Character Corner: Wedge Antilles

Every few weeks, The Official Star Wars Costumes blog runs a piece on one of the many different characters in the Star Wars Universe (and that’s just a list of “prominent” characters!). While we usually talk about characters from the movies, or perhaps the Clone Wars television show, this week we’re looking at a character that appears mostly in the Expanded Universe: The famous X-Wing pilot and Rebel hero, Wedge Antilles!

Wedge Antilles
How well do you know Wedge Antilles?

History:

We first meet Wedge Antilles at the end of Episode IV, during the briefing to destroy the Death Star. He voices doubts about being able to hit the battle station’s exhaust port, but is re-assured by Luke Skywalker. He and Luke are the only members of Red Squadron to make it out of the battle alive. They would go on to create the legendary Rogue Squadron, which they both led until the events of Episode V, during which Wedge took full control. He also took part in the attack on the Death Star during Episode VI, and is the only pilot to fly in and survive both attacks.

With the Rebels in power, Wedge became known as the Republic’s greatest pilot. He briefly resigned from his post and led a private war against Ysanne Isard, the then-current Imperial leader, successfully ending his rule. Wedge was accepted back into the Republic, forming Wraith Squadron as a commando unit.

Nine years after the battle of Yavin, Wedge Antilles became a General at the behest of Supreme Commander Ackbar. He commanded the Deadnought Lusankya. During this time he married and started a family. He would later become New Republic Starfighter Command Chief of Staff, and command Rogue Squadron once more. After reaching an end to the war with the Imperial Remnant, Wedge retired in 19 ABY (After Battle of Yavin).

In 25 ABY, the Yuuzhan Vong invaded, and Wedge rejoined the fight. He became commander of the New Republic Fleet Group Three, participating in the failed defense of Coruscant. He made a stand against Yuuzhan Vong ex-warmaster Czulkang Lah, defeating him. This victory led to a significant rise in moral, with the New Republic now aware the invading inter-galactic enemies could be defeated. Wedge would end up being one of the commanders that recaptured Coruscant to end the war.

Wedge would return from retirement when imprisoned by the New Republic’s successor state, the Galactic Alliance, in the lead up to the second Galactic Civil War. He sided with his home world Corellia and its revolt against the Galactic Alliance, but came to realize the Corellian leaders were corrupt. He switched sides to the Coalition led by his friend Luke Skywalker, which included the Jedi, a division of the Galactic Alliance after a schism, and other smaller groups. After the defeat of Darth Caedus, the Sith Leader of the Galactic Alliance, the war ended and Wedge retired for the third and final time.

Behind the Scenes:

Wedge Antilles was played by two different actors during the filming of Episode IV: Colin Higgins and Denis Lawson. Colin Higgins was fired after only a day of shooting, but still appears in the movie for one scene. Both actors had their voices dubbed by David Ankrum. Lawson also portrayed the character in Episodes V and VI. The character came from an early concept of a hotshot pilot with the name Chewie Antilles, but during rewrites of the Episode IV script, the characters were divided into Chewbacca and Wedge.

Lawson turned down a role for Episode VII, saying that it would have “bored” him.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Character Corner this week! Wedge is one of the dark horse characters of the Star Wars universe, and his adventures are much grander than we could portray here. We’ll see you next time!

If you are still reading this, congratulations, you are the first to know a secret! You have a leg up on the competition, be sure to check our Facebook page on Monday for a HUGE giveaway.

Ranking the Star Wars Movies

Everybody loves ‘em, everybody knows ‘em. The Star Wars movies! They are the central pillars of Star Wars fandom. We decided to rank the movies from worst to best, after looking at polls and lists online. (Spoiler: At the end of this article we will tell you how to win a free Star Wars costume.)

Star Wars Movies
Which Star Wars Movie will earn the #1 spot?

#6: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Coming out in 2002, Episode II continues the saga of young Anakin Skywalker. This is the first place controversial placement on our list, but many people (including yours truly!) believe that Episode II is weaker than Episode I. Foremost is the cringe-worthy dialogue present through most of the movie, but especially between Anakin and Padme Amidala, whose forbidden romance plot is just barely more interesting than staring at a wall. A weak story full of plot holes and bad acting plague this movie from nearly beginning to end.

