The F/O and TAP suggest the empire has reached that point. Different greens, an s-loop, +/- 1 hull for a shield, but basically the same thing. A ship baseline cost under 20 for cheap aces around 30 points (+/- 5) with 3 green dice and movement actions. The only ships that feel unique, imo, are the defender, phantom, and the large-based ships.
And there is nothing to say that FFG can't modify the original design slightly, to add a turret or something (though not sure where they'd put it...) to make it more unique than it could be otherwise
Negative. The Empire lacks 1 ship type... Heavy assault, jack of all trades type fighter. An Imperial version of the B-wing. Something that could take ordnance if it wanted to, but also excels at close range dogfighting. The TIE punisher is a bit to sluggish for this role, and the TIE defender fits more of the interceptor type. (especially given imperial veterans).
A role that the Gunboat could bring to the table, but also with it's own mechanics, and not just be a copy paste of the B-wing. (The mist hunter did for the scum faction, gave them a healthy ship with lots of attack, but also some unique ways to play it. It fills the role nicely).
Yeah, this is exactly what I'm thinking. TIEs just keep filling the same holes over and over again. Something new for the imperials is needed.