I know, I know! I’ve potentially broken a few hearts with that headline alone. But don’t shoot the messenger. Wedge dying is something I genuinely see happening, and I’d rather give you a few months to mentally prepare yourselves than see you get hit out of left field by it when Empire’s End releases next february. I’m writing this out of love, not schadenfreude!
So, yeah. I think the posterboy for Rebel pilots is gonna bite it, for a few reasons. It’s definitely possible, as there’s only one mention of him after Aftermath: Life Debt. Specifically, in the TFA Dictionary, we learn Resistance pilots are taught maneuvers named for heroes of the Galactic Civil War. The Skywalker Swoop, The Porkins Belly Run, and the Antilles Intercept. Luke has been largely absent from the public eye to the point of becoming a myth, and Porkins died in the Battle of Yavin… But why is Wedge labeled first and foremost as a hero of the Galactic Civil War? Surely, with his legendary status, he continued being a major part of the New Republic airforce, right?
Well, apparently not. Maybe he died, maybe he settled down with Norra Wexley somewhere… But whatever the case, he’s mostly associated with the Rebellion.
Which brings me to his connection to the Wexleys. Life Debt saw him enter a fledgling relationship with Norra. Or at least until things got awkward when her missing husband turned up after years of capture. He also mentored her son Temmin, taking him on runs in his own X-Wing and bestowing upon him the nickname Snap. Having served as the liaison for Wexley’s squad, he’s also well acquainted with the other members of the team.
This all puts him in a mentor position not unlike that of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original film. Or Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. Or Han Solo in The Force Awakens.
I think you know by now what I’m getting at.
I think it’s safe to say Wedge and his fledgling Phantom Squad will be taking part in the last skirmish against the Empire over Jakku. We know from the comic Poe Dameron #1 that Snap also flew in this battle. Norra may or may not be flying, but she’ll definitely at least be present and active in the fight in some form. And in A New Hope, Wedge has shown to be willing to fight ’till the very bloody end. He was ready to die for the cause until Luke ordered him to fall back. With all his loved ones out there, could Wedge be making the ultimate sacrifice?
Now, I’ve been arguing it would make narrative sense for Wedge to perish in the Battle of Jakku. But what about any real life arguments. Surely Wedge is too popular to bit the bullet in a mere book?
Well, sure, there’s no denying there’s a lot of love out there for Wedge Antilles. He’s the leader of Rogue Squadron and an all-around badass of the Rebel Alliance… But that was in Legends. In canon, the Storygroup tends to do things just a little bit differently. Kanan wasn’t the Padawan of established Jedi like Plo Koon or Luminara Unduli. His master was blink-and-you’ll-miss-her episode I cameo Depa Billaba. General Tagge didn’t die on the Death Star, but went on to supervise Vader as the Grand General of the Empire. And rather than Chewbacca, it was Han Solo who bit the dust in The Force Awakens.
So really, what is there left to do with Wedge? Denis Lawson doesn’t want to reprise the character. And, though an awesome one, he’s a bit of a one trick pony. Sure, he can rock the skies for years to come with his fancy new Phantom Squadron. But his trainee, Snap, could just as well take that position. The truth is, no matter how hard they can try to rival the Wedge of old, there will always be comparisons to his EU counterpart. And tell me, where’s the fairness in that?
Wedge deserves to go out with a bang, not a whimper.
If you (understandably) want to yell at me now, please use Twitter or the comments section below. Now, I’ll close off with words by the great man, himself:
Copy, Gold Leader. I’m already on my way out.