The verdict is in: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story brought the Star Wars saga to a whole new level. In this new hit film, fans met and fell in love with a whole new crew of Rebel heroes. For decades, the Rebellion was defined by the heroism of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Wedge Antilles, Lando Calrissian, C-3P0 and R2-D2. But now, you can add Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, K-2S0, Chirrut Inwe, Baze Malbus, and Bodhi Rook to the Rebel Hall of Fame. But there have been some other supporting players that have fought the good fight against the Empire and haven’t quite received the accolades of our other Rebel heroes. So, with Rogue One still warming our cockles, let’s take a look back and pay tribute to some of the lesser known Rebel heroes that have fought for freedom and justice across the galaxy.
Fans became reacquainted with Captain Antilles in Rogue One, so let’s give some love to this brave Rebel captain. Who can forget Darth Vader choking the life out of Captain Antilles aboard the Rebel Blockade Runner? But Antilles did so much more than getting strangled to death by Vader’s black-gloved hand. Despite the fact that Vader held Antilles six feet off the ground, Antilles wouldn’t give the Dark Lord of the Sith any information. If Antilles cracked, Vader and his boarding party would have found Leia, the droids, and the Death Star plans (and now we know just how hard the Rebellion had to fight for those plans. So, while we’re paying tribute to the Rebellion, we have to give credit to a man that didn’t crack even as Darth Vader squeezed the life out of him.
Another Rebel that made an appearance in Rogue One, General Dodonna was in command of the Rebel base on Yavin during the attack on the first Death Star. Dodonna briefed the Rebels on how to destroy the Death Star (and now we know where that weakness came from) and planned and orchestrated the attack on the Death Star, finishing what Jyn Erso and her crew started. When we’re talking about heroes of the Rebellion, we have to mention the wisdom and authority of the first Rebel general we ever met — General Dodonna.
Garven Dreis flew under the call sign Red Leader. After the demise of Gold Squadron, Red Squadron Commander Dreis was chosen to take the shot at the Death Star’s weak spot. It speaks to how much the Rebellion honored Dreis that they would let him take this vital shot at the Empire’s ultimate weapon. Sadly, Dreis was taken out by Darth Vader, but he almost completed the run that made Luke Skywalker a legend.
Dutch Vander and his Gold Squadron of Y-Wings were chosen to make the initial attack run on the Death Star’s exhaust port. Vander was the fearless commander of Gold Squadron but got shot down before he was able to take his turn at destroying the planet killer. Fans got to see both Dreis and Vander in action during Rogue One, and what a thrill it was to see these two Rebel aces complete a mission. Vander must have been a pretty big deal in the Rebellion if they chose good ‘ol Gold Leader here as the man who would take the shot that the Rogue One crew made possible.
Yeah, the big man of Red Squadron, Jek Porkins, became something of a meme-worthy punchline (I mean he’s a heavyset dude named Porkins), but this X-Wing jockey was still one of the few elite pilots chosen to attack the Death Star. Porkins never got to make the run at the Death Star trench, but he was still one of the few, proud Rebel pilots chosen for the most important mission any squad ever flew.
Luke Skywalker’s wingman during the Death Star run and his wingman when the two cruised for space chicks on Tatooine, Biggs was one of the best pilots in the Rebellion. He was killed by Darth Vader during the Battle of Yavin, but his death provided the push Luke needed to summon the Force and take the shot that destroyed the Death Star. And until Lando Calrissian joined up, Biggs had the greatest ‘stache in Rebellion history.
A battle-weary and wise military leader, General Rieekan led the Rebel forces on Hoth. Princess Leia and Han Solo both looked to Rieekan for leadership. Rieekan never raised his voice and never panicked, not even when Imperial troops entered Echo Base. Rieekan was the glue that held the Rebel forces on Hoth together even under the most trying circumstances, and it was clear even a maverick like Han Solo respected the general’s strength and quiet cunning.
Listen, if a female character other than Leia has a spoken line in the Original Trilogy, it’s worth mentioning, but Toryn Farr did much more than that. Toryn Farr manned the Ion canon and cleared a space lane for the Rebels evacuating Hoth. Her courage under fire and dedication to duty made sure the Rebels escaped Hoth to fight another day. And it must have been rough being one of just two females stationed on Hoth — must have been a frozen sausage party up in there. But Toryn Farr remained forever focused on her job at hand and helped guide the Rebellion through one of its darkest hours.
Although he isn’t as well-known as Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antilles, Wes Janson took the most famous shot of the Battle of Hoth. Janson was Wedge’s gunner and used his harpoon and toe cable to bullseye an AT-AT leg. That could not have been an easy shot considering the chaos and pure whiteness of the battle. But with snow blindness a factor, Janson made his shot so Wedge could bring down the first AT-AT. The shot gave the Rebellion hope and showed the fleeing heroes that one those immense walkers could be brought down if one possessed the focus and accuracy of the unsung Rebel hero Wes Janson.
