As Star Wars fans count down the days until the feature film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, they can get new content from their favorite galaxy every week thanks to Star Wars Rebels. The popular animated television series kicked off its third season last month. Portions of the early episodes this year have covered the origins of the Rebel Alliance as viewers see them in the original trilogy; a key plot point in “Steps Into Shadow” was the Ghost crew securing Y-wing fighters for the cause, delivering them to a hidden base on Yavin IV.
Of course, ships need pilots to fly them, and that seems to be the next order of business for Rebels. This week’s episode is titled “The Antilles Extraction,” and it’s obvious to whom that is referring. Wedge Antilles is one of the most popular supporting characters in the original trilogy, and now his fans will learn the (new canon) story behind his joining the Rebellion and fighting the Empire. Disney XD has released a new Rebels clip online, which you can watch above.
Though brief, there’s a lot of information packed into the video. The clip provides a basic outline of Wedge’s new backstory. Antilles was a cargo pilot when he was recruited by the Empire and signed up because he felt it would be better than “hauling spare parts around the galaxy.” In the dialogue, it’s implied Wedge has become conflicted about his duties after the Imperials fired on unarmed ships. Sabine, who has gone undercover as a cadet, offers him an opportunity to switch sides in the Galactic Civil War. Apparently, Wedge had sent a message to the Rebels, and the Alliance came to help him and other pilots defect.
Those who are familiar with the now defunct Legends line know that Rebels has a number of differences in regards to how Wedge became a Rebellion fighter. In the original backstory, Antilles’ parents were killed when a starship-refueling station exploded. He started flying a freighter and began smuggling weapons for the Rebel Alliance, eventually becoming a member of the famed Red Squadron. In the Disney canon, Wedge’s history is similar to Finn’s in Star Wars: The Force Awakens – in that he does not want to kill innocents in the name of the Empire. This concept has been explored numerous times in Star Wars materials, most notably the novel Lost Stars. It makes for a nice way of humanizing the “villains” of the franchise by showing that not all of them were on board with the Empire’s tactics.
While the chances of seeing Wedge in the sequel trilogy are slim-to-none (actor Denis Lawson said the role would bore him now), it’s nice to see Lucasfilm fleshing out a fan-favorite character through other means. One of the benefits of having an expansive canon is that it gives the story group the chance to focus on supporting players that were only a small part of the films. Wedge has appeared frequently in the new canon (including both Aftermath books), and viewers should enjoy watching how he got his start as the X-wing pilot we all know and love.
Star Wars Rebels airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. EST on Disney XD.
Source: Disney XD