Rogue Squadron, Fans, and A Problem | A Star Wars/Zack Snyder Story

Fans Rogue Squadron

Fans Rogue Squadron

Rogue Squadron, Fans, and A Problem | A Star Wars/Zack Snyder Story

Last week we learned that there would be a Rogue Squadron film coming from director Patty Jenkins in December of 2023. This immediately set off a storm of tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube theories about what the film would be about. When would it take place? Will we hear familiar names or see familiar faces? It is possible a problem is brewing too. The power of fans is getting scary. They made the redesign of Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog happen. The Power of fans is bringing the world Zack Snyder’s Justice League. So what happens if fans aren’t happy with the direction they see Rogue Squadron heading in?

The Squad Takes Form:

Back in the mid to late ’90s a game designer and writer named Michael A. Stackpole was tasked by Dark Horse Comics and LucasFilm to expand on the lives and missions of the pilots in Rogue Squadron. Many of the comics were set during the waning days of the Galactic Civil War. The stories are great, the art is fun, and you should read them. The X-Wing comics spawned one of the most successful and widely enjoyed novel series in all of Star Wars.

X-Wing: Rogue Squadron hit bookshelves in 1996 and it gave us a look at the politics of creating a new government and how politicians will use the military for their own gain. In the book, Wedge Antilles reforms Rogue Squadron. The pilots will be an example of the New Republic in appearance and strength. However, every species or planet that helped the Rebel Alliance wants representation in the squadron. Unfortunately, some of the picks don’t sit well with Wedge. Wedge is a warrior though, and he knows how to play the game.

The Rogues spend the first book training and Stackpole sets up some baddies like Kirtan Loor and Ysanne Isard. The training is tough, the battles even harder, but the Rogues push through. Fortunately, this type of story lines up perfectly with what we’ve been told about the upcoming Rogue Squadron film, new pilots training and earning their wings. I won’t give away too many spoilers but the first book has comedy, tragedy, betrayal, and romance. Yes, romance. What are you scoffing at? The Original Trilogy had Han and Leia and the Prequels had Anakin and Padmé.

Getting Personal With The Team:

No one does romance like Mike Stackpole though. Seriously, the feelings a certain Corran Horn eventually developes for someone were the exact same as I felt for the woman that became my wife. Basically, Stackpole gave me a blueprint for what to look for in a partner. Additionally, he expertly handles inter-species relationships, feelings between enemies, family relationships, and wrote outstanding quotes like:

I’d have loved to see those Immigrations forms. Purpose of the visit to our world?‘ ‘Murder, mayhem, glitterstim smuggling, and purchase of a gift suitable for a small Corellian girl.” 

Or:

“We kissed with the urgency of lost love found, heart’s pain eased. I stroked her hair and she kept me close, then we both had to come up for air.”

Now, no human being with a heart can’t want to feel that second quote, and the first one is hilarious. Even without context, you can tell the writing is great. That’s what we got in the X-Wing books by Stackpole. Not that the late Aaron Allston’s Wraith Squadron X-Wing books weren’t as well written, but we’ll discuss the Wraith’s when they get a movie or show. It is an odd thing to get excited about or try to sell someone on, but Stackpole writes romance and sex in Star Wars with such grace and professionalism. Wait, I meant with maximum hilarity and heart.

Who are the Rogues though? Wedge Antilles, Corran Horn, Tycho Celchu, and Gavin Darklighter are probably the most famous names from the first four books. The rest of the Squadron is filled with characters with amazing arcs like Lujayne Forge. Her story is really family-focused. We get to learn about a completely different social structure with the Gand species through Ooryl Qrygg. Also, we learn all about the politics behind the miracle that is Bacta. That’s just the good guys!

The Bad Guys Of The Books:

The main villains are Ysanne Isard, Kirtan Loor, and Evir Derricote. Isard and Loor get the majority of the development, and when you read you’ll see why. Stackpole creates some of the strongest and most complete female characters you’ll ever see in entertainment. Isard is in charge of the Empire and holds the galactic capital of Coruscant. She is ruthless, intelligent, and has really cool eyes and hair. Yes, Stackpole even describes his characters well.

Isard knows the New Republic wants the capital and she uses that to her advantage. She hatches a wonderfully evil plan that unfolds over the first four X-Wing books featuring Rogue Squadron. The villains get every ounce of love our heroes get from their creator. Also, Isard’s daddy Armand is a canon character. James Luceno brought him over in his book Tarkin. So we may see Ice Heart (Ysanne’s nickname) in the film.

