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The Delayed Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Could Easily Be the Franchise’s Top Gun

Rogue Squadron could easily become the Star Wars franchise’s answer to the success of Tom Cruise’s latest film, Top Gun: Maverick.

The Star Wars universe has continuously been evolving over the last few years, with a host of Disney+ projects like The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi tiding fans over until the next theatrical addition to the franchise. And one of those films was going to be the story of Rogue Squadron, a band of skilled pilots who fought the Empire for the Rebel Alliance. However, while the film has gotten removed from the current schedule, the success of another recent movie — Top Gun: Maverick — should prove that audiences would turn out for bombastic Star Wars aerial action.

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron debuted in 1998, co-developed by Factor 5 and LucasArts for the Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows. The arcade-style flight simulator placed players into the cockpit of either Luke Skywalker or the skilled pilot Wedge Antilles, leaders of the titular group of Rebel pilots, carrying out missions for the Rebel Alliance that range from sneak attacks on Imperial bases to escorting important Rebel leaders past blockades. In essence, the game focuses on the desperate missions of Rogue Squadron to give the Rebel Alliance a chance to bolster their forces and prepare a counteroffensive against the Empire.

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In 2020, it got announced that Patty Jenkins would be directing a film adaptation of Rogue Squadron, influenced by the original games and novels. However, in May 2022, the movie got shelved. And that’s a shame because Rogue Squadron has some of the best potential of any currently announced Star Wars project. The film will likely focus on a new batch of pilots, largely unconnected to the Force and the typical franchise stars like the Skywalker family — an approach that served films like Rogue One well when they were released. It could have been another entry in the series that explored what it means to be a “war” film in a setting like the universe of Star Wars. And as Top Gun: Maverick proved, there’s an audience for fun, bombastic dog-fighting right now.

Top Gun: Maverick focuses on an aged pilot, Pete Mitchell, aka Maverick, a loose cannon US Navy Pilot who finds himself recruited to train a new batch of pilots ahead of a dangerous mission. The mission borrows heavily from the imagery of the original Star Wars, with the pilots tasked with maneuvering a low-to-the-ground trench before landing a difficult shot and making an immediate upward move to avoid being killed afterward. In theory, Top Gun: Maverick should serve as a solid blueprint for a movie focusing on Rogue Squadron. Wedge Antilles — a reoccurring character in the original Star Wars trilogy — could even fill the role of Maverick, a seasoned soldier who finds themselves training the next generation of pilots.

RELATED: Top Gun: Maverick Sets a Major Record No Marvel Film Has Been Able to Achieve

Like Top Gun: Maverick, Rogue Squadron could be a great way to introduce plenty of new characters who could push ahead the franchise in a fun way. Top Gun: Maverick also highlighted how much audiences love aerial conflict, something that would likely serve as the primary focus of any film focusing on the Rogue Squadron. While Rogue Squadron might no longer be on the docket, the massive success of the Cruise film should prove that audiences would likely gravitate towards a sci-fi film that embraced a similar aesthetic and style.

Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through bs.zachary@gmail.com.

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