Wedge Antilles confirmation could answer our biggest 'Episode IX' question
Was the real Rebellion just hiding this whole time?
Who-ah! That got em’! After some rumors and rumblings, it looks like the leader of Rogue Squadron is back! Wedge Antilles — AKA that guy who flew with Luke and didn’t die — will return for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. This week, multiple sources confirmed that actor (and uncle to Ewan McGregor) Denis Lawson, will be back as Wedge in The Rise of Skywalker. And his return might go a long way toward explaining our biggest question about Episode IX: How the hell did the Resistance get their mojo back after The Last Jedi?
Speculative spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker ahead.
According to a few Star Wars fan outlets, including Rebel Force Radio, a representative for Denis Lawson has confirmed he’s in the film. Other than Nien Nunb and Admiral Ackbar in The Force Awakens, this is the first B-squad member of the OG Rebel Alliance to return for the sequel trilogy. (In fairness, there’s not that many pilots who survived these big battles in the old movies, which is part of why Wedge is so unique.)
Outside of the three films in the classic trilogy, Wedge’s backstory was hugely expanded in the old Expanded Universe Star Wars books and comics. Specifically, the Rogue Squadron comic books and X-Wing novels chronicled his adventures as the commander of an elite fighting squad, who basically took over after Luke Skywalker went off to study more Jedi stuff. Back when the title for Rogue One was announced, a lot of fans incorrectly (and understandably) thought the movie was going to be about Wedge.
So, what does his comeback mean for Rise of Skywalker? There are three ways of looking at it.
It’s just a cameo
If the Rebellion is reborn, then it makes sense that Leia rounded up some of her old buddies, specifically Wedge. It’s possible, given that so much is going on in this movie, that his appearance won’t really be explained. In other words, fans should prepare themselves for the possibility that Wedge’s return is kind of like Admiral Ackbar’s off-screen death in The Last Jedi; only this time we see the character’s face and they (maybe) live.
The old Rebellion has been in hiding the whole time
In both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the Resistance seems really small relative to the vastness of Rebellion in the old films. And in The Last Jedi, it’s pretty clear that a bunch of planets that could help the Resistance decide not to. But why? Well, one explanation is that a huge sect of the old Rebellion has been in hiding this whole time. While that might seem crazy, there’s actually a precedent for this. In the series Rebels it was made pretty clear that the adventures of the Ghost crew were just one cell in a larger Rebellion. Bringing together those disparate parts of the Rebels was really difficult, at first.
So, if Wedge is part of a different sect of the Rebellion, perhaps they’ve been biding their time. This could very neatly explain where all those old school Rebel ships suddenly came from in the trailer.
Rogue Squadron is back
Between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Luke formed an elite group of pilots called Rogue Squadron. Basically, the founding members were just him and Wedge. This is why they call each other “Rogue Leader” and “Rogue 3” in the Hoth Battle in Empire. So, could The Rise of Skywalker bring back Rogue Squadron in earnest? Luke Skywalker’s ghost probably isn’t flying an X-Wing, but maybe Rey could fly an X-Wing? Will Poe take orders from Wedge Antilles? Maybe, maybe not. But what seems more likely is that Wedge and Rogue Squadron could bail out Poe’s Black Squadron in a pinch. In other words, a hero from the old canon could come to the rescue of some young hotshot pilots of the Resistance.
Star Wars: The Rise of Wedge Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.