Sunday, November 27, 2022
HomeArticlesWedge Antilles – Who in the Galaxy is That? – by Pariah...

Wedge Antilles – Who in the Galaxy is That? – by Pariah Burke

The template for Poe Dameron. The galaxy’s greatest buddy. The galaxy’s greatest fighter ace. Rogue Leader. Commando. The only Rebel pilot to fly against and survive both Death Stars.

There’s an entire galaxy of characters and adventures beyond Luke, Leia, Han, Rey, Finn, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and the other faces that dominate the Star Wars films. Who in the Galaxy is That? profiles individual characters from the Star Wars universe—from the films, book, comics, and games. From favorite supporting characters to interesting creatures lurking in the background, if you’ve ever asked “hey, who’s that?” Who in the Galaxy is That? strives to tell you.

Wedge Antilles

Despite a cumulative screen time of less than five minutes across the entire Original Trilogy, wherein he was played by three different actors, Wedge Antilles instantly became a curiosity for Star Wars film fans. Beyond the films, Star Wars creators have elevated him to leading man status with a frequency of appearances just shy of those by the likes of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.

Wedge Antilles flying an X-Wing against the Death Star in the Battle of Yavin. Courtesy of LucasFilm/Disney

Flying in Red Squadron against the Death Star, Antilles first proves his mettle on screen in Episode IV: A New Hope.Canon Played by actor Colin Higgens but voiced by David Ankrum, Antilles attends the pre-battle briefing on Yavin 4, and then flies in the battle against the looming threat of the Death Star under the callsign Red Two. Switching actors to Denis Lawson, who played and voiced the character moving forward, Antilles goes on to fly a snowspeeder in the Battle of Hoth in Episode V: The Empire Strikes BackCanon. Aided in the two-seat T-47 Snowspeeder by gunner Wes Janson, with whom Antilles will come to forge a deep friendship and decades-long working relationship, Antilles is the first pilot to down an AT-AT on Hoth. Still played by Lawson, Antilles flies an Incom T-65B X-Wing again against the second Death Star in the Battle of Endor in Episode VI: Return of the JediCanon. Flying against both Death Stars earns him the singular distinction of being the only Rebel pilot to do so and survive.

He might have earned himself a hattrick by flying against Starkiller Base thirty years later if Lawson had been a little more interested.

Behind the scenes, Antilles was slated for an onscreen appearance in Episode VII: The Force AwakensCanon and actor Denis Lawson invited to reprise his role. The actor declined the invitation saying it “would have bored [him],” according to an interview with The Verge (May, 2014).

Wedge Antilles flying against the second Death Star in the Battle of Endor. Courtesy of LucasFilm/Disney

The former Red Two co-founds Rogue Squadron with Luke Skywalker and becomes callsign Rogue Three to Skywalker’s Rogue Two. When Skywalker resigns his military commission following the Battle of Hoth to focus on his Jedi training, Antilles moves up to Rogue Leader.

The character of Poe Dameron is very much a modern version of Wedge Antilles—at least, of the Antilles from the Expanded Galaxy cum Legacy.

In the formerly-titled Expanded Galaxy, Luke Skywalker’s buddy grows into a fully-realized hero all his own. Freed from the shadow of the legendary Skywalker piloting and battle prowess, Antilles becomes the greatest pilot in the New Republic that rises from the Rebel Alliance. But flying isn’t all he does. Under his leadership, Rogue Squadron not only remains the most elite starfighter squadron in the galaxy, but also engages in espionage and planetside guerrilla operations. These blended mode exploits prove so successful even with a team primarily trained as fighter pilots that Antilles forms a second unit of part time pilots, part time commandos. The beings of Wraith Squadron are soldiers and misfits trained as X-Wing pilots but whose primary skills lie outside the cockpit. Antilles’s friend and former Rogue, Wes Janson, leads the Wraiths in the field.

Wraith Squadron from the X-Wing Series starring Wedge Antilles as Rogue Leader. Courtesy of Bantam

Most of the adventures of Antilles leading Rogue Squadron occur in the X-Wing Series novels by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston. The fifth book in that series, Wraith SquadronLegends (Non-Canon), details the creation, operations, and ultimately disbanding of the titular commando-pilot unit. Although Wraith Squadron is part of Star Wars Legends and no longer canon, its idea—and the idea that it would be founded by Wedge Antilles—was so good that it was recreated in canon in the form of the similarly named Phantom Squadron, which Antilles founds and leads in the novel Aftermath: Life DebtCanon, set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

After an adventurous and distinguished military career that ultimately saw him spend a decade as a general in New Republic Fleet Operations, Antilles retires. Barely a year later he rejoins to play a pivotal role in the Yuuhzan Vong War, the centerpiece event of the Expanded Galaxy. From there, Antilles participates in the Second Galactic Civil War, serves as Supreme Commander of the Corellian Defense Force, and assists Luke Skywalker’s New Jedi Order in defeating Darth Caedus before retiring for the final time.

His early years and inspiration to fly for the Rebellion differ between Legends and Canon.

