We’re starting a new series here at Tosche Station: Legends Recs. While we support the new Story Group era canon and are super excited for new stories like Aftermath and The Force Awakens, the old Expanded Universe holds a special place in our hearts. But we know that as long as we keep reading, these stories will never die. To that end, we’re offering recommendations for Legends stories based on what people enjoy in the new canon. Up first, we explore one of the best novel series in the EU that also paved the way for a new group of Rebels.
The second season of Star Wars Rebels premieres on June 20. The series has done extraordinarily well, and has surprised a lot of viewers (myself included) with how high the stakes have grown in just 16 episodes. I loved the Ghost crew by the end of “Spark of Rebellion,” and after “Fire Across the Galaxy” the Specters felt just as familiar to me as EU characters I’d loved for over 20 years.
One of the reasons Rebels resonates with me so much is the aspect of the crew as family. They’re together, flying across the galaxy, looking for different jobs and ways to fight against the Empire. And they remind me of another group of characters who excel at creating their own special brand of chaos: Wraith Squadron.
The fifth book in the X-Wing series, Wraith Squadron by Aaron Allston tells the story of Wedge Antilles and his hybrid starfighter/ground combat squadron of misfits. It’s not a perfect comparison to the crew of the Ghost: the Wraiths are part of the New Republic and fighting for a legitimate government; there’s 12 Wraiths as opposed to 6 Specters; and the Wraiths have much less focus on the Force.
But the Specters, to me, are spiritual successors to the Wraiths, and not just because of their similar names. The Wraiths have different specialties, from demolitions to sharpshooting to slicing. (Kell Tainer and Sabine Wren would be BFFs.) One of them (Tyria Sarkin) is Force sensitive. Wedge plays mentor to many of the younger pilots, just like Kanan and Hera mentor Ezra and Sabine. Wes Janson likes to cause trouble, just like Zeb and Chopper and Ezra. And Hera would be right at home flying alongside pilots like Face Loran and Myn Donos; heck, she’d probably fly circles around them!
And then there’s the missions. The Wraiths have to go undercover as pirates and employ and Ewok pilot. They try to take down an Imperial Warlord. Oh, and did I mention the spy-turned-Rebel in their midst?
The three books in the Wraith Squadron arc (Wraith Squadron, Iron First, and Solo Command) are some of the greatest in the entire Expanded Universe. If you like Rebels for its daring set of missions, wide variety of characters, and the feeling of crew and family, you should most definitely check out Wraith Squadron. And remember, you can’t look dignified when you’re having fun.