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.

Rogue Squadron Influence

Keys: M = Movie |  N = Novel |  C = Dark Horse Comics | G = Video Games | R = Audio/Radio Drama

Rogue Squadron was never a planned multimedia event. It became one without any help, featuring novels, comic books, video games and action figures.

In Universe Influence
Baron Fel and Hobbie action figure 2 pack with comic

Baron Fel and Hobbie action figure 2 pack with comic

The most important thing about the Rogues is their pilots. The top gun hotshots of the Rebellion, followed by the New Republic and the Galactic Alliance. They have a long history of serving with Jedi. A few of them actually were Jedi but all, all were skilled in both space combat and ground battle. Rogue Leader is also known as Rogue One and was first held by Luke Skywalker on Hoth. Wedge was the second, and very possibly, the longest to hold the title.

The Rebellion Years.

Red Squadron Leaders
Garven Dreis (A New Hope)
Arhul Narra (Pre-The Empire Strikes Back)

The Empire Strikes Back – M, N, C, R

Arhul Narra, working with Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antillies, formed 2 flights out of Red Squadron. One, Renegade Squadron, he led.

Renegade destroyed at Derra IV on a convoy mission. The other, Rogue Flight, was led by Luke Skywalker with Wedge as his second. Luke was promoted on Narra’s death to Commander. And the Rogues were now more or less a squadron.

Luke led Rogue Flight as Rogue One AKA Rogue Leader in the battle of Hoth. He was forced to cover for others, including Rogue Three, Wedge Antillies, when his own gunner was taken out. Without the gunner, he couldn’t use his harpoon to take down AT ATs directly.

Shadows of the Empire (N, C, G)

rogue squadron game

rogue squadron game

When a lead suggested Boba Fett with the frozen Han Solo was on Gall, Luke and the Rogues attacked the Imperial Navy stationed there to give time for Leia, Lando and Chewbacca to attempt a rescue, which did not succeed. In spite of overwhelming odds and sabotage by a traitor, they only lost a single pilot.

When Princess Leia fell into the snare of Black Sun’s Prince Xixor on Coruscant, Luke went to rescue her. Their retreat was complicated by Xixor’s starfighters, until Rogue Squadron showed up to lend aid. Nonetheless they would not have escaped had Vader not taken a hand in decimating Xixor’s forces for daring to put a price on his son, Luke Skywalker’s head.

During this time, Wedge Antillies was promoted to commander he and Luke shared command, since Luke was off on other missions.

Rogue Squadron Influence
Rogue Squadron Influence

 

Return of the Jedi (M, N, C)

At this point, the rather diminished Rogues were scattered into different ships (X-Wings, Y-Wings) and some to different squadrons. Wedge, taking the lead as Luke was joining the ground assault, temporarily christened the group ‘Red Squadron’ to honor their fellows who assaulted the first Death Star. Just as the previous group, they successfully destroyed it.

New Republic

Wedge intercepted a message drone which led the Alliance to aiding Bakura, temporarily forming a truce with the Imperials in charge. The desperate battle against alien conquerors saw Luke once more out of his cockpit and on the command deck, this time in charge of a battle group.

Rogue Leader (DH)

Luke took a few scattered Rogues on a recon trip to Corellia, not long after Bakura. The Empire attacked Corellia, intent on showing them who was still officially in charge. Wedge’s initial urge to retire evaporated, though Luke informed him that command and his Jedi training would reduce how much time he could fly. Wedge became Rogue One AKA Rogue Leader and a new era began for the Rogues.

Though Luke Skywalker had been with them sporadically of late, his founding of the  squadron left with them an extra edge. Even among the Alliance, not everyone knew he’d stepped aside. His reputation added to the intimidation of flying against such a famous, lucky squadron long after he was gone.

Rogue Squadron, The Phantom Affair

Rogue Squadron, The Phantom Affair

X-Wing Rogue Squadron (DH)

Wedge reformed the Rogues with his few survivors: Tycho, Janson and Hobbie.   New members joined up, some left, and some died. They battled warlords and freed worlds from Brentaal 7 to Eiattu to Mrlsst.  They blazed away for a campaign to the Core Worlds. But the price was high in personnel.

