While the galaxy far, far, away has been doing just fine on Disney+ thanks to the success of The Mandalorian, the film side of the Star Wars franchise's future has been mostly a mystery since the Sequel Trilogy wrapped up. While there have been a number of different projects announced, and some release dates carved out on the calendar, exactly what we would see and who would be making it for us had been a big question. That question was finally answered last week when Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy revealed, as part of Disney's 2020 Investor Day, that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins would helm the next Star Wars movie, Rogue Squadron.
While the title, and some comments from Patty Jenkins herself, tell us that this movie will be focused on the Rebellion's famous squadron of pilots first seen in the Original Trilogy, we don't know much else at this point. However, this isn't the first time that Rogue Squadron has been fodder for Star Wars stories. While no longer canon, the X-Wing Rogue Squadron novels by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston previously focused on this same group of pilots. While Patty Jenkins has said her movie would not be based on those books, she did say they helped inspire her. There are several specific places both from those books and within the larger Star Wars universe that I certainly hope inspire the new Rogue Squadron movie.
A Diverse Cast of Pilots
The Star Wars universe is a wild and diverse place full of all sorts of alien species. While we certainly see many of these aliens throughout Star Wars films and shows, they are largely, with only a few exceptions, on the periphery, and even characters like Chewbacca or Yoda are supporting players at best. Rogue Squadron has the opportunity to tell a real ensemble story where there's no single main character, but a team of equals, and there's no reason every single one of them needs to be human.
While the Original Trilogy pretty exclusively focused on human pilots in those Rebel ships, the Sequel Trilogy showed us that a much wider variety of pilots can fit inside an X-wing, and it would be nice to see Rogue Squadron be a little more diverse. A lot of the various alien species in Star Wars have become fan favorites, so it would be cool to see them get a more prominent role; a movie like this makes sense to be that place.
The Early Days of the New Republic
For those who never read any of the original series of Star Wars novels, then the end of the story, for decades, came with Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi. Based on that, everybody lived happily ever after. But one of the interesting things that the early Rogue Squadron books dealt with was the idea that this really wasn't the case. Just because the Empire had fallen didn't mean that everything was wonderful. The early novels in the series dealt with the Republic's invasion and occupation of Coruscant, and the subsequent insurgency. The idea that the Rebel Alliance isn't seen as a savior by all people is something the films have yet to really deal with, and they could make for an interesting and complex screenplay.
We've seen some elements of this idea in The Mandalorian, but the Rogue Squadron movie could show them to us from the New Republic's point of view. To be clear, we have no idea when in the Star Wars timeline the Rogue Squadron movie will be set. It could very well end up being a spinoff movie that is set someplace in the middle of the Original Trilogy, but setting the movie in the era immediately following that trilogy makes a lot of sense.
A Rogue One Connection
One item that was not part of the Legends novels, because it didn't exist yet, is the idea that the name Rogue Squadron is connected to the callsign used by Jyn Erso and her team that stole the Death Star plans in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Following the film, it became a popular sentiment that the name Rogue One actually inspired the name of Rogue Squadron, and this idea was technically made canon in a 2019 issue of the main Star Wars comic book.
But let's be honest, a lot of people who love the Star Wars movies have never read a Star Wars comic book. So it would be cool to see this connection at least referenced on the big screen so that those that know and love Rogue One can see the connection between that movie with a similar name and this one.
Awesome X-Wing Space Battles
We'll end this list with the one thing that's most exciting about a Rogue Squadron movie, and the one thing we're pretty sure we're going to get, as it's something Patty Jenkins has already promised us. Part of the reason that Jenkins sighed on to Rogue Squadron was her desire to make a badass fighter pilot movie, and the fact that she decided to make said movie in the Star Wars universe only makes it more exciting. While we've seen some solid outer space action in the Star Wars movies, we've never seen anything quite like what is being teased here.
One gets the image of a movie like Top Gun, but set in outer space. The times we've seen spacecraft combat in the Star Wars movies, it is frequently intercut with other sorts of action happening elsewhere. One imagines that in Rogue Squadron, when the action is focused on X-Wings or other small craft combat, there isn't going to be a lightsaber battle happening elsewhere we need to care about. That means the space battles will need to carry the action, so it needs to be that much better. Considering the passion Patty Jenkins has for the subject, it's virtually guaranteed it will all be just as exciting as we hope.
Rogue Squadron has apparently been in development for some time, and the basic concept has already been put together, so whether or not we'll be getting any of these elements has likely already been decided. But we've seen many of the other recent Star Wars movies borrow concepts, and even whole characters, from the Legends era in order to tell new stories so it's certainly possible we could new takes on these concepts from the Rogue Squadron books.