Positively, Episode II has the exciting Geonosis battle, the first time we get to see Jedi in all-out war. Christopher Lee as Count Dooku marks the best bit of acting, and his battle with Yoda is a sight to behold. Not as much Jar-Jar.

Did you know? Jar-Jar Binks, standing in for Senator Amidala, puts forth the motion that gives Palpatine supreme powers. This means that Jar-Jar, the most hated character in the Star Wars canon, is indirectly responsible for the fall of the Old Republic and the near-annihilation of the Jedi order.

#5: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Just slightly edging out Attack of the Clones, The Phantom Menace was the most hyped movie of 1999, and suffered for a great many reasons: Boring trade and politics talk, bad acting and dialogue, and an overabundance of special effects. Jake Lloyd, playing young Anakin, proved to be the wrong choice for such an important character. With the inclusion of several heavily-derided characters and special effects that overloaded some viewers, it’s common to find this movie at the bottom of the list.

Yet it has some advantages over Episode II. Darth Maul, though underused and killed off, created a stunning enemy for the Jedi. The Naboo battle, while failing to recreate the exciting end of Episode VI, still proves to be a fun scene.

Did you know? During filming, Ewan McGregor made lightsaber noises as he dueled. It was noted and corrected during post production.

#4: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Here’s the second instance of a possible controversial placement. What many consider the weakest movie in the original trilogy, this 1983 movie still has more than enough charm to raise it above most of the trilogy. The Jabba scenes, Endor attack, and final battle aboard the Death Star Mark 2 are all high points of this film.

However, the movie isn’t without its negatives. The Ewoks don’t have a very strong fanbase, and some criticism has been leveled at Mark Hamill’s varying success playing an older Luke. The fanbase is somewhat conflicted over whether this movie, or Episode three, is more deserving of a higher spot.

Did you know? The word “Ewok” is never said during the movie. The name appears in the novelization, the movie’s credits, and other material.

#3: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith

Clearly the greatest of the prequels, Episode III even has some details that rival the original movies. Nobody can deny the feeling of the Sith’s plot coming together is one of great emotion and importance, the initial battle above Coruscant to rescue the Chancellor is an amazing spectacle (without overloading the viewer), and the battle between Obi-Wan and Lord Vader on Mustafar can be just as exciting as the battles in the original trilogy. The scene of the clone troopers betraying the Jedi has the suddenness and power of the Godfather’s similar climax.

Still, with all these good things, it’s far from perfect. Subpar acting is all too apparent, and the story itself raises several plot holes, such as Leia’s supposed memory of her mother, and how Padme died of “a broken heart.”

Did you know? George Lucas deliberately made the Darth Vader suit top-heavy (for instance adding weight on the helmet) to make Hayden Christensen not appear “too accustomed” to it in the movie.

#2: Episode IV – A New Hope

The first! Originally simply “Star Wars”, Episode IV kicked off the brand we know and love today in amazing style! The plot is a classic hero’s journey as described by Joseph Campbell in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” an archetypal story that many cultures exhibit. There’s not much to say about the beauty of this movie: it introduced the characters we love, gave us plenty of exciting scenes, and led to even more exciting with the movies to follow.

Did you know? Episode IV is the only Star Wars movie to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award, and the first ever science fiction film to be nominated for Best Picture.

#1: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Frequently shown to be the best Star Wars movie, Episode V was actually voted the best movie ever earlier this year, beating out The Godfather and more. From the battle on Hoth to the betrayal at Cloud City and the duel between Luke and his father, viewers are taken on an emotional ride, from fear and anger to happiness. It contains what many people consider the major spoiler of movies from that era, and fans continue to enjoy it to this day.

Did you know? Mark Hamill had to bang his head 16 times on the ceiling of Yoda’s hut before the director was satisfied.

There you are! The six Star Wars movies ranked. We know that plenty of you have your own opinions about the series. Make them known in the comments!

Extra!

