Rand Ecliptic

Rogue Squadron

Rogue Squadron is a starfighter squadron in George Lucas's science fiction saga Star Wars. It first appeared in the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) as Red Squadron, the elite X-wing starfighter squadron that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is assigned to after joining the Rebel Alliance. The squadron appears in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) as Rogue Squadron. It is prominently featured in a comic book series, a nine-volume novel series, and several video games.

Following the Battle of Yavin Luke Skywalker is appointed commander of Red Squadron and reorganizes the group as Rogue Squadron. He envisions a group of pilots without a set mission profile, allowing the squadron to accept any mission. According to the Star Wars Encyclopedia, Rogue Squadron consists of "the best pilots and the best fighters. The squadron fights for the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic.

Appearances in Star Wars fiction

Red Squadron, the forerunner of Rogue Squadron, is first featured in A New Hope (1977) during the attack on the first Death Star. This appearance features many notable Rogue Squadron pilots, including Biggs Darklighter ("Red Three"), Jek Porkins ("Red Six"), Wedge Antilles ("Red Two"), and Luke Skywalker ("Red Five"). The squadron went on to appear in The Empire Strikes Back at the Battle of Hoth and in Return of the Jedi during the attack on the second Death Star.

However, the squadron was never a prominent feature of these films, and was rarely referred to as "Rogue Squadron" (rather, the "Red Squadron" designation is used). The X-wing comic series, written by Michael A. Stackpole and published by Dark Horse Comics, were the first works of Star Wars literature to focus on the adventures and exploits of the squadron. The comic series picked up with the reformation of the squadron after the Battle of Endor.

Stackpole went on to novelize the squadron's tale in his X-wing book series, which initially spanned four volumes. Stackpole is credited as the creator of the character Corran Horn, who later starred in his own first-person novel, I, Jedi, also written by Stackpole. Horn later became a popular character in the Expanded Universe, playing a major part in several New Jedi Order novels. By the time of the events of The New Jedi Order, Horn was a Jedi Knight and no longer a member of the squadron, but the Rogues are still a vital fighting force and command a presence in several of the New Jedi Order novels as well.

The squadron is also the focus of several video games: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, and Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike.

In the original Star Wars novel

In the original George Lucas novelisation, ‘Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker’, there are some differences to the film version. Squadrons are Yellow, Red, Green and Blue, with the pilots as follows:

  • Blue Leader - Dave
  • Blue Two - Wedge Antilles
  • Blue Three - Biggs Darklighter
  • Blue Four - Porkins / Piggy
  • Blue Five - Luke Skywalker
  • Blue Six - John D.
  • Blue Ten - not named
  • Blue Twelve - not named
  • Red Leader - Dutch
  • Red Two - Tiree
  • Red Five - Pops

Depiction

Red Squadron was essential to the destruction of the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin. After the battle, the squadron operated as two groups. The first was the Renegade Flight under Commander Narra, the squadron leader, and the second was the Rogue Flight under Luke Skywalker. As the Rogues became more autonomous, they became a group with no standing orders, ready any time or place for urgent missions that would arise. Their core was Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, Zev Senesca, and Wes Janson.

The Renegade Flight was eventually destroyed before the Battle of Hoth on an escort mission with a convoy carrying supplies for the Rebel Base. The Rogues on Hoth had now the burden to defend Echo Base although new pilots were already added to their roster, like Derek Klivian and Tycho Celchu. During the Battle of Hoth, the Rogues had to add many "guest" members into their squadron. The twelve snowspeeders of the Rogues gave the Rebels enough time to evacuate Echo Base and were destroyed later in the battle.

After the evacuation of Hoth, Antilles took command during the "unexplained" absence of Skywalker while he trained with Yoda at Dagobah. After the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Skywalker and Antilles formed a squadron of twelve units around the core group and the Rogue Squadron was formed. Antilles often commanded the squadron when Luke had important off-flight missions. One of Luke's last missions was the Battle of Gall against the Empire, in an attempt to capture the bounty hunters who had abducted Han Solo.