RELATED: Rogue Squadron Fans Could Make Or Break Future Film | LRMornings

The Old Fans And The New Movie:

So where do the fans come in? Well, they’re in right now! Across the internet, you will find discussions about who should be in this film, when it should take place, who should be involved in writing it, and so much more. This book series is probably the most beloved series in Star Wars and has fan-favorite characters like Wedge, Corran, Mirax, and even Timothy Zahn’s Talon Karrde. There will be expectations for the representation of some of these characters on screen. There will be expectations that the pilots aren’t created based on Earth politics. Yes, there will be “get woke go broke” attacks on this film if they go too SJW with the casting or story. The story must pay respect to Stackpole’s books too. On that last note, Director Patty Jenkins posted this tweet:

That sounds good, but words in a tweet don’t mean anything. I am worried about Disney because they don’t plan well for Star Wars films and they don’t play fair. Disney brought Timothy Zhan back to rewrite Thrawn and give him a new trilogy. The show Rebels featured Thrawn heavily, and he’s expected to show up in live-action soon.

However, Mr. Stackpole has told me, and others, that he has not been approached by Disney to come back in any way. Not for books before this movie was announced, not for this movie, and not for anything since they’ve announced the film. That could all change in an instant. I do not think it will. The best part of this is that it’s highly Kathleen Kennedy won’t be around when the movie is filming as her contract ends in 2021 (no news on renewal), but it does suck that she will be around long enough to stick her finger in the script or other processes. Yeah, I am still salty about her lack of planning for the Sequel Trilogy and I still don’t trust Disney to be honest after seeing The Rise of Skywalker.

With that said, I ask again… what happens if fans don’t like the direction of the movie? What if they announce character names and none are familiar? When will the movie take place? Will fans like something set during the Original Trilogy with a recast Luke Skywalker on the team? Personally, I want to see the movie open up the day or week of/after the Battle of Endor but really get going about 30 minutes in when Wedge is tasked to rebuild the unit.

The Other Fans May Not Play Nice:

The first book is a perfect blueprint, but I don’t need to see it on the screen as is. I have already read the book, multiple times. It is okay to take inspiration from something and take it in a new direction. If the fans don’t like it though… X-Wing novel fans aren’t the only Star Wars fans though. Many would be very excited for a very human Rogue Squadron that was as humanly diverse as humanly possible while ignoring the fact that Star Wars has THOUSANDS of species and that diversity comes in more than Black and White. Asians and Hispanics are severely underrepresented the way I understand entertainment demographics, and them being in make-up or voicing a mostly CGI character is just as good as them being human.

Some of these fans will attack the book lovers, think back to The Last JediSoloThe Rise of Skywalker, and the franchise’s toy sales slump. The fans of TLJ and Solo ripped into anyone that spoke ill of their beloved films. They said huge drops in sequel revenue were normal, it is and TLJ was close to the percentages of drops as the OT and PT, but those fans try to spin the loss on Solo. They rarely bring up the toy sales slump, and as for Episode IX… the hate is strong with those ones.

Both of these groups can pose a problem, and we’ll get there soon.

justice league Zack Snyder HBO Max

The Snyder Effect Comes Into Play:

Some at LRM want RS to be all-new, with no known names, places, times, or anything. This would be a mistake and could see a #MakeTheStackpoleCut movement form. You see, before last year, fans had to deal with whatever Hollywood put on screen. If they didn’t like it, they didn’t watch the film again and it made less money. The next time around Hollywood would attempt to fix what went wrong and release a sequel or reboot. Then came #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Zack Snyder’s Justice League exists because of fans. They made it clear to Warner Bros. that they hated the theatrical version of the film and that there were millions of them willing to pay to see Snyder’s version. I bet at least 40% of Snyder Cut cultists hated Snyder on  Man of Steel and Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Not only is Snyder getting to release a vision of his film, but he got additional money, time, and shots to add to his already long-ass movie. You will not see the Snyder Cut though. Snyder is creating a new version of the film that is in his head but was never going to be on screen. Snyder states that he once thought the movie would be split in two and released one month apart. I’m not sure if that means there would have been a third film as I do not think we’re getting a big JL versus Darkseid fight. Ciaran Hinds already said that everything he filmed, as Steppenwolf, is there, and that final fight with him is pretty… final.

I think the majority of the Darkseid stuff will be flashbacks and maybe communications with Steppenwolf or artwork as seen in the first teaser. Back to the real topic.

