Star Wars is going through a state of transition. For twenty years, an Expanded Universe of novels, comics, and games have supplemented the films and TV shows to create an incredibly deep and detailed Star Wars universe. Soon after Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, however, they wiped the canon slate clean, saying they would no longer adhere to the stories of the Expanded Universe in order to have the greatest creative freedom with their new Star Wars films starting with The Force Awakens.
But with the new films, so comes new books, comics, and games in a new continuity to replace the old one. So, what is canon and what isn’t anymore? After twenty years, are these the same characters and planets we’ve always known and loved? Is it even the same universe? Well, in our new column Canon Catch-Up, we’re here to answer those questions and set the record straight.
Today, we’re discussing Rogue Squadron.
Take it from the top. What is Rogue Squadron?
So, what’s the deal with Rogue Squadron in the new continuity?
Without the Expanded Universe, we have painfully little information to go off of. Everything in the section above and on screen moments in The Battle of Hoth covers what we know: they were led by Luke Skywalker (and later Wedge Antilles) on Hoth, where they piloted Snowspeeders to defend the fleeing inhabitants of Echo Base against an Imperial siege led by AT-ATs before escaping in X-Wings.
That’s it. There’s nothing else about them in any of the supplementary material produced thus far.
What about Rogue Squadron in the old Expanded Universe?
In the old EU, Rogue Squadron was an elite Rebel starfighter squadron born from some of the survivors of Red Squadron (namely Luke and Wedge) in A New Hope‘s Battle of Yavin. Under Luke Skywalker’s command, they played an integral role in several battles in the Galactic Civil War including the Battles of Hoth and Endor. As Luke perused his Force abilities to become a Jedi Knight, he spent less time in the cockpit and Wedge became the squadron’s prime commander.
The squadron took heavy losses during the Battle of Endor, but was officially reformed about two years later under the banner of the New Republic by Wedge with Endor veteran Tycho Celchu as his second in command. Rogue Squadron’s membership changed often over the years, but it’s core members were often comprised of Corran Horn, Wes Janson, and Hobbie Klivian among others.
Over the next few years, Rogue Squadron fought a number of campaigns against the Imperial Remnant, including the capture of Coruscant, the Battle of Borleias, an ongoing conflict with ex-Imperial Intelligence Director Ysanne Isard, The Thrawn Conflict, and The Bacta War.
Later, Wedge gave formal command of Rogue Squadron over to Tycho in order to focus his attention of founding Wraith Squadron, a hybrid starfighter/commando unit made of psychologically unstable pilots that had washed out of the military but possessed essential skills for very particular missions.
Eventually, both Wedge and Tycho both moved up the command chain, leaving Rogue Squadron in the hands of younger pilots such as Gavin Darklighter, cousin of Biggs Darklighter who died at the Battle of Yavin.
What does this tell us about the new continuity?
The one thing the Expanded Universe emphasized was that the Rogues were an elite group of pilots kept together by Wedge Antilles. It’s impossible to say if they’re going to keep that, as Wedge’s onscreen actor Dennis Lawson refused to return for The Force Awakens. However, given the popularity of the Rogues, it’s unlikely they’re gone forever. In fact, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that the X-wing Squadron that Poe Dameron leads in The Force Awakens is related to the Rogues in some way. Could he be Wedge’s successor?
Meanwhile, we have Rogue One, which simply has to be connected to the Squadron proper with that name. It’s very possible that group that will steal the Death Star plans are the first iteration of the squadron or the new founding members, with the Rogues led by Luke in Empire acting as their successors.
We’re sure to know more about the Rogues in post-Return of the Jedi continuity once the books and comics start hitting in September. In the mean time, check out our previous entry of Canon Catch-Up about Lando Calrissian.