Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr This year marks the 40th anniversary since the release of the original STAR WARS film on May 25th, 1977. This month, writers at ComicsVerse will be bringing you our insights on all things STAR WARS as we look at where the series has been and where it will take us next in the galaxy far, far away… Welcome to the STAR WARS Character Spotlight. To the Star Wars fans who only know the movies: you’re missing out. There are hundreds of characters, planets, and stories just waiting for you in a galaxy far, far away that you have yet to discover. From books and comics to TV shows and video games, there’s a ton of canon material ripe for the picking. READ MORE: Interested in the Expanded Universe? Learn more about why Lucasfilm went in another direction with THE FORCE AWAKENS! Unfortunately, some of my favorite characters are no longer canon. There are even more characters that have influenced and shaped STAR WARS if you check out the Legends Universe, previously called the Expanded Universe. In the wealth of material produced and authorized by Lucasfilm, there are stories and characters galore to suit any taste. So in this edition of Character Spotlight, we’re going to revisit a familiar face — starfighter pilot Wedge Antilles. However, while Wedge does appear in the movies, he has a whole lot more living to do behind the scenes. We’re going to explore the Legends Wedge Antilles and how awesome he is. Canon Wedge Wedge first appears in A NEW HOPE; he’s a snarky starfighter pilot who participates in the attack on the Death Star. He pilots an X-Wing in Red Squadron with Luke Skywalker. In the trenches, Wedge provides back-up for Luke alongside Biggs Darklighter, Luke’s friend from Tatooine. Wedge gets hit (but not killed) and has to abandon the run — “you’re not doing any good back there” — thereby surviving the Death Star attack. Movie wedge is played by Denis Lawson. Wedge reappears in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in the Battle of Hoth. He and his gunner Wes Janson down the first AT-AT using harpoons and tow cables. In RETURN OF THE JEDI, Wedge once again faces an attack on a Death Star. He leads Rogue Squadron in this attack, and once again survives. Wedge is the only person to take part in both Death Star runs. But what about after RETURN OF THE JEDI? Surviving two Death Star runs is a piece of cake compared to what Wedge faces next. Un-Canon Wedge In the no-longer canon Legends Universe, Wedge is a major player in galactic events. He is a hero for his part in the Rebellion, something that does not settle well with him. After RETURN OF THE JEDI, there is still a lot of work to do to eradicate the Empire. The New Republic government reestablishes Rogue Squadron, with Wedge as the head. Their adventures are the basis of the X-Wing novel series. CLICK: Do you love A NEW HOPE? So do we! Read why ComicsVerse thinks A NEW HOPE is the best STAR WARS movie! The new Rogue Squadron is as much a political entity as it is military. The government fills the squadron ranks with pilots from important planets and uses Wedge’s status as a hero to project a message of strength and unity. Wedge fights hard to get his own pick of pilots for the squadron because he knows that “strength and unity” won’t protect his pilots in battle. Notable members include Corran Horn (stay tuned for the next Character Spotlight) and Gavin Darklighter, the cousin of Biggs Darklighter. Wedge also fights to have Tycho Celchu in an administrative role. He would prefer Tycho as a pilot, but he is being investigated for collusion with the Empire due to his imprisonment in Lusankya, a prison famous for creating sleeper agents. Wedge fights tooth and nail to protect and advocate for Tycho. Wedge’s fierce loyalty to his friends is one of his most redeeming qualities. However, I also love Wedge’s character as a whole — he is incredibly talented, a good mentor, witty, and has just the right amount of cockiness as a starfighter pilot. Gus Treta Wedge is, of course, from Corellia, like Han Solo. Corellians are known for both skill and ego. Wedge grew up at the Gus Treta Fueling Station, where his parents worked. Pilots from all over the galaxy and all walks of life come to Gus Treta, and Wedge learns about the galaxy from the best teachers. One guest who comes frequently is Booster Terrik, a smuggler. Booster’s daughter Mirax is around the same age as Wedge, and would sometimes stay at Gus Treta while her father went on dangerous missions. Wedge’s childhood is safe and interesting. His parents dreamed of owning their own fueling station, and Wedge shared their ambitions. Tragedy strikes when the fueling station catches fire after a pirate band takes off too close. Wedge’s parents were killed, and he was left with no home. He had a sister, Syal, but she had left to become a holo star, and he was not in contact with her. Wedge watches as Gus Treta is destroyed. Booster took Wedge in and raised him alongside Mirax, learning the tools of the trade. Wedge becomes a flash pilot, and eventually, kills the pirates who destroyed Gus Treta. He begins smuggling for the Rebellion, and the rest is (non-canon) history. Rogue Squadron Wedge and the new Rogue