A New View of Star Wars A New Hope

Star Wars A New Hope PosterWatching the original movie back in the day we had no clue there would be more. An unexpected hero had big dreams but was afraid to leave the familiar old responsibilities for new ones. Then he was forced too. The hero had a chance to save the beautiful Princess and save a Rebellion fighting a powerful evil empire.

We knew the Empire was evil for 2 reasons: we instinctively associated choking a man to death, an intimidating ball droid with needle as a torture device and blowing up entire planets with evil. The fact that the bad guy was clad in black and the heroes in white no doubt had something to do with it too – a color scheme left over from the white knight vs the black knight and the cowboy with white had vs the evil doer in the black hat.

It cost Luke dearly to follow his dreams. He hadn’t even committed when his Aunt and Uncle were killed. Obi-Wan was killed protecting him for reasons we didn’t entirely understand at the time. Leia lost her entire home world trying to help stand up to evil.

Han? Han started on his first steps to being a hero by doing something that wasn’t likely to give him a reward – saving Luke.

Years later we now have the complete story.

That moment we see Vader on screen is leavened with sadness: this is Luke’s FATHER. Once he was a hero, not the stuff of nightmares. He has power, but he isn’t truly free. He and Obi-Wan finally meet again. Perhaps killing Obi-Wan is his act of revenge for being trapped in the horror suit, but Obi-Wan’s vanishing denies him this victory.

We now know that Han’s quest to pay off Jabba the Hutt and those bounty hunters doesn’t end well. Ultimately his friends have to save him. Staying with the Rebels cost him: it cost him time to pay off the debt (though we know he had the reward, he apparently kept losing it before he could pay off Jabba!) As for Chewie: its no wonder he’s become jaded toward Jedi and heroics. He watched the Republic fall and the Jedi along with it. Still, he’s Han’s conscience.

We know Leia is Luke’s sister. This is a reunion long in the making. Luke’s instinctive attraction to her apparently isn’t the crush everyone (including him) thinks. And the scene where Leia is tortured by Vader is suddenly more horrible. In spite of just the intimidating presence and implied injection, we now know the man facing her is her biological Father. And he not only tortures her and tries to break her, he also makes her stand and watch Tarkin blow up her adoptive world and family. Given her similarity in appearance to Padme (and similar role as Senator Diplomat) it’s all the more tragic.

Extras courtesy of the Expanded Universe:

Expanded Universe fans were thrilled to see Dash Rendar’s Outrider from Shadows of the Empire added in to the Mos Eisley scenes.

The destruction of Alderaan is even more painful. While we glimpsed it in Revenge of the Sith and met Bail Organa, many of us have now had the opportunity to experience it in Star Wars: The Old Republic. We’ve explored Organa Castle, wandered and met the noble houses, helped fight to save them for Republic or lead them into the Empire.

For an extra shock, if you play the Imperial side Planetary Story arc, you encounter a rebel faction trying to stop the Thul House and their Imperial Allies. During the Conversation, the leader makes the rather prophetic statement that he’d rather see Alderaan destroyed than part of the Empire.

In the radio drama as well as the comics, we get to know Biggs Darklighter. Even in the special edition, all we got was a bit of Biggs added back into the Yavin hanger scene. The radio drama and novelization give us Bigg’s earlier meeting with Luke, when he was going to join the Rebellion and why. Dark Horse comics gave us a view of how those events played out. Suddenly that sudden death over the First Death Star hurts a great deal more because we’ve gotten to know and like him.

In Tales of the Mos Eisley Cantina we get up close and personal with denizens of the Cantina, each with their own name, species and interesting story. This one is exiled because he was forced to collaborate with the Empire. That one has rebel ties.

The destruction of the Death Star is now a lot more complicated, if one read the novel ‘Death Star’. The space station didn’t just contain Imperial soldiers. It contained all the personnel needed to maintain them, including cooks, librarians, cantina and bar personnel and conscripted Doctors. Even the soldiers didn’t necessarily believe the Death Star would be used for anything but intimidation. The destruction of the Death Star was absolutely necessary: not everyone on Alderaan was a rebel! But it sadly came at a cost that at least some of the people on board were innocent, or at the very least, capable of wanting out.

Yavin 4. This is another one that has had enormous history. You run around this world in Star Wars the Old Republic, taking on the Shadow of Revan. It has a history thousands of years before in Tales of the Jedi, a history of Sith Temples, battles with Jedi and will one day be hope to the home to the new Jedi Academy. We only glimpse it in the movie, but now we’ve had a chance to peek around the corners that we can only imagine.

It’s been a long time since the first movie, a long time since the additional title ‘A New Hope’ was added. The more one knows about the story before and after the more one sees it differently. But it adds a glorious richness. In 40 years, there have been many discoveries. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wedge Antillies Expanded

ROTJ-Wedge-briefing

Wedge at the briefing on the Endor mission to take out Death Star 2

Wedge Antillies started as a mere background character in the original trilogy movies. He was the sole survivor of all 3, survivor of 2 Death Stars and the Battle of Hoth. He had very few lines.

Wedge gets a big boost in the Thrawn trilogy when he and the Rogues join the heroes in winning the Katana fleet and fighting Thrawn. This is followed by his own series X-Wing, leading up into how the Alliance took Coruscant. Then the Rogues get their own comic series, set before that.

