Hi, Rick the Star Wars heretic again, with an update on upcoming material.
2020 has been, without a doubt, one of the worst years ever for movie makers and movie theatres. With the COVID19 Pandemic making theatres probably, the third or fourth worst place you can be and lockdowns all over the place, the economic affects of the pandemic will be felt by the movie industry for years to come. Even for the leviathan that is Disney.
In a massive spurt of optimism however, Disney’s Investor day revealed a literal ton of new movies and shows. Marvel and Star Wars fans were the big winners with no fewer than 10 upcoming movies and shows announced for Star Wars alone.
Some were long awaited like Kenobi, others like Ahsoka and Andor were not unexpected. The one that grabbed my attention that came in out of left field was Star Wars Rogue Squadron.
I was a bigger fan of the EU in it’s heyday than I am now, but one of my favourites, was the long running Rogue Squadron series. I was also a big fan of the X-wing/Tie fighter game series at the time and the two were very compatible.
It may be suprising to some, to learn how big a chunk of the Legends series was taken up by Rogue Squadron. It was also one of the first series to start to integrate some of the characters and storylines of the former EU into a more consistent whole. Keep in mind the series title was X-wing and Rogue Squadron the title of the first book in a series of 10 books. There were also three arcade style flight shooters for PC and Nintendo 64.
So the pressure to get this right will be immense. The hardcore fanbase has proven merciless to Directors who fail to dish up the right Star Wars recipe or who are perceived to mishandle beloved characters. With the Mandalorian showing that fan-service, nostalgia and action are more important than story or creativity, it’s going to be a brave director that strays from the path.
Patty Jenkins has been named as director and apart from that, there is remarkably very little information on the movie. Which leaves heaps of room for speculation as to what the movie may be ultimately about. Jenkins has said that the movie will be ‘new’ material, but will still respect the old stories.
Jenkins wrote and directed Monster, which Roger Ebert described as the number one film of 2004 and the number three film of the decade. Her most recent work is on the Wonder Woman films as director but she also has some Emmy award winning TV work as well as episodes on Entourage and Arrested Development.
As she mentions in the teaser trailer, she is the daughter of US Air Force Captain William T. Jenkins who was a Silver Star decorated Vietnam war veteran who died in a mock NATO dogfight. She was born on the grounds of George Air Force Base in Victorville California, and was approached by Chuck Yeager to do a documentary on his life. So it seems fair to say that jet fuel is in her veins.
Jenkins will be the first female director of a Star Wars film and is well known for uncompromising female characters. So it is unlikely we will be seeing, a testosterone fueled sausage fest, like say Top Gun. In fact the most likely primary character will likely be Hera Syndulla, from the show Rebels as a sort of group commander.
Some of the former Rogue Squadron storyline is already retconned, Jyn Erso and her crew are now the motivation in the creation of Rogue Squadron, which happens soon after the events of A New Hope. And General Syndulla looks to be the person giving the orders to Rogue Squadron.
So lets look at the former roster and see who may make it into the new movie.
- Luke Skywalker: Luke is the first commander of Rogue squadron, and also the most unlikely to appear except possibly in a cameo in the same weird CGI makeover as Rogue one characters Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin.
- Wedge Antilles: The first book in the series shows Wedge rebuilding Rogue Squadron after the loss of several members and Luke’s resignation. Now I would really like to see Wedge but the actor Denis Lawson is too old for the part, I don’t really want to see another actor take on the role or another creepy CGI job. So unless they can find just the right person, leave him out.
- Corran Horn: Horn was the main protagonist of the X-wing series, he was a force sensitive male pilot from Corellia and former member of the Corellian Security forces. Probably the most likely character from the old books to make it into canon in this movie. He went on to be a Jedi Master in later stories.
- Tycho Celchu: Tycho is another likely candidate, as a fellow Ace pilot and former imperial pilot from Alderaan, he makes for a good character because everyone is always suspicious of his motives. He is in fact used as a scapegoat for an actual Imperial agent within the squadron.
- Mirax Terrik: Daughter of infamous smuggler Booster Terrick, she and Corran have a love interest that blossoms into marriage and children. Obviously before Lucas retconned Jedi into perpetual chasteness.
- Ysanne Isard: A former Director of Imperial Intelligence, Isard claims Coruscant and the major part of the Imperial remnant as her own after the death of Palpatine. She maintains a prison and brainwashing facility that is in fact a buried Super Star destroyer, the Lusankya. It’s certainly a possibility that she may appear as at the moment little is known of what happens with the imperial remnant, currently we are seeing a portion of it on the Mandalorian, but it is still unclear exactly who is in overall command.
- Admiral Zinj: Another Imperial warlord gone rogue after the events of Return of the Jedi. He commands the Super Star Destroyer Iron Fist and was a protagonist in the series.
- Grand Admiral Thrawn: Thrawn is a big, potential favourite for the villain of the piece, particularly after his recent mention in the Mandalorian. His return after the events of the Rebels finale was almost inevitable. It is possible that he is, in fact the puppet master behind the scenes of the current Imperial remnant.
Of course there are many known characters that could easily appear in cameo, Admiral Ackbar, Mon Mothma, C3PO and Artoo, even Crix Madine who was a big part of the games.
It is also reported in Wookipedia that Bob Iger requested that Rogue Squadron be very accessible for casual fans and the wider Star Wars viewing audience as opposed to something only the hardcore fan would enjoy. Normally Star Wars movies are story driven, but given this information and with Jenkins as director, I would think that this will be more character driven. With an ensemble cast, she will have a lot to work with, and a lot of potential conflict as well.
Given the title I am also expecting some impressive battle sequences and realistic dogfights. It may also tie itself in to the Star Wars Squadrons games storyline.
But what will be the purpose of the movie, what will Rogue Squadron go up against? In the books they were instrumental in the re-taking of Coruscant, so that’s one potential. Another untapped mine of potential battle action would be the Battle of Jakku, something only explored so far in the Battlefront game series.
They could be tied in to opposing Operation Cinder, Palpatine’s revenge for the failure of the Galaxy to protect it’s Emperor. Or investigating the military build up of the First Order.
I will be following developments on this movie with a keen interest, at the moment all we have is speculation and history.
What would you like to see from the Rogue One Movie, tell me in comments and hit subscribe to GNN for further updates on this and other Star Wars productions.