In Star Wars: Squadrons, you’ll sit at the controls of a starfighter as the New Republic and what’s left of the Empire after the Battle of Endor battle for the fate of the galaxy. On the dark side of the fight is Titan Squadron, a brand new team created for the game, flying TIE fighters and hellbent on taking the galaxy back for their fallen Emperor. On the light side is Vanguard Squadron, a team that has appeared in the Expanded Universe before.
In a press release at the time of the game’s announcement, Electronic Arts and Motive Studios explained that the game’s single-player mode will “bring to life events following the Battle of Endor when the Rebel Alliance has successfully destroyed the Death Star II” and will be told from “the alternating perspectives of two customizable pilots, one serving in the New Republic’s heroic Vanguard Squadron, while the other fights for the Galactic Empire’s fearsome Titan Squadron.”
That means we’ll get to see the lives of the pilots on both sides of the war. Star Wars Battlefront II previously showed us what it was like being an Imperial directly after the Battle of Endor, but this is the first time we’ll really be able to see this perspective from a cockpit in a modern Star Wars game, a nice nod to the classic TIE Fighter games published by LucasArts.
As far as the heroes go, Vanguard Squadron will have a lot to live up to. After all, their predecessors in the Rogue Squadron games developed by Factor 5 in the ’90s and ’00s generally stuck to the perspective of heroes like Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles. At the very least, it will be interesting to see new battles from the perspective of pilots who aren’t from the movies.
Fortunately, we do know a few things about Vanguard Squadron, thanks to recent books. So who is Vanguard Squadron and why are they important?
Who are Vanguard Squadron?
The Alphabet Squadron series is the modern-day X-Wing series in content if not tone, detailing some of the most remarkable pilots in the New Republic. While it primarily concerns itself with Alphabet Squadron, there are some references to the wider structure of the New Republic starfighter corps that gives us information about Vanguard. Like Alphabet Squadron, Vanguard is based on the New Republic flagship Lodestar.
The game’s announcement trailer shows that Vanguard is made up of five people. We don’t know who the pilots, but the trailer shows a mixed-species group, with two humans, a Transdoshan (the same species as the reptilian bounty hunter Bossk), a Mirialian (the humanoid woman with tattoos), and a Mimbanese (the red alien with big eyes).
Above the squadron level, Vanguard is part of the Barma Battle Group. The group is mentioned briefly as the overarching entity to which Alphabet and its sibling squadrons belong, but how many ships are involved is unclear. As the flagship, Lodestar is the headquarters for General Hera Syndulla, one of the leaders of the New Republic Starfighter Corps.
The precise number of people assigned to each squadron in the New Republic is unclear, too. It usually depends on the needs of the fiction, and keeping it vague allows authors more freedom than choosing a specific number. But it seems to run between five and 12, with one carrier ship holding three or four squadrons, each led by a commanding officer who reports to the group’s general. In the real world, military aircraft are usually organized in squadrons of between 12 and 24 planes. Multiple squadrons are organized as groups, just like Vanguard Squadron has its battle group.
In Alphabet Squadron, Vanguard Squadron was deployed against the Empire on the planet Argai Minor. Hera queried them about intelligence relating to Alphabet’s mission. When Vanguard is mentioned in the novel, it’s primarily as part of squadron logistics, concerning who was assigned where, rather than the squadron and its characters being a major part of the story.
General Hera Syndulla
Hera, a decorated hero of the Rebellion, has been instrumental to the organization of the New Republic. Even if she were to only appear briefly in the game, her role suggests that Vanguard Squadron will be making big strides in the establishment of the New Republic.
She’s a skilled pilot in her own right and someone who has worked directly with Princess Leia, but one of the key reasons she’s so suited for the New Republic is her heart. She’s hopeful and wants to be around people who are hopeful and idealistic. Even though it’s not always possible for her to keep her hands clean during war, she asserts that morals make the difference between the Rebellion and the Empire.
As a member of Vanguard Squadron, you’ll be part of the new canon universe, in a New Republic fated to eventually fall to the First Order. Just like the Rebellion, Hera and Vanguard are fighting against the odds.