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Making the case for The Mandalorian's new ship, the N1 Starfighter

Star Wars The Mandalorian n1 starfighter in hangar
(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

One of the biggest surprises in the first season of The Book of Boba Fett came with the arrival of Din Djarin aka the Mandalorian, who took over the show for roughly two episodes (out of seven). In fact, most viewers agree that Chapters 5 and 6 are among the best Star Wars television we’ve gotten so far, with the former basically serving as an early start for The Mandalorian season three.

During the first half of Chapter 5, we find the Mandalorian all by himself – Grogu temporarily left to become a Jedi – and missing a ship of his own after the Empire blew the Razor Crest to smithereens. Thankfully, he quickly returns to Tatooine with his hard-earned cash to buy a new ship… that isn’t what he was expecting.

The Naboo N-1 starfighter, a classic prequel craft, made its triumphant return in The Book of Boba Fett (though it can be seen in a few frames of The Rise of Skywalker). It more than makes up for the lack of space with impressive flight speeds and extreme maneuverability, especially in the upgraded version put together by wizard Mos Eisley mechanic Peli Motto. 

Read on below to learn more about this classic starfighter, where it comes from, and how it came to be. And if you're a collector of all things Star Wars, then whether you're a fan of Mando's old ship or his new one, Lego has you covered. You can grab the Lego Star Wars Razor Crest right now, and the N1 Starfighter kit launches on June 1.

An icon from another era

Star Wars The phantom menace: N1 starfighter

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Most fans instantly recognized the ship’s unique shape as soon as its incomplete body was unveiled, and with good reason. The Star Wars prequels introduced several cool new designs that felt very different from what we had previously seen in the original trilogy, but only a few of them got enough screen time in the films to really leave a mark – the N-1 starfighter was chosen as one of the most emblematic images from The Phantom Menace and surrounding media, and was all over magazines, posters, and the Internet in 1999 and 2000.

The ship’s curved and highly stylized design represented everything George Lucas and his Lucasfilm/ILM team were going for with the first of the prequels: letting fans know this was a different kind of Star Wars, a representation of a pre-war galaxy full of lush and colorful worlds. And those vibes were supported by their inhabitants and signature vehicles as well. In the case of Naboo, it’s hard to forget about the underwater Gungan cities and their technology, which shared plenty of traits with the human residents of the planet.

Star Wars n1 starfighter concept art

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm (Creator: Greg Gawlowski))

Unsurprisingly, creative mastermind Doug Chiang – one of Lucasfilm’s biggest veterans – has mentioned several times that the N-1 starfighter is one of his personal favorites. After going over Lucas’ script for The Phantom Menace, he thought the Naboo’s ships had to have “an aquatic feel” in order to match the planet’s abundance of water and their relationship with the Gungan.

According to Chiang, the design was “an outright success – an elegant starfighter for a more civilized age.” Moreover, Lucas liked it so much that he pushed even further with a bold color: a strong shade of yellow that matched the painting-like vistas of the new planet.

Star Wars Starfighter game

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

The Naboo starfighter was also the centerpiece of two Star Wars video games released around The Phantom Menace: Battle for Naboo and Starfighter. The latter (pictured above) was a massive success and kind of renewed Star Wars flight sims for a new generation of gamers. As mentioned before, the N-1 was so prominently used in marketing and other media surrounding Episode I that it quickly became a fan-favorite ship, and has remained that way despite its limited screen time in the two subsequent films.

Looking at its in-universe specs and features, we learn the N-1 can jump into hyperspace without external assistance (something few fighters can do), packs two powerful J-type engines, and was generally built with optimal maneuverability in mind. The Naboo are often described as peaceful people, and as a result, this starfighter lacks heavy weaponry (limited to twin laser cannons and torpedo launchers) – instead, it acts like a nimble mosquito which can distract and chip away at enemies in prolonged engagements.

Retooled for new purposes

Star Wars The Mandalorian: Cockpit view

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Alongside his friend Peli Motto, Mando customizes the N-1 to make it faster and meaner. A turbonic venturi power assimilator from the Republic era (acquired by Jawas) is the centerpiece of their creation: a roaring fighter with some serious punch. Gone are expendable bits, such as the vapor manifold or the socket for an astromech droid, as well as the striking yellow we all fondly remember. Peli cooks up an induction intake charger to double the spacecraft’s output coefficient as well – something that we’re sure Grogu will enjoy very much in future adventures. Much like the Mandalorian, it’s a shiny but crude vehicle full of hidden strength, a ship for a chaotic and often lawless age in the galaxy.

There’s also something instantly charming about a custom-made ride that looks rusty and about to fall apart, only to surprise everyone by outperforming the era’s golden standard: the Rebellion and New Republic’s X-Wings. She’s got it where it counts, and she can take Din and his (now returned) adoptive son wherever they need while leaving potential foes in the dust with ease. And who knows, maybe we’ll see this beauty in a heavy-combat situation once the Mandalorian war effort ramps up.

Star Wars The Mandalorian: X-wing fighters

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

The now-vintage N-1 won’t serve the Mandalorian in the same way the Razor Crest did. But we should consider he’s not the same bounty hunter anymore after two seasons of running around with a little green friend. Now focused on learning more about his Mandalorian heritage and helping retake Mandalore, it’s hard to see Din Djarin returning to his old ways. 

And even if he needs to make some quick buck, we’ve already seen he likes to bring the baddies in cold nowadays. Plus, this ship is gonna look amazing besides Boba Fett’s Firespray once they inevitably team up again.

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Fran Ruiz is our resident Star Wars guy. His hunger for movies and TV series is only matched by his love for video games. He got a BA of English Studies, focusing on English Literature, from the University of Malaga, in Spain, as well as a Master's Degree in English Studies, Multilingual and Intercultural Communication. On top of writing features and other longform articles for Space.com since 2021, he is a frequent collaborator of VG247 and other gaming sites. He also serves as associate editor over at Star Wars News Net and its sister site, Movie News Net.