X-Wing (N)

The old core group still survived, though Tycho was under a cloud of suspicion due to being compromised on a mission. The new appointees were excellent pilots but many were politically motivated. Thyferrans represented the Bacta cartel. Corellia was well represented by Wedge as well as newcomer, former CorSec officer Corran Horn. Gavin Darklighter, cousin to Biggs Darklighter who died over the first Death Star joined the team at the tender age of 16. These, among others, would dare to blaze the path to take the capital world without which the galaxy would not recognize the legitimacy of the New Republic.

XWing Rogue Squadron by Michael Stackpole, the first novel

XWing Rogue Squadron by Michael Stackpole, the first novel

Wraith Squadron (N)

During this time, Antillies took the lessons of the Rogues and made a complimentary group. Wraith’s had the commando skills plus piloting skills, just as the Rogues had pilot skills with a touch of commando. They partnered on missions and occasionally even exchanged members. Wedge temporarily took command of the Wraiths, leaving Tycho Celchu as Rogue One. Wes Janson went with Wedge to help set up the group.

Both groups served under General Han Solo’s Command in support of Warlord Zsinj. (Courtship of PL)
Once the Wraith’s were fully established Wedge again became Rogue One and Tycho, Rogue Two. Wes Janson rejoined and they added Kell Tainer, a pilot who had lost his nerve but regained it in the Wraiths.

Thrawn Trilogy (N, C)

The Rogues joined with founder Luke Skywalker and their former General Solo in skirting the provisional council’s authority as embodied in Politician Borsk Fey’lya in seeking to find the Katana fleet first. Only partially successful, they went on to take on the Bilbringi ship and were ambushed by Thrawn’s fleet. With help from the inside, they decimated the shipyards.

Dark Empire (C)

The Rogues with the rest of the New Republic were chased by Coruscant by a devastating surprise attack by the cloned Emperor. Wedge was forced once more out of the Rogue One position to lead as General from the command ships. The Rogues went on to do battle with new ships (E-Wings) in attempt to save Dac from the World Devastators.

I,Jedi/Jedi Academy (N)

Wedge had momentarily had enough of warfare and chose to lead in rebuilding the retaken Capital world of Coruscant, then aiding the attack on Maw Installation and acting as body guard for former Imperial Scientist Qwi zux.
Tycho remained as Rogue One while Rogue Squadron went in hot pursuit of the Warlord Admiral Tavira and her star destroyer, the Invidious, who they had tangled with not long after the Battle of Endor. During this time, Rogue Nine, Corran Horn, had the horrible sense of losing his wife, Mirax. Unable to get her whereabouts from General Cracken who had employed her on a mission, he took a break from the Rogues to join Luke Skywalker’s Jedi academy. From there he infiltrated the pirates who served her and helped bring down her supporters. During the infiltration, he actually found himself facing off against his own Rogue Squadron colleagues. Unaware he was undercover and flying with the enemy, he ended up fighting to survive the encounter with them without killing or being killed. Mirax’s rescue was the downfall of Tavira’s control over both the Invids (the pirate group) and the splinter group of Force sensitives aiding her (the Jensaraii). At this point, it allowed Corran to return as Rogue Nine. Luke Skywalker chose to give Tavira a taste of her own medicine, by helping the Rogues track her.

Thrawn Duology (N)

Once more with the Rogues, Wedge found himself on scene when an Imperial ship attempted to make contact with the New Republic. The attempt was sent my Admiral Pellaon in attempt to feel out the possibility of a truce, but foiled when another uncooperative Imperial swooped in, jamming them and tractored in the ship before escaping.

Meanwhile critical documents falling into the New Republic hands flamed the ashes of interspecies war with the bothans, revealing just enough data to confirm their involvement in a attempted genocide decades ago but without names of the actual criminals. Suspecting Imperial involvement, members of Rogues were sent to their world to look for spies seeking to lower the defense shields. They were close to success when they were forced to withdrawal. The New Republic had chosen attack an Imperial Ubiquorate base seeking the names of the Bothans to defuse the situation, and given it was impossible, of course they sent in the Rogues.

NJO Destinies Way

NJO Destinies Way

New Jedi Order (N)

By this time Tycho was a general and Gavin Darklighter was Rogue One. When the Yuuzhan Vong invaded, the mostly new members of the squadron found themselves rejoined by Corran Horn (now a full Jedi) and Jaina Solo (also a full Jedi). However political concerns and an injury forced Jaina out, while politics and duty to the Jedi once again forced out Corran. Nonetheless the Jedi (from the Rogues point of view) were considered allies. When the Core government fell, Wedge found himself once more in command as a General and even flying. He and the Rogues with Gavin as Rogue One helped keep a retreat passage open for the citizen’s fleeing the enemy advance.