Squadron embark on many adventures. Wedge continues to butt heads with bureaucratic interference, and it ends up costing lives when an ill-advised mission goes through. However, with Corran’s help, Wedge can strike back at the Imperials and ends up conquering a planet with much-needed resources. Their success only ends up fueling the legendary status of Rogue Squadron. At the same time, the de facto head of the Empire, Intelligence Director Ysanne Isard (nicknamed “Iceheart”) has her sights set on eradicating Rogue Squadron from the galaxy. She believes that the only way to restore the Empire is first to decimate the New Republic. She sets an old enemy of Corran’s, Kirtan Loor, on the case. Corran’s victory overshadows Loor’s initial success. Isard brings Loor to Coruscant (“Imperial Center”) where he begins work on a dastardly project: supervising General Derricote as he engineers a deadly bio virus. READ: Is Isard the new Darth Vader? Read about how the new canon provides insight into what makes Darth Vader such a compelling bad guy! Of course, now that Rogue Squadron is achieving success, they are put on dangerous missions. They receive the most dangerous mission of all: taking back Coruscant from the Imperials. Coruscant is protected by massive energy shields that must be lowered to launch an aerial attack. It is Rogue Squadron’s mission to reduce the shields without destroying them. No sweat, right? Coruscant Rogue Squadron teams are inserted individually and in disguise. Each group gets its own mission, and they are not supposed to interact — until Wedge’s group is approached by Mirax Terrik. Mirax had brought some of the squadron into Coruscant, but her exit identity was blown. Worried that the entire mission may be compromised, she seeks out Wedge. Wedge’s intelligence liaison, Iella Wessiri, is suspicious of Mirax but does acknowledge that they should check in on the mission. Wedge, front and center. Everyone’s mission seems to go wrong at the same time, and they end up congregating in the bowels of Coruscant to concoct a plan. Wedge gets into an argument with Corran, who has suspicions about Tycho. Meanwhile, the virus begins to spread; it was designed only to infect non-humans, spreading discord in the New Republic. The squadron eventually comes up with a crazy plan — they will disable the shields by creating a severe thunderstorm. In a dazzling battle, the squadron brings their crazy plan to fruition just as a New Republic fleet drops out of lightspeed. Against all the odds, they have succeeded — they take Coruscant. Rogue Squadron’s reputation grows even higher, but it came at a cost. Imperials take control of Corran’s fighter, and he crashed into a large housing building. The rubble makes it impossible even to find a body. The Trial of Tycho Celchu Tycho is investigated as the cause of Corran’s death. Wedge adamantly insists that Tycho is innocent, and stands by his side. Wedge is faced with political resistance. The trial is a focus point for a government in chaos. It’s also difficult for Wedge personally. When the prosecutor makes Wedge feel stupid on stand, he regrets his ineptitude with diplomacy. Wedge also faces the difficulty of his own emotions. Working for the prosecution is Iella, who had once been Corran’s police partner. During their time undercover, Wedge developed an admiration for Iella and thinks that he may pursue a relationship with her. The trial only increases his admiration; her loyalty to Corran mirrors his for Tycho. Iella also shows no satisfaction in prosecuting Tycho and is tireless in seeking the truth even if it contradicts what she thinks is true. Tycho Celchu is one of Wedge’s closest friends. However, when Wedge seeks out Iella to ask her to dinner, he gets a shock: Iella’s husband has returned from the dead. Diric Wesseri is an interesting and engaging man, and Wedge finds himself liking the man despite his smarting ego. The end of this story provides shock after shock. Kirtan Loor attempts to defect but is killed by Diric, who had been a sleeper agent from Lusankya. Iella is forced to kill Diric. Corran is not dead after all and had been a prisoner of Isard in her infamous Lusankya prison, the same as Tycho. Tycho is innocent, and Corran’s fighter had been sabotaged by a woman in the squadron whom he had scorned. The woman, Erisi Dlarit, has been an Imperial agent from the start. Wraith Squadron Isard has been on Coruscant the whole time, in Lusankya, which turns out to be a Super Star Destroyer buried under the planet’s surface. She blasts her way out, causing millions of deaths. Isard and Erisi flee to Thyferra, which produces almost all the galaxy’s bacta. Corran intends to pursue Isard, having promised the other Lusankya prisoners that he will free them. When bureaucratic nonsense stops him, he and the whole squadron resign on the spot. Wedge, whose identity is wrapped up in his military status, is at a loss. However, he does know one thing for certain: Isard must be stopped. The Rogues can defeat Isard at Thyferra through guerilla tactics. They coordinate with on-the-ground resistance forces to assault Thyferran high command, including Erisi. They also work with Booster to procure weapons; Booster ends up taking