Antillies was given temporary command of the Rogues when Luke went off to work on his Jedi training and save Han from Jabba. (Shadows of the Empire)

During the battle of Endor, Rogue Squadron was temporarily renamed by Wedge  in honor of their roots in Red Squadron. Some of the pilots were scattered to fill out other squadrons.

After the battle of Endor, Luke was given his first battlegroup at Bakura. This mission was instigated by Wedge, when he had a close encounter with an Imperial message drone which tried to self destruct. The drone’s message encouraged the Alliance to check out Bakura’s situation. Wedge remained in command of the squadron while there. (Truce at Bakura)

Afterward Luke invited Wedge and some his fellow Rogues on a recon mission to Corellia. At the end of the adventure there, he told Wedge that he would have less and less time to fly with them and handed over command. This made Wedge Antillies Rogue Leader AKA Rogue One, and put him in position of rebuilding the squadron. (Dark Horse Comics, Rogue Leader)

Wedge rebuilt Rogue Squadron, leaving only the survivors of Tycho Celchu, Wes Janson and Hobbie Klivian from the original group. (Follow these adventures in Dark Horse Comics X-Wing Rogue Squadron series)

Wedge having led the Rogues into a victory that wins its way to Coruscant, goes on to form and lead Wraith squadron. This led to him being made general. But this was with the condition that he could still, at times, fly with Rogue squadron. (X-Wing Novels)

Family
Rogue Squadron, The Phantom Affair

Rogue Squadron, The Phantom Affair flashes back to Wedge’s family

Wedge’s parents were Jagged and Zena Antillies. They were responsible for the Gus Treta Space station in the Corellian sector. Sadly, they sacrificed themselves to save the station when pirates caused an explosion and fuel leak that could’ve destroyed it.
Wedge’s sister, Syal Antillies, had gone off to become the movie star, stage name Wynssa Starflare.  She in turn married Soontir Fel. (This led to some awkwardness as Fel was a top Imperial pilot).
This left Wedge alone  in the care of Smuggler Booster Terrik. He became close friends, like a brother, to Mirax Terrik. He introduced her to her husband Corran Horn (whose father in CorSec once arrested Terrik.) 
Having insurance payout and the help of Smuggler Booster Terrik he became a trader.
Wedge’s earliest love was Mala Tinero, who he lost to the Empire. At this point he becomes a weapon smuggler for the Alliance, before becoming an X-Wing Pilot.
Wedge finds a first love with Qwi Xux, a deceived Imperial scientist who was brainwashed into helping design the first Death Star. However, eventually they break up, though remaining friends, and he finally marries Iella, a former Corellian Security agent and current Alliance Intelligence agent. They go on to have 2 daughters, Myri and Syal.

Wedge-in NJO Rebel Dream

Wedge Antillies leads the defense-in NJO Rebel Dream by Aaron Allston

As late as the Yuuzhan Vong War, he was still flying, though it was rarer due to arthritis. He was highly successful once Coruscant to the Vong and the reluctant government was no longer in the way. At this point he finally met one of his nephews, Jagged Fel.

Friends

Wedge was close to Biggs Darklighter and Jek Porkins. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia and company. He also stayed close to his Rogue friends, including Janson, Hobbie, Gavin Darkligher and Corran Horn.

The marriage of his nephew, Jag Fel, to Jaina Solo, daughter of Han and Leia Solo connects him to the infamous Skywalker/Solo clan.

Accomplishments and Challenges

Wedge was Luke’s second in command at the Battle of Hoth and Gall and regularly stood in as leader when Luke was away.

He reformed the Rogues when they shrank due to attrition and led the Rogues to victory at Brentaal V, Mrlsst, Eiattu, and perhaps most importantly Coruscant.

When Ysanne Isard fled Coruscant and an internal coup by the Xucphra bacta cartel put her in charge of Thyferra, a world with a monopoly on bacta, Wedge quit. Bacta was a prime ingredient in medicine, critical for any emergency. Yet the New Republic government could not officially sanction going after her. They might be seen as a conquering tyrant for interfering with internal politics. Wedge followed Corran Horn’s instant resignation, knowing that someone had to stop her, sanctioned or not. In the process they assisted the native ashern and competing Zaaltin bacta cartel free their planet, as well as capture her super star destroyer, the Lusankya.

Later, he finally agreed to accept the rank of General, on the condition he could still fly with the squadron and remain in command. He aided in the rescue of the Lusankya prisoners, who had been scattered when Isard took the ship and fled Coruscant. He also aided in bringing Adumar to the Republic. These are only a few of his victories after the second Death Star was destroyed and the Emperor’s death at Vader’s hand.

After the Vong war he again retired, only to be caught in the middle between the Galactic Alliance government and his homeworld of Corellia. He tried to stay neutral, however trickery on the part of Galactic Alliance leaders who pre-emptively arrested him, led him to joining up with the Corellians. He was also caught between family and friends as Rogue Squadron still flew for the Galactic Alliance, and one of his daughters was among them.

Through it all, Wedge Antillies remained a great friend to the Jedi Order.

Stories with Wedge Antillies

  • Rogue Leader (comic)
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron (comics)
  • X-Wing (9 novels)
  • Rogue Squadron I, 2, 3, Rogue Leader (games)
  • Choices of One
  • Thrawn Trilogy (Dark Force Rising/Last Command)
  • Jedi Academy Trilogy
  • Thrawn Duology
  • Union
  • New Jedi Order: especially  Rebel Dream & Rebel Stand
  • Legacy of the Force

Minor Appearances:

  • Crimson Empire (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Dark Empire (Dark Horse Comics)