Is this an X-Wing which I see before me?

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Star Wars Episode VII X-Wing Starfighter

Who needs Comic-Con to make big movie announcements? Not J.J. Abrams.

The director-producer-writer of the as-yet-untitled Star Wars Episode VII released another set video Monday in which he announced that contributors to the charity campaign Force for Change stand not just win a visit to the set an an on-screen appearance — now, there’s a chance to win an exclusive, early screening of the much-awaited Star Wars sequel.

Oh, and he nonchalantly did it while standing in front of a next-generation X-Wing starfighter. The craft differs from those last seen in Return of the Jedi in that there is only one engine pod on each side, rather than two, and it appears to split when the S-foils enter attack position (that’s when the wings open to their namesake X-shape).

And it’s blue. But does this X-Wing, even as beat up as it is (which I love), seem more chrome-y than its predecessors?

Many speculated that the craft wasn’t an X-Wing at all but rather a more primitive Z-95 Headhunter from the late, lamented “Expanded Universe” — but they’re wrong. The wings of this fighter clearly open (look at the dual-cannon tips on each wing), while the Headhunter’s wings are fixed. Also, the craft closely resembles an early rendering of the classic X-Wing by the late conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie, in which the wings are opened and the engines are bisected. See?

Ralph McQuarrie X-Wing starfighter

That’s not all the Far, Far Away news we’ve got for you — check out a roundup of recent announcements and rumors for Star Wars Episode VII, the upcoming animated TV series Star Wars Rebels and beyond.

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