There’s even a shout out to the expanded universe.
Star Wars Rebels has really been trying to integrate itself into the greater Star Wars canon over the course of this new season. Not only have they brought in characters from Clone Wars such as Ahsoka, Rex, and Hondo, they’ve been drawing on the era of the original films for story material. The latest of these stories was “Wings of the Master,” which gave us the new timeline’s genesis of the B-Wing starfighter.
But aside from using the B-wing, there were actually a few Easter eggs in the episode that called back to films and even behind the scenes Star Wars material. What are they, you ask? Well, we’re here to tell you.
A Mon Calamari with a vision
In the expanded universe canon, Admiral Ackbar was the one who developed the B-Wing, with the fighter being introduced into the Rebel Alliance’s starfighter corps after the Battle of Hoth. Here, the B-Wing is developed by a Mon Calamari named Quarrie.
The name is a nod to famed Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, who created the visual style of what would become the galaxy far, far away. Though the B-Wing was designed by Joe Johnston and Bill George for Return of the Jedi, its famous debut was a Ralph McQuarrie painting showing it blowing up a Star Destroyer:
The name of the planet where Quarrie is developing a B-Wing prototype, Shantipole, is no accident. In the expanded universe, Shantipole was a research station on an asteroid in the Roche system where the B-Wing was being developed under then Commander Ackbar’s supervision. When the Empire discovered the research project, they blockaded the system, but the rebel broke the blockade with their B-Wing prototypes.
Yup, the entire plot of the episode was inspired by the expanded universe. The X-Wing game has a B-Wing mission where you can play through the scenario. If you’re curious, here’s a playthrough of the mission:
Hera Syndulla, the Rocketeer
If you found Hera’s story behind her desire to fly and her first ride in the B-Wing very emotional, we’re not surprised. They were heavily inspired by the criminally underrated Joe Johnston directed movie The Rocketeer. Yup, the same Joe Johnston that designed the B-Wing. It’s all come full circle!
In fact, you may have noticed the music during Hera’s test flight was very familiar to those who have seen the film. That’s because the music was almost note-for-note the theme to The Rocketeer composed by James Horner.
It looks like “Wings of the Master” found inspiration in all the right places to turn in a very emotionally satisfying episode of TV. Here’s hoping next episode will be a winner for Sabine as well.