Star Wars’ Best Rogue Squadron Pilots for Patty Jenkins’ Movie

16 min


The Rogues deliver a decisive strike against Ysanne Isard in the cover to The Bacta War.Image: Paul Youll/Del ReyIn 2023, Patty Jenkins will deliver (pending future ramifications of the world in which we live) Rogue Squadron, the next major theatrical release in the Star Wars saga: a tale of the bravest squadron of pilots in the galaxy far, far away. The Rogues have a long history within canon and a longer one out of it—and although Jenkins has made it clear her movie is not a direct adaptation of their adventures, here’s some characters we’d love to see among her cast, as analogs or otherwise. Image: LucasfilmWedge AntillesIt’s almost unfair to start here, really. Wedge Antilles is the greatest fighter pilot in Star Wars, the legend behind the cockpit of one of the greatest starfighters in science fiction history. In Star Wars’ current canon, he may have followed Luke’s lead when Rogue Squadron was formally established—now directly inspired by Jyn Erso’s Rogue One team—but Wedge will forever be the face of the Rogues, their leader as Luke moved on to focus on his Jedi teachings.G/O Media may get a commissionRegardless of whether or not Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron is set during the times of the Galactic Civil War, or decades after it in the time of the New Republic’s downfall—or perhaps even further than that, after the events of The Rise of Skywalker—it would feel wrong not to have Wedge involved in some way, whether in the cockpit or training a new generation of Rogues.Asyr Sei’larAsyr’s relationship with Rogue Squadron is fascinating—a young Bothan, she basically accidentally signed up with them while the team was undercover on a mission to Coruscant. Asyr stuck around to become one of the Rogue’s most dependable pilots until she seemingly perished in the Battle of Distna. But it turns out Asyr actually faked her death in order to return to her homeworld of Bothawui to incite changes to Bothan society’s secretive, isolationist policies.Plus, please, for the love of god, literally anyone involved with Star Wars in an official capacity right now: give me a Bothan. Please. IT’S TIME WE GOT TO SEE ONE AND THEY DON’T HAVE TO DIE DELIVERING ANYTHING.Tycho CelchuStar Wars is, in many forms, fascinated with Imperial defectors. The current canon is rife with people who have joined the side of good after questioning unspeakable evils: Finn in the sequel movies, Kallus in Rebels, Iden Versio in Battlefront II, Yrica Quell in the excellent Alphabet Squadron series. But back in the old canon, one defector that stood out most in the world of the Rogue Squadron books was Tycho Celchu—an Alderaanian who flew for the Empire before his homeworld’s destruction in A New Hope pushed him to defect to the Rebel Alliance.On both sides of the Galactic Civil War, Tycho was considered one of the greatest pilots in the galaxy and one of Rogue Squadron’s most beloved members. But when he was captured during the campaign against Imperial despot Ysanne Isard and nearly brainwashed by her, he had to push back against suspicion from his peers and commanders in the New Republic to prove that his past as an Imperial and as one of the Rebel Alliance’s finest pilots wasn’t clouding his judgment—at one point even being put on trial for suspicion of murdering a fellow pilot. Tycho’s loyalty was proved when said pilot (Corran Horn, who we’ll get to later!) actually showed up to prove he was captured, not dead, going on to rejoin the Rogues and eventually take over the team when Wedge left to create Wraith Squadron.Image: LucasfilmDerek “Hobbie” KlivianLike Wedge, Hobbie is an old-school Rogue—in Rebels, we saw him recruited alongside Wedge as a defector, and he’s one of the squadron’s founding members. We briefly see him on-screen preparing for the Battle of Hoth in Empire Strikes Back, questioning the chances a handful of fighters could have escorting the fleeing Rebel transport ships from the Star Destroyer above the ice planet. That attitude is one the old EU books ran with, casting Hobbie as the team’s perpetually sarcastic, dour doomsayer—one that, in spite of repeatedly being proven right about just how dire the situations Rogue Squadron found itself in much of the time, always helped pull the team out of the fire with his piloting skill. Kasan MoorAlthough Rogue Squadron in the old canon had more than its fair share of defector pilots, Kasan—like Tycho before her—stands proud as one of the best. Also like Tycho, Kasan was an orphan of Alderaan. The destruction of her homeworld