Thursday, July 24, 2014

101 Star Wars Variations 33: A Wedge in Time

Han Solo was a myth created by the Rebel Alliance to create support among the apathetic, the neutral, the rogue elements of the galaxy who didn't necessarily see anything wrong with the Empire.

Conjuring this man meant that everything he accomplished had to be taken away from someone else.  Some of that credit belongs to Wedge Antilles.

For instance, at the destruction of the first Death Star during the trench run that saw Luke Skywalker successfully hit the target of the exhaust port after everyone else had failed, the story goes that Han Solo randomly appeared at the exact moment fate needed some intervention to keep TIE-Fighters away from Skywalker's X-Wing.  Sounds just a little too convenient, doesn't it?  Because, of course, it is.

Wedge was part of the squadron of fighters that made the assault on the Death Star.  History barely has an excuse as to what else he might have been doing at that moment, slight damage having apparently removed him from the action just before it..  Except it was Wedge who gave Skywalker the crucial support, damaging his own ship in the process, costing him his shot (and he was a remarkable shot).

The thing is, Wedge is probably more crucially involved in the saga of the Empire than anyone.  His father Bail Antilles was part of the early resistance to the Empire, along with Skywalker's mother, and his uncle was one of the finest star pilots during the Clone Wars, rewarded with his own ship, one of the few significantly-sized vessels entrusted to brave space under its own auspices in the era of the Empire.

With the whitewashing of Wedge's record, much of the Antilles legacy became obscured, so that neither his father or uncle are properly understood for the roles they played.  Much reconstruction is still underway.  A family with institutional significance, never corrupted (Skywalker's father was, of course, Darth Vader), always true to the cause of galactic peace, always ready to serve, free of ego...You can see why historians are keen to restore Wedge to his rightful place.  So much emphasis has been placed on others.  It's time to give credit where credit is due.

To give a further record of his activities during the struggle of the Rebellion would prove to be an exhaustive exercise.  Suffice to say, Wedge is indeed a great hero.  He didn't need the Force to become one, either.  Maybe he's not exciting enough, but true heroism needn't draw attention to itself.  True heroism is humble, like all the Antilles.  Like Wedge.

Long live the Antilles line.

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