The pods shoot through the canyons at breath-taking speed. Leading the field: two silvery gliders – one with a star on its hood. There's barely another film that divides the fan community quite like "Star Wars – The Phantom Menace", the first part of the prequel trilogy. For some it is a travesty (the name Jar Jar Binks springs to mind), while others deem it a worthy prelude to the space saga. There's one thing that the sci-fi enthusiasts are agreed on, however: the special effects are really good. The pod race on Tatooine is considered a milestone in computer animation and still instills a sense of amazement today – almost 20 years after the movie's release. As part of a university project, students from the Department of Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich and Mercedes-Benz exterior designers have shown just where such enthusiasm can lead. Inspired by the race through the desert planet's canyons, they let their imaginations run riot, coming up with designs and models that would do any intergalactic pod race proud. And the drive system? Cyber-crystal? Fusion or ion thruster? Dark matter? Electric, of course! What appears at first glance to be a few gimmicks thought up by some film buffs actually has a very down-to-earth background.
Of course it's fun designing free-style creations like this. But films like Star Wars with their wealth of ideas and technical advances are also a special source of inspiration for us designers.