Without Zev Senesca, two of the greatest heroes of the Rebellion would have become Hothsicles. Zev was the Rebel pilot that found Luke Skywalker and Han Solo after Han rescued Luke post-Wampa attack. Zev braved the elements and risked taking his Speeder into the frozen wasteland of Hoth. Sadly, this would be Zev’s last mission as he was shot down during the infamous AT-AT battle. But without Zev, Luke wouldn’t have been there to fight that mêlée. Zev probably had to pull the incapacitated Luke out of the gutted Taun Taun as well, so we honor Zev for taking any dirty, dangerous, or smelly job he was called on to perform.
One of the bravest (and flattest) Rebels, Dak Ralter was Luke’s gunner during the Battle of Hoth. Ralter was eager to take on the Empire and reminded Luke of a younger version of himself. Sadly, Dak’s tale did not end triumphantly as the eager young gunner was killed during the Battle of Hoth. But Dak’s willingness to fight will forever keep him alive in the hearts and minds of the Rebellion. It’s just too bad Dak’s corpse was freakin’ stepped on by an AT-AT. Yeeeeeesshh.
FX-7 and 2-1B
It seems that FX-7 and 2-1B existed to put Luke Skywalker back together. These two medical droids nursed Luke back to health after he got torn to hamburger by the Wampa and were also able to construct and attach Luke’s cybernetic hand after it was sliced off by Darth Vader. Thanks to FX-7 and 2-1B, Luke remained whole to save the galaxy and bring down the Empire. Without the two medic droids, Luke would have been a comatose, frozen Wampa victim. FX-7 and 2-1B were also present during the Battle of Endor so you know that once the smoke cleared, the droids stitched back together gaggles of Ewoks. So, thank you, FX-7 and 2-1B; it must have taken days to clean all that blood-caked fur out of your med-bay.
Lobot, Lando Calrissian’s cybernetic major domo, never officially joined the Rebellion, but Empire- occupied Bespin. Lobot bravely led a unit of Bespin guards to rescue Leia and Chewie and did his level best to evacuate Cloud City before all hell broke loose. Lobot may have been part robot, but he was all hero when his friend and city needed him most.
No one does a briefing like General Madine. Madine might not be the most standout Rebel, but it was his team that planned the attack on Endor and the second Death Star, so without this Chuck Norris-looking mother-effer, there is no Ewok victory dance party. Madine was supposed to be in much more of Return of the Jedi as he was to command the Rebel fleet in the skies above Endor, but Madine was left on the cutting room floor. But hey, he had a Kenner action figure so kids everywhere could get their briefing on when they opened ‘ol General Beard on Christmas morning.
Say it out loud and say it proud: “It’s a … really skilled admiral!” Yes, Admiral Ackbar was at the heart of the attack on the second Death Star. He and his crew on the Mon Calamari mothership, Home One, coordinated the suicide mission against the Emperor’s ultimate weapon. When all seemed lost, Ackbar was bound and determined to fight to the bitter end. His sigh of relief was palpable when it seemed the tide had turned in the Rebellion’s favor. Lando and Han’s team on Endor might get all the credit, but Ackbar and his brave crew of the Mon Calamari were central to the final Rebel victory. Not bad for a race named after a fried Italian seafood dish.
Lando’s Sullastan co-pilot, Nein Numb became one of the select few pilots that ever flew the Millennium Falcon. We know from Chewbacca that the Falcon requires a certain finesse and skill, and Nein Numb had all that in spades as he helped Lando fly into the second Death Star, and helped make the shot that brought down the battle station. Nein Numb babbled and tittered into fans hearts as his monkey, fish, owl face made him one of the most iconic aliens in the saga. Nein Numb made his triumphant return in The Force Awakens, proving that great Sullustan pilots don’t die, they just keep kicking ass.
The matriarch of the Rebellion made her return in Rogue One as Lucasfilm found an actress that looks like a clone of the woman that originally played Mon Mothma in Return of the Jedi. It’s uncanny. But what a thrill it was to see Mon Mothma back leading the Alliance once again.
Mon Mothma speaks to the quiet dignity and undercurrent of tragedy that defines the Rebellion. In Jedi, when Mon Mothma delivers her famous line, “Many Bothans died to bring us this information,” you can just hear the barely concealed pain in the voice of this soft-spoken woman as the pain of every loss the Rebellion suffered is clear on Mothma’s wizened face. It is also clear that Mothma is a key strategist and symbol of the Rebellion, and for that we salute her.
Arvel Crynyd made the ultimate sacrifice to bring down the Empire, yet this valiant A-Wing pilot is rarely talked about. Crynyd crashed his A-Wing Starfighter into the bridge of the Empire’s Super Star Destroyer, thus, clearing a path for Lando and Red Squadron to make their run at the Death Star. Without Crynyd, the Rebel fleet would never have gotten past the Empire’s capital ship and the Battle of Endor would have been lost. If that Super Star Destroyer stayed in the fight, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, Lando, and the rest of the Rebellion would have been crushed and the Empire would have stood victorious. But, Crynyd’s kamikaze mission changed all that, so let us recognize this A-Wing pilot’s sacrifice. And man, in the days before CGI, how boss was that scene?
Any other members of the Rebellion that absolutely deserve a salvo of space-salutes for their valor amidst the violence and sacrifice experienced during the never-ending struggle against the Empire? SOUND OFF!