Wedge Antilles is an X-Wing
fighter pilot played by Denis Lawson
. The true hero of the original Star Wars
trilogy. Wedge survives all three battles in the trilogy:
- A New Hope: As Red Two, he shoots down a TIE fighter on Luke's tail, thus saving Luke's life and paving the way for the Death Star's destruction. Wedge's own ship is damaged as they fly through the trench, but he manages to escape to safety.
- The Empire Strikes Back: As Rogue Three, Wedge successfully ties up the legs on one of the Imperial walkers, a maneuver Luke tried but failed at.
- The Return of the Jedi: As Red Leader, Wedge leads one of the squadrons attacking the new Death Star. He leads the charge into the core of the Death Star, a testament to his piloting expertise, and he delivers what many believe is the killing blow that destroys the Death Star. The Millennium Falcon, following close behind, also shoots at something but that's not relevant to the heroism that is Wedge.
had a very specific vision for Wedge: He would be a brash young hot-shot eager to show his stuff in battle. The kind of kid who really does have talent but isn’t seasoned enough to wield it properly -- c.f. Bull Durham
. Some reports say Wedge was also supposed to be a Jedi
in training, but one too brash to truly understand his teacher, and that he was originally killed off in A New Hope
Well, if there wasn't any room for Biggs in the first story, there certainly wasn't room for this much of Wedge, so the entire history was wiped. Even in the books, where Biggs' friendship with Luke is spelled out, Wedge is a minor character with no background. Lucas -- or somebody -- took a liking to him, however, and saw to it that Wedge survived all three movies. Denis Lawson even gets some extra camera time in the party scene concluding Return of the Jedi.
A few of the Star Wars novels concentrate on Wedge, signifying readers’ interest in the true history of the rebel forces. Well, okay, the truth is that they probably ran out of things to write novels and comic books about. Timothy Zahn created the Rogue Squadron series of books, and a number of Rogue Squadron comic books were produced as well.
True Wedge fanatics notice that C3P0 and R2-D2 mention a certain "Captain Antilles" early in A New Hope, which led us to believe/hope that a parent or grandparent of Wedge's would be represented in the prequel trilogy. Alas, it's not to be ... our only solace is in knowing that Ewan McGregor is a nephew of Denis Lawson (really!).