It’s Star Wars day! May the 4th and all that. In celebration, Andre Dumas of The Horror Digest put up an article about her favorite ancillary Star Wars character, Wedge Antilles. In it, she wonders if anyone is down with Wedge like she is. Answer: Yes. Me. All my friends understandably went apeshit for Boba Fett in that department, what with the jetpack and armor, but I was a Wedge fan. He may not have had secret flamethrowers or a gravelly voice but he was one hell of a fighter pilot.
Rogue Squadron pilots came and went, mostly crashing and burning into the various surfaces of Death Stars, but Wedge came in and pulled off some of the most important moves in every battle and lived to tell the tale. At the Battle of Yavin 4, who swoops in and saves Luke Skywalker’s life when he can’t shake a TIE Fighter? Fuckin’ Wedge! Had he not managed this, Luke, who had only ever piloted a T-16 prior to this massively important mission, would have been reduced to pieces over the Death Star and he never would have used The Force to blow the whole thing to smithereens. After all it was only Wedge in a damaged X-Wing, Luke, a single Y-Wing crew and Han Solo/Chewbacca left by this point. When The Empire surprised the rebels on Hoth with AT-ATs, the rebels were getting smoked left and right because that armor’s too strong for blasters. Who found a way to take the AT-ATs down? Fuckin’ Wedge! He flew in low, watching that crossfire, and circled the walker with a tow cable until its own forward momentum and the inability to move its legs brought it down and exposed its armor’s weak spot. Wedge’s finest hour, however, came at the battle of the second Death Star. By this time, he’d understandably been promoted to Rogue Leader and was untouchable in the space around the Death Star. Even in the face of overwhelming odds and the sickening fact that it was a trap, Wedge was shooting fools down and in the final leg of the mission, who shot out the shield generator of the Death Star’s core so that Lando and Nien Nunb could finish the job and wreck the whole place? Fuckin’ Wedge! The man was indispensable in the rebel mission.
Through it all, Wedge was steely-eyed and unflappable. Seriously. Wedge Antilles was cool as a cucumber through it all. Not a hint of peril. This man was in control the entire time. You don’t survive three key battles like Yavin 4, Hoth and Death Star 2 unless you’re the best of the best and Wedge Antilles was the best. I’m not even sure what it is that Lucas saw in this character. In the first movie he’s played by two different actors and voiced by a separate unseen dialog actor. His last name is actually used in New Hope in relation to an unrelated and unseen character. C3PO tells Luke that they once belonged to Captain Antilles. It’s side characters like Wedge that make Star Wars such a fan favorite. Idiosyncrasies like these flesh out the back story and give this world the detail that drives fans to write their own fiction.