The AT-ST is a two-legged walker introduced in The Empire Strikes Back and featured extensively in Return of the Jedi. Due to their design and movement, they are often dubbed "chicken walkers". The name Scout Walker is also used to refer to an AT-ST. This name was used for the official toy instead of the AT-ST name.
Origin and designThe AT-ST model used in The Empire Strikes Back was to have more screen time; however, one scene depicting a snowspeeder shooting at the AT-ST model was ruined when the set's background shifted. For Return of the Jedi, ILM made the AT-ST design more detailed. Numerous models were created, including a full-sized AT-ST for on-location shooting. Director Richard Marquand and producer Robert Watts played the AT-ST operators for the scene in which Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and a pair of Ewoks commandeer an AT-ST.
Lee Seiler sued Lucasfilm in the mid-1980s, claiming that the AT-ST infringed on his copyright on what he called a "Garthian Strider", which he said he created in 1976 or 1977. The case was dismissed with the court noting that not only did Seiler not produce the supposed drawings at trial, but that the copyright came one year after The Empire Strikes Back debuted.
DepictionStar Wars guidebooks describe the AT-ST as a "reconnaissance or defensive vehicle [that] is lightweight and built for speed". Their agility allows them to defend the slower AT-ATs or support other Imperial ground forces. They are 8.6 metres (28 ft) tall (although some sources describe them at seven meters) and seat a pilot and co-pilot. AT-STs are armed with laser cannons on the "chin" and sides, feet claws for destroying small defenses and side-mounted concussion missile launchers.
In The Empire Strikes Back, AT-STs scout for and support the slower AT-ATs during the Battle of Hoth. During the Battle of Endor as depicted in Return of the Jedi, the protagonists and the local Ewok tribes capture or destroy several AT-STs; their precariously balanced nature proves highly vulnerable to the Ewoks' primitive booby traps. In the Expanded Universe, AT-STs are often featured in Imperial attack forces. Video games such as Star Wars: Rogue Squadron and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire include numerous AT-STs, and they are player-controllable units in several real-time strategy games. Some walker designs have been influenced by the AT-ST.
The so-named "All Terrain Defense Pod" (AT-DP) depicted in Star Wars Rebels was used by the Empire on Lothal, Ezra Bridger's homeworld, to enforce their will against the planet's inhabitants during the first season of the series. It is stated as being among the fastest-moving "walkers" of any of the AT-ST variants, and is only lightly armed with a single, forward-aimed energy cannon.