Rogue Squadron will be the next Star Wars movie to hit theaters, but a retcon to the team means it effectively serves as a sequel to 2016’s Rogue One.
Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron will be the next Star Wars movie to hit cinemas, but a retcon to the team’s origins means that it will serve as something of a sequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Revealed as part of Disney’s Investor Day in December 2020 alongside a slew of other new Star Wars movie and show announcements, Wonder Woman director Jenkins will be making a film based on Luke Skywalker’s famous X-wing team.
Rogue Squadron, aka Rogue Group, was first introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, where they were led by Luke himself. While they appeared in the movie, it was the Expanded Universe (now Star Wars Legends) that fleshed the organization out much more, especially thanks to an entire series of Rogue Squadron games devoted to the team’s missions. In the wake of the Battle of Yavin and the decimation of Red Squadron – of which Luke and Wedge Antilles were the only survivors – the group was split into Rogue Flight and Renegade Flight, with the former eventually becoming Rogue Group and then the 12-person team Rogue Squadron after the Battle of Hoth.
Of course, the EU was wiped from canon after Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, which offered new ways to explore various aspects of the Star Wars galaxy. That included Star Wars retconning Rogue Squadron’s origins after Rogue One’s release, with the 2018 comic Star Wars #52 confirming that, as some had speculated after the movie, Luke did indeed name Rogue Squadron after Jyn Erso and her band of Rebels. In an exchange with Wedge, who insists it isn’t the time for sentiment, Luke, having been thinking of Jyn, says: “You know, Wedge, if we’re acting like Jyn Erso, I have to disagree. It IS the time for sentiment. Rogue Squadron, form up.” This draws a directly link between the two in Star Wars canon, and means the Rogue Squadron movie has to be a sequel of sorts to Rogue One.
That isn’t to say it’ll be a continuation of that story – which, given most of the characters died, would be quite tricky – or that it’s the Rogue Two movie fans have speculated about, showing the Bothans stealing the Death Star II plans. But this is the closest audiences are going to get: a film that is a spiritual successor to Rogue One, embodying the same spirit and themes. Like Rogue One, Rogue Squadron can better show the dirty, ugly side of war in the galaxy far, far away; while that put boots on the grounds, this can give a more realistic insight into what it’s like being an X-wing pilot. And just like that proved that anyone can be a hero, so too can Rogue Squadron embody that crucial aspect of everyday heroism beyond the characters who use the Force and wield lightsabers.
Jenkins has said that Rogue Squadron will be its own story, rather than adapting a specific part of the books or games, and it may not necessarily feature any already established characters. But it is indebted to Rogue One and to the sacrifice those characters made, and can show others inspired by that who have to make their own sacrifices. Rogue Squadron may be a different kind of movie, but it should still be able to find a way of honoring its predecessor, and serving as a sequel or companion piece to that movie, depicting its very human horrors from a different point-of-view, but with the same weight while managing to be a classic Star Wars movie at the same time.