Since Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, they’ve put a lot of effort into revitalizing the franchise. Obviously, the main saga has been wildly successful for them, but Disney wanted more. So they’ve expanded past the Skywalker saga with stand-alone hits like ROGUE ONE and the upcoming SOLO. But now, as they start discussing TV possibilities, I’d like to offer up a suggestion: adapt the X-Wing books.

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While it’s unlikely that Disney would choose this direction, it wouldn’t be a bad choice. The X-Wing books tell a good story that would more than fill a TV series — even multiple seasons. Bringing in Expanded Universe material would appeal to old EU fans. At the same time, it would be easy to use the material without contradicting the new canon. There’s already a ready-made story. So why not?

The X-Wing Series

The X-Wing series of books are a part of the Expanded Universe. Published in the late 1990s, the books continue the story after RETURN OF THE JEDI. While JEDI leaves viewers with the impression that everything is settled now that Luke Skywalker defeated the Emperor, these novels look to the truth: starting a new government isn’t easy, and killing a leader doesn’t necessarily kill a movement.

Set approximately seven years after Endor, the X-Wing books follow Wedge Antilles. Wedge is a pilot in the movies, who survived both Death Star attacks. He is now tasked with restarting Rogue Squadron, the famous fighter pilots. He pushes back against political pressure. The government wants Rogue Squadron to be a symbol of the reborn New Republic. Wedge just wants them to survive.

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Image courtesy of Lucasfilm.

Over the course of the books, Wedge and his new squadron have to fight against the remnants of the Empire. Particularly scary is Ysanne Isard, the former head of Imperial Intelligence. Isard, nicknamed “Iceheart” for her terrifying demeanor, is now in charge and blames the Rebellion for killing the Emperor. She sets about systematically destroying the New Republic, especially Rogue Squadron.

Wedge must weather all number of challenges, from friend and foe alike. His squadron finds their place in the galaxy, but surprise twists shake things up. In the end, Rogue Squadron is successful in liberating galactic capital planet Coruscant. The war is by no means over, but they’ve won a key victory and are one step closer to success.

Why X-Wing?

If Disney is looking for material that they can adapt into a long-running, successful TV series, the X-Wing books are an obvious choice. STAR WARS brings a wide-reaching galactic atmosphere that they can work with. But the X-Wing books find a delicate balance between the overarching world and the stories of actual people who live there.

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Done right, an X-Wing TV series could potentially rival GAME OF THRONES for scope and interest. That seems to be the driving force in television right now if Amazon’s attempts to secure the Tolkien world are any hint. Why waste the time and effort creating new material from scratch when Disney has a ready-made world to adapt in the X-Wing books?

New Characters

Wedge may be the connection to the movies, but he’s far from the only main character. We could easily follow numerous characters throughout the show to create a diverse plot. Wedge is an obvious choice. He’s an easy connection to the original series, but he wasn’t so developed that he wouldn’t be interesting. Plus, Wedge brings in opportunities to show familiar characters, as he is still in contact with old friends.

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Image courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Corran Horn is introduced in the X-Wing books and becomes a fairly major character. He’s a skilled pilot who used to work with the Corellian Security Force. He can be a bit uptight, but over the course of the series learns to trust his squadmates and let loose a little. Corran also learns that he is the grandson of a former Jedi, and eventually leaves Rogue Squadron to train as a Jedi.

Tycho Celchu provides an element of intrigue. A former hero of the Rebellion, Tycho was captured by Imperials and brought to Isard’s famous Lusankya prison. As all former Lusankya prisoners turned out to be sleeper agents, Tycho faces a lot of suspicions. He is constantly haunted by doubt and must prove his innocence.

Isard herself makes a well-developed villain. She’s cruel but brilliant. She inspires both loyalty and fear in her subjects. She’s also a master manipulator who uses her tools wisely to undermine the New Republic’s every move. Every series needs a good villain, and Isard would definitely deliver.

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Besides these major options, there are tons of minor characters that would be fun to see. The other pilots in Rogue Squadron are interesting. There’s a 16-year-old who would appeal to young viewers and provide a Bildungsroman story. Isard has cruel, corrupt henchmen, including one with a personal vendetta against Corran. There are plenty of options.

Galactic Scope

The best thing about STAR WARS is its setting. There is an entire galaxy to see and learn about. The many planets we’ve already seen in the films are a drop in the bucket, and there’s a lot we can still play around with. While a lot of the Rogue Squadron books focus on Coruscant and the New Republic’s efforts to control it, there are plenty of other places to visit.

Training for Rogue Squadron takes place in a hidden base. Their first mission involves going to the planet Borleais. When Isard is chased off of Coruscant, she flees to Thyferra, the planet which produces bacta. Thyferra is a tropical world with interesting plant-life that would make a fun setting for a TV show.