Unlimited Power:

This is the only time I can think of that fans got a studio to make what they wanted to see. The Rise of Skywalker tried to be what fans wanted, but it’s really hard to fit three movies into one. There is one other small example. The design of Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog. After fan reactions to the first trailer and design, the director and Sega agreed to postpone the film and redesign Sonic. It worked in their favor. Sonic is a fun movie. It performed well enough and earned a sequel. So, is that three times in recent years that fans have made changes to movies before they come out? Well ZS:JL is different, but you get the point.

When Rogue Squadron starts filming and fans get word that the source material is being completely ignored, I believe fan outrage will hit harder than TLJ and Solo. We’re talking about the possibility of another Star Wars movie losing money. In a (hopefully) post COVID-19 world, could Star Wars films take another hit like that? On the other hand, Disney could choose to learn from past mistakes and the mistakes of others. The House of Mouse can listen to fans right now and keep from making too many mistakes. They’ll never please everyone, but choosing the casual fan over the die-hard fan DID NOT WORK for the Sequel Trilogy, and it won’t work for Rogue Squadron. Again, I stress how beloved this series is.

LRM Star Wars

What Can Make It Better:

Should the movie go awry, the fan input could see it delayed and changed. One simple move could make most of these potential issues disappear, make Michael A. Stackpole a direct advisor to Patty Jenkins and give him some honorary title like Executive Producer. The way Stan Lee was always an EP on Marvel films. This will ensure that respect is paid to the source material, and it would put a lot of minds at ease.

Is that too much power for fans though?

The Problem:

There is an old saying about wanting what you can’t have and not wanting it once you get it. Basically, I am saying some people can never be pleased. The fandoms of Star Wars are currently at odds. One gets the feeling that the split is almost dead even with 50% loving Disney’s work and the other half hating it. That brings up the question of whose way should Disney go if they’re going to listen to fans? There is already alienation and infighting about every aspect of everything Disney is doing with Star Wars.

LRMornings co-host Jammer is one of those that wants the director to have free reign with their writer and not be beholden to the source material. He always reminds readers and listeners that they’ll always have the original material, so why get so mad if a movie comes out and you don’t like it? There is more to it than that though. After a certain amount of time or achievement in the hearts and minds of fans, a property becomes a little more theirs and a little less the creator’s. It is a sad but truthful state of affairs in entertainment.

Either group of fans could potentially sway the movie and alienate the other half. That will cost Disney money and potentially cost us future projects. While some may be happy with no more Disney StarWars, without the Expanded Universe to fill the gap, many will be left broken-hearted.

Final Thoughts From This Fan:

This is a property I have been wanting to see on screen for a long time. I honestly think a Disney+ series would be better and give fans more time with the Rogues. However, I have deep-rooted dread surrounding this film. I have been angry at Disney for not bringing Stackpole back to the novels or comics since 2015. It makes no sense to me that Kathleen Kennedy and company had no issue borrowing from the EU, Kylo started out as Jacen Solo basically, but they left 99% of the EU writers out in the cold.

If we don’t count the iffy EU novels like Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and The Han Solo Adventures the EU really kicked off in 1991 with Timothy Zhan’s Thrawn book starting with Heir to the Empire. I got into the EU in 1994 and that means for 26 years Timothy Zhan, Mike Stackpole, Christie Goldie, Kevin J. Anderson, Aaron Allston, and so many others gave me Star Wars. They gave me better dialogue than anything in Episode I-IV. The novels provided hours of entertainment in waiting rooms, in cars, and on planes. I read the books as fast as they came out, and I loved… a plurality. There were some misses.

What are your thoughts on Rogue Squadron and fans having the power to effect change in a movie? Let us know in the comments below!

P.S.

This entire piece is my opinion only, but I have to say this last bit. It is wrong that the EU writers did not get to help or pass the baton. To me, that was the first sign that Disney thinks they know better than those that have been making Star Wars for decades. That kind of ego gave us the messy Sequel Trilogy (which does have good moments) and the horrible Solo (humans should not speak Wookiee and Solo IS A NAME) movie. Hopefully, things are better with new leadership. Hopefully, they’ll see fit to bring back some EU writers to help craft new stories that are inspired by the old.

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Kyle Malone

Kyle is a Senior Editor and Multimedia Manager for LRM Online. He is a Retired Soldier and Business School graduate who loves movies, comics, and video games. He shares his passions with his wife & their awesome little geek-in-training.

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