Kelly Lynn Thomas
During its Investor Day presentation, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced a bevy of new Star Wars projects, including the first-ever Star Wars film to be directed by a woman: Rogue Squadron, helmed by Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.
You read that right: Patty Jenkins is directing a Star Wars film. And not just any Star Wars film. A film about the best fighter pilots in the galaxy. Rogue Squadron. It’s set for release around Christmas in 2023.
That sound you just heard? It was me, screaming. Oh, you still hear it? Yeah, I’m still screaming.
And hundreds of Legends fans who loved the X-Wing series of books and comics are screaming, too. Written by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston, these stories featured Wedge Antilles as the leader of the legendary Rogues. Similar to canon novels like the Aftermath trilogy and Alphabet Squadron, these books focused more on space combat than the Force and lightsabers. And they were (and remain) awesome.
Even though we don’t know much about the film other than the title, Patty Jenkins did release a one-and-a-half-minute video on Twitter showing her roller-blading across an expanse of asphalt. She talks about how much she loves speed of any kind and her fighter pilot father, who died in a combat training exercise.
Of her father’s death, she says, “It ignited a desire in me to turn all of that tragedy and thrill into one day making the greatest fighter pilot movie of all time.” But, she adds as she takes off her skates, she could never find the right story.
“Now I found a movie about two things I love,” she says. “So I’m going to see you very soon.” She puts on a black and red rebel pilot helmet and orange jumpsuit, and in the final shot, we see her walking toward an X-Wing.
Many female Star Wars fans have been asking when we’d get a Star Wars film helmed by a woman, and now we have an answer. Wonder Woman was one of DC’s best-received superhero films of the past decade, by critics and fans alike, with most holding Jenkins’s directing skill in high regard.
We’re lucky to have her working on a Star Wars film, especially one she clearly has a close connection to. X-Wing author Michael Stackpole tweeted his support of Jenkins’s film, and she responded with a tweet saying “I hope I make you proud.” (Perhaps this will pave the way for a Stackpole cameo?)
It’s unlikely Jenkins’s film will follow the plot of the X-Wing series, but we should expect to see Wedge Antilles to star as Rogue Leader, a role we know he continues in post-ROTJ from the Aftermath trilogy.
The film could take place during the Rebellion, or more likely, during the New Republic era, and could help us bridge the gap between the fall of the Empire and the rise of the First Order. Some possible villains could be Moff Gideon from The Mandalorian, or we might get our first dose of Admiral Rae Sloane in live action.
Admiral Sloane was first introduced in the first canon Disney novel, A New Dawn, and has proven to be a major character in the New Republic era novels. She also appeared in the video game Squadrons, and would make a great foil for Wedge’s Rogues. She does have a few characteristics in common with the Legends villain Ysanne Isard, such as her ambition and the way she cuts out a piece of the Imperial Remnant for herself.
As for who we’re likely to see fill out the rest of Rogue Squadron, this is an area that’s gone mostly unexplored in the Disney era. There’s a chance for Disney to bring fan-favorite characters like Corran Horn and Tycho Celchu into the canon, but whether or not they will remains to be seen.
However she decides to tackle Rogue Squadron, I trust Patty Jenkins to tell a story just as amazing as the books and comics that have come before, and just as true to the spirit of Star Wars.