Rogue One premieres in less than two months. Every Star Wars fan looks at their circled “December 16th” on the calendar with increasing glee. The movie promises action, adventure, and entirely not enough Donnie Yen beatin’ up on Stormtroopers. For new fans, Rogue One is a call sign for the ship Jyn Erso and her companions use. For older fans it evokes memories and nostalgia. Walk with us, if you will, through the history of the Rogues.
The Beginning of the Rogues
Canonically, the Rogues (or Rogue Squadron) first appeared in-universe between the battle of Yavin, and the battle of Hoth. Built from the remnants of pilots during the battle of Yavin, the group became famed for its skill, and was the squadron rebel leaders called upon to conduct clandestine raids and strikes. We, the viewers, first hear of the Rogues during The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke Skywalker commands a team of snowspeeder pilots he calls “Rogue Group”. The radio drama version of the movie calls it “Rogue Flight.”
Timothy Zahn, he who gave us Admiral Thrawn, first coined “Rogue Squadron” in his novel Heir to the Empire. The Rogues became the focus of numerous expanded universe works, such as the novels by author Michael A. Stackpole, as well as his series of comics from Dark Horse. LucasArts and Factor 5 made three Rogue Squadron video games: “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron” for the Nintendo 64 and computer in 1998, “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader” and “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike” came out in 2001 and 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube.
After Disney announced the title of the first Star Wars anthology movie, many speculated about how much the story would take from the expanded universe. While the Rogues we’re going to see in the movie seem to function in the same space—a group of the best for special missions—the mission to find the plans for the Death Star is far earlier than most sources say the Rogues first appeared. Hopefully the movie will make some effort to meld our old universe with this brave new one.
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