A new piece of Star Wars merchandise details the Resistance's escape from their base on D'Qar, including the role A-wings played in the evacuation efforts. In a break from franchise tradition, there is no time gap between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, meaning this December's blockbuster will deal with the immediate aftermath of its predecessor's events. Fans will recall the Resistance was successful in destroying the First Order's Starkiller base, but the villains are still well-resourced and are coming to strike back with a vengeance. They know the Resistance set up shop in the Ileenium system, so General Leia Organa's scrappy band of freedom fighters need to relocate if they are to survive.
It's been reported the group finds its way to Crait, which was the site of an old Rebel Alliance outpost during the Galactic Civil War era. The journey there apparently was not a walk in the park, as the Resistance was forced to deal with an onslaught from the First Order. While fans still have to wait a couple of months to see this sequence play out in full, a small tease is available thanks to a new tie-in product.
Per Jedi Bibliothek (hat tip Making Star Wars), a deluxe book and model kit for an A-wing (part of the Journey to The Last Jedi line) includes a short passage about these fighters in Episode VIII, where they had numerous responsibilities:
UPDATE: Removed at the request of Insight Editions. We'll update when officially released
This sounds like it has the potential to be another thrilling Star Wars set piece, and it very well could be the opening sequence in the movie. All films in the series open in space, and typically an enemy ship is the first vehicle seen. The Force Awakens followed this template, showing a star destroyer dispatching stormtroopers to Jakku. It wouldn't be out of the question for The Last Jedi to begin with a trio of "First Order warships" approaching D'Qar in hopes of wiping out the Resistance. This would be a good way to establish the tone of Episode VIII (the Resistance is vulnerable and on the run) while also introducing a majority of its cast. If the First Order is planning an assault against their enemies, odds are General Hux, Captain Phasma, Leia, and Finn are involved - in addition to Poe. We could also meet Rose Tico here, setting her story up in the first moments.
The Celebration Orlando teaser trailer depicted a quick shot of a space battle, and it's possible the setting is over D'Qar. We know there's a key confrontation on Crait, but that primarily looks to be more ground-based with ski speeders going up against First Order walkers - and it should take place towards the end of the movie. If Resistance personnel are fleeing D'Qar in transports that require air support, then there will certainly be some dogfights. Having the epic space battle at the beginning of a Star Wars film (when they're usually saved for the finale) would be one way of crafting new rules for the brand and making sure The Last Jedi starts off with a bang.
Source: Making Star Wars
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019