In addition to introducing new characters to the Star Wars franchise like Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, last year's Rogue One featured appearances from some familiar faces in a galaxy far, far away. Famous Imperials Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin received the most publicity after the film's release, but there were a handful of pleasantly surprising cameos on the Rebellion side of things. As the Battle of Scarif heated up, many fans cheered when Alliance pilots Red Leader and Gold Leader from A New Hope took part in the space dogfight to help the Rebels secure the Death Star plans.
As exciting as it was to see the two back on the big screen, some wondered why director Gareth Edwards didn't include some other standout pilots from the earlier films, most notably Wedge Antilles. Wedge has long been a favorite amongst audiences and has appeared on Star Wars Rebels, so it would have been a thrill for him to take part in the conflict as well. However, there's a very good reason why he wasn't there, as revealed by Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo.
The studio's creative/story development executive was asked on Twitter about Wedge's absence (hat tip Star Wars News Net), revealing that while a limited amount of archive footage played a role, having Antilles in Rogue One would have contradicted Star Wars canon. The Battle of Yavin was the first time Wedge saw the Death Star, and the filmmakers wanted to preserve his exclamation of awe, "Look at the size of that thing!" If Wedge fought at Scarif, he would have seen the battle station in action, and an inconsistency would have been retroactively created. There's no denying seeing Wedge again would have been fun, but it's better things turned out this way.
This illustrates that Lucasfilm pays very close attention to detail and makes sure all of their content (be it the films, books, or comics) lines up with each other. Edwards went the extra mile to explain a decades-long plot hole about the Death Star's widely-mocked weakness in Rogue One, so it would have been odd if he neglected a small, yet key, moment from A New Hope for the sake of forcing in another cameo. It's important that these new series installments do not play fast and loose with the continuity so everything comes together and forms a cohesive whole with as few errors as possible. This is the value of having a collective story group in place, as it allows for several pairs of eyes to keep tabs on each project so nothing slips through the cracks. The Disney Star Wars films have found a nice balance of nostalgia and new so far, which is encouraging for the future.
As for fans of Wedge, his legacy lives on in other ways in the canon, be it his Rebels episode or his supporting role in the Aftermath novel series. Lucasfilm hasn't forgotten about the noble pilot, finding natural ways to give the character more to do outside of the films. The chances Wedge shows up in a movie are incredibly slim (for starters, actor Denis Lawson turned down an opportunity to be in The Force Awakens), but he's getting a complete arc through several other means.
Source: Star Wars News Net
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- 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