November 17, 2016 at 6:34 pm by Dave VanderWerp | Photography by Michael Simari
When a megabrand like the Star Wars franchise—one so popular that stuff like out-of-print Lego kits can go for thousands of dollars—drifts into your galaxy, you point your tractor beam in its direction and hang on. That’s exactly what happened at Nissan when the automaker was faced with the happy coincidence that the latest film in the series, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has a title that overlaps with the name of its compact crossover. Which led to the galactically wordy 2017 Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition.
But far more captivating than the special-edition Rogue was the Star Wars paraphernalia scattered about Nissan’s Los Angeles auto show booth, the highlight of which was a 21-foot-tall TIE fighter replica that dominated not only Nissan’s show stand but the entire West Hall. The roughly half-scale TIE fighter was built by a, well, rogue group of German Star Wars fanatics, and it was so convincingly done that it caught the attention of Lucasfilm, the now-Disney-owned caretaker of the Star Wars brand, which uses the fighter from time to time as a prop at its own events. (Factoid: Lucasfilm actually designed the badges on the flanks of the special-edition Nissan Rogue, the first time it has designed anything of the sort.) For the L.A. show, the 3000-pound TIE fighter was disassembled and flown over from the U.K. along with two of its German creators, who pieced it back together.
Displayed alongside the dominating TIE fighter were life-size replica costumes from Rogue One on loan from Lucasfilm—two Shoretrooper and two Rebel Alliance Spec Forces variants—along with small-scale X-wing, Y-wing, TIE Striker, and AT-ACT (the larger, cargo-hauling version of the trippable AT-AT) models. Finally, the stand had a couple of the full-size replica Death Trooper helmets, one of which is included with each purchase of the Star Wars–themed Rogues—arguably the best part of the package.