondered what it would be like on the inside when it rotates through. We got to ultimately shoot it on the stage against the LEDs and boy oh boy was everybody excited, I think that was the moment on season two that mimicked the hyper space being turned on in season one, in other words, it got everybody excited, everybody knew where we were and everybody felt like a child again.”
It seems certain that we’ll continue to see Slave I in the upcoming Book of Boba Fett, as the ship is simply too damn cool to leave in the hanger. One other aspect I particularly loved was bringing back Jango’s Fett’s seismic charges from Attack of the Clones, which make one of the most badass sounds in the whole franchise.
In the meantime, Din Djarin needs to find a new ride for The Mandalorian‘s next season. The Razor Crest was a badass ship and I’m going to miss it – let’s hope we get a ‘Razor Crest II’ that lives up to the name.