charge of the space station they are working out of. Booster uses his connections in the smuggling world to create the illusion that the space station is armed to the teeth. Thus when Imperials attack the station, Booster can bluff them into surrendering. The Wraith Squadron official logo. The Rogues’ defeat of Isard sends their reputation sky high. Wedge is less concerned with their reputation than the success of their unconventional tactics. His unit was able to bring about great results, but they could have been better prepared. He approaches Admiral Ackbar (of RETURN OF THE JEDI fame) to create a new squadron which will focus on unique skills. Wedge explains that he does not want pilots who can also serve as insertion agents, he wants insertion agents that can also serve as pilots. He also explains that he wants wash-outs, people who are about to be drummed out for various reasons. These pilots are given a last chance in the new squadron. The Wraiths Ackbar is incredibly hesitant about this plan but makes Wedge a deal: if Ackbar finds them operational and successful, he will give his blessing. If the plan fails, though, Wedge must take a promotion to General, which would limit his time in a fighter. Wedge reluctantly accepts; creation of the squadron is more important than his individual happiness. Ackbar points out that this thinking means he is already in the mindset of a general. Wedge gets his rag-tag agents of chaos. They name themselves Wraith Squadron. Wedge’s second in command is Wes Janson, who is incurably immature (in the best way). He constantly pranks Wedge and makes jokes at his expense. The entire squadron falls in line with this setting. The stories are incredibly funny, witty one-liners and goofy jokes galore. They are definitely worth the read. The weirdest bunch of pilots you could find. All of the Wraiths are individuals, and each have their strengths. Kell Tainer is a demolitions expert with huge performance issues and an intense hatred of Janson. Tyria Sarkin is a failed Jedi-wannabe, who is pursued by the male members of the squadron for her beauty. “Face” Loran is a former child holo star who regrets his involvement in Imperial propaganda. Ton Phanan is a medic who is allergic to bacta and increasingly mechanical. “Piggy” is a Gamorrean that has been bio-engineered to have higher than human intelligence. Myn Donos is particularly interesting. Just before the forming of Wraith Squadron, he had been a lieutenant in charge of his own squadron, Talon Squadron. His squadron was ambushed following false information planted by Imperial Intelligence officer Gara Petothel, on the orders of Admiral Trigit. Myn, also a Corellian, entirely loses his spirit. He is on a mission of vengeance against Trigit and Petothel. Zsinj The Wraiths are given the task of defeating Warlord Zsinj. They are told to think outside the lines and create new tactics. They end up impersonating an Imperial officer on a cruiser they capture. Wraith Squadron can learn more about Zsinj’s activities from the inside. They are also later able to set a trap that destroys Trigit’s Star Destroyers, though Zsinj and his Super Star Destroyer Iron Fist escape. Myn feels a little better. Their original plan over, the Wraiths now seek a new tactic. This time, they impersonate a pirate band. They also receive new members to replace those lost in the battle against Trigit. One, in particular, is surprising — Gara Petothel had abandoned Trigit when he attempted to sacrifice his ship to save himself. She ends up undercover on Coruscant when she is approached by Face to engage in subterfuge to help Tyria. Her reward for her aid is to join Wraith Squadron, and she plans to use this position to earn a place with Zsinj. READ: Want to read more about Zsinj? You can check out more in the piece titled, “You’ve Never Heard Of Anything As Cool As The Force-Witches of Dathomir” Fate likes to play games sometimes, so Gara, under the name Lara Notsil, attracts the interest of Myn Donos. Myn is still determined to avenge Talon Squadron by killing Gara. Gara, who had been indoctrinated by Imperial Intelligence from a very young age, starts to break with her training. She momentarily forgets what her real identity is, and realizes she does not want to be Gara anymore. She decides to forgo the Empire and become Lara for real. Lara and Myn begin a relationship, though it is rocky at first. Both are incredibly damaged people. Solo Command Wedge is sometimes overwhelmed by the Wraiths and their merry leader Janson. Whenever they do something incredibly brilliant or incredibly stupid, he questions his judgment. He also remarks that they make him feel old. Although Wedge is proud of what he has achieved with Wraith Squadron, he feels more at home with Rogue Squadron. He remarks that he can’t be simply another pilot with the Wraiths. He returns to the command of the Rogues, but still commands and works with the Wraiths as well. Han, now General Solo, is in charge of a massive attack force dedicated to eradicating Zsinj. Wedge is always ready for battle. Things aren’t going so well. Zsinj is everywhere, and Han is having a hard time getting what he needs to win. He is being worn down. Wedge is a good friend of