Here’s Part 10 of endnotes for The Essential Guide to Warfare.
CHAPTER 14: THE ALLIANCE STRIKES
The Age of Superweapons: The “stateless” strategy — and the idea of the Death Star as an attempt to counter it – was first developed in the Atlas.
The Death Stars, the Tarkin and Other Superlasers: As you might expect, weaving the many, many Death Star tales into a coherent narrative was an exhausting continuity slalom. The parallels between the Death Star’s early troubles and those of the Malevolence are there on purpose. In retelling the Battle of Yavin, I stripped events down to what we see in the movie, plus Blue and Green squadrons – whose fighters get a mission I think makes sense.
Why didn’t I mention the various other elements added to the Battle of Yavin in assorted videogames? Because, to be frank, I think they’re great games but not so great storytelling. I think Rookie One’s exploits and the Imperial ground raid muddy the drama of the attack we see in the movie, while additions such as the Death Star’s support fleet and communications satellite lessen the power of the stark contrast between tiny fighters and a massive battle station. If you like those elements, you’re perfectly welcome to use them to fill in the blanks in Warfare’s narrative. Same goes for IG-88 getting ready to run the show from inside the Death Star II, I suppose.
OK, that was a cheap shot. But surely we can all agree that giving R2-D2 his due was a good way to end the section.
BTW, big tip of the cap to Stephan Martiniere for his awesome painting of the Tarkin.
X-wing Fighter: Paul Urquhart writes: “Another piece that tries to tell a story out of what are basically stat blocks. The big sensor package has appeared in X-wing blueprints over the years, though I don’t think its tactical implications have been treated so directly before. The ‘Lightspeed Panthers,’ with their snazzy nose art and devastating kill ratio, are a direct reference to the Flying Tigers of World War II — like the X-wing, the P40 was a pilot-friendly multi-role fighter that used toughness and tactics to rout a far larger enemy air force armed with faster and more maneuverable planes.”
Y-wing Fighter: Paul writes: “The Y-wing’s appearance in The Clone Wars TV show has complicated its story: obviously, older material can’t take the new series into account, so this Sensor Profile has to give a prominent nod to the vehicle’s earlier appearance, and combine the different sources neatly.
“As with the X-wing, there’s an emphasis here on how the right tactics can make a seemingly underperforming plane a winner (I’m a big fan of the Douglas Dauntless from World War II, the nearest real-world equivalents to the Y-wing, and of the Fairey Swordfish biplanes whose attack on the battleship Bismarck inspired its Clone Wars appearance), but in contrast with Dodonna’s brilliant use of the X-wing, the Y-wing is misused by less-skilled commanders attempting to ‘compensate’ for its perceived weakness — the BTL-A4, the product of these attempts, is the single-seat version we see in A New Hope. Grisserno and Salm, on the other hand, are two of the Rebellion’s key proponents of the type, and it seemed sense to make them into a mentor-and-pupil team. What goes unsaid in all this is that even the most successful Y-wing missions will often be accompanied by heavy casualties.”
Manufacturer: Incom: Paul writes: “Being able to make up a story that Incom, designers of the legendary X-wing, was founded as the ‘Torranix Inertial Compensator Company’ is the sort of random continuity innovation that gives the fannish writer a silly satisfaction, and that I hope entertains the more continuity-conscious reader, too. For the average fan, it hopefully just feels natural.
“The FreiTek part of the narrative is an effort to finesse existing canon, but lining up Longspur, Incom, Bespin Motors and Tendrando is motivated by their shared connections with Cloud City. It seems a little absurd that the place should be the base of more than one notable repulsorcraft manufacturer.”
Duty Roster: Red Squadron: This was another section I was really excited to tackle. Note that Red 12 finally gets a name, chosen after sorting through a number of candidates. They were Naeco (original X-wing game), Captain Ernek Marskan (same), Fin Danglot (Galaxy Guide 1), Travis (a blonde woman from Marvel’s retelling of A New Hope back in the Droids kid’s comic – how’s that for obscure?), and Talos Merkin (Captive to Evil).
I liked the idea of using Travis, as I thought it would be fun to add a female pilot to the ranks and tip the cap to a really obscure EU tale. In the initial draft Travis was Red 12, but then Leland Chee and I saw an opportunity to address a continuity flub in A New Hope: When Red 10 gets shot down, the pilot we see die is someone else – a previously unseen male pilot with a helmet that looks like Janson’s in The Empire Strikes Back. That pilot, we decided, should be Red 12. That decision took Travis out of the running, and as Plan B we chose Naeco to be the lucky (or unlucky) pilot, with Leland supplying “Puck” as a first name. Fin Danglot got a shout-out as a consolation prize, as did Travis. Her first name – Milar — was chosen as a respectful doffing of the flight helmet to Star Wars authors Karen Miller and Karen Traviss.
War Portrait: Garven Dreis: I wrote this as if it were a missing page from Alan Dean Foster’s A New Hope novelization – fans of that book will recognize Foster’s startling line about pilots likely becoming particles of frozen meat. It was great fun to imagine a hotshot farmboy pilot’s reaction to Anakin Skywalker, to partially restore the now-edited-away reference to Red Leader having flown with Luke’s father, and to give some depth to the briefly, nicely sketched friendship between Red Leader and Gold Five, AKA Dave and Pops.
(On to Pt. 11)