SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t yet seen ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’, this article contains several SPOILERS so turn back now or proceed with caution!
During the dog fight at the end of ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, a white-haired gunner aboard the Millennium Falcon shouted:
“Nice flying, Lando!”
It was one of those instances where it was clear that this was someone important, but you may not have known why. As it turns out, this was actor Denis Lawson reprising his role as Wedge Antilles, a recurring pilot from Episodes IV-VI.
It seems Wedge’s return was teased on this book cover:
An updated version of the STAR WARS: RESISTANCE REBORN book cover appears to feature an aged Wedge Antilles from the original trilogy! pic.twitter.com/jliQQ7fUPe
— Star Wars Direct (@StarWars_Direct) October 6, 2019
Wedge flew alongside Luke Skywalker in the attack on the Death Star in ‘A New Hope’ as Red-2 to Luke’s Red-5, was part of Rogue Squadron of Snow Speeders fighting back against the Empire’s AT-AT Walkers in ‘Empire’, and aided Lando in destroying the second Death Star in ‘Jedi’, now acting as Red Leader. In addition, his voice was heard over the communicator in ‘Rogue One’.
While Wedge is a minor character in the films, he is a fan-favorite and has been further developed in the “Expanded Universe.” He was featured in a number of novels, including the ‘X-Wing’ book series, in which he was a main character. He has also appeared in comic books and video games. Wedge has appeared in animation on ‘Star Wars Rebels‘, but his voice was provided by Nathan Kress, not Lawson. (Actually, for some reason, Wedge’s voice was dubbed over by an actor named David Ankrum in ‘A New Hope’.)
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And here’s a fun fact: Lawson is Ewan McGregor’s uncle! However, because Wedge is an original trilogy character, and McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi appeared in the prequels, the two have never been featured in the same ‘Star Wars’ movie until now.
While McGregor didn’t appear in the flesh in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, his voice was heard along with those of several other deceased Jedi during the scene in which they rouse Rey to stand up and defeat Palpatine.
Did you recognize Lawson/Antilles?
‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ is now playing in theaters everywhere.