Han’s, so they frequently talk about the “old” days of the Rebellion. To cheer Han up, Wedge stages a ship-wide “mutiny.” For 24 hours, everyone on board Han’s ship Mon Remonda eschews their ranks and congregate altogether. They make merry, make connections, and overall recharge. A fresh and new Solo Command emerges from the mutiny, ready to take down Zsinj. Unfortunately, Lara’s cover is soon blown, and Myn attempts to murder her. She flees to Zsinj and pretends to be loyal, while secretly plotting sabotage. Lara’s plan allows Solo Command to ambush a sabotaged Iron Fist. In the battle, Lara flies her X-Wing out to help Wedge when he is ambushed. Her fighter is destroyed, and Wedge lists her as deceased. Soon after, Myn gets a message from “Kirney Slane,” an old acquaintance who wants to reconnect. Han proudly accuses Wedge of lying. To Wedge, the happiness of his people is more important than anything. Malaise After defeating Zsinj, the Wraiths are disbanded and reformed as an Intelligence squad. Wedge returns to the Rogues, finally accepting a promotion. At the ensuing party, a former Lusankya prisoner approaches Corran and dies spectacularly from poison. The Rogues know that it is a challenge. LEARN: Rogue Squadron is NOT the same thing as ROGUE ONE! Learn more about the movie here! On the hunt for the remaining prisoners, the Rogues are captured in Imperial space. They are shocked to learn that not only is Isard alive, but that a rogue clone of hers is colluding with Prince-Admiral Krennell. Isard offers the Rogues her help to defeat the clone in return for securing her amnesty so that she can retire peacefully. The Rogues anticipate a betrayal but have no choice but to accept. Isard does double-cross them, but they are able to rescue the prisoners. Isard is defeated by Booster, Mirax, and Iella, who has the satisfaction of killing the woman who had tortured her husband. As the last remnants of the Empire are washed up, Wedge begins to feel malaise. He considers taking a vacation but is approached for a diplomatic mission. The New Republic is trying to enlist Adumar, an Outer Rim planet that mass produces weaponry the New Republic needs. Wedge wants to refuse, he is not a diplomat, but he knows what a difference the production could make. Adumar worships pilots, and they want to speak to the most famous pilot of all — Wedge Antilles. Adumar Wedge enlists Tycho, Janson, and Hobbie Klivian to go with him. They find a bloodthirsty people and a planet with no central government. There are signs that Intelligence isn’t telling Wedge everything. Worse, the Empire has sent their famous pilots to entice Adumar. And, unexpectedly, Iella Wessiri is on-planet. After encountering the mad reverence for pilots on Adumar, Wedge and his group begin to doubt the wisdom of the planet joining the New Republic. The Adumari pilots have no value for life and show no hesitation to kill each other in simple exercises, not even in battle. The Imperials cheerfully kill any Adumari pilot who challenges them, but Wedge insists on using simulated weapons. This makes for trouble with the Diplomatic Corps. The diplomatic liaison directly insists that Wedge begins fighting for real, and Wedge asks for written orders. Wedge faces a crisis. He cannot fight the Adumari pilots and kill needlessly. If the orders come through, he will resign. He does not know what he would do. Wedge is New Republic military. He’s not the kid he was; he wouldn’t be content running a fueling station. He goes to Iella, to ask if she can get him a direct line to his commanding officer so he can present his side of the story. Her orders trap Iella. Wedge and Iella. Wedge goes to leave, confident that he is about to lose everything. In a flash moment of certainty, he knows one thing — he can lose his commission, but he can’t lose Iella. They had drifted apart over the years, but Wedge had never stopped admiring her. At some point, it had turned to love. She admits that she loves him too, but they need to get past Adumar before anything can start. They part, Wedge rejuvenated.Success The diplomatic liaison, frustrated by Wedge’s noncompliance, betrays him. Adumari pilots line up to murder him and his crew. They are forced to flee to a neighboring country. The nation they left was the most powerful on the planet and has now declared war on the rest of the nations. Wedge ends up leading a battle force from many smaller nations, and are ultimately successful. The Imperials, seeing that they will not win their prize, leave with the plans of bringing a force back to destroy the planet. The warring nations must come to a quick cease-fire and cobble together some form of government that will allow them to join the New Republic. They manage to do so, and the New Republic is able to fend off the Imperial force. Not only has Wedge succeeded in getting Adumar to join the New Republic, but he has also done so in a way that taught them respect for life and allowed him to vanquish Imperials. Even better, it allowed him to reconcile with Iella. The two plan to marry, and Wedge finally knows what he needs to make himself happy. It’s not a fueling station. It’s not an X-Wing or a New Republic military rank. What makes him happy is family.