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Image courtesy of LucasArts.

There’s more to explore than just new planets, though. The X-Wing books introduce a lot of alien characters who would be fun to see brought to life. STAR WARS has always been great about bringing strange alien creatures to the big screen, so why not the small screen?

Since Rogue Squadron is meant to be a symbol of the inclusive New Republic, there are many alien pilots. Past favorites like Twi’lek and Bothans are joined by new species like Gand and Shistavanen. Given that Shistavanens are wolfmen, who wouldn’t want to see that on screen? There’s a lot we could potentially see. STAR WARS’ strength has always been its willingness to get weird… so let’s get weird.

Potential Spin-Off

Of course, if something is successful there’s always going to be interest in expansion. Why slaughter the golden calf, after all? Disney has already shown a willingness to milk STAR WARS to death. So why not choose a property that already has a built-in spin-off?

The fifth book (of nine) in the X-Wing books starts telling a new story. After Rogue Squadron’s success in liberating Coruscant, Wedge asks permission to form a new squadron. He wants people with other skills besides piloting. He also asks for rejects and wash-outs from other squadrons. The haphazard group he puts together name themselves Wraith Squadron.

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Image courtesy of Lucasfilm.

The three Wraith Squadron books are honestly my favorites of the whole series. And that’s saying something because all those books are good. Wraith Squadron allows for some serious fun. The books are written by a different author from the earlier books, Aaron Allston. He presents a view of these pilots as sarcastic, funny, quirky, and occasionally even heartfelt.

Wraith Squadron could be a part of a larger X-Wing series, or it could get its own spin-off. Although it disbands after three books, they continue as an Intelligence unit. The show could follow their adventures — which also allows for more creative control. Part procedural, part thriller, all fun? It’d be a waste to discard this material.

Genre Appeal

Obviously, STAR WARS is considered primarily a science fiction/fantasy story. Although there are overt connections to Westerns, the majority of the space opera is sci-fi. But an X-Wing series could play around a lot more with different genres. Still sci-fi — still set in space, after all — but there’s some serious wiggle room.

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Image courtesy of Lucasfilm.

Romance! Who doesn’t love romance? Especially star-crossed lovers? An X-Wing series could play around with Corran’s romance from the books. He meets an attractive pilot and is interested, but she’s a smuggler and he’s a (former) space cop. Plus, her dad and his dad were mortal enemies. How will they reconcile their pasts to achieve a happy future? Stay tuned to find out! (Or, you know, read the books. They’re worth it.)

War! The success of ROGUE ONE proves that fans are willing to see STAR WARS movies that focus in on that “war.” Since they focus on a squadron of fighter pilots, the X-Wing books would be a good starting point for a more battle-focused show. Plus, Corran ends up captured by the enemy and must fight his way free. Talk about inspiring.

Mystery! The saga of Tycho Celchu and who is the traitor within Rogue Squadron provides endless opportunities for intrigue. Political drama! Watching Wedge try to play the system to make the best squadron, while hampered by political agendas, shows how the New Republic falls prey to typical politicians. Tragedy! Isard commits genocide against the alien inhabitants of Coruscant. Comedy! Wraith Squadron is always good for a laugh.

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With so many different potential approaches, the creators could make an X-Wing show whatever they wanted.

Never Tell Me The Odds

Of course, it’s incredibly unlikely we’ll see an X-Wing TV series. Disney has so far shown a strong inclination to throw out all of the EU canon. So it’s unlikely that they’ll take a chance on this series. They seem concerned with creating their own content, which personally seems like a waste, but you can’t argue with the success of ROGUE ONE.

On the other hand, never say never. The most recent news is that Jon Favreau’s series will be set seven years after Yavin, which is the setting for X-Wing. Word is the show will focus on the early beginnings of the First Order; why not show it starting through Isard’s machinations? Sure, the going discussion is that it will be entirely new material. But there’s no reason they can’t take inspiration from the EU.

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I’m assuming I’ll never get the X-Wing show of my dreams. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it. I’ve always loved these books; they’re some of the most “well-loved” on my shelf. And I’m a huge fan of Favreau. Given what he managed to do with IRON MAN, I’m sure he could do justice to an adaptation. There’s so much here that could lead to some great TV: great material, great direction.

Sadly, Disney never calls me to get my opinion. I know, I’m just as shocked as you are. But, if enough of us ask for it, maybe someday we’ll see some action? (Hopelessly naive, I know.) Whatever we get, though, I’m still happy to see STAR WARS up and running — even if it isn’t always precisely what I want to see.

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