This is almost to insane to believe.
I had to read this story a few times for the insanity to sink in.
According to Gizmodo, George Lucas wanted to make TIE fighters “a shade of maroon,” which as you can see in the picture above, just looks ridiculous.
But then, why did Lucas change his mind? As it ends up, like all concessions in Star Wars, it was due to technical reasons.
According to Gene [A model-maker], the team abandoned Lucas’ original idea after doing some composition tests. Apparently, the purple-maroon hue made the TIE Fighters to blend quickly into the black space background, as they went away from the camera. Gene started to investigate and ultimately found proof of the color test in some old wedges—”short pieces of film that test various exposures or lighting configurations and aren’t meant for projection.”
He also found other interesting unknown pieces of trivia, like the fact that the special effects team used LEDs to create the ion engines of the fighters, instead of using traditional incandescent bulbs. That was a risky move at the time: