X-Wing Rogue Squadron

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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This is Wedge Antilles, pilot and Rebel hero. Behind him are several Incom T-65B X-wing starfighters. Together, they are the two constants for the series.

"Pretty. What do we blow up first?"

—Wraith Squadron motto

The X-Wing series is a sizable part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. This page covers the comic book series and the novel series, which were produced more or less in that order, although several of the books came out after the main comics series ended and the most recent comic book was in 2005. As the page image says, the character Wedge Antilles and the X-Wing starfighter are the absolute constants. The games, being only vaguely connected, each have their own pages.

The comics are collectively titled "Rogue Squadron". They started coming out in 1995, and ended abruptly in late 1998. Stackpole (see below) certainly had a hand in them, but exactly how much influence he had appears to vary from issue to issue and arc to arc. These are set not very long after the Battle of Endor. Initially the comics were supposed to run through three arcs, about twelve issues, but they ran for a good thirty-five issues, not counting the bonus short comic "Rogue Squadron One Half" or Rogue Leader, which was a three-issue arc that came out in 2005, did not involve any input from Stackpole, and is generally considered inferior due to Off-Model art and rampant decompression.

The books are written by Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston. Most of those run directly from the end of one book to the beginning of the next, but Isard's Revenge starts just after the last book of the The Thrawn Trilogy, and Starfighters of Adumar is set years later. Each book is prefaced with "Star Wars: X-Wing", but we're trying not to develop Colon Cancer here. The books are:

Rogue Squadron
Wedge's Gamble
The Krytos Trap
The Bacta War

Written by Stackpole starting in 1996, these novels are collectively and informally known as the Rogue Squadron series. It's a self-contained plot concerning members of Rogue Squadron, a starfighter formation famous for two things: achieving mission goals that are Beyond the Impossible and losing a lot of personnel in the process. Ascended Extra Wedge "Look at the size of that thing!" Antilles rebuilds the squadron from the ground up, bringing in pilots from all walks of life, including Ensemble Darkhorse Tycho Celchu and untrained Jedi Corran Horn. They have a crucial role in the New Republic strike to retake the Imperial capital of Coruscant, or Imperial Center as it is currently called. Their big enemy is Ysanne Isard, head of Imperial Intelligence and current leader of the Empire, whose tactics include torturing/brainwashing people into becoming Manchurian Agents, using The Mole, and designing the Krytos Plague to induce a major case of Divided We Fall.

Wraith Squadron
Iron Fist
Solo Command

These novels, written by Allston, concern a second squadron founded by Wedge, and are informally called the Wraith Squadron series. Starting just after the end of The Bacta War, this series keeps Wedge and X-Wings but takes on an entirely new squadron. Literally -- Wedge forms it in the first book, looking back on the most successful Rogue rosters and realizing that they were fundamentally composed of pilots with commando skills, then mixing that idea with the odd Career-Building Blunder and amping it up as part of a gambit to avoid being promoted to General and becoming a Desk Officer. The Wraiths are a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, commandos with flying skills, formed exclusively of pilots who are on the verge of being kicked out of service due to their various dysfunctions; their long-term opponent is the Large Ham Warlord Zsinj, who uses a Harmless Villain facade as Obfuscating Stupidity. This series is known for being much more focused on characters and humor than Stackpole's novels, but isn't without deeper themes. The end of Solo Command leads right up into the earlier-written The Courtship of Princess Leia.

Two more novels were released, one each by Stackpole and Allston. Isard's Revenge takes place directly after The Thrawn Trilogy and concerns the efforts of Rogue Squadron to bring justice to Stackpole's Big Bad, who escaped -- twice -- despite her defeat in the Bacta War, and ties a few loose ends left after the end of the comics. Starfighters Of Adumar, though marketed as a Rogue Squadron novel, is really about Wedge himself; this is essentially his Day In The Limelight, focusing on his life, career, friends and love life (or lack thereof) during a diplomatic mission in which he attempts to bring the planet Adumar into the New Republic by winning a flying-duel-based popularity contest.

The Rogues and Wraiths also appeared in the New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force, and another Wraith Squadron novel, Mercy Kill, written by Allston, has been scheduled for release in August 2012. It will take place primarily during Fate of the Jedi, but will fill in the time from the end of the Wraith Squadron books up to the "present."

Half mention also goes to I, Jedi, written by Stackpole and starring Corran Horn.

Unlike later multiple-authored series, the X-Wing novels are somewhat smaller in scope and fit into events established by other books and comics, often retconning little things to make events more sensible. There are some references between the games, the comics, and the novels; ties are most obvious between later comics and Stackpole's novels. Stackpole is known for getting along well with Timothy Zahn, and the two trade Shout Outs with some frequency. Aaron Allston also incorporates characters and events from the series into his mainstream entries of the saga, such as Wedge and the Wraiths in the Enemy Lines duology, or Wedge's family in his Legacy of the Force volumes.

Has a character sheet.

Tropes used in X-Wing Rogue Squadron include:
  • Ace Pilot: Just about every pilot character in the series is or becomes an ace. Or dies. Or both. Since Rogue Squadron is made up consistently of the absolute best pilots in the galaxy, this is almost required before joining.
    • The Wraiths are less focused on flying, but they also have a few, like Kell Tainer, Face Loran, and Falynn Sandskimmer, who was already a Y-Wing ace before joining. A few other members also make ace in the course of the series.
  • Action Girl: Virtually every female pilot, since not all combat takes place in a cockpit. Plourr is possibly the most obvious example. Just look at her!
  • Aerith and Bob: As in the rest of the Expanded Universe, Tatooinians such as Gavin Darklighter are more likely to have real-life human names than the rest of the human characters.
  • Airstrike Impossible: Regularly. It is about Star Wars fighter pilots, after all.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Used interestingly. The Vratix, a species of insectoids, trust their sense of touch above all others. While we don't see their outright art, we do find that they build their homes with texturing on every surface, and a human character mentions that the textures seem to conjure up emotions.
    • Played with when Rogue Squadron personalizes their fighters' paint jobs. The human pilots opt for paint schemes that are personally meaningful or symbolic of their home planets. Ooryl Qrygg, as a Gand the least humanoid of Rogue Squadron's pilots, has a plain white fighter... to human eyes, anyway; the squadron's chief mechanic, a Verpine, assures his human colleagues that it is "a masterpiece" if you can see in the UV spectrum.
  • All Nations Are Superpowers: Averted in Starfighters of Adumar. The top power on Adumar is Cartann, which controls over half the planet. It's mentioned, however, that Cartann's power is partly because it controls several other smaller countries as puppet states. The opposition consists of a coalition of smaller states, led by the Yedagon Confederacy and Halbegardia -- and it's mentioned that the coalition's military power is still dwarfed by Cartann.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Wraith Squadron's mechanic, Cubber Daine, is basically Scotty from Star Trek transposed into the Star Wars universe, right down to his habit of multiplying estimated repair times.
  • Always Second Best: Falynn Sandskimmer from Wraith Squadron insecurely feels that she's never more than the second best at anything. At the end of the book, she finally feels vindicated when she becomes the first pilot ever to fly INSIDE a Star Destroyer and shoot it up from the inside, but dies in the process. This is very much a case of Grass Is Greener, because one of the pilots Falynn feels inferior to (Tyria, as regards her tracking skills) is even more insecure and feels she's the worst pilot full stop. Worse for Falynn, she never even considers her versatility as a quality (yes, she was "always second best", but to different people).
  • Always Someone Better: Bror Jace to Corran Horn in the first book, which does a fair bit to deflate Horn's alleged Mary Sue tendencies.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The first four books have Rogue Squadron, with Corran Horn sharing the limelight with Wedge. The next three have Wedge leaving the Rogues and founding a new squadron. The non-Wedge protagonist character in Wraith Squadron is undoubtedly Kell Tainer, but his character arc apparently ended early and the next two Wraith books have no single central character - Face, Gara/Lara and Wedge all share the spotlight about equally.
  • And Now for Something Completely Different: The first four books are relatively straight military SF in Stackpole's Beige Prose, which revolves pretty resolutely around Corran Horn; all other characters are secondary. The next three are along those lines, but Corran is absent and a good deal of humour and personal issues creep in. The eighth is another Corran book, but the ninth is almost entirely Wedge's personal story about duty versus doing the right thing, as well as having more jokes than any other book in the EU.
  • And This Is For:

Donos: "One for Falynn. Two for Talon."

  • Anyone Can Die: Except for Wedge. Or anyone else who made appearances in earlier books set chronologically later.
  • Artificial Limbs: As a plot point -- Nawara Ven gets an artificial limb that reduces his piloting skill enough to drop him out of the squadron. He still stays on as the Executive Officer, however. And, of course, there's Ton Phanan.
  • Ascended Extra: Wedge, Wes, and Hobbie were relatively minor names and faces in the movies. Wedge was a Mauve Shirt who somehow managed to survive all three movies despite being a minor character, Wes was Wedge's gunner during the battle of Hoth ("Good shot, Janson!"), Hobbie was the guy who asked, "Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?" Tycho was retconned in; Stackpole picked a random A-Wing at Endor and said "That's him."
    • Another case is Pash Cracken. In Zahn's books, he's known only for creating the 'Cracken Twist' and for his appearance in the briefing for the Bilbringi mission. In Stackpole's novels, he becomes a fleshed out pilot almost as good as Wedge but lacking the ego.
  • Ass in Ambassador: When Wedge is sent to try and convince the Adumari to join the New Republic, he doesn't follow the Adumari's strongest traditions. In fact, he barely makes secret his revulsion towards them. Of course, this is because these traditions are all about killing opponents for honor, and Wedge does not kill for honor.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The more badass Rogues quickly shoot up the ranks. Late in the series and in other EU books, old Rogue and Wraith squadron members later become Generals, Admirals, and other high ranking individuals.
  • Awesomeness By Analysis: Face's Holmesian ability to determine someone's planet of origin and past just by the way they walk.
  • Bad Boss: Isard. When one of her ship captain minions betrays her, her response is to order not just his death, but the death of his girlfriend's entire family; a calmly delivered, easily missable line reveals that she started killing the families of all the ship's crew hours ago. Her management style was mocked in one of the later Wraith Squadron books by a more Affably Evil villain, who noted that anyone who worked for a capricious psycho like Isard only had one of two things to look forward to: You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, or You Have Failed Me.... Of course, Admiral Trigit, the Imp in question, is not much better. He's a Benevolent Boss as long as this are running smoothly, but when the chips are down, he's perfectly willing to sacrifice his Star Destroyer and everyone aboard to save his own sorry ass.
    • Even Isard's co-conspirators hold her in such contempt for such insanity that one of them (who's the POV character for the scene above, and has pretty well already decided to betray her) decides that he'll make sure the families in question remain safe despite not giving a damn whether they live or die, just because it'll annoy her.
    • Her backstory in the comics and a mini-novel by Stackpole and Timothy Zahn makes it abundantly clear she's willing to throw anyone to the rancors to advance her own agenda. Including her own father, whom she has arrested for treason before taking over his post as Director of Imperial Intelligence.
    • On the other hand, this trope is zigzagged with Zsinj, who is sometimes prone to You Have Failed Me..., but other times displays a Thrawn-like pragmatism.
  • Badass Crew: Both the Rogues and the Wraiths, naturally, which is par for the course for squadrons captained by Wedge Antilles. The four pilots of Red Flight from Starfighters of Adumar are also quite badass. They're the four Rogues that were there since before Hoth, and they know what they're doing.
  • Badass Normal: Other EU focuses on Jedi, or Han Solo, or clone commandos trained from birth by elite Mandalorian mercenaries. This series? Pilots.
  • Badass Princess: Plourr Illo is practically this trope incarnate: a fictional princess who embodies the textbook pop culture image...of a space marine. [1]
  • Bar Brawl: Used twice in Iron Fist, and both times they are deceptions. Both also open with almost word-for-word identical descriptions.
    • And once in the comic series, as well. Xarcce Huwla makes short work of the thugs.
  • Becoming the Mask: Gara Petothel was an Intelligence officer who managed to get herself into Wraith Squadron so she could rat on them to Warlord Zsinj. However, she quickly came to realize that A: she didn't agree with the underhanded methods of Zsinj and his followers, and B: she was addicted to the genuine welcome and trust she received from the Wraiths. It caused her some serious identity issues, mostly because her Intelligence training really screwed up her sense of personal identity.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: A few examples:
    • Several pilots tend to be a bit mild-mannered, but Piggy is jarringly so among the rest of the slightly-messed-up Wraiths, not even raising his voice. The one time he loses his temper, after being gut-shot by an assassin out to kill Admiral Ackbar, he picks up Ackbar's desk and hits the assassin with it so hard that the wall behind him bows out and knocks over an ensign on the other side.
      • His defense against the false charge that got him in the Wraith selection pool -- striking a superior officer -- is that none of the people he did hit (during well-moderated challenge matches) were able to speak coherently within a half hour, the time it was filed.
    • Wedge himself. He's a good guy with a sense of duty that outweighs everything else, he's very accepting of Imperial defectors, he has survivor's guilt and doesn't lessen his opinion of someone when they dislike a friend of his. But he can be pressed too far. Remember "The Phantom Affair" and "Mandatory Retirement"?

"They didn't wait for them at the station."

    • The Adumar situation even caused Hobbie ("The Dour One") to snap. When Wedge suggested that a pilot go ahead and ambush the Cartann pilots, Hobbie was astoundingly the first one to volunteer.

"I'm sick to death of 'Hello, I'm so-and-so and I've killed this many enemies, and I challenge you, and we bow and go by the rules and say cute things to one another, and isn't it nice that we're all dead now?' Tycho, I want to shoot something. I want to blow something up. No apologies. No advance warning. Just lethal efficiency. Before frustration kills me."

    • In Wraith Squadron, after the titular group was ambushed by a group of pilots that Zsinj was trying to ally himself with (resulting in the death of Jesmin Ackbar and a Heroic BSOD for Donos), he walks in on the pirates with a terrifying glare on his face. The pirate leader tries to bluff him by saying the battle had taken place in an unclaimed star system and so there were no laws there and they had the right to defend themselves. Wedge agrees and says in that case they were free to go -- but of course if there were no laws that also meant there were no laws against the Wraiths killing all the pirates and looting their supplies. The pirate leader changes his mind about if there were any laws in the star system.
    • Tyria Sarkin. Apparently the most stable member of Wraith Squadron. Nice lady, mild manners. Punched three hells out of Eurrsk "Grinder" Thriag when a proposition he made in jest was taken too seriously.
  • BFG: Voort "Piggy" saBinring and the two-meter-long starfighter's cannon. Now that's a title.
  • Big Bad: Ysanne Isard, natch.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Kirtan Loor is introduced with a mention he rose through his ranks quickly because of his uncanny resemblance to Tarkin. Once he's forced to be more than The Watson, it becomes increasingly clear he was promoted above his competency to the point he's forced to work for another villain through mere threat of death.
  • Big Damn Heroes: "Mind if we crash your party, Wedge?"
  • Big Damn Gunship: While escorting a bacta convoy in the Alderaan Graveyard, Rogue Squadron is ambushed by a Victory-class Star Destroyer and an Interdictor Cruiser. Suddenly, an ancient, automated Alderaanian frigate appears and starts blasting away at the Imperials, tipping the battle into the Rogues' favor.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Ooryl Qrygg sees in the far-ultraviolet, 'talks' by vibrating his exoskeleton and, well. His race doesn't sleep much and can in fact "store" rest for later, and some Gand can also regenerate lost limbs, too. It's admitted that even the Rebel medics are just as surprised by all this as Ooryl's squadmates. He also kills a stormtrooper at one point by... punching him in the back through his armor. Ow.

Ooryl Qrygg: Ooryl does not respire.

Inyri Forge: What?

Ooryl Qrygg: [...] Ooryl gets the metabolic ingredients Ooryl needs through ingestion, not respiration. Fex-M3d will not affect Ooryl.

  • Boisterous Bruiser: Plourr is a rare female example.
  • Book Safe: During his escape from the Lusankya, Corran Horn discovers a blaster hidden in the purported casing of The Complete History of Corvis Minor, in a reference to The Thrawn Trilogy.
  • Break the Haughty: Realizing Corran Horn's self centered nature and inability to work as a team, Wedge engineers a training exercise so Corran scores the lowest by far, confusing an enraging him before revealing his run was actually feeding the team valuable intelligence that allows them to all do better than any one member could do on their own. The lesson works.
  • Brick Joke: The series in general is fond of them. Some even span entirely separate series. For example, in Wraith Squadron Kell tells off Grinder for calling him "Demolition Boy" ("That's 'Demolition Boy Sir'") while by the time of the New Jedi Order books the Wraiths are using nicknames of this type as standard code names (Face is "Poster Boy", Kell is "Explosions Boy", Bhindi is "Circuitry Girl").
  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: As the books deal with everyday life more than most EU books, we get a lot of Star Wars terms for items. For example, refrigerators are 'conservators' and bathrooms are 'refreshers'.
    • Allston pulls off a brilliant 'bilingual' pun with the latter one in Starfighters of Adumar when Tomer Darpen mentions the local ablution facilities are a bit more primitive than what they're used to and they may need teaching how to use them. Hobbie immediately quips "A refresher course."
      • Janson is SO angry he couldn't make that joke.
  • Call Forward: Common in Stackpole's books to other Star Wars Expanded Universe books written earlier but set chronologically later.
    • Warlord Zsinj is a background villain in the first four books, and Leia's mission to the Hapans is mentioned (The Courtship of Princess Leia).
    • Isard mentions Thrawn is still out in the Unknown Regions (The Thrawn Trilogy).
    • In Wedge's Gamble the Rebels recruit troublemakers from Moruth Doole's prison camp on Kessel, while in The Bacta War Isard gets assistance from the Imperial warlords Teradoc and Harrsk (Jedi Academy Trilogy).
    • In Rogue Squadron Corran bitterly reflects that the old Corellian Security Force of his youth has been turned into the Secret Police organisation called the Public Security Service, which will appear in The Corellian Trilogy.
  • Captain Crash: Hobbie and his much joked about tendency to spend long periods of time in Bacta tanks after spectacular crashes. Despite this, he's unquestionably an Ace Pilot.

"The ground and I get along so well we sometimes get together a little too vigorously."

  • Captain's Log: Taken a few steps further in Wraith Squadron, where the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits captures the starship Night Caller and find that the Small Name, Big Ego Captain stores his Captain's Log in hologram form. We're talking hours of holo-footage here. There's so much of it that the Wraiths are able to use it cobble together a CGI Captain to mess around with the Big Bad of the novel in a rather delicious Indy Ploy.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Every time a pilot dies, Wedge has to write the letter to the family. It Never Gets Any Easier. On another note, his loyalty to the New Republic is such that if it's for the good of the Republic, he'll do it. No matter how he feels about being jerked around to serve. He has some survivor's guilt. By the last book, Wedge at least briefly ponders resigning his commission when asked to do something he views as unethical. (He takes a third option, however.)

"I'm the quintessential soldier who does his job very well. But what is that job? Two things: neutralizing Imperials and, the part I take most seriously, keeping my people alive."

  • Chekhov's Gun: In Bacta War, there is an offhand comment how Tycho decided to use an old Alderaanian IFF code for his fighter. Later in the novel, the squadron goes into the Alderaan debris field to escort some freighters. Tycho keeps receiving anomalous pings to his IFF, but just assumes it's some leftover satellite. Then it turns out his Alderaanian IFF just summoned a Alderaanian War Frigate, which arrives just in time to fend off an Imperial ambush, and even starts using Tycho's targeting data to attack the Imperial ships.
  • Clear Their Name: Tycho is framed for being an Imperial sleeper agent and causing the death of a teammate (Corran). His friends have to track down the real evidence and defend him in court. The murder trial, of course, is called off in short order when the supposed victim arrives to provide testimony.
    • And the charges of treason and espionage are cleared away immediately afterwards with evidence provided by Corran and General Cracken.
  • Cloning Blues: There turns out to be a clone of Ysanne Isard who believes she is the original. When confronted with evidence that this is not the case via comm, the clone lets out a scream suggesting a major Villainous Breakdown.
  • Coincidence Magnet: Wraith Squadron's members include not one, but two pilots who are the only member of their species in the New Republic military (and have to pretend to have a third later on), as well as The Mole.
  • Cold Sniper: Myn Donos.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: In The Bacta War, Corran gets called back to bed by Mirax while he's up late at night, worrying over what he's gotten them all into.
  • Come to Gawk
  • Comically Missing the Point: Hallis Saper mentions that the reason she uses a modified protocol droid head mounted on her shoulder to record footage instead of an actual camera is because she read a study that people generally found protocol droids to be nonthreatening. Wedge is tempted to point out the potential of a two headed woman walking around. One who also wears opaque black goggles (which are connected to the droid head camera and make it look where she looks).[2]
  • Comically Small Bribe: Face offers an imperial guard an entire credit while pretending to be an Agamarian stereotype.
  • Continuity Nod: Mostly in the Stackpole books, which have lots of bits referring to characters and situations from the comics. Wedge's Gamble also has two nods to Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, with Winter Celchu being code-named Targeter and mention of ch'hala trees on Imperial Center/Coruscant. For those who've read Zahn's trilogy it also explains some of how Isard knows Rogue Squadron is on planet.

Corran had overheard from the numerous tour guide droids that ch'hala trees had been a favourite of the Emperor's and placed here at his specific request.

    • And there's the hold-out blaster found in the datacard file for Corvis Minor, which also started as a Zahn thing. The two authors have collaborated together and don't come to blows in person, so perhaps it's not surprising. Some fans like it, some find these Zahn nods to be unnecessary or contradictory (for example, Winter was supposed to use the Targeter codename only while with one cell on a single planet, and it wasn't for the taking of Coruscant).
    • Zahn later repaid the favour by giving several of Stackpole's characters substantial roles in his Hand of Thrawn duology.
    • Stackpole also namedrops a lot of species, events, and places established in other novels. Black Sun from Shadows of the Empire has a role, for example.
    • There's a rather adorable one to this series in a much later book. Myn Donos and Gara/Lara/Kirney Slane have a complicated and eventually abortive love affair, but it's implied that there's some hope at the very end of the series. Much later, in Betrayal, there's a company mentioned called Donoslane Excursions. D'awww...
    • After a shoot-out at Chalmun's Cantina, Wuhrer the bartender can be heard calling dibs on a Rodian's corpse as a reference to his appearance in Tales From the Mos Eisley Cantina.
    • A less funny one here: You remember one of the celebration cuts at the end of Episode Six? The one on Coruscant with the statue falling? In Iron Fist it's revealed that one was violently broken up by stormtroopers who fired blasters (that WEREN'T on stun) into the crowd.
  • Cool Starship: We are talking about Star Wars novels, after all...
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Basically the entire Xucphra bacta cartel Bacta War. During the Wraith Squadron arc, Zsinj has secret deals with a number of corporations in unaligned and even Republic controlled systems in order to supply his fleet.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: Discussed in Starfighters of Adumar:

Janson: I am so glad the people on this world like to wave and shake hands.
Wedge: Why?
Janson: Well, what if their usual greeting for visiting dignitaries was to throw paint?

    • In the same book, Wedge hopes a handshake is an appropriate response to an outstretched hand and they don't expect him to "kneel on the floor and put the hand on his head" or something.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Future: Oh, Phanan...
  • Dating Catwoman: A somewhat mild version between Corran, a former space cop, and Mirax, a smuggler. The fact that Corran's father was the space cop who arrested Mirax's smuggler father and sent him to Kessel doesn't exactly help...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many, many examples among the Rogues and Wraiths. Most notably Hobbie, Janson, Face, Phanan, and Wedge himself.
  • Defictionalization: An in-universe example - the Ewok pilot Lieutenant Kettch started out as a Running Gag among the pilots in Wraith Squadron, then in Iron Fist Face claims to Zsinj that he's real and Wedge has to fly his TIE interceptor with an Ewok puppet in his lap. (Wedge wears a black flight suit to blend in with the cockpit's black background, so that only people who looked in the cockpit very closely would notice that the "Ewok" was sitting on somebody.) Finally, in Solo Command, Lara discovers that Zsinj has an actual Ewok pilot called Kolot. (Which he had created after hearing about Kettch from Face)
  • Did Not Do the Research- In Iron Fist, Castin comes across a group of imperial scientists experimenting on a Talz The Talz is described to open its mouth and roar during the experiment. Just how wide can those little things open? It could be possible this is because Castin is a racist prick, and therefore unable to tell a Talz from something else...except that Melvar, in his report, also called it a Talz.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Isard responds to the repeated Rogue Squadron pirate attacks on her bacta convoys by sending a Victory-class star destroyer to wipe a defenseless colony off the face of the galaxy. That colony's "crime" had been to accept the stolen bacta from the Rogues since, like a lot of people, they couldn't afford the ridiculously high prices set by Isard and her allies.
  • Dogfighting Furballs: Half of the action in the books are of this type, the other half being espionage.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Falynn suffers from a serious inferiority complex and hates the idea of being coddled.
  • Downer Ending: The comics. Along with having Isard ahead (for the moment), quite a few of the comics characters are never seen again.
  • Dramatis Personae: This series started the trend of including these in Star Wars novels.
  • Dying Alone: When Kirtan Loor is dying, he remembers that Corran once stated that there's nothing worse than dying alone, and realizes that he was right.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: These are particularly common in "Rogue Squadron", which includes both Call Forwards to events from books written earlier but set chronologically later (Thrawn, Zsinj, the Hapans) as well as featuring things that will come up in later X-wing books such as the planet Toprawa.
  • Elite Mook: Zsinj's Raptors, which were mentioned in the backstory for "The Courtship of Princess Leia" but get a fuller treatment in Allston's books.
  • Ejection Seat: Used frequently.
    • In Starfighters of Adumar, it even makes it into an anecdote about the 'official' ambassador to the Adumari, a former Rebel Alliance pilot named Tomer Darpen. Apparently when he crash-landed on a low-gravity planetoid, his Ejection Seat malfunctioned and he achieved escape velocity. He was stuck with the moniker "Ejector Darpen" for the rest of his career.

Tomer "Ejector" Darpen: At least I managed to save the astromech.

  • Emotional Torque: Allston's writing is composed primarily of Funny, Awesome, Tearjerkers, and Heartwarming. It borders on Mood Whiplash sometimes. In the later books the emotional torque itself is a large part of the plot. Since so many bad things keep happening, Wedge is constantly trying to find ways to keep the mood and morale up, but Zsinj or just his own pilots keep on bringing it down.
  • Enemy Mine: In the Allston books, Han and an Imperial commander hatch a secret plan to combine forces against Zsinj. Then there's Isard's Revenge, in which several Rogues die and the others end up having to work with an old enemy.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Kell's fear and hatred of the man who killed his father and his, for lack of a better term, performance anxiety are cured this way. The first is after he realizes that Janson isn't the You Have Failed Me... type, the second when it dawns on him just what running away will mean to the love of his life. (It's not quite so simple, as it's mentioned Kell will never get rid of the fear entirely... but then the fear is mentioned only fleetingly.)
  • Escalating War: The prank war in the Wraith Squadron books. The moral of the story: Wedge doesn't have a particular love or knack for practical jokes, but he does have resources.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Happens a lot, particularly to Isard. Uwlla Iillor, captain of the Interdictor Cruiser Black Asp decides she's though putting up with Isard's Bad Boss tendencies and defects with her ship. Kirtan Loor decides bombing a school is beneath him. Gara Petothel dislikes senseless sacrifices. Fliry Vorru is more practical -- he hates having to pander to Isard's Revenge Before Reason.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Plourr Illo from the comics, aka Isplourrdacartha Estillo of Eiattu VI, turns out to be a princess.
  • Evil Counterpart / Shadow Archetype: The Allston books sometimes portray Warlord Zsinj as being one to Han Solo.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: General Derricote, creator of the Krytos Virus, and Dr. Gast, in charge of Zsinj's Frankensteinian experiments on various non-human species.
  • Executive Meddling: Really more authorial meddling. In the comic series, Stackpole killed off someone's Wookiee character because he thought the Wookiee's dynamic with one of the pilots was too close to Han-Chewbacca. The ghostwriter for the first comic put in a Wookiee character without Stackpole's approval, and in the very next arc, guess who died?
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Poor Wedge.
    • Also Corran on occasion. According to other books, it's a Horn family trait.
  • Fake Static: A variant. When Wedge attempts to recall members of Wraith Squadron during a major battle, they claim his signal's breaking up as static comes through on the radio. Wedge recognizes the old trick of rubbing one's gloves over the microphone, since he's done it himself a few times.
  • Faking the Dead
  • Fan Service: Two kinds in this from the comics: half-naked attractive pilots, and referencing a large usenet group's "Vote Wedge/Tycho For President" meme. Otherwise, the comics tended to avert the large breasts and the skintight clothing and ridiculous poses which generally come with it.
  • Fantastic Racism: Imperials don't tend to regard nonhumans highly. This becomes a major plot point in the first four, where an alien resistance cell on Coruscant decides it hates the human members of the Rogues, and in the three after, where one of Zsinj's plans involves using Manchurian Agents to encourage mistrust between the human and nonhuman members of the New Republic.
    • One of the members of the resistance was Asyr Sei'lar, and she decides to kill her future boyfriend as a speciesist because he won't stop plotting in order to dance with her. Misjudged a little there, Asyr.
    • Castin Donn is mentioned to have been in one of the few anti-Imperial groups which were equally anti-alien. This leads to... friction.
    • In one novel, the Wraiths play a prank that convinces a cantina-full of people that Falynn was married to Piggy. Piggy asks an extremely pissed-off Falynn if she would have been so upset if it were, say, her and Kell? Surprisingly for this trope, she realizes she's being kind of an unwitting dick to Piggy, apologizes, and they agree to go back to the bar for a drink and a dance, no hard feelings.
  • Five-Token Band: In "Rogue Squadron" Wedge complains that the New Republic is trying to turn Rogue Squadron into one to act as a propaganda symbol, meaning he's having to accept pilots based on political considerations rather than absolute skill. The most absurd case is that the New Republic wants Thyferra on side because it produces bacta, but Thyferra is ruled by a corporate cartel duopoly of two big companies who hate each other, so Wedge has to take on two Thyferran pilots, one from each side.
  • Fix Fic: The Allston books to The Courtship of Princess Leia (see Historical Villain Upgrade below.)
    • Allston also fixes (with Lampshade Hanging) a slight continuity error on Stackpole's part, where Corran Horn meets Han Solo for the first time in I Jedi, despite having served on his ship during the Zsinj campaign several years earlier. Allston has the pilots have an In-Universe Running Gag that Horn and Solo are the same person because they are never seen in the same room.
      • This is also justified in-universe, as Horn's father was a Corellian Security officer who unsuccessfully tried to catch Solo when he was a smuggler, so it's natural the two would want to avoid the awkwardness of this matter being raised.
  • Fling a Light Into the Future: Shortly before they went fully pacifist, the Alderaanians loaded all of their weapons into a cruiser called the Another Chance, crewed it with droids, and sent it off into space with a pair of automated frigates to serve as escorts. The intention was that Alderaan could call the cruiser back if the planet ever needed to rearm, until the planet got blown up. The Alliance eventually found the Another Chance and one of the frigates around the time of The Empire Strikes Back. The third frigate had become separated from them and returned to Alderaan, where it saved the Rogues' bacon in The Bacta War.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Wedge, Tycho, Wes, and Hobbie, especially in Starfighters of Adumar. May also qualify as a Power Trio, with Wedge and Tycho splitting Ego.
  • Fragile Speedster: A-wing fighters; most of their pilots are consequently speed-obsessed.
    • In one instance in Wraith Squadron where two of the Wraiths actually beat two A-Wings in an impromptu race, the A-Wing pilots laugh it off with this line:
    • Tycho Celchu, having a background in TIE fighters and A-wings, uses this kind of piloting style. When they were stuck in big, slow Blade fighters on Adumar, Hobbie beat him in a simulated dogfight (it's usually the other way around). Even regular TIE fighters are this in the hands of good pilots, as seen for instance in Starfighters of Adumar where Tycho, despite being an excellent pilot, is unable to shake one that's on his tail.
  • Former Child Star: Garik "Face" Loran used to be a child actor in Imperial propaganda holodramas. He regrets his involvement, and now uses his piloting skills and considerable acting ability to help the New Republic.
  • Fridge Brilliance: By Isard's Revenge Ysanne Isard is no longer affiliated with the legitimate Empire of Thrawn and Pellaeon. She claims it is by her choice but evidence in The Bacta War (where an Imperial warlord only very reluctantly loans her ship -- and then lectures her when it is destroyed) implies she has a acquired a reputation as a General Failure and it may actually be the Empire that wants nothing to do with her.
  • Fun Personified: Wes Janson. Making it all the more dissonant in Wraith Squadron that Kell (because of being misinformed of the manner of his father's death) is terrified of him, believing him to be a General Ripper prone to You Have Failed Me....
  • Gambit Roulette: Subverted. When Corran returns from the Lusankya with information exonerating Tycho, someone wonders if the information could have been planted to keep the accused Imperial sleeper in place. This is casually dismissed, as it would have required an absurd level of planning and foreknowledge of completely random events.
  • Genius Bruiser: Voort is a Gammorrean whose brain chemistry was altered, making him intelligent and stable enough to become a very good pilot. And he has a habit of being able to knock out any human in one punch.
  • Genre Savvy:

Wes: I killed his father. He hates me. He knows how to make bombs. Tell me, Wedge, how does this end?

    • Also, Tyria.

Tyria: This isn't going to be one of those squadrons with one female pilot that all the men are chasing, isn't it?

    • And in Iron Fist, after Castin's plan to sneak aboard Zsinj's ship gets shot down by Wedge, the Wraiths going on the mission are savvy enough to check their ship for a stowaway. Too bad they don't look hard enough...
  • Gentle Giant: Wraith Squadron had a Talz try out for the squadron. He did well during the simulation (a replay of the Battle of Endor) but his adrenaline and heart rate were skyrocketing all the way through, showing that he wasn't comfortable even against simulated targets.
  • Gilligan Cut: Wedge's escape plan in Starfights of Adumar.

Wedge: We'll need a wheeled transport, one of the flatcam units our pursuers are carrying, and four sets of women's clothing.

Hobbie: Boss, please tell me you're not putting us in women's clothing.

Wedge: Very well. I'm not putting us in women's clothing.

(In the next chapter, the Rogues are in women's clothing)

Hobbie: You lied to me.

  • Golden Mean Fallacy: Specifically called the "Gray Fallacy" -- one person says white, one says black, everyone assumes gray.
  • Good Feels Good: Along with realizing just how bad her side was, this is the big reason for Lara's Heel Face Turn. "The one thing Lara understood was the expressions turned on her. They were the eyes of a group to whom she belonged. Not since her parents' loss had she seen that expression."
  • Good with Numbers: Voort "Piggy" saBinring.
    • This is also the "hat" of the Givin race who live on Yag'Dhul, though we don't really see any evidence of it until the New Jedi Order books.
  • Heel Face Turn: Captain Uwlla Iillor in the first two books goes from being an Imperial Interdictor commander to defecting to the Rebels, mainly due to being mistreated by Isard and her subordinates; she and her ship are then instrumental in the conquest of Coruscant.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Donos starts Wraith Squadron with his sanity hanging by a thread, loses it twice during his time with his new squadron (slipping into an Angst Coma in one case), and comes perilously close an additional time. Near the end of Solo Command, he thinks he's about to lose it again... but realizes the truth in time to save most of his fellow pilots from a dangerous trap.
    • Kell gets a couple of smaller examples during Wraith Squadron, especially after failing to save Jesmin. Nothing quite up to Donos standards.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Face and Phanan. Phanan, who has no family, made Face his emergency contact and the beneficiary of his will. We learn this after his Tear Jerker death. Then there's his last message to Face, and his will, which forces Face to acknowledge that he doesn't have to be The Atoner for the rest of his life because of what he did as a child.
    • Face notes that within a couple of days of meeting Phanan, they were best friends to the point of completing each other's sentences.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Wedge at one point says "I get the hologram" rather than "I get the picture".
  • Ho Yay: The part in Starfighters of Adumar where Wedge reflects on how good-looking his fellow pilots are.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Adumari have this practically as their hat, due to them actually telling someone that they want to kill them and then following the most prestigious pilot and ignoring everyone else. Wedge points this out to them, and is disgusted by the way that the Adumari take no consideration into the fact that the Imperial delegation that's on the same planet is killing dozens of people and no one is sickened by it. Before the big battle at the end of the book it leads to a Beware the Nice Ones moment for Wedge, as he threatens to shoot down anyone that flies for glory instead of to accomplish their objective.
  • Humongous Mecha: Part of the Rogues' Crazy Awesome plan for disabling the Coruscant shield network involves hijacking a giant construction robot and rampaging around a section of the city.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Talking to a documentarian with a camera in the shape made out of a droid's head:

Janson grinned at her. "Some days make you just want to beat your heads against a wall, don't they?"
Hobbie said, "Maybe not. The young lady might not have her heads on straight, after all."
Tycho said, "Still, I think she ought to get her heads examined."
Wedge looked at them, appalled.

Wedge: Tycho, what are we facing?
Tycho: A hundred fifty, more like two hundred, easy. So, fifty to one odds.
Wes: Not too bad.

Janson: So it's like a blaster you have to hit someone with. I have to have one.
Tycho: Don't give him a new kind of weapon. It would be like giving a lightsaber to a two-year-old.

  • Improbable Piloting Skills: Rogue Squadron is made up on some of the best pilots in the galaxy including several Force Users. The Wraiths are merely pretty good, but they make up for it in other ways, most importantly their Crazy Awesome improvised tactics. This skill is Lampshaded by one of their superiors.

General Crespin: Foolish of us to bring along Rogue Squadron, all those A-wings, Home One, and a pair of frigates when all it takes is Wraith Squadron and a battered corvette to deal with the enemy.

    • Crespin and his A-Wings count as well, even being referenced in-universe. Given that A-Wings are the Fragile Speedster type -- not quite as bad as TIE Fighters, but still pretty dinky -- his wing's pilots must be very good to keep consistent numbers (though the battle in which both units see action for the first time ends with five dead and several wounded in Crespin's Blue Squadron where Wedge's Wraith Squadron only sports a few scratches -- both squads technically aren't operational, so that's no excuse).
  • The Infiltration: Many, many times in many, many disguises.
    • The top example is the entirety of the Wraith Squadron book, where the Wraiths maintain a disguise as Imperial operatives for several weeks without even being suspected, despite having their cover blown fully during a battle. They manage to keep the information from leaving the battlefield. It reaches Refuge in Audacity levels. Their cover is blown during a battle, so they take out everyone else on the other side, and turn around and tell the boss that they were ambushed and escaped, the only survivors, and the enemy BUYS it!
  • Informed Ability: Tycho is probably the second best X-Wing pilot in the New Republic, behind Wedge, and is in command of Rogue Squadron by the time of Starfighters of Adumar. And yet, in said book, he gets shot down three times. Allston mentions why in his FAQ. Part of the fairly long answer about why Tycho didn't do so well:

After reviewing Tycho's flying history (training originally in TIEs, moving to A-Wings and X-Wings when he moved to the Rebel Alliance) and his performance in I Jedi, I concluded that Tycho's strengths as a pilot might not translate so well to less maneuverable spacecraft. In short, Blades, Y-Wings and the lot can't really keep up with the speed of his own physical reactions.

    • Long story short, as Hobbie explains after the first test fight in Blade-32s, Tycho's a Fragile Speedster pilot stuck in Mighty Glacier hardware. This also may fall under Worf Effect.
    • Second, and perhaps even more minor, example of this is Kell from Wraith Squadron. He does relatively little on-screen with bombs, despite being demolitions. His best example was slapping charges into place to damage structures, and slapping a charge onto a probe droid. However, he DOES do a good bit of off-screen bomb defusal, puts together some small explosive charges for Shalla's infiltration of the Razor's Kiss, and manages to design a bomb in his head. He's on the border, but it's interesting.
      • Unlike most examples...he's still made pretty awesome. He's just not awesome at his 'nitch'.
      • Kell actually does manage to show off his bomb making expertise in the preview for Mercy Kill, where he manages to build a bomb that looks like a priceless gem, is powerful enough take out several city blocks, and is programmed to detonate when it reaches a certain depth below ground. He considers the bomb a work of art and gets highly offended when somebody suggests otherwise.
  • Interspecies Romance: Gavin and Asyr, Nawara and Rhysati, Face and Dia. In the comics, Ibitsam and Nrin, neither of them human (the romance wasn't outright stated, but the implication could hardly be more obvious). Corran tells a story about a brief relationship with a Selonian that dealt with some of the issues of such a romance; their personal chemistry was fine, but their biochemistry was incompatible and they parted amicably. One arc that's poorly regarded for different reasons has very strong hints of more temporary human/Bothan encounters.
  • I Resemble That Remark: Booster Terrik is trying to negotiate with the New Republic to keep a Star Destroyer he captured. The New Republic's agent tells him the New Republic can't let someone other than them or their allies keep a ship with enough firepower to slag a planet. Booster retorts he should just use it to conquer a random world and declare himself a New Republic ally before his daughter tells him that's exactly what the New Republic is afraid of.
  • Ironic Echo: Sometimes done with entire paragraphs of narration. For example, Iron Fist begins with a description of a cyborg attacking the Wraiths in a bar, all part of a setup for Zsinj to have them taken out. The Wraiths (after thwarting this) borrow his idea, and a few chapters later, an almost identical opening describes Phanan pulling the same setup on an Imperial planet as part of a scheme to steal some TIE fighters.
    • In another example from Solo Command, Han and Warlord Zsinj each oversee work on a secret project, the Millennium Falsehood and the Second Death respectively, and both of them consider what they're looking at the "ugliest ship they'd ever seen". (This is Played for Laughs on Han's end, since the phrase is a Call Back regarding the actual Falcon, but he thinks the fake looks nothing like the real one.) Wraith Squadron itself opens with what will become an Ironic Echo, the "twelve snubfighters swooping down through the sky" appearing first as the newly-reinstated Rogue Squadron performing for Leia and the Provisional Council, then as Myn Donos's doomed Talon Squadron.
    • And again in Solo Command (Allston really likes this trope) as part of the Evil Counterpart/Shadow Archetype between Han and Zsinj: At the battle of Comkin Five, Zsinj and Han each are eager for the other to bring in their flagship, actually speaking to the viewscreen "Come on, bring in [Mon Remonda/Iron Fist]". When the New Republic fleet gets away, Zsinj has a near Despair Event Horizon where he bemoans, "I can't kill him, I don't know the formula, I don't have the plan" which is then echoed by Han at the battle of Vahaba: "I can't beat him."
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: Observed during a funeral in Rogue Squadron.

"No, and it never should. If it ever does, that means we've become the enemy."

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bror Jace of Rogue Squadron and Ton Phanan of Wraith Squadron both receive Character Development that turns them into this eventually. Castin Donn, too, although his development came right before his death. Wraith Squadron's first slicer, Grinder, is just a relatively harmless Jerkass, but gets a Redemption Equals Death moment. Booster Terrik is a Jerkass in general (and to Corran Horn in particular), but is very protective of his daughter Mirax, and his adopted son Wedge.
  • Kick the Dog: Zsinj and his crony General Melvar are entertaining, but we're not allowed to forget that they're the bad guys.
    • Also, after Corran had caught Bossk (who had been responsible for his father's murder), Kirtan Loor managed to appeal it as collateral damage and got Bossk released. It's outright revealed that he did this just to spite Corran.
  • Kill Sat: Rogue Squadron remote-control-hijacks a solar mirror orbiting Imperial Centre. Hilarity (and explosions) ensue.
  • La Résistance: The Ashern are a Vratix badass resistance group dedicated to freeing their fellow Vratix from virtual slavery under the bacta cartels. They're later joined by remnants of the Zaltin cartel after Xucphra stages a hostile takeover.
  • Large Ham:

"Elassar Targon, master of the universe, reporting for duty!" Hilarity Ensues.

    • Also, Captain Darillian of the Night Caller. Until they had to scrape him off the ceiling. And Face, especially when he's impersonating him.
    • Zsinj and Melvar. Possibly a case of Obfuscating Ham-osity.
  • Last Starfighter: From time to time the Rogues or the Wraiths find themselves severely, insanely outnumbered.
    • In Starfighters of Adumar and The Bacta War, their opponents are all basically rookies (in some cases, flying their first mission ever) and/or in undergunned and underdefended ships. Numbers are the only thing the enemy have going for them during those engagements... and, as we know from history (such as the 1982 Lebanon War), superior training and equipment can be the equal of sheer numbers.
    • That's a common Star Wars trope, as TIE Fighters are cheap-but-fragile craft in comparison to the Rebels' more durable, but hard-to-obtain, fighters. Which is why the TIE Fighter video game was such a change - as an Imperial pilot, your character was drastically outgunned (on an individual basis) most of the time, but had a lot of friends.
    • Finally averted in Isard's Revenge and Starfighters of Adumar when they face enormous odds (six-to-one in the former case) and lose. In the first case, several Rogues are killed and the rest only survive due to being rescued by Imperials, while in the second Wedge's flight is forced down to the ground, although they do really well against the Adumari -- four against thirty, and they kill the thirty -- before the odds finally get them.
    • Happens as early as the first novel.

Tycho: We recorded thirty-four kills out of a possible thirty-six with no losses. If I hadn't been there, I'd think it was propaganda.

  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: Wedge repeatedly passes up promotion, preferring to be a Commander. Forming Wraith Squadron was actually part of a bet -- if he couldn't get them functioning as a full-fledged squadron within three months, he would be forced to accept promotion to General. He wins the bet, of course, but eventually he takes the promotion, mostly because his pilots have been refusing promotions too.
  • Little No: Iella's use of this trope is what clues Ysanne Isard into the fact that things are about to go to pot, quickly.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: A squadron has twelve pilots, up to twelve potentially distinct (i.e. quirky) astromech droids, a lead mechanic and his team, a quartermaster, and a couple of superior officers. Main characters also have love interests, friends, and enemies. Pilots who die are replaced by new pilots, with new astromechs. There are two primary squadrons in the series, plus the occasional extra character for good measure. And that's just the good guys... Allston is better at this. A lot of the members of Stackpole's cast tend to fade into the background.
  • Loving a Shadow: In Wraith Squadron, Kell gets a crush on Tyria almost immediately, but is shot down in flames when she figures out that she only fits the criteria for his perfect mate and that he doesn't know the real Tyria. In a bit of a subversion, after Kell takes the time to get to know Tyria, he confesses his love again... and she immediately jumps him. Turns out she'd fallen for him at first sight, but wanted to make sure he could properly return the sentiment.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: How you take down an 19-kilometer-long Super Star Destroyer if all you have is snubfighters, a 30-year-old frigate and some freighters? (That and a Crowning Moment of Awesome when the Lusankya's Smug Snake captain is told that his ship has been painted with more than three hundred missile locks...) This is adopted throughout the books as a way for starfighters to take down capital ships. It is a sub-tactic of "Trench Run Disease," the tactics that killed both Death Stars.
    • The Loran Spitball. In its first deployment, there were nine X-Wings in the bow hangar of a ship. The hangar opens while facing an enemy frigate, resulting in a full eighteen torpedos into the engines. The ship is literally split into two pieces after the barrage.
  • Man Child: Wes Janson acts like this a lot. He enjoys life wholeheartedly and likes pranks, puns, and having fun without caring about dignity. A fellow pilot once says that getting him up to the mental age of twelve, maybe thirteen would be impossible. However, despite evidence to the contrary, he's actually a responsible person, and he's perfectly capable of being serious when the situation calls for it.
  • Manchurian Agent: Iella finds out that her husband, thought dead for years, is alive, but unfortunately...
  • Master of Disguise: Face. It helps that he's a former child actor ... and a member of a people whose hat is communication and identification of body language.
  • Meaningful Name: Rogue Squadron. As an adjective, one definition is "no longer obedient, belonging, or accepted and hence not controllable or answerable; deviating, renegade." The squadron once leaves the New Republic.
    • Invoked with Wraith Squadron where the name is picked to represent the squadron's (supposedly) stealthy nature.

Runt: What is a wraith?
Tyria: Something I heard about in my childhood. Dark things that come in the night for you. That's what I think we are. For the Empire, for the warlords, we're the phantoms under the bed, the monsters in the storage cubicles.

  • Medal of Dishonor: The accidental kind, concerning Kell's Kalidor Crescent. He received it for pulling off a series of crazy maneuvers trying to save a fellow pilot's life, and he's disgusted with it because he failed. And in the comics, Fel is given an ugly one for following stupid orders.
    • There's also the "Award of the Mechanic's Nightmare," awarded to Face after returning his ship in a state almost as bad as its pilot's. "I want to thank everyone who retrieved pieces of me, everyone who retrieved pieces of my X-wing, and especially those who sorted them out correctly."
    • The Wraiths greet Piggy coming out of a bacta tank with talk about bacta-flavored cheese, bacta-flavored ale, and a manual entitled "How to Dodge".
  • Mighty Glacier: B-wing bombers. Wedge once used one and said he felt less like a pilot and more like a driver, but on the other hand they can both take and dish out vast amounts of punishment.
  • Mildly Military: Both Rogue and Wraith squadrons are noted to be far less rulebound than most squadrons, though the Rogues at least follow military discipline in-cockpit and during formal brief/debrief sessions. The Wraiths... Not so much.
  • Military Maverick: Wedge is one of these, while in book four the Rogues go, well, rogue. The Wraiths, however, surpass them by several orders of magnitude.

Wedge: They're just... different. Hand them an ordinary set of instructions and they'll carry them out in an ordinary fashion. Hand them an objective without instructions and they accomplish it some strange way. Like that whole fake Millennium Falcon ploy, and what Piggy was doing, and the data they got off Commenor's planetary computer net. I'm having a hard time anticipating them.

    • He really has no one but himself to blame, since this was why he put together the unit in the first place.
  • The Mole: Erisi Dlarit in the first four, Lara Notsil in the next three. Lara starts out the series as a bad guy Mook, is portrayed sympathetically, has ethical dilemmas about her role, and eventually makes a Heel Face Turn. The other is a perfect mole whose secret is kept from the characters and the reader until the end of the third book.
  • Mookmobile: TIE Fighters. Wedge absolutely loathes them because of this:

No shields. No Ejection Seat. TIE Fighters were disposable attack vehicles for disposable pilots, and Wedge never cared to feel disposable.

    • Other EU works clarify that TIEs do have ejection systems, but using them in space generally means a slow death so pilots rarely eject and take the quick one instead.
  • Moral Dissonance: The New Republic picking a fight with the neutral (if admittedly pro-Imperial) Ciutric Hegemony in Isard's Revenge. Prince-Admiral Krennel is obviously not a nice man, but the best pretext the New Republic can come up with for starting the war is Krennel's execution of a defecting Imperial several years previously, during the comics, before Krennel himself left the Empire, a cynical justification which even the Rogues admit is "pretty thin". Even the generally saintly Admiral Ackbar more or less confesses that going after Krennel is as much about New Republic sabre-rattling to frighten bigger warlords like Teradoc as it about "liberating" the people under his rule.
    • And that's before considering the fact that Sate Pestage, the Imperial in question, was a total scumbag (basically a less cool, non-Sith version of Emperor Palpatine), and only defected to save his own hide. While Krennel's murder of Pestage's family counts as a Moral Event Horizon, his murder of Pestage is, at the very worst, Kick the Son of a Bitch. Wedge notes that he was sorely tempted to kill Pestage himself, even though he was an unarmed prisoner at the time, because the man was so repulsive.
  • Multinational Team: Both Rogue and Wraith squadrons had members from a whole slew of planets. And half of Rogue Squadron's initial roster were political appointees, which annoyed Wedge intensely.
  • Mythology Gag: At the start of Isard's Revenge, which shows the Battle of Bilbringi from The Thrawn Trilogy from Corran's perspective, Corran muses that he'd like to meet Thrawn and shake his hand. (And then kill him, of course.) In the short story Side Trip co-written by Zahn and Stackpole and set years earlier, Corran indeed met Thrawn and shook his hand -- while Thrawn was disguised as the bounty hunter Jodo Kast.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Twice in the Wraith Squadron books--once, the epic revenge Wedge gets on Janson for the escalating prank war ("Nice ass, Lieutenant."); and the other when Phanan, Kell, and Face get payback on Grinder for his series of pranks--looking for the Storini Crystal Deceiver, he looks out the door of his room naked to Phanan's disgust. (The next time he goes to look he "remembers to grab a towel first".)
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Ysanne Isard is nicknamed 'Iceheart' (similar to the pronunciation of her last name) by both her own subordinates and her Rebel enemies. Analogously, her Rebel counterpart Airen Cracken is nicknamed 'Kraken' by Imperials.
    • And, as usual, the names of Imperial ships. Wedge has a discussion on the subject with Teren Rogriss in Starfighters of Adumar:

Wedge: Admiral, have you ever wondered why the Emperor gave such nasty names to his Star Destroyers? Executor, Agonizer, Iron Fist, Venom?

  • Never Found the Body: Even when Corran Horn is actually really dead, they won't find his body.
    • In The Krytos Trap, Wedge lampshades this by noting that every once in a while he half-expects dead squadmates to walk through the door because they Never Found the Body. (The body having gone up with their starfighter, admittedly.)
      • He and his childhood friend Mirax Terrik discuss how they were taught by Mirax's father Booster never to trust that somebody's dead if you don't see it yourself, because he made that mistake himself and ended up losing an eye to that presumed-dead enemy.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Falynn Sandskimmer in Wraith Squadron is fed up of people mentioning Luke Skywalker when they find out she's from Tatooine. Unfortunately, her hot temper means her responses come across as insulting to Luke, which results in her being blacklisted in the New Republic military (the higher ranks being filled with people who for obvious reasons think very highly of Luke) before being rescued by Wedge's Wraith Squadron project. While Wedge is a friend and former squadmate of Luke (and as such, also thinks very highly of him), he's also more forgiving of Falynn's attitude in this regard.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds: Apparently Corellia's hat.
    • Quietly subverted with Wedge. He jokes about it, but he actually does care about the odds.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Janson challenges an Adumari to a blastsword duel, quickly discards his weapon, and proceeds to treat the royal court to a display of down-and-dirty knuckle-brawling, ending with a humiliating bitch-slap. Janson being Janson, he also works a CMOF into this CMOA by drawing stick-figures in the air with his weapon beforehand.

"Your orders are simple. I punch, you suffer. Got it?"

  • Noodle Implements: The notorious lanvarok. All the books mention is that it's a weapon, it's built by the Sith, and it's a distinct advantage to be left-handed when using it. Draw your own conclusions. Sadly, other sources ruined it by explaining exactly what it is.
  • Not Quite Dead: No one ever comes back from actual death, but there are many times when a character is believed dead and isn't. Corran Horn is king of this. If you count the number of times his friends have thought him dead, his enemies have thought him dead, and the reader has thought him dead, it actually amounts to more times than he has appearances in the X-Wing series, if each novel featuring him counts as one appearance. This went noticed In-Universe and gave birth to a joke: the day Corran really dies, everyone will just assume he's alive somewhere and will reappear soon.
  • Obfuscating Disability: At two points, Wedge Antilles disguises himself as Colonel Roat, an Imperial pilot who was badly wounded and given clumsy, poorly-functioning prosthetics. Imperials are biased against cyborgs, generally thinking that only someone very clumsy or unlucky can be injured so badly as to need cybernetics, and so no one managed to connect him to the second most famous Rebel pilot.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Warlord Zsinj, who in an earlier book was just a dullwitted fat sadist with a love of theatrics who somehow had enough ships to threaten the New Republic. The X-Wing novels retcon him into a very smart fat sadist with a love of theatrics who had the ships and tactics to threaten the New Republic. It's mentioned that a lot of the people he works with see through his facade, but he enjoys playing to an audience.
    • Lod, Dod, and Fod Nobrin of Agamar (actually Wraith Squadron pilots in disguise).
    • Hallis Saper. Her initial stated reasons for wearing "Whitecap" (A 3PO droid's head with her holography equipment inside) were that 3PO droids were found to be reassuring to children. (Whitecap actually provoked other reactions in-universe.) It turns out to be a cunning method of disguise; while she wore Whitecap, people paid attention to the droid head and not to Hallis's face. Hallis also had other, more covert methods of disguising her holography equipment, some of which were seen later on.
  • Oh Crap: In Iron Fist, when the Wraiths have been playing pirate against a nonaligned system to try and bring Zsinj in as their protector -- and succeed a little too well, with a ship's silhouette appearing over the horizon:

"A cruiser?"
"A Star Destroyer. At least."
(Gilligan Cut to narration) "It was a Super Star Destroyer, by name Iron Fist..."

  • Old School Dogfighting: Both averted and played straight. Alliance pilots tend to initiate fights with their missiles and proton torpedoes to soften up the often numerically superior Imperials (it also helps that most TIE fighters are only armed with lasers). However, there are still many opportunities and situations for fighters to mix it up old school style.
  • Once For Yes, Twice For No: During Wraith Squadron, Piggy's translator breaks, and his grunts aren't understandable, so when asking if he's okay, his squadronmates resort to this.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Bail Antilles, the Alderaanian captain killed by Lord Vader in A New Hope, happened to be the superior officer of the Wraith's quartermaster. He's pleased to be serving another of the same name, though they aren't related. It's implied that "Antilles" in Star Wars is like "Smith", a rather popular last name. For example, there's a Jedi named Jon Antilles (his real name is unknown, with the alias being chosen apparently to be as generic as possible).
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Hobbie is called Derek Klivian, but not many people actually call him that. Wraith Squardon also gives us Face, Piggy, Runt, and Grinder.
  • Orgy of Evidence: Tycho Celchu is accused of being a sleeper agent, as well as for murdering Corran Horn. His lawyer is quick to point out to the military tribunal that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that proves Tycho's guilt, but that someone has been actively destroying anything that could exonerate Tycho. In the end, Tycho is found not guilty after other clues come up, like the fact that like Corran himself walks into the room and declares that Tycho didn't kill him.
  • Paparazzi: Starfighters of Adumar features Hallis Saper, now a documentarian and intelligence agent but who used to work in "sludgenews", the Star Wars term for shallow celebrity gossip news.
  • Paranoia Fuel: An in-universe example with the Manchurian Agents.
  • Pardon My Klingon: In a slightly unfortunate for continuity case of Depending on the Writer, in the Stackpole books everyone's swearword of choice is Sithspawn, whereas in the Allston books it becomes the earthier Sithspit.

Isolder: Seriously, Han, you could've sold tickets to that.

  • Pass the Popcorn: In Wraith Squadron Wedge asserts his authority over Falynn by challenging her to a race in creaky old ore haulers. The other pilots watch via a screen and, after a while, start taking bets on the outcome.
  • Pet the Dog: In The Bacta War, the captain of a Star Destroyer with the unfortunate name of Sair Yonka (the captain, not his Impstar) fusses over which outfit his lover would prefer to see him in, and has a gift for her, not knowing about her Rebel sympathies. The Rogues bribe him into switching sides.
    • In Isard's Revenge, the captain of a different Star Destroyer ascended to his position after his predecessor refused to annihilate a village that had produced someone who tried to assassinate Prince-Admiral Krennel. This new captain did wipe out the village, but first he took a shuttle down to the town square, explained that bombardment would commence as soon as he was back in the big ship, laid out the plan in minute detail, then dawdled in the shuttle making weapons checks for three hours. Not a building was left standing, but no one died. This captain later surrendered to the New Republic in battle after being pounded... by a task force containing Captain Yonka and his ship.
    • Gara Petothel is a staunch supporter of the Imperials, and later Zsinj, but she draws the line at an admiral's sacrifice of thousands of his troops to cover his escape. She issues an abandon-ship order and tells the Wraiths where to find Trigit; he's taken out before he can escape. It serves as the start of her Heel Face Turn via Reverse Mole.
  • Phrase Catcher: Wedge. "Yub yub, commander."
  • Planet of Hats: Explored and subverted:
    • Agamar is seen as the planet of stupid hicks, though that's really just a stereotype (although it is a mostly agricultural world). At one point, three Wraiths plan to go undercover as Agamarians and ask the captain of their ship, who actually is from Agamar, to help them flesh out the stereotypes. Said Captain is a Mauve Shirt...he doesn't make it
    • Adumar appears to be the planet of blood sport, pilot-worship, and melodrama, but as it turns out only one country is that obsessed, and its people can be coaxed into seeing the problems with how they're thinking. Alderaan was always labeled as the planet of pacifists, and in the comics Tycho liked to respond to hearing that by swinging a punch at whoever had spoken. Worth noting is that the mentioned planets are human-populated, so it's less a species thing and more of a culture or perceived culture thing.

Tycho: "One of the problems we all have is that we try to think of ourselves in general terms, and that smooths over some of the inconsistencies that make us who we are. We see all Imperials as rancors and they see all of us as nerfs. The very fact that we see them as a united front is ridiculous, just the same as we're not all united."

    • The Twi'leks are thought of as a race of merchants and smugglers, which tends to piss off their warriors, as seen in The Krytos Trap. Zsinj then takes advantage of this in Solo Command - it's become common knowledge that there are touchy Twi'lek Proud Warrior Race Guys around, so people will take his using Twi'leks as killer Manchurian Agents as being a real radical-militant development in the race.
    • Lorrd, Face's homeworld, is a relatively straight example of this trope (it was introduced in earlier books). Lorrd's hat is observation and control of body language, but this is justified by backstory - the planet was once enslaved by aliens who forbade verbal communication, so the Lorrdians were forced to develop complex body and sign language instead.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Twi'leks are generally perceived like this, but they have an increasingly vocal minority who resent the stereotype as they would rather be a Proud Warrior Race. This first shows up in "The Krytos Trap" and is later exploited by Zsinj in "Solo Command" (see below).
  • Proud Warrior Race: The people of Adumar have this in spades, and it's Deconstructed a little by Wedge. Some of the X-Wing pilots may also be part of one.
    • The first part of one of Zsinj's plans hinges largely on Gotals and Twi'leks being viewed like this, so when brainwashed agents begin to act on his schemes, the overall plan is to foment distrust of these two races precisely because of their Proud Warrior Raceishness. And because he's just proven that they can be converted very quickly into Manchurian Agents.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Wraith Squadron is originally composed of pilots on their Last Second Chance who'd screwed up with one thing or another, like cowardice under fire, fighting with superior officers, or being the victims of corrupt training master schemes.
    • In a nice subversion, or at least Lampshade Hanging, quite a bit of detail is put on how many people were TOO messed up for this trope. Props goes to the pilot accused of stealing, who is sure things will turn out okay. Wedge notices his family portrait is missing as the guy walks out.
    • And while the pilots brought in to make up the numbers don't seem to have issues, it is quickly found that all of them are just as screwed up. Also, the actual real life implications of having such a team are lampshaded/discussed by Wedge and Wes in a pretty serious moment.

Wedge: I'm leading children Wes, and I'm getting them killed.
Wes: That's true.
Wedge: What did you say?
Wes: It's true. Wedge, you asked for misfits. You had to know that even with the ones who made the grade, they were going to takes losses that were heavier than in a normal unit.

  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Wedge and at least some of his superiors, including Admiral Ackbar.
  • Red Right Hand: Several, most of them during Stackpole's run:
    • Ysanne Isard has odd-colored eyes and a Skunk Stripe.
    • Krennel literally has an obvious prosthetic right hand which glows red. An old nemesis of Corran's is half-human and has Hellish Pupils.
    • Loka Hask, the man who caused the deaths of Wedge's parents, has a Corellian limpet covering half of his head, including an ear and an eye, with tentacles reaching into his nose and mouth.
    • Captain Semtin has obvious, creepy prosthetic eyeballs and mechanical thingies in his ears. He abandons some of his soldiers on Ryloth, which has local rules that offworlders with no influence or transportation get sold into slavery. The soldiers promptly switch sides.
    • Allston's books tend to subvert this. Several good guys have stereotypically villainous-looking appearances, such as Ton Phanan and General Crespin, while Zsinj's General Melvar does have razor-sharp metal fingernails, but this is a deliberate act to make enemies underestimate him as a cardboard cutout villain.
  • Red Shirt: In the Michael Stackpole books. Generally a bunch of characters are introduced and get maybe 1 or 2 lines at best, and then are barely mentioned until they die later on. In Book 1 (Rogue Squadron):
    • In the Rogue books: Peshk gets no lines outside his cockpit. Andoorni says "Inspiring, Horn" (plus a few other lines in-cockpit) and actually survives their first real perilous situation, then dies with Peshk at Borleias. In The Bacta War Shiel bites the bullet after literally getting one line in the second book of the series and one more line after that (in book four). Isard's Revenge continues the trend, with literally all of the never-before seen additions to the squadron dying: Lyr and Khe.
    • Aaron Allston's books tend to avoid this trope, and for that matter it's generally averted in the comics, too. Well, mostly. There were two pilots who signed on at the start of the arc and died one after the other by the end, whose only characterization was that they participated in a Bar Brawl with Plourr. There's also Standro Jcir; he doesn't do or say very much between the time he's introduced and the time he gets blown up. Rodians appearing in any EU story from the '90s are likely to get the red-shirt treatment, with the ironic exception of Koobis Nu in Solo Command, who has the rather undesirable nickname "Target".
  • Reporting Names: They're pilots; the com lines are full of these.
  • Retcon: The series is good about making previously-established contradicting elements fit together. (In fact, one of the explicit challenges Allston took on for Starfighters of Adumar was squaring away the fact that Wedge went from dating-Qwi Xux to married-to-Iella Wessiri with no explanation.)
    • Another example is from Iron Fist, where Allston managed to come up with a plausible explanation for how the titular vessel had been blown up... twice... in a later-set, but earlier-written, novel.
    • Also in Iron Fist, Allston had to modify Warlord Zsinj's personality in The Courtship of Princess Leia of being a generic frothing-at-the-mouth-when-things-go-bad Imperial into a character with actual panache that could pull of victory after victory against the New Republic for novels at a time. He does this by making Zsinj into a skilled actor who pretends to be overly evil and angry on occasion either to impress and mislead his viewers or for his own amusement. The only disadvantage to this otherwise very successful reinvention is that it makes Zsinj's final defeat in the chronologically later Courtship seem very dissappointing in retrospect, considering he is barely even a character in that novel.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Some truly hideous tourist clothes worn by the Wraiths during an infiltration, as well as Hobbie's outfit on Adumar:

"There are three types of dress clothing. The kind that offends the wearer, the kind that offends the viewers, and the kind that offends everybody. I'm going for the third type. Fair is fair."

  • Running Gag: Lieutenant Kettch, the fake Ewok pilot. This becomes something of an Ascended Meme or Defictionalization In-Universe: after their enemies/employers overhear the Wraiths' comm chatter, in which Wedge's voice was modified to sound like an Ewok, some ad-libbing and improvisation culminated in Wedge having to fight a battle with a stuffed Ewok in his lap to keep up the illusion that Kettch was real. To say nothing of Kolot...
    • And an in-universe example: During the Wraith books, despite both serving on the Mon Remonda, Corran Horn and Han Solo are never seen at the same place at the same time (including one moment when Han leaves the pilots' lounge, and Corran enters moments later--then wonders why everyone's laughing), which naturally leads the rest of the pilots to conclude that, despite a significant difference in age and appearance, they must be the same person. (This particular joke goes metastatic in I, Jedi--in which Corran and Han actually do meet, multiple times. One of those times, Han jokes that he once had a Horn, Corran's father Hal, chasing him. Later, Corran goes undercover with the false name of a man Hal had once pursued, who hadn't been seen anywhere for more than a decade, and not even Corran's Knowledge Broker grandfather knew where he'd gone: Jenos Idanian. This also doubles as a Call Back to the Han Solo Trilogy.)
  • Scrappy Level: A non-video game in-universe example, based on a videogame example! The Redemption (A.K.A. Requiem) scenario, a mission from the Star Wars: X-Wing computer game, turned into a simulator mission that gives pilots a hard time. Not to mention Rogue Squadon's escort missions involving the Redemption...
  • Screaming Warrior: Runt was like this when he first joined the squad due to his warrior personality taking over. He finally stops when his wingman, Kell Tainer, gets his attention by locking a torpedo on his ass.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Loka Hask, the Imperial Psycho for Hire who murdered Wedge's parents, comments that Wedge should thank him for it. He then remarks that he wishes someone had done the same for him when he was that age, but no, he had to do it himself.
  • Sherlock Scan: Garik "Face" Loran was an actor and spent some years on Lorrd, whose hat is body language and the reading of such. As a result, he's enough of an expert that he can identify your planet of origin (unless you've managed to train it out through, say, military service. And then he can tell you which planet you trained on) and the condition of your legs by seeing you walk a few paces. Not 100% reliable, no, but he's very good. This skill is a Chekhov's Gun from time to time - it saves the Wraiths from an ambush and leads to Lara's identity being outed.
  • Shoot Your Mate: In Iron Fist.
  • Shout-Out: There are quite a few to other Star Wars works and authors. Besides the Zahn references, there is also the Requiem scenario, which is based off an actual level in the Star Wars: X-Wing game.
    • Elassar Targon's name references two The Lord of the Rings characters... Elessar is, of course, Aragorn's other name (Elessar being the Wraiths' new medic, Aragorn being a ranger and king with healing skills and powers), and Targon is the blink-and-you'll-miss-him armorer in The Return of the King.
    • Possible in Iron Fist. A stormtrooper begins to ask Castin "What's your-- (operating number, presumably)" but Castin just starts blasting his way out straight away.
    • The name Lusankya is inspired by Lubyanka, the infamous KGB prison in which similar activities went on.
    • Subtle one in Isard's Revenge. Wedge, in disguise as Colonel Roat and pretending to be a standard Imperial racist, complains that the "wait-beasts" serving him on another planet once tried to serve him red wine with fish, very similar to a line from the James Bond movie From Russia with Love in which a spy pretending to be an officer of culture drinks red wine with fish, which Bond notes as suspicious.
    • Wedge's Gamble has one of the squadron's pilots tell a stormtrooper, "You don't need to see her identification," while offering him a bribe. It works. The Bacta War has untrained Jedi Corran Horn mind trick another stormtrooper with the words, "I can go about my business." It fails horribly.
  • Sincerity Mode: "Honesty to On."
  • Smug Snake: While there are a few of them, Kirtan Loor is by far the most notable.
    • Dr. Edda Gast. There's not a scene in the entire novel Solo Command where you don't want to give her a smack upside the head. At least. Her little "I'm human so I'm better than you" rant in Solo Command might make you want to punch her. Saying that to Nawara Ven of all people, who is most likely one of the most diplomatic people in Rogue Squadron and should not be talked to that way... The Laser-Guided Karma is one of the best parts of the book.
  • Space Is Cold: Used quite often. The magnetic containment ("mag-con") fields around ejected pilots and covering open launch bays explicitly keep atmosphere in, but the heat tends to escape. It comes up pretty often, what with all the holes getting punched in spaceships and pilots having to punch out of them (i.e., eject).
  • Space Pirates: The majority of Iron Fist involves the Wraiths setting themselves up as space pirates to capture Zsinj's attention.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The various weird spellings of Klivian, lampshaded by the man himself.
  • Split Personality: "Runt" Ekwesh of the Wraiths is a Thakwaash, a species whose Hat (apart from looking like a Wookiee with a horse's head) is that they naturally form multiple specialised personalities and flip between them as the situation demands. While his primary 'social' personality is erudite and quiet, his 'pilot' mode is practically Ax Crazy, resulting in him washing into the Wraith hiring process.
    • Interestingly, when members of his race don't have multiple personalities, this is correspondingly considered a mental disorder. When Donos has his Heroic BSOD, Runt treats it as an example of this and tries to help him 'switch to a less damaged mind'.
  • The Squadette: The series was perhaps the first piece of Star Wars fiction to show female grunts to any major degree (if ace fighter pilots can be called 'grunts'). Interestingly, reading the series suddenly makes you realise how odd the absence of female pilots in the films is, especially all the Rebel pilots who went against the Death Stars.
  • Stepford Smiler: Underneath Ton Phanan's carefree and humorous exterior is a suicidally depressed loner who despises his cyborg appearance.
  • Stop Having Fun Guy: What Grinder claims to be, when commenting on the 'immaturity' of the pranks going on in Wraith Squadron. Turns out he's actually Not So Above It All, except he deflects people's suspicions with his claims of Serious Business. Which is why no one suspects him of actually being the culprit.
  • Stuff Blowing Up

Kell: "I don't have to blow up everything I see. I just like to."

    • This one actually becomes Wraith Squardon's motto:

Myn Donos: "Pretty. What do we blow up first?"

  • Suicide by Cop: In Solo Command, a brainwashed Tal'dira intentionally lowers his shields just before being able to complete his mission of killing Wedge Antilles. This enables Corran Horn (who used to be a cop) to place a killing blow, thus saving Wedge.
  • Suicide Mission: This is Rogue Squadron's bread and butter, and because they're elite, they always manage to make it out alive (minus the Red Shirts and Mauve Shirts in the squadron). Lampshaded by Xarcce Huwla; she was given the honor of being assigned to Rogue Squadron, and immediately asked for a transfer. When Wedge asked her why, she stated that the death toll of the squadron was far too high for her liking.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Storini Crystal Deceiver. A notable subversion in that it's not real.
  • Sure Why Not: An in-universe version of this is used in Starfighters of Adumar.

Wedge "I still have to figure out what sort of reason to give them for simulated duels. Something they'll accept within the parameters of their honor code."

Hobbie: "Oh, that's simple. Do to them what you do to us at times like that."

Wedge: ::frowns:: "What do you mean?"

Hobbie: "Tell them what you're doing but not why. Then let them speculate. Listen to them as they speculate. When they come up with an idea you really, really like, tell them 'You finally guessed right. That was my reasoning all along.'"

Wedge: "I don't do that. Much."

Hobbie: "All the time, boss."

  • Synthetic Plague: Krytos, tailor-made by the Empire to kill non-humans in impressively squicky fashion.
  • Tactful Translation: A translator droid that Wedge uses to communicate with Chewbacca removes Chewie's... colorful language. Chewie (who can understand but not speak Basic due to physiology) is not pleased with this.
  • That Twi'lek Is Dead: During Iron Fist.
  • Third Person Person: Ooryl. Apparently, among Gands using the first person makes the arrogant assumption that you're so famous that anyone ought to know your name.
  • Trigger Phrase: "Those Wookies are dancing in the parlor again."
    • "Wedge Antilles hops on one transparisteel leg."
    • And nobody will hire a cargo pilot with Ewoks up his nose...
    • Emtrey has "Shut up. Shut up. Shut up!" activate some ultimately-benign hidden programming, while telling him to 'scrounge something' causes him to flip from fussy beauraucrat to expert barterer.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Gara/Lara's astromech droid manages to hack the Iron Fist's army of toaster-sized maintenance and utility droids and use them to sabotage the ship's systems. The result is a hilarious version of a Robot War where the crew is running around smashing any rogue droid they see. Mostly by stomping and kicking them to pieces with their boots.
  • 2-D Space: Averted, even in capital ship combat.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: The first book starts with the pilots running the infamous Redemption scenario[3], and the strategies described are, in fact, the recommended tactics for that mission (also called Requiem, for obvious reasons). Corran Horn legitimately manages to win the level, an impressive feat on it's own.
    • Donos' new squadron is ambushed at the beginning of Book 5, and only he escapes. This becomes a notoriously difficult training simulation for the Rogues and Wraiths later.
    • Subverted with Kell's first training scenario: The given objectives are failed before you start...the ACTUAL objective is simply to escape alive. It's a nice baitandswitch mission.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Watch Zsinj be informed that Dr. Gast has been kidnapped. Watch Zsinj flip the fuck out.
    • Solo Command is sort of a Villainous Breakdown in slow motion; as all of Zsinj's schemes fall to pieces, he sinks farther into depression. While he seems to have recovered his control at the end of the book, it's possible that the obfuscating stupidity has become non-obfuscating madness by the time of Courtship Of Princess Leia...
    • Isard has a number of choice moments during The Bacta War, but the best is when she watches Captain Sair Yonka's message explaining his defection. Her subordinates get to watch as she begins ranting at his recording.
    • Then there's the last moments of Lusankya's captain's life. He promotes himself to Grand Admiral, threatens to crash the Lusankya into Thyferra, and is then shot by his First Officer, who surrenders the ship.
  • Visual Pun: The marquee of the Headquarters, a bar on Coruscant that Corran finds his way to in Wedge's Gamble. It features a stormtrooper's helmet being torn into four pieces.
  • The Watson: Kirtan Loor, an officer promoted above his competence due to his appearance (and presumably post-Endor personnel shortages) serves as a villainous example, getting an explanation of the villain's plans.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Ton Phanan is "allergic to bacta" and has to get cybernetic replacements for any and all damaged parts. He has a lot of damaged parts. A huge plot point for him, since he deeply resents this side of himself, leading to much very uncomedic angst.
  • We Have Reserves: Admiral Trigit. Revulsion over this is what drives Gara Petothel's defection to the Republic in Wraith Squadron, after Trigit decides to sacrifice the tens of thousands of crew members to keep his Star Destroyer out of Republic hands. Trigit's boss Zsinj, though, is a little more canny -- in Iron Fist he decides to hire a fleet full of mercenaries and pirates to get shot at in lieu of his troops during a major attack.
  • We Will Not Use Stage Make-Up in the Future: Averted, as happens a lot in the Star Wars EU, such as Face's itchy scab makeup.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Done a few times in the Stackpole books with Coruscant -- although, as Coruscant is a city world, the wonders are artificial in nature.
  • Worthy Opponent: Imperial Admiral Teren Rogriss, although most of the time we see him he's actually cooperating with the Rebels against their mutual enemy Zsinj.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Skated around -- most of the characters wouldn't care if the enemy was female, but this trope still comes up when lesser villain Atton Repness hits Lara. It's a rather shocking moment.
  • X Meets Y: Has been described by Stackpole as "Star Wars meets Top Gun". (Which goes a long way to explain why Wedge has his own section in the EU's Ho Yay page.)
  • Xanatos Gambit: Loads of them, many but by no means all of them Isard's doing.
    • The biggest of all has to be the titular Krytos Trap of the third book - Isard wanted the Rebels to conquer Coruscant, as she had infected its alien population with a disease that the Republic would be hard-pressed to cure and then all the bad publicity would land on the Republic's doorstep. However, halfway through the book it's revealed that Coruscant fell two weeks earlier than Isard wanted (thanks to the Rogues), with the result that the plague was nowhere near as bad as it should have been.
    • Another one would be Emtrey. Alliance Intelligence already knew about Emtrey's "special" programming and deliberately assigned him to Rogue Squadron. This was to find out if Tycho was really a sleeper agent or not, since Emtrey would have been the perfect droid for a spy to exploit.
  • You Are Number Six: Each pilot has a number as a callsign -- Wraith Four, Rogue Five, etc.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Some pilots in Rogue and Wraith squadron can't return to their home planets due to various reasons. Wedge and Tycho's homes were blown up, and Corran is (falsely) accused of murder in Corellia. The most tragic example, however, would be Tyria's home planet. Her people helped pass along the Death Star plans to the Alliance, and as punishment, the Empire bombed their planet to the Stone Age and enslaved the survivors.
  • You Don't Want to Catch This: The Wraiths, undercover posing as the crew of one of Zsinj's ships, have to figure out how to swap cargo with genuine Zsinj counterparts without the latter noticing anything is amiss. Someone suggests using this trope so they'd all be in containment suits, but it's pointed out that Zsinj is suspicious and would investigate something like that. So instead they concoct a Zany Scheme to infect the other ship with a disease, inverting the trope.

Face: Zsinj can investigate all he wants… because he won't be investigating us.

  • You Killed My Father: Wes Janson was forced to shoot Kell's father during a mission. This makes things very awkward when they're on the same squadron.
  • You Have Failed Me...: Isard is the Queen of this trope, whose murderous punishments for failure were known to go as far as Familicide. Isard's love affair with this trope is skewered in one of Allston's novels, where the slightly more benevolent Admiral Trigit notes that anyone working for a capricious psycho like Isard had nothing to look forward to except either death by the Rebels, or death by her.
    • Averted once by her in the first novel (Before we really get to know her, possibly?). When someone he's interrogating dies before giving up the information he needs, Kirtan Loor is summoned back to Imperial Center by Isard, Empress in all but name. All along the way, even while marveling at the view, he's sweating and expecting her to kill him. She doesn't -- not at that point in time -- but she does make her displeasure at his poor thinking clear, and wants him to perform better.
    • Zsinj goes back and forth on this trope. On the one hand, he has had a number of subordinates killed - some for major things (losing a highly valuable Ewok test subject, then lying about it), and some for not-so-major things (slacking off on the bridge one time too many). On the other hand, he knows when to shut up and let people do their jobs, as in Solo Command when fighting off Lara's sabotage-bots -- even giving the chief engineer a bonus for fixing his ship early (he approves of efficiency).
      • Note that said person on the bridge was playing flight simulator games to try to be a pilot, and had been SPECIFICALLY told not to do it. He was skilled enough for Zsinj to have made him a pilot, if not for the fact that a pilot who refuses direct orders is not good...and Zsinj notes that he DOES deplore using this.
  • Zany Scheme: Minimum one per book. Especially prevalent in the Wraith Squadron series. I mean, just look at how many times it's referenced on this very page!
  1. which she is close to literally being, given that Starfighter Command is a branch of the New Republic Navy that uses army-style ranks and the Rogues do an unusual amount of special operations-type work for fighter pilots...
  2. It's eventually revealed that the real reason for that rather ridiculous setup is that everyone looks at and remembers the droid, not her face.
  3. This is based on a mission from Star Wars: X-Wing notorious for its difficulty