During the Battle of Endor, Rogue Squadron was dissolved and absorbed into the general fleet and Antilles took the role of Red Leader, in memory of the Battle of Yavin. After that, the squadron was hastily and temporarily reformed by Antilles with the best rebel pilots in order to defend the planet Bakura. Rogue Squadron was now a lean team of six units: Antilles, Janson, Klivian, Celchu, Plourr Ilo and Dllr Nep. One of the important missions during the New Republic's creation was the failed rescue mission of Sate Pestage, which bolstered the fame of New Republic.

Since Janson and Klivian moved on to train new pilots and squadrons, Antilles had to reinvent Rogue Squadron, now with pilots from a wide variety of planets, clearly for political reasons. This "new" Rogue Squadron destroyed some of the Imperial forces led by Ysanne Isard and contributed heavily to the retaking of Coruscant. After resigning from the Alliance military, the squadron fought in the Bacta War to retake the world of Thyferra from Isard.

During that time, Klivian led a temporary Rogue Squadron in the absence of the "true" Rogue Squadron. Upon their return from Thyferra, Antilles turned command over to Tycho Celchu and founded Wraith Squadron. Antilles commanded both squadrons against Warlord Zsinj and after that he returned to his command as Rogue Leader to battle against Thrawn, Krennel, Palpatine's clones and lead the team to other battles.

The squadron played a role in the Battle for Mon Calamari during Admiral Daala's campaign against the New Republic. Around this time, former squadron leader Luke Skywalker was teaching his first class of Jedi Knights, including Rogue Squadron member Corran Horn.

The squadron was led by Tycho Celchu after the campaign against Krennel, and was then led by Gavin Darklighter during the Yuuzhan Vong War. Later on during a brewing civil war within the Republic, the squadron would temporarily be led by Jaina Solo.

Notable pilots

Wedge Antilles

Although Luke Skywalker was the first commander of Rogue Squadron, Antilles is often considered the "face" of the squadron due to his tenure as its leader. Given his later prominence in the Expanded Universe, it is surprising that Antilles had a rather minimal role with few speaking lines in the original Star Wars films. His few appearances in the films are in A New Hope, in which he is ordered to retreat by Luke Skywalker; "Empire Strikes Back", when the Rebel Snowspeeders were attacking the Imperial AT-AT walkers; and Return of the Jedi, when he commands the squadron. In A New Hope, when facing the Death Star for the first time, he uttered the timeless phrase "Look at the size of that thing!"

In the original script for A New Hope, Antilles is the pilot that expresses his doubt that the pilots will be able to shoot a proton torpedo down the thermal exhaust port. However, impressed by Wedge's courageousness, many fans have decided to "retcon" this line to one of Hobbie Klivian's in the Expanded Universe.

Tycho Celchu

Celchu never appears by name in the original film series, although many fans attribute him as the A-wing pilot that acts as a decoy for Lando Calrissian during the attack run on the second Death Star. Celchu, however, plays a major role in Stackpole's X-wing series, and also appears in numerous other novels, all of which give him a rich character background. Celchu was an Imperial TIE fighter pilot that defected to the Rebel Alliance after his homeworld, Alderaan, was destroyed by the first Death Star, killing all of his immediate family and his fiancée. Celchu's Imperial past drives much of the plot of Stackpole's X-wing novels, as he is continually suspected of being an undercover Imperial agent. After the battle of Coruscant, Celchu was put on trial for treason and the murder of Corran Horn, but the prosecution dropped the case when Horn returned from the Lusankya.

Biggs Darklighter

Biggs Darklighter briefly appeared in A New Hope. Biggs was in the Battle of Yavin scene, where he joined Luke Skywalker and Luke's other wingman, Wedge Antilles, in their attack run on the first Death Star. Biggs was killed when Darth Vader fired upon him while he was flanking Luke down the Death Star trench.

