Please do not share the details of this article openly on social media and spoil Star Wars: The Last Jedi for those that want to remain spoiler free. These are very general spoilers but let’s respect everyone’s wishes and not spoil those that do not appreciate spoilers like us. Be cool!
I briefly glimpsed the new AT-AT style walkers from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. They’re called “First Order Heavy Assault Walkers.” They’re the new AT-ATs we will see in The Last Jedi and they’re not the same walkers we saw in The Force Awakens on the Starkiller Base parade grounds. They’re huge and chunky. These guys are a mix of the old with some new to such a degree the design should feel familiar but new to most. In theory, you should get that these are “super walkers” that dwarf anything we’ve seen before.
I don’t think a ship is going to take these down by firing on the legs. They have reinforced legs. So if the classic AT-AT foot is a shoe connected to a leg, this is a boot with a sleeve that is thick running up more than halfway through the leg. From the front it resembles a gorilla with its front arms firmly planted on the ground. When I first heard about these, I was told they would resemble gorillas. Imagine looking directly head-on at a gorilla and how its front arms are thick and give it an intimidating presence. For this reason, they were called “Gorilla Walkers” informally by some during production.
Imagine a pissed off gorilla with his front arms on the ground looking at you and then transform him into an AT-AT and you have the First Order Heavy Assault Walkers. They’re pretty awesome and a pretty good update to the walker line Star Wars has given us so far.
I usually destroy my notes immediately but I took a snap of this to help convey what I’m talking about. This quickly drawn note is from the rear. The classic AT-AT comes up to the belly of the new walker. The Heavy Assault Walker is easily twice as wide too. The new Heavy Assault Walker is nearly twice as tall:
The body itself also evokes the gorilla posture because it has a high back that slants down towards the rear. It makes it look broad-shouldered. A bad example would be the Jawa sandcrawler, if that makes any sense. The front legs also have a tiny cross-bar type deal that allows its front legs to kind of scoop go forward and then scoop back. In the very brief moment I saw a demonstration of the walking motion, it had a very different rhythm and pace from the classic AT-AT. I think it probably moves faster too. If I’m not being clear, this thing is a mechanized AT-AT gorilla.
The Heavy Assault Walker is like a Generation 1 Transformer was mixed up with an AT-AT and a gorilla. Lumberjack Nick drew my sketch notes to show you what the head pretty much looked like:
There are a lot of these in the film in a large sequence. Hopefully very soon we will be able to discuss the sequence in which we see the First Order Heavy Assault Walker in action. Lots more soon!