[Update: This article has been updated to include Wedge’s appearance in The Rise of Skywalker but otherwise remains the same as originally published!]
So far, the Star Wars sequel trilogy has brought back many of the beloved and familiar faces from the original trilogy, including Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, Admiral Ackbar, and Lando Calrissian.
And, most recently, Wedge Antilles!
In the grand scheme of things, he’s a relatively minor character in the original films, yet he has a big impact and became a popular character. He not only has a well-known line (“look at the size of that thing!”), but he also is the only pilot to fly in both Death Star assaults. He flew at the Battle of Yavin as “Red Two”, he flew at the Battle of Hoth as “Rogue Three”, and at the Battle of Endor as “Red Leader” (assuming a call sign that many individuals had once held, including Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Clone Wars). He survived all three battles, and was one of the pilots who daringly flew into the heart of the Second Death Star alongside Lando Calrissian and Nien Nunb in the Millennium Falcon, helping to destroy the battle station.
Wedge was a central figure in the recently released novel Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse, and then made a cameo appearance in The Rise of Skywalker! Wedge Antilles has played a significant role in the new Star Wars canon, both before and after the original trilogy timeline.
He appeared in Star Wars Rebels, as we saw Wedge defect from the Empire and join Phoenix Squadron. That all takes place before A New Hope, but there have also been some stories about Wedge after Return of the Jedi. So let’s dive in to take a look at what happened to Wedge Antilles after the Battle of Endor from the canon material.
After the Battle of Endor, Wedge officially joined the newly-formed New Republic and continued flying as a pilot and was given more responsibility. After a while, he began tracking down some Imperial forces he believed to be in hiding, getting the approval from Mon Mothma and Gial Ackbar to pursue them. The good news is that Wedge was right, and he eventually found the Imperials… but the bad news was that Wedge’s ship was captured by a Star Destroyer’s tractor beam. Wedge managed to evade capture and stowed away on board the Destroyer, finding a way to transmit a distress call to the planet below, but he was then captured by Admiral Rae Sloane and her troopers. Wedge was questioned and tortured by the Imperials, but he was eventually rescued by Temmin “Snap” Wexley, working with his mother, Norra.
Wedge returned to Chandrila to recover from the torture he had experienced and work with New Republic leadership, and he developed a particular investment in Norra and Temmin.
Rescuing Han Solo
At some point after that, Wedge was approached by Leia Organa with a mission to find Han Solo – Leia’s husband and a hero of the Rebellion – who had recently gone missing. Wedge commissioned Norra to help in this search (which wasn’t officially sanctioned by the New Republic). They were ordered to stop by New Republic leadership (since Solo had resigned his commission in the New Republic), but Norra continued. She eventually discovered that Solo was on Kashyyyk working with Chewbacca to liberate the Wookiees – but he was in trouble. Upon hearing this news, Organa snuck away with the Millennium Falcon in a desperate attempt to rescue her husband. She contacted Wedge and invited him to come to their aid, and Wedge immediately did so, leaving with Rogue Squadron (the Squadron of X-Wing fighters he started and led after Endor) to provide back-up. They arrived at Kashyyyk and reinforced Leia, battling the Imperial forces amassed there, and before long Admiral Ackbar arrived on Home One with further reinforcements. Thanks to the heroics of Leia, Wedge, Han, Chewie, Ackbar, and others, Kashyyyk was liberated. Chewie stayed behind to be with his family, and the rest returned to Chandrila.
They had scored a major victory, freeing the Wookiees and rescuing Solo. Unfortunately, it was also not a sanctioned mission by the New Republic (whose capital world of Chandrila had been attacked during the Kashyyyk liberation). So while praise was publicly given for the heroics of Organa, Antilles, and others, behind-the-scenes there were reprimands. The New Republic shut down Phantom Squadron and reassigned Wedge to be stationed at the military center on Chandrila, grounded.
During this time, however, he continued to develop his relationship with the Wexleys, growing more romantically in love with Norra (whose husband, Brentin, had been found on Kashyyyk but who was unwillingly used in the assassination plot on Chandrila) and becoming more and more of a mentor/father figure to Temmin. Wedge continued to teach the young man how to fly, supervising his training and simulations.