Galactic Alliance Years

Legacy (N)

In this era, the New Republic had been reformed as the Galactic Alliance. At one point both Jaina Solo took a turn as Rogue One. However, Jacen Solo was increasingly becoming involved with politics and was sacrificing freedoms and the Jedi code in his determination to quash the rebelling Corellians. For the Rogues as well as the Skywalker – Solo clan, a division of loyalties would bring them to chaos.

The GA made the mistake of recalling the retired reserve officer Wedge Antillies to Coruscant, and placing him into custody. As a native Corellian they feared he would go over to the other side. In fact, he had already refused but being forced to escape, and seeing his own side betraying the freedom’s he had fought for, led him to join the Corellians.

Meanwhile flying under the Rogue banner for the GA was his own daughter, Syal Antillies.

Rogue One at the time was Lensi, who soon found himself pitted against one of the earliest Rogue One’s and bested in combat.

Tycho Celchu and Gavin Darklighter, both of whom also had at one time or another been Rogue One / Rogue Leader, found themselves caught between an increasingly out of control Jacen Solo and former Rogue founder Luke Skywalker, another former Rogue Leader in Jaina Solo, and Rogue Nine, Corran Horn, as the Jedi, realizing Jacen’s turn from the light, as well as the GA abuses of power, withdrew from the conflict in spite of Jacen’s threats.

Legacy (C)

Legacy by Dark Horse Comics Return of the Rogues

Legacy by Dark Horse Comics Return of the Rogues

Many generations of later the Rogues still flew under the GA, Rogue One Jhorham Bey was succeeded on his promotion by Anj Dahl. But both flew in very trying times. the One Sith Empire had come out of hiding and tricked the Fel Imperial Empire into betraying the truce with the Galactic Alliance. They saw massive action as the Sith attacked and virtually destroyed Dac, home of both Mon Calamari and Quarren.

Known Rogue Leaders usually flying as Rogue One:

  • Luke Skywalker
  • Wedge Antillies
  • Tycho Celchu
  • Corran Horn
  • Gavin Darklighter
  •  Jaina Solo
  • Lensi
  • Jhorham Bey
  • Anj Dahl
Influence on the Media

Rogue Squadron’s brief bit in The Empire Strikes Back opened them to a world of other media.

The video game Rogue Squadron also spawned Rogue Leader and various other sequels. The original game was created due to the popularity of the level playing as a Rogue in Shadows of the Empire.

The comics were spawned by the popularity of the novels, and had the same author.

 Corran Horn is created in Rogue Squadron stories, a pilot with a Jedi history and skills. He would appear in  many future novels and also star in his own popular novel, I, Jedi. His family history is explored further in the prequel era Clone Wars where Anakin Skywalker fights alongside his grandfather.

Mirax Terrik and Booster Terrik would go on to other future stories involving Rogue Squadron and the Jedi.

Winter was originally created as an aid to Princess Leia as well as Rebel Operative in the Thrawn trilogy. However, most stories after that in the timeline only show her as a nanny and the protector of the Solo children. The Rogue Squadron stories are the first to explore her role as an Intelligence operative.

Wraith Squadron was created as a commando equivalent of Rogue Squadron.

Wedge Antillies, Wes Janson and Hobbie Klivian, seen in the movies, are expanded upon and given full personalities, likes, dislikes and interests which carry over into all future (and past) adventures.

Biggs Darklighter, Jek Porkins and other previous pilots of Red Squadron, from which the Rogues were drawn, were expanded on both by the pilots memories and these stories, and the popularity of these which inspired the stories to be further fleshed out in their own comic book adventures. Darklighter in particular got his own comic book story arc in ‘Empire’. Hobbie Klivian also played a part in it.

Alderaan’s destruction is given even more personal impact, through the memories of both Winter (who has perfect recall) and Tycho (who was an Imperial whose family was on Alderaan when it was destroyed.)

Coruscant’s Defenses, which the Rogues are to bring down are a hint of what is involved in Revenge of the Sith when the General Grievious fleet attack the planet.

Bacta – The cure all of medicine, is hardly thought about until ‘The Bacta War’. Rogue Squadron introduces the politics of the Bacta creators and distributors. Much like any medicine, one takes it for granted when you  have it.  But from Medstar I series to the Republic Commando games, to the many tales of the New Republic, the substance and it’s lack can have serious affects.