'Rogue One' explained: A brief history of Rogue Squadron

The first 'Star Wars' spinoff will give beloved B-listers the center stage

From Entertainment Weekly

Rogue One will not be the first Star Wars spinoff movie released in theaters. That honor sort of belongs to The Clone Wars, a cheapo 3D-animated horror released to general disregard in 2008. I say “sort of” because Caravan of Courage was also released theatrically in some countries. Caravan of Courage is basically Quest for Fire with Ewoks; it’s unwatchable unless you’re four years old and it’s the middle-late ’80s and your VHS still has the commercials from when your parents taped it before you were born.

What I’m saying is that Rogue One is probably already the best Star Wars spinoff movie ever made.

Disney didn’t reveal anything about the movie’s plot today, but the name speaks volumes. “Rogue One” is the callsign of the leader of Rogue Squadron. If you’re someone who’s only experienced Star Wars via the movies, you may only vaguely know what Rogue Squadron is. If you’re any kind of Star Wars fan, then you know Rogue Squadron is the team of fighter pilots who fly Snowspeeders and X-Wings and basically anything with an engine. If you happened to reach your peak Star Wars fandom in the mid-’90s—the period when there were no Star Wars movies but a seemingly infinite array of Star Wars tie-in books, comics, and videogames—then it’s possible that you think Rogue Squadron is the very best of Star Wars. It’s all the excitement with none of the self-importance; all the thrilling battles, none of the Skywalker-bloodline spiritualist philosophy.

The mascot for Rogue Squadron is Wedge Antilles, played onscreen in the orginal trilogy by Denis Lawson. But when Wedge first appears in Star Wars, he’s played by actor Colin Higgins and voiced by David Ankrum; Lawson plays the character once he’s in the X-wing cockpit. If that makes no sense to you, it’s important to remember that the Star Wars mythology was built partly/mostly/maybe entirely by accident. (George Lucas still calls lightsabers “laser swords.”)


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