pushed her to leave the Empire behind and become one of its most fervent opponents, sharing her know-how of Imperial tactics and technology with the Alliance starfighter corps to help them turn the tide. She even took her old TIE Interceptor with her, giving the ship over to the Rogues so they could study one of the most dangerous craft their enemy could fling at them.Corran HornAs much as I want the Jedi as far away from a Rogue Squadron movie as possible, there is something fascinating in the potential of seeing a Force user behind the controls of a starfighter full time, and how those skills can help turn the tide of a dogfight. We got to see Luke switch off his targeting computer, yes, but at the time he was still relatively untrained in his Force abilities. Even The Clone Wars and the Prequel era only rarely touched on what using the Force in starfighter combat was like (insert “Flying’s for droids!” dot gif here). What would it be like to see someone who’s not just a trained pilot, but has mastery over their strength in the Force as well?If we must get a Jedi or Force-sensitive figure in this movie, Corran is a great template. A former detective even before he joined the New Jedi Order, he was always one of the Rogues’ most skilled fighters, even without his force sensitivity—playing a pivotal role in helping the Rogues and the New Republic besiege Coruscant, navigating deadly storms to singlehandedly disable the planet’s shielding systems.Aril and her brother, Nien.Image: Scott Roller/LucasfilmAril NunbThough the Rise of Skywalker expanded novelization seemingly confirmed that absolute legend Nien Nunb perished in the battle over Exegol, the Nunb legacy behind some starship controls can live on in a character like Aril (whether or not Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron takes place before or after the sequel trilogy remains to be seen). Nien’s sister in the old canon, Aril defied Imperial imprisonment and torture to fight Isard alongside her fellow Rogues in the Bacta War. The only reason she left the squad? She got promoted and got her own goddamn capital ship. She even became an admiral, eventually!Gavin DarklighterThe cousin of Biggs Darklighter, Gavin’s canonization would offer a nice throwback to the legacy of his infamously short-lived relative in the movies. Gavin wasn’t a member of the original Rogues, but a New Republic pilot who was offered a place in its reformed lineup when he impressed Wedge with his piloting abilities. Gavin was such a fundamental player in the New Republic iteration of Rogue Squadron that when Wedge and Tycho eventually retired, he was the pilot who stepped up to replace them as its leader.IbtisamIbtisam’s an interesting character, and not just because it’d be cool for a Star Wars movie to have more alien protagonists among its main cast. A Mon Calamari who piloted a B-Wing at the Battle of Endor—only to be shot down and spend hours adrift, necessitating months of recovery from PTSD—Ibtisam joined the Rogues haunted by her experiences, angry and lashing out at everything from her Quarren squadmate Nrin Vakil to the fact that she found herself behind the controls of an X-Wing, a ship she thought she hated, after spending time as a bomber pilot. Because, c’mon, if you’re gonna do a movie about hotshot fighter pilots, they’ve gotta trash talk over which Alphabet fighter is the best, right?Image: Michael Sutfin/LucasfilmHohass EkweshHE’S A HORSE.Okay sure, I’m cheating here: Hohass was never a member of Rogue Squadron. He was in Wraith Squadron, the hybrid starfighter/commando unit Wedge created—and left the Rogues to lead—after he and Rogue Squadron kinda-sorta quit the New Republic for a little bit to overthrow Isard. You know how those things go! But the Wraiths are inextricably linked to the Rogues, not just through Wedge’s command of them but their role as an independent task force capable of starfighter missions and on-the-ground elite combatants. Rogue Squadron was already the best of the best ragtag fighter aces, but the Wraiths could match them blaster for blaster in misfit rebels who could get jobs done—in and out of the cockpit. Ekwesh, also called “Runt” by his friends, was not just a founding member, but a badass who died protecting his friends from a Yuuzhan Vong attack while stealing a superweapon.Anyway, HE’S A HORSE. If we’re getting a new version of Rogue Squadron, there’s enough wiggle room to put a horse in an X-Wing, frankly. You’d need a lot of wiggle room.For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.


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