X-wing starfighters have been an iconic part of Star Wars ever since Luke Skywalker flew one to hit that one-in-a-million shot against the Death Star. The 1992 X-wing video game, and its follow-up TIE Fighter, are still talked about reverently among fans. I’m not a gamer and I played the game. Why? Because X-wings are cool and pilots are cooler. The tie-in comics and book series are also considered fan favorites. If word leaked that Wedge Antilles, Tycho Celchu, Hobbie Klivian, Wes Janson, Corran Horn, Kell and Tyria Tainer, or any other Rogue or Wraith veteran would grace the pages of a book outside the X-wing series, fans started talking. The readers also eagerly accepted the children of these fantastic characters, and to this day seem eager to learn more about them. Of all the children of former Rogue pilots, Jagged Fel has probably had the biggest impact in-universe, and of course much of that has to do with his relationship with another former Rogue pilot, Jaina Solo. If you pay attention to fan fiction and fan speculation, though, there’s no doubt that the lives of Valin and Jysella Horn, Doran Tainer, Syal and Myri Antilles, and even the rest of the Fel family would have an immediate audience.
So what’s the future of X-wings in Star Wars? Could it be that the old faithful fans might have things to look forward to in the future? A fangirl can wish…
Of course, we’ve got the book coming in May 2012 – X-wing: Mercy Kill by Aaron Allston. As far as many fans are concerned, this is the one true bright spot on the upcoming book schedule. Excitement has only continued to grow after Allston teased recently at Dragon*Con that both Face Loran, an original Wraith, and Wedge’s daughter Myri will be appearing in Mercy Kill.
It’s possible we’ll get more than just a one-off novel, though. Could more X-wing titles be the unnamed series that will be teased in the back of Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse? Considering it’s been mentioned that Allston’s book will tie-up at least one loose end from Fate of the Jedi, I think there’s a good chance we’ll see an Allston-penned excerpt, and this is based on more than just my read of what’s happening with Star Wars books.
Fan comment to Star Wars Books:
You know what would be great? A Michael Stackpole short story to coincide with X-wing: Mercy Kill.
Recently the Star Wars Books Facebook page announced a new short story by Matt Stover to be published in the Star Wars Insider as a companion piece for the Darth Plageuis book. While I’m ecstatic to see Stover back writing Star Wars, the fan who suggested bringing Stackpole back for a tie-in to Allston’s upcoming X-wing book should be given a Yavin ceremony medal, too. There’s just been a lot of Sith and darkness in the Star Wars books lately, and the one-offs such as Shadow Games, Knight Errant, and Riptide focus on obscure characters. Considering the brand lull we’re in, it might be prudent to reinvigorate the X-wing series model, which weaves tales around existing fan favorites like Wedge Antilles to headline a story while introducing new characters to the fans to populate the squadron roles. With fans raising concerns over diversity, the squadrons could easily be used as a means to diversify the GFFA universe, thus broadening the Star Wars books appeal. Compare the diversity in the Rogues and Wraiths in the original X-wing series to the recent books and it’s not even close.
But why stop there? How about some new X-wing comics? What about video games?
I don’t follow gaming information unless it streams right before my eyes, but even I’ve noticed the recent chatter about a future X-wing game. Most recently, Nowgamer.com speculated based on recent LucasArts job listings that a new X-wing game could be one of the possible projects in the works.
Meanwhile the aerial-combat project specifies that candidates (Senior Gameplay Engineer, Lead Designer) have “experience with flight sims, aerial shooters, and especially space-based shooters,” suggesting something sci-fi based.
Seriously, who wouldn’t want to pick between X-wing or TIE pilot and dogfight to your heart’s content?
So naturally that leaves a whole new area for potential merchandise. I could really use a new Incom shirt getting put into production, because my current one is getting a little ratty. And then there are the fighter models and the character figures… Anyone’s shopping fingers getting a little twitchy?
But the opportunities are broader than that. What’s the next Star Tours style amusement park ride for Lucasfilm? You can’t tell me people wouldn’t line up by the thousands to take a turn on an X-wing themed ride.
Or how about a television show? Yes, I said television show. The Clone Wars has proven there’s a market, but it won’t last forever. Who says they have to stop? The yet-to-be-produced live action series sounds intriguing, but the quality on the animation is so good it seems a natural fit to the dogfights and space battles that would populate Rogue Squadron – The Television Series. The squadron dynamic is more suited to serial storytelling than one-offs. Hey, I’m just throwing that possibility out there.
How about an even crazier idea? A movie! Think about it; the idea isn’t that far-fetched. Sure, I’ve pretty much come around to the conclusion that George Lucas himself isn’t making another Star Wars trilogy. He’s unlikely at his age to want to spend another decade focused every day on moviemaking and, as he’s noted, he’s got other projects that interest him. But at some point I believe we will see more Star Wars movies on the big screen, most likely one-offs set in different time periods than the saga of Anakin Skywalker. And I could see Lucas getting behind the idea. Between the upcoming Red Tails and the six Star Wars movies, you can’t tell me he doesn’t love a good dogfight. Classics like Top Gun and Pearl Harbor prove that movies about hotshot pilots appeal to a broad base. (Come on, you know those orange flightsuits are hot!) Throw in some 3-D, spectacular sound effects, a good story with relatable characters and you’ve got a box office smash.
Anyone else want more X-wings in their Star Wars?
Author’s Note: This post was inspired by rereading X-wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael Stackpole. Yub yub!
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.