Permission to jump in an X-Wing and blow something up?
In the early to mid 1980s, a cohort of young people was disappointed to learn that flying an X-Wing was not, in fact, a valid career option. Some of them may have settled for a career flying military jets instead, figuring launching off an aircraft carrier was the next best thing (and one of them may have ended up writing for Youtini). It’s common to hear about how another movie and a character named Pete “Maverick” Mitchell gave a boost to aviation recruiting, but for some of us he was a poor substitute for the likes of Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, and a smuggler with a souped-up freighter.
Without pilots, Star Wars would look like an early, extra-galactical draft of Doctor Strange - somewhat removed people in robes solving problems by waving their hands around and occasionally using ancient weapons. From Han Solo and the orange-clad Alliance starfighter pilots to TIE fighter pilots in their iconic black helmets, the pilot’s swagger is a counterpoint to the quasi monastic mysticism of the Jedi. Their braggadocio and edge-of-the-seat adventures constantly balances the often deep and introspective struggles of the saga’s warrior monks.
But, then again, perhaps they’re not so different - on our own planet, after all, early military pilots often - perhaps somewhat whimsically - saw themselves as ideological descendants of the chivalric knights of old. As Cole Horton notes in a 2015 article for StarWars.com, historical dogfight footage and war movies were an inspiration for George Lucas’ vision of space combat. If the Jedi are Knights of the Force, then perhaps the pilots in a galaxy far, far away are Knights of the Stars. At least, that’s what we like to think Wedge tells Luke over a Corellian Ale now and again.
More than just a novelization, in her Expanded Edition Mur Lafferty offers us glimpses of scenes cut from the film and gives further development to some of the other characters. We learn more about what happened to Qi’Ra after the spaceport and get more insight into Tobias Beckett and his relationship with Val. Lafferty gives us a new insight into L3’s fate and ends with a wonderful epilogue that nicely links the movie to yet more parts of the Star Wars lore.
From a prologue that nicely captures young Han’s personality, to looks into the White Worms den that are somehow even more cringe-inducing than seeing it on screen, to Han’s time in the military and that wonderful epilogue, Lafferty’s adaptation is what we imagine reading a director’s cut would be like!
The Force Awakens introduced fans to the best pilot in the Galaxy—the Resistance's X-Wing pilot, Poe Dameron. In this, his ongoing comics series set in the months leading up to Episode VII, we get introduced to to the full cast of characters who comprise Black Squadron. We also meet Agent Terrix, Poe's arch nemesis, a high-ranking First Order officer with a complex backstory explored throughout the series. Not to mention BB-8's wonderful role as Poe's sidekick!
Picking up where Poe Dameron Volume I: Black Squadron leaves off, this next installment collects Issues 8-13 of Charles Soule's Marvel Comics series. Terex continues to hunt Black Squadron, and Poe is forced to wonder just how it is his nemesis always knows their next move. But first, he and C-3PO have an important mission assigned by none other than General Leia Organa.
The adventures of the best pilot in the Resistance continue as Poe Dameron and Black Squadron continue to gather intelligence, fuel, and recruits for General Organa. But it's a dangerous galaxy, with First Order and other assorted adversaries waiting at seemingly every turn.
Having solved their mole problem, Poe Dameron's Black Squadron is back to searching for explorer Lor San Tekka, who Leia Organa and the Resistance hope has the key to securing the galaxy's future. But they find that he's got problems of his own, and they have to find a way to save him while continuing to stay one step ahead of the First Order.
In his first entry into the groundbreaking X-Wing Series, Michael Stackpole tells the story of Wedge Antilles reforming the legendary Rogue Squadron. This series was the first of the EU that did not feature the “Big Three” of Han, Luke, and Leia. Instead, we are introduced to original characters such as fan-favorites Tycho Celchu, Corran Horn, and Mirax Terrik. Taking place two years following the destruction of the second Death Star, this story focuses on Wedge as he takes on a mission with his newly constructed squadron during the midst of the Galactic Civil War. X-Wing: Rogue Squadron not only sets the stage for the rest series, but also lays major groundwork for the entire Legends EU that follows.
From the mind of Battlefront: Twilight Company’s Alexander Freed, Alphabet Squadron (the first book in a planned trilogy) brings us into the lives of the newly minted titular squad of ace fighter pilots led by recent Imperial defector, Yrica Quell. Under the watchful eye and tutelage of both New Republic Intelligence Agent Caern Adan and the illustrious General Hera Syndulla, Quell’s team attempts to coalesce in pursuit of a singular, crucial objective: the eradication of the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing more commonly known as Shadow Wing.
Cobalt Squadron tells the story of the Resistance's crack bomber pilots and technicians, including sisters Rose and Paige Tico, survivors of a world overrun by the First Order. Encountering another family on the run, the sisters undertake a mission to provide emergency aid to the Alterra system. Outwitting the First Order and helping people in need will take all of their ingenuity, bravery, and teamwork.
Cobalt Squadron overlaps the events of The Force Awakens and establishes the back-story for the Tico sisters. Many readers will find it helps deepen their appreciation for Paige and Rose as we see them on screen in The Last Jedi. In particular, it adds weight to Rose's sense of loss and her deepening sense of resolve through the film.