Battle of Jakku
Norra, meanwhile, pursued Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, who she supposed to be behind the tragic attack on Chandrila. Norra pursued her all the way to Jakku, where the full force of the Imperial remnants were gathered. Temmin sought Wedge’s help in going to rescue his mother, but Wedge was grounded and decided to wait for the New Republic to act. They soon did, with the Senate voting to send their forces to Jakku to meet the Empire’s (the vote passed thanks to some behind-the-scenes work from Han Solo and his team). Temmin again approached Wedge about going to save Norra, but Wedge and Phantom Squadron weren’t to be a part of the attack on Jakku. Temmin managed to change Wedge’s mind, however, and Wedge told the boy to meet him in a hangar shortly.
Once there, Wedge, Temmin, and the pilots of Phantom Squadron took to their ships and headed for Jakku – once again, without New Republic authorization. Phantom Squadron targeted their attacks on fighters and defenses closer to the surface that would make it hard for ground forces to land, and they did this to much success.
The Battle of Jakku was eventually won by the New Republic, thanks to some heroics from Commodore Kyrsta Agate, and the Galactic Concordance was officially signed after the battle, ending the Galactic Civil War. Wedge had flown in and survived yet another major conflict of the War.
Leading the Flight Academy
With the Civil War over, Wedge Antilles was just one of many people who had to transition to a new phase of life. Wedge was named the instructor of the new flight academy on Hosnian Prime, and Temmin “Snap” Wexley joined his mentor by enrolling as a student at the academy. Norra Wexley also moved to Hosnian Prime to be an instructor at the academy, and she and Wedge apparently became romantically involved.
Wedge trained Snap, but he also trained Poe Dameron, whom he considered one of his best students.
We don’t know how long Wedge served as an instructor at the New Republic Flight Academy, but he wasn’t there when the Hosnian system was destroyed by Starkiller Base. By that time (though we don’t know how long it had been), Wedge had retired to a quiet life on Akiva with his wife, Norra Wexley. They were simple farmers, having moved on from the rigors of the fight – though bearing the scars that wouldn’t let them forget. In particular, Wedge bore the scars of his torture at the hands of the Empire following his imprisonment, and he bore them without trying to minimize the pain because some of his fellow soldiers didn’t even survive.
Joining the Resistance
Wedge and Norra were brought out of retirement following the Resistance’s defeat on Crait, as Norra’s son (and Wedge’s step-son) Snap Wexley showed up with his wife Karé Kun to recruit them to the Resistance cause. They informed Wedge and Norra of the deaths of so many, including Ackbar and Holdo – but Wedge took the news of Luke Skywalker’s death the hardest, wondering if a Jedi could even be killed.
It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing for Wedge and Norra to leave their life on Akiva to join Leia Organa’s Resistance, knowing that they’d never be going back to this simple, retired life. They were prepared to die for the cause. Wedge recruited some former members of Phantom Squadron (or those with connections to it) and others to the cause, and he was part of Leia’s leadership of the Resistance in the days following the Battle of Crait. Wedge led a strike team for the Resistance to his homeworld of Correlia, seeking to find ships and free prisoners. He is wounded, but he succeeds in this mission.
Afterward, however, he informs Poe Dameron that he and Norra won’t be sticking around with the Resistance, having realized that they were pilots and not generals. They intend to travel amongst the stars, doing good and informing people that a fight was coming.
The Battle of Exegol
But Wedge wasn’t done with the Resistance for long. Months after he and Norra left the Resistance, the war reached a climax with the Battle of Exegol. With General Organa gone, Generals Poe Dameron and Finn followed the lead of Rey to Exegol to face Palpatine’s massive Sith Eternal Fleet, the Final Order. But as Dameron and Finn led an attack on the fleet, Alliance heroes Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca tried to rally the galaxy for help. They were successful, arriving to turn the tides of the battle with a massive fleet, compiled of ships and people from all over the galaxy. Tragically, however, those reinforcements arrived just moments after Snap Wexley, the son of Norra and Wedge, was killed in action.
Wedge didn’t know that, but he did know that Lando and Chewie and the Resistance needed help. So, true to form for a man who had fought in so many battles throughout his life, Wedge Antilles went to battle. Donning the iconic orange jumpsuit worn by pilots of the Rebellion and the Resistance, Wedge joined Lando and Chewie aboard the Millennium Falcon, serving as a gunner. As the Falcon raced into battle, leading the way for the massive fleet, Wedge exclaimed, “Let’s fly, Lando!”
The arrival of the galaxy’s fleet paved the way for a dominant Resistance victory at Exegol, ending the war and bringing freedom to the galaxy once again. Returning to Ajan Kloss, Wedge joined in the celebration.