Actor Greg Grunberg is no stranger to JJ Abrams' projects. The actor, best known for playing psychic detective Matt Parkman in Heroes, has played minor roles in many Abrams' projects, causing many to call him Abram's "good luck charm". Some of his past roles in Abrams project include the doomed airline pilot in LOST who got eaten by the smoke monster in the first episode to Jim Kirk's stepfather in Star Trek. So it's not surprising that Grunberg also had a small role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a Resistance X-Wing pilot flying in Poe Dameron's squadron. However, unlike his roles in other Abrams' projects, this time Grunberg's character has a surprising link to other parts of Star Wars lore.
Grunberg's character is named Snap Wexley and it appears he has ties to the recently released Star Wars: Aftermath novel written by Chuck Wendig that bridges the 30 year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. In Star Wars: Aftermath, Wedge Antilles (one of the Rebel Alliance's most famous pilots) teams up with a recently retired Rebel fighter named Norra Wexley to sabotage remnant Imperial forces hoping to consolidate their power against the fledgling New Republic.
Joining Antilles and Wexley in their fight against the Empire is Wexley's estranged teen son, Temmin, who has a gift for technology and repairs. Temmin even reprogrammed an old Battle Droid to serve as his bodyguard and friend. While Temmin isn't too pleased about his mother abandoning him to fight for the Rebel Alliance (Imperials previously arrested his father for helping Rebels earlier in the war), he helps his mother rescue Wedge and take down the Imperial fleet amassing above their planet.
While some fans had guessed that Temmin might make an appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens after a toy featuring "Snap" Wexley leaked a couple of months ago, Star Wars's official website confirmed that Snap Wexley and Temmin were one and the same this week. After his adventures with Wedge and his mother, Temmin took up X-Wing piloting (was he inspired by Antilles?) and joined the Resistance as a recon pilot. Snap was the pilot who confirmed the location and existence of the Starkiller Base and gathered enough data to help the Resistance (with the help of Finn) to come up with a counterattack. Wexley survived the mission to destroy Starkiller Base and celebrated along with the rest of the Resistance after they safely returned home.
Wexley isn't the only The Force Awakens pilot whose origins appear in recent Star Wars material. Poe Dameron's parents, who were also Rebel fighters, played major roles in the Shattered Empire miniseries. Wexley and Dameron's origins (as well as the appearance of former Rebel personnel like Leia, Admiral Ackbar and Niem Numb) seems to confirm that the Resistance is made up of the survivors and descendants of the Rebel Alliance's war against the Empire thirty years ago.
I'm sure we'll learn more about Snap Wexley, Poe Dameron and other Resistance fighters (like Jessika Pava, the female X-Wing pilot played by Game of Thrones actress Jessica Henwick) in upcoming Star Wars canon material during the two year wait for Episode VIII.