The Clone Wars Movie: While a moderate box office success, the animated Clone Wars film was a critical failure, existing as little more than a plug for the upcoming (and much better received) Clone Wars animated series. The movie serves as an introduction to Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s padawan during the series.

The Star Wars Holiday Special: Spoken of in the hushed tones of myth, the Star Wars Holiday Special is critically derided, and has never been shown on US television, or released on home video. George Lucas has said he wouldn’t mind every copy being tracked down and burned.

From Boba Fett’s first appearance in Star Wars lore, to guest appearances by Jefferson Starship, Art Carney, Bea Arthur and more, and adding on Carrie Fisher’s clearly drunk performance as Leia, it is only the wildest fans who can watch the credits roll and think “I enjoyed that.”

Contest:

As promised we will reveal how to win a Free Star Wars Costume.  Head over to our Facebook page to enter!

Star Wars Battle: Mace Windu vs. Darth Maul

Every once in a while on Official Star Wars Costumes, we like to take two characters we never got the chance to see fight and drop them in an arena. We’ve done it previously with Darth Vader and Qui-Gon Jinn, and we now see fit to do it once more with two dangerous enemies: Mace Windu vs. Darth Maul! We’ll take a look at each character’s strengths and weaknesses, and see how they match up.

Mace Windu:

Mace Windu, High Jedi General and one time Grand Master of the Jedi Order, was a formidable opponent. He created his own unique style of lightsaber combat, called Vaapad, and was the only person to master it. It was said that only Count Dooku and Master Yoda could outduel him. Windu revealed that the secret to Vaapad was its path through the “penumbra” of the dark side, utilizing aggression and a desire to win. Known fMace Winduor its power and dangerous technique, the user would accept the fury of the opponent, and required a constant stream of Force from the use.

Windu had many other powers as well: Extensive force mastery, including knowledge of the dark side and a strong resistance to it. He could utilize the force to enhance his body’s abilities, as well as the force wave, and even some darker powers, including the force grip and force crush. Finally, he had the strange ability he called shatterpoint, which helped him find the weaknesses in opponents, objects, and even events.

Mace Windu fully accepted that his greatest weakness was his enjoyment of fighting. This was a dangerous trait for a Jedi due to the nature of the dark side.

Darth Maul:

Mace Windu had ferocity, but Darth Maul was unmatched in that category. He was highly trained in Juyo, the sister style to Vaapad, similarly vicious and aggressive. He was a skilled practitioner in Niman, the sixth style of combat, which possesses no outright strengths but also no glaring weaknesses, as well as Jar’Kai, dual lightsaber combat. Finally, he was a masterful user of the double-bladed lightsaber, something that not many Jedi had fought. He had incredible hand-to-hand combat skills, and was a tactical master during fights.

Additional powers and abilities include telekinesis, resistance to force attacks, mechanics, able to withstand immense physical pain, and weaponry.

Maul was only truly in his element while fight hand-to-hand or with melee weapons such as the lightsaber, and he disliked using his force techniques while in combat. Maul was prone to furious actions that would leave him open to a counterattack.

Darth Maul or Mace Windu?
Who wins- Darth Maul or Mace Windu? (Mace obviously isn’t pictured here.)

The Battle:

A battle between a Vaapad master and a skilled Juyo practitioner would be a sight to behold. Both Windu and Maul would be going up against a talented opponent. However, Mace Windu has several advantages. First, while Darth Maul was extremely gifted in combat, WIndu’s use of the Vaapad style made a difficult fight more interesting for Windu, prompting his desire to win and a surge of strength. Windu also had much stronger force abilities, as well as the shatterpoint technique. Darth Maul’s tactical strength would have made the fight more difficult than simply overpowering him with abilities, and he had his own version of shatterpoint: an ability to discern weaknesses in an opponent’s fighting style, which he made use of fighting against Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Resolution:

Darth could, potentially, have the advantage physically, but Mace Windu’s other abilities make up for it. In the battle of Mace Windu vs. Darth Maul, Mace Windu would win perhaps 65-70 percent of the time, though Darth Maul does have a chance.  We would love to hear your thoughts, what two Star Wars Characters should battle next?