Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rogue Squadron Wrap-Up

Issue "Handbook: Volume One"
Released in July 1998.
Written by Peet Janes
Penciller various
Letterer various
Cover Art John Nadeau

The last of the Dark Horse Comics X-Wing: Rogue Squadron comic books. This issue includes a bunch of information on the making of the comic series and specific details about different characters and ships and whatnot.

A nice read. A couple of things struck me as very interesting. 

One: Michael Stackpole was approached to write the X-Wing novels first. In an off-hand comment when meeting with a Lucasfilm exec, he mentioned he'd like to do comics one day. That comment led directly to this memorable run from Dark Horse. Stackpole envisioned the comics as a prequel for the novel series.

Two: Peet Janes, the writer for this Handbook, suggests in his closing comments that Stackpole was "...the original builder of the squadron..." Interesting. The confusing history of "Red Squadron", "Rogue Flight", "Red Group", "Rogue Group" and whatnot, from Yavin, through Hoth to Endor is not really clear. Somewhere along the way Rogue Flight or Rogue Group, a couple of T-47 snowspeeders led by Luke Skywalker became the basis for the iconic "Blue Angels" of Star Wars; perhaps the best addition of any from the offerings of the now-Legends Expanded Universe. Credit goes to, who else, Zahn:
"And then in 1995, out of the blue, I picked up the phone and there was Mike. It seemed he'd just been contracted to write a series of Star Wars X-Wing books for Bantam and wanted to discuss the Rogue Squadron group I'd created for my own Star Wars books."―Timothy Zahn.

Three: Stackpole spoke to Zahn and Ann Crispin about Baron Soontir Fel, just as he was being created as an "Imperial Red Baron" for the "In the Empire's Service" story arc. The initial Red Baron idea was Dark Horse editor Peet Jane's. Both Crispin and Zahn decided to include Fel in their current projects: The Hutt Gambit (1997) and Vision of the Future (1998).

The timeline looks something like this:

Heir to the Empire novel (creates Rogue Squadron as they exist in 9 ABY): June 1991
Stackpole meets at Skywalker Ranch to discuss books (and comics): July 1994
Dark Horse X-Wing Rogue Squadron comics: first issue on July, 1995
X-Wing: Rogue Squadron (the first novel by Stackpole): released January, 1996

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