Biggs had a larger role in earlier drafts of the script for the movie and several of the additional scenes appeared in the novelisation. His additional scenes include a conversation with Luke on Tatooine where Biggs tells Luke of his secret desire to join the Rebel Alliance despite his training at the Imperial Academy. This scene was deleted from A New Hope, but the book Inside the Worlds of the Star Wars Trilogy depicts the missing scene at Tosche Station. It can also be seen in its entirety on the Star Wars: Behind the Magic CD-ROM Encyclopedia. Biggs also showed up on Yavin 4 in the Rebel base hangar where he met Luke in a surprise encounter, just before the rebel ships took off to attack the Death Star. Biggs assured the rebel flight leader that Luke could handle the X-Wing fighters. This scene was reintroduced in the 1997 re-release of the film. However, a line in which the flight leader referred to Luke’s father and said that if he had his skill he would do fine remained on the cutting room floor.

He also has a larger role in the Expanded Universe on his way to the Alliance. According to the Dark Horse comic book, Biggs was a long time friend of Luke's on Tatooine. Biggs left Tatooine to be trained as an Imperial pilot. During this training he heard rumors of the Death Star from fellow trainees. After several months training he is assigned as first mate on the Imperial starship Rand Ecliptic, with an old enemy named Derek Klivian (nicknamed Hobbie) as second mate. He came back to visit Tatooine to tell his friends and family of his new assignment. He only tells Luke and his family of his hope to join the Rebel Alliance (the deleted scene from A New Hope is re-published in the comic book.) During the events of A New Hope, Biggs is planning a mutiny of the Rand Ecliptic, not realizing that several mutinies are being planned by several different groups. He joins forces with Hobbie, one of the leaders, and the two go AWOL to Yavin 4. Biggs becomes a part of the Alliance's missions to steal their first R2 units and X-wings, which they receive just days before the Battle of Yavin. Before going to battle, Biggs saves Hobbie's life by finding medicine for a strange disease Hobbie caught on Yavin 4, which the Rebellion did not have a cure for. Biggs died during the Battle of Yavin while flanking Luke's fighter. The New Republic later named a military base on Coruscant for him.

Kale Browne provided the voice of Biggs on the radio version.

Several games in the Final Fantasy series have a pair of minor characters named after Biggs and Wedge Antilles.

According to the fan film Deleted Magic, "The Darklighter" was one of the original names for Darth Vader.

Corran Horn

Corran Horn never appeared in any of the Star Wars films; rather, he was invented by writer Michael Stackpole for the X-wing series. However, Horn eventually became a major character in the Expanded Universe, starring in the novel I, Jedi, as well as several New Jedi Order novels (in which he is a Jedi Knight, not a Rogue Squadron pilot). Horn hails from Corellia, and originally worked as a security officer for CorSec before fleeing from the pursuit of Kirtan Loor, an Imperial intelligence officer. Horn became an accomplished pilot, and remained with the Rogues for some time after discovering his Force-sensitive heritage. He later trained to become a Jedi Knight after his wife was kidnapped in I, Jedi.

Wes Janson

A minor character in the original films, Janson only appears in The Empire Strikes Back in the role of Wedge Antilles' gunner at the Battle of Hoth. He manages to kill the first AT-AT, emphasized by a terse "Cable detached!" (preceded by "Cable out, let her go!", and Wedge's "Detach cable!"), his only speaking role in the films. Janson was brought to life by Aaron Allston in his installments in the X-wing series, although Janson in those novels is prominent as a member of Wraith Squadron, not Rogue Squadron. Janson also fought against the Yuuzhan Vong during the New Jedi Order series of novels, and kept an eye on Han Solo after the death of Chewbacca. He was known as a skilled pilot and an expert shot, and personality-wise is known to be a joker. In his early days as part of the Rebel Alliance was mainly a gunner in the two seated version of the Y-Wing because of his shooting ability. His first combat kill was New Republic pilot Kell Tainer's father during a botched mission where Doran was about to stray into an Imperial RADAR scan. Despite repeated attemptes to get him to change course, Janson was forced to shoot him down to save the rest of the squadron. In the Wraith Squadron Series he was the first to implement the saying "Yub Yub Commander." as a joke to Wedge after fooling him during the pilot interviews. The rest of the squadron soon followed and Wedge was hounded by it for many years to come.

