As the high-flying book arrives in stores today, its author gives StarWars.com insight into some of the New Republic’s most exceptional pilots.
The members of Alphabet Squadron are reporting for duty. The first novel of a trilogy that brings us back to the galaxy mere days after the destruction of the second Death Star, in its pages we meet some unique and not-entirely-trustworthy pilots who just might hold the fate of the New Republic in their hands.
There’s Yrica Quell, an Imperial defector who can’t completely escape her past; Chass na Chadic, a B-wing pilot has seen her entire squadron destroyed twice; Wyl Lark, a veteran inside an A-wing cockpit who just wants to go home; the roguish Nath Tensent, who also outlasted his squadron; and Kairos, a silent U-wing pilot clad all in black with a mask that hides her every expression. Together the ragtag group of pilots must take on one of the New Republic’s biggest threats, the Imperial TIE squadron Shadow Wing -- an elite group of pilots that Quell belonged to before she switched sides.
To celebrate the release of the book today, StarWars.com climbed into the cockpit with author Alexander Freed to get some readings on the members of Alphabet Squadron, details on how the novel ties in to other Star Wars stories, and more.
Note: This interview does not contain detailed spoilers regarding the plot of Alphabet Squadron, but it does shed light on its characters. Fly carefully!
StarWars.com: When we first meet Yrica Quell, it’s difficult for the New Republic to determine which side she’s on. Why do you feel that the story of a former Imperial, someone who’s very late to the Rebellion, is a meaningful one to tell?
Alexander Freed: No one doubts that Emperor Palpatine was an evil man who needed to be deposed. But he was willingly served by millions of Imperial citizens -- some true believers and some not -- who were, in their way, complicit in the Empire's crimes.
One of the first questions the New Republic has to face is what to do with all those ex-Imperials. Do you imprison them all? Put them on trial? Give them a second chance? It's a hard question without an easy answer, and Quell is right in the thick of it. She is, as you say, very late to the Rebellion. But is she too late to absolve herself? Too late to become a hero? And if she is too late to set things right...what does she do next?
I've got plenty of thoughts about how these questions relate to life in the modern world, but I'll let readers debate that themselves. Fundamentally, though, I think Star Wars works best when it's full of both characters we can aspire to be like...and characters who may be flawed, and whose failures we can empathize with.