Ancient Fighters That Inspired ‘Star Wars,’ And Their Modern Descendents

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Ph: Film Frame © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

Historical Inspiration: Supermarine Spitfire Mk. 1
No Star Wars aircraft is more synonymous with the Rebel Alliance than the X-Wing, and no aircraft was more synonymous with the Allied effort of WWII than the British Supermarine Spitfire. The Spitfire was an extremely versatile single seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and a number of other nations throughout the Second World War. It was a high performance aircraft capable of reaching faster speeds than many other contemporary fighters of the time, and its excellent maneuverability made it effective in combat. On each of its distinctive elliptical shaped wings bristled four .303 Browning machine guns.
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It first earned distinction during the Battle of Britain (July-October 1940), where it enjoyed a high victory-to-loss ratio against Luftwaffe fighters and helped stave off German invasion. It soon came to make up the core of the RAF and was used heavily with various upgrades and modifications throughout the entirety of the war. Much beloved by the pilots that flew it, the Spitfire was arguably one of the most important allied aircraft of World War II.
During George Lucas’s childhood in the 1950s, World War II was still very much a part of popular culture despite being safely in the rearview mirror. Action heroes frequented the silver screen in large numbers, and none were more glamorous than fighter pilots. It’s easy to see how the war and the action flicks it spawned inspired the galactic dogfights of the Star Wars films. Here we match up Star Wars fighters with their WWII counterparts and their modern equivalents.

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