Star Wars: What Is the Rogue Squadron?

Earlier this week, Lucasfilm confirmed that the next Star Wars movie to hit theaters would be Star [...]

Earlier this week, Lucasfilm confirmed that the next Star Wars movie to hit theaters would be Star Wars: Rogue Squadron from director Patty Jenkins. Given that one of the most recent Star Wars video games to debut is Star Wars: Squadrons and, back in 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story marked the first spinoff for the galaxy far, far away, this title likely conjured familiar imagery among fans who were even only slightly aware of the franchise. While details about the film haven't fully been revealed, the Rogue Squadron's history in the Star Wars saga gives us a better idea of what we can expect in the upcoming adventure.

Back in 1980's Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, audiences witnessed that Rogue Squadron, or "Rogue Group," was the name of the snowspeeders on Hoth who battled with the Galactic Empire's AT-ATs. Following the Battle of Hoth, it wouldn't be until 1995 that the Star Wars: X-wing Rogue Squadron comic book series kicked off that fans would get to spend more time with the pilots.

The series was written by Michael A. Stackpole and Mike Baron, with art from Allen Nunis. The series was originally conceived as a limited series, only for its popularity to allow it to run for more than 30 issues. Stackpole would then go on to explore the concept further in a book series.

Stackpole's first book, Rogue Squadron, follows Wedge Antilles' formation of the elite group of pilots who went on a number of adventures throughout the galaxy. While this initial installment in the series introduced fans to new characters and depicted their training, subsequent novels would take them on all sorts of exciting and action-packed adventures around the galaxy far, far away. The last book in the series debuted in 2012, Aaron Allston's Mercy Kill.

Following the success of these novels, Rogue Squadron also became the focus of a video game series. The first Rogue Squadron video game from LucasArts debut on the PC and Nintendo 64, with sequels hitting Nintendo GameCube. Across all mediums, Rogue Squadron represented the best pilots the Rebellion had to offer.

In 2012, when Disney purchased Lucasfilm, the "Star Wars Expanded Universe" of novels, comic books, and video games were relegated to the "Legends" corner of the franchise, with the events of those stories no longer being canonical. The popularity of the concept, however, allowed it to return years later.

In the Star Wars series from Marvel Comics, which took place between the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, an aerial battle ignited that required Luke Skywalker to create impromptu callsigns for his allies. In issue #53, when thinking back to the heroic sacrifices of the Rebels from Rogue One, Luke named his Rebel team "Rogue Squadron" as they combated the Empire. These callsigns were then utilized for the Hoth snowspeeders in Empire Strikes Back.

Following the destruction of the Empire in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Rogue Squadron would continue to be composed of the Rebellion's best pilots, like Wedge Antilles and Star Wars Rebels' Hera Syndulla.

In Patty Jenkins' announcement video about the film, she noted how much she dreamed of "making the greatest fighter-pilot movie of all time," while also pointing out that the upcoming film will combine two things she loved, the implication being fighter pilots and Star Wars, as she crossed a runway towards an X-wing.

Over on Twitter, Stackpole himself said of the upcoming project, "Glad to know the person doing the Rogue Squadron movie feels the same about pilots, duty, and Star Wars as I did when I was writing the novels and graphic novels." Jenkins shared the tweet herself, while adding, "I hope we make you proud. Thank you for your inspiring work."

The upcoming Rogue Squadron film is sure to deliver audiences plenty of surprises, but it's safe to assume that the project will honor the best pilots the Rebellion has to offer, and therefore unfold sometime between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and prior to the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as we have yet to learn confirmation of whether the squadron existed within the Resistance.

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron hits theaters on December 22, 2023.

Are you looking forward to the new film? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!