Derek "Hobbie" Klivian

Klivian flies as Luke Skywalker's wingman during the Battle of Hoth. Originally doomed to die when his snowspeeder crashes into General Veer's walker, his life was spared after that scene from the fourth draft was cut. His first film appearance, however, was in Leia's briefing before the battle, when he questions the plan by rhetorically asking, "Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?" (although it should be noted this was originally supposed to be Wedge, and is Wedge in the script). In Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, it is said Hobbie is not only the most reckless pilot, he's also the luckiest, having crashed more fighters than all of Rogue Squadron, having come away from them unscathed. He's generally the most dour of all the pilots, having a bleak outlook on life.

Jek "Piggy" Porkins

Jek Porkins is a famously overweight Red Squadron pilot whose death is depicted in A New Hope when his X-wing is destroyed by the Death Star surface laser batteries. Another character trivial to the original trilogy, Porkins only gained prominence in the Expanded Universe literature, most notably Stackpole's X-wing series.

Dak Ralter

Dak Ralter is depicted in The Empire Strikes Back as Luke Skywalker's gunner. He was killed by a flak explosion from the AT-AT's heavy guns, and even if he did survive, the speeder was crushed moments later by the AT-AT. However, the same actor is part of an attack squadron above Endor. In the video game Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Luke Skywalker said that Dak "reminded him of a younger version of himself." He was the son of political prisoners.

Zev Senesca

Zev Senesca appears in The Empire Strikes Back, and is the pilot who locates Han Solo and Luke Skywalker after they get lost on Hoth at the beginning of the film. in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, he had been fighting longer than any other Rogues and had quite a few stories to tell. Like Dack, he joined the rebellion for personal and political reasons. He appears in The Return of the Jedi in the battle of Endor, flying an A-Wing; this after his speeder is shot down during the Battle of Hoth.

Kasan Moor

Kasan Moor appeared in the video game Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. She was an Imperial pilot in the 128th TIE Interceptor Squadron (known as "the best of the best") before her TIE fighter was disabled by a Gold Squadron Y-wing over the planet of Gerrard V. In fact, she offered to defect before landing. The reason behind this is because of her crumbling allegiance to the Empire for destroying her home world of Alderaan. Because the game's story line take place after A New Hope but before The Empire Strikes Back, it is unknown what became of Kasan Moor, although she must have survived the Battle of Endor, because she is present in a mission that takes place after the movies.

Crix Madine

Crix (pronounced "cricks") Madine is an Imperial officer who defects to the rebellion in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. Though not an official member, Crix often flew in assistance positions like in shuttles and helped in attack coordination. Briefly appears in Return of the Jedi as the Rebel Command officer who briefs the pilots before the attack on the 2nd Death Star. Madine later made the rank of General in the intelligence community. He died assaulting a super-weapon in the novel Darksaber.

Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker's debut with the Rebel Alliance came as Red Five at the Battle of Yavin, as portrayed in the film A New Hope. His career with Rogue Squadron was long and distinguished, but by the time of Return of the Jedi, he was focusing on his training as a Jedi Knight, and rarely flew with the squadron anymore. The last mission of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, which takes place 6 years after Return of the Jedi, shows that Luke is no longer in command, and that Wedge takes over.

Gavin Darklighter

Gavin Darklighter joined Rogue Squadron at 16 years of age and quickly proved to be a more than capable pilot. He became fast friends with Corran Horn, who helped him out of a situation where he was the "worst" pilot in the squadron. Darklighter was wounded during the Imperial invasion of Talasea in the Morobe system. During the Battle of Coruscant, Gavin became emotionally involved with Asyr Sei'Lar, a Bothan who would later join Rogue Squadron. Gavin was promoted to the rank of Captain after the death of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and after the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion was given command of Rogue Squadron.

References

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