Wedge Antilles, flying a snowspeeder, takes down an Imperial AT-AT walker on Hoth. Courtesy of LucasFilm/Disney

In the original Legends history, Antilles is a trader with a small freighter based on a moon orbiting his home planet Corellia. Antilles is honest, often to his own detriment, preferring to struggle financially rather than engage in smuggling. He is also non-political, having little interest in joining either the Empire or the Rebellion. Eventually, he falls in love with a young woman who has profound rebel leanings. When she is killed by indiscriminate action by the Empire, Antilles joins the Rebel Alliance largely because of a sense of obligation to his late girlfriend. Having picked a side, he quickly learns the righteousness of the cause in opposing the repeated atrocities and institutionalized evil of the Empire.

Star Wars: RebelsCanon, the animated television show, tells an alternate, in-canon backstory for Wedge Antilles. In it, Antilles enrolls in the Imperial Skystrike Academy where he immediately distinguishes himself as a skilled pilot despite a growing unease with the systemic amorality evident in the TIE Fighter pilot training program. In the impetus for the most significant motivating incident, he and two other cadets refuse to shoot down an unarmed transport during a flight simulation. When their superior officer chastises them, making it clear that the Empire’s policies mandate such action, the other cadets are galvanized into defection. With fellow cadets Hobbie and Sabine Wren in tow, Antilles abandons Skystrike and defects to the Rebel Alliance.

Wedge Antilles (left) with fellow TIE Fighter pilots-in-training Sabine Wren (center) and Hobbie (right). Courtesy of LucasFilm/Disney

In neither reality is Wedge Antilles of any realation to Raymus Antilles, Captain of the doomed Tantive IV that carries Princess Leia and the Death Star plans away from the Battle of Scarif in Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryCanon only to be overtaken and captured over Tattooine by the Imperial Star Destroyer the Devastator. That Captain Antilles, an Alderaanian, was ultimately strangled during the capture by Darth Vader. Wedge is from Corellia and only coincidentally shares a last name with Raymus.

Wedge Antilles appears, at least in mention if not as a main or large supporting character, in nearly every Star Wars Legends novel set after Return of the Jedi and most from as far back as five years before the Battle of Yavin. Anywhere the forces of the Rebel Alliance fly combat, Antilles is one of the pilots if not the squadron commander. He therefore also factors heavily into playable starfighter combat with appearances in the Star Wars flight simulator games Star Wars: X-Wing, Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, including its sequel, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader in which the player can be either Wedge Antilles or Luke Skywalker, and other video games, as well as table-top games like Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures and Star Wars Armada.

The Wedge Antilles card from the FStar Wars: X-Wing Miniatures game. Courtesy of Fantasy Flight Games

What in the Galaxy are those Symbols?

Throughout Who in the Galaxy is That? profiles you may encounter one or more of the following symbols.

Here’s what they mean:

Canon
Sources and media cited as canon contain information that is officially part of the Star Wars film universe, which also includes non-film media such as books, comic books, games, and more. This means the information is officially part of the history of Star Wars that appears in the films. It came from, or may appear within or influence, the events of a Star Wars film.
Legends
Following Return of the Jedi, George Lucas stated that he would not make other Star Wars movies. He then opened Star Wars to other creators and media. Carefully overseen by Lucas’s company, Lucas Arts, hundreds of new Star Wars novels, comic books and graphic novels, video games, and television shows were created to expand the Star Wars universe and tell stories in all directions—from thousands of years before Luke Skywalker was born to thousands of years after, from filling in the histories of the greatest Star Wars legends to bringing life to every background alien in the Cantina scene. This was the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and it was all canon until new Star Wars films were once again possible. Disney and Lucas Arts then found themselves penned in by the massive amount of material from other creators and projects. They simply couldn’t make Episode VII and beyond because every moment in the lives of the major characters of Han, Luke, Leia, and others had already been chronicled in the Expanded Universe, and very little of that could easily be translated to feature films easily followed by, and appealing to, the many different types of Star Wars fans who loved the Original Trilogy. As a result, a large portion of the formerly-canon Expanded Universe stories were declared non-canon, unofficial in terms of the film continuity. The stories still exist and continue to expand, but now in an alternate reality called Star Wars Legends while other new stories are created alongside them within the universe of the films.
Fandom-Created
Though rare, you’ll see this symbol appear from time-to-time in Who in the Galaxy is That? Star Wars fans are many and varied, and they like to create their own movies, stories, comics, artwork, and more based in the Star Wars universe. Occasionally, a fan-created work is so good and becomes so popular that it gains super star status all on its own. When such rarities relate to the characters profiled in Who in the Galaxy is That?, they are identified by the Fandom-Created symbol.

Suggest a Character to Profile

Have you ever wondered, “who in the galaxy is that?” Tell us in the comments who you’ve wondered about in the Star Wars universe of films, books, comics, games, and even toys. If you know the character’s name, tell us, but if you don’t know a name, tell us where we can find the character that has piqued your curiosity. Something like “the third bounty hunter from the left in the Star Destroyer scene in Empire Strikes Back” works quite well in directing us to who you’re thinking about. Whomever you wonder about, we might just profile in Who in the Galaxy is That?

1 COMMENT

Leave a Reply to The Rise of Skywalker – My Star Wars Collection Community Blog Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here