Given my recent comments about the importance of mythology, it should come as no surprise when I do these occasional articles about the Star Wars Miniatures game, X-wing. It is a participatory mythology that is a real step up from the old days of exclusively verbal and written myth. As a strategy game it has a real power to it that never ceases to impress me—as a creative endeavor. I find it an amazing game which I play often. With that said, within the game I have a new love which nearly mimics the response of a new ship called the E-wing from the video below. The Millennium Falcon, which is my favorite ship, now has a rival, the E-Wing fighter has become a close second. A ship for the Rebellion, it is their best offering and fits nicely within a 100 point squad at the lowest pilot rating or the highest which features Corran Horn—one of my favorite Star Wars characters. For anybody who has played the game, the reaction of Steven should not come as a surprise once they have been used in a combat engagement.
I thought the Fantasy Flight Games inclusion of the E-wing was interesting. They have to get all their designs approved through Lucas Licensing—who already knows the contents of the new Star Wars films. Corran Horn and the E-Wing in general are exclusively creations of the Expanded Universe which supposedly Lucasfilm is abandoning with Disney’s urging. I am not one of those people who believe that Disney is scrapping the EU—as the media currently advocates. In fact, I think I know the entire plot—at least how Episode VII begins—but I’m not going to trample on what the filmmakers are trying to do. They are deliberately creating rumors to throw people off the truth of the film’s plot—so it is important to them to maintain that for their own reasons. So don’t believe what the media is reporting—because most of it is wrong. To confirm my beliefs about Episode VII, the inclusion of the E-Wing to the game X-wing speaks loudly about how much value the EU will maintain in the creation of further Star Wars stories. The E-wing was a ship that Corran Horn flew with Rogue Squadron several years after the initial Star Wars films and are comfortably into the years following the original trilogy, which delights me as to how it fits into the overall mythology. But the ship itself is one of the best that the rebels have. All Rebel squads should include at least one after I have spent some considerable time using them.
For those who do not know much about the E-wing this Wiki article should shine some light on how they fit into the EU story. The E-wing escort starfighter was a single-pilot starfighter developed by FreiTek Inc. It was the first fighter designed entirely under the support of the New Republic.
As designed, the E-wing was intended to match, or exceed, the performance of the preceding X-wing series in nearly every respect, and was originally intended to replace the older design in New Republic service. However, the craft suffered from some significant problems when first deployed among front-line squadrons, including malfunction issues with the laser cannons and the new R7 astromech units. As a result, many pilots continued to fly upgraded versions of the venerable X-wing.
Despite the initial problems, improved models of the E-wing would see wide-spread use by the New Republic, particularly by the Fifth Fleet, and later by the Galactic Alliance. They would play a significant role in every engagement from the Black Fleet Crisis, through the Yuuzhan Vong War, and beyond.
By the time of the Second Galactic Civil War, the E-wing had matured into an excellent starfighter design and equipped several elite squadrons of the Galactic Alliance. However, it never achieved the same popularity or wide-spread use as the X-wing.
The E-wing was considered an excellent combination of firepower, maneuverability, speed, and armor, but initial models required the use of the R7-series astromech droid, which was exclusively built for the E-wing.
The spaceframe of the E-wing was surrounded by two aerodynamic foils which provided stability and increased weapons ability. The nosecone contained the starfighter’s powerful sensors, while a concealed astromech droid could easily be positioned midway through the craft. Directly in front of the astromech slot was the cockpit.
The fighter was heavily armed with three laser cannons and oneproton torpedo launcher with a magazine of sixteen torpedoes. Like most Rebel designs, the lasers were spread out and could be set to converge at varying distances.
A single E-wing cost 185,000 credits.
Much of the great cost of the E-wing came from the use of the R7 droid, a much more sophisticated and expensive astromech than the classic R2 and R5 astromechs. Later models of the E-wing starfighters were however able to interface with earlier astromech models, such as an R2 or R5 unit.
The Republic introduced the E-wing during Grand Admiral Thrawn‘s campaign to rebuild the fallen Empire. The fighter later served in the fight against the “resurrected” Palpatine. Built with cutting-edge weapons, shielding, and propulsion systems, the fighter was extremely powerful and well-rounded. It was intended as an escort fighter and could also serve as a medium-range assault craft. It had enough speed to counter TIE/In starfighters and had better armor than other New Republic starfighters, including the X-wing. They were used by the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances during the Second Galactic Civil War, during early skirmishes with Corellia.
The E-wing had some initial teething problems relating to the placement of the wing lasers near the outboard engines. The synthetic Tibanna used for the lasers tended to degrade at accelerated rates, which swiftly rendered those guns near-useless (and cutting gun firepower to a third). Rebel engineers came up with a temporary solution during the World Devastator assault on Mon Calamari. Those problems were eventually resolved and the fighter entered fleet service. It is known to have served at least with the New Republic’s Fifth Fleet as the primary fleet space superiority fighter. When the Fifth Fleet was moved to the Koornacht Cluster during the Black Fleet Crisis, many E-wings saw action against the Yevetha in the conflict that ensued.
Four major models appeared to have been designed; the last (Series IV) was introduced around the time of the capture of Coruscant by the Yuuzhan Vong. By that point in the war, the XJ X-wing was rapidly equipping most squadrons in the massive military expansion; the more sophisticated E-wing may have been limited to some elite squadrons. The Series IV E-wing remained in service through the transition from New Republic to Galactic Alliance, and was still in operation as of the Second Galactic Civil War.
During the era of the New Republic the Rogue Squadron was expanded vastly, turned into a multi-fighter unit based around E-wings and B-wings, and based on Lusankya, which Antilles departed the squadron to command, leaving Celchu as Rogue Leader. This unit first saw combat conquering Phaeda. Shortly after that campaign, the last leaders of the unified Empire were defeated, and the former galactic power dissolved into warlordism. Horn stayed and weathered these changes, which were only temporary, as the squadron was back in X-wings and at regular strength within the year.
After reading all that it is quickly evident that if Disney were abandoning the EU, they would not have approved the inclusion of the E-wing into the canon of the X-wing Miniatures game. The game will continue selling for years and once the story is out upon the release of the new Star Wars film, the market potential for a non canon ship would be extremely weak. There is just too much story and history present to abandon those stories in favor of an alternate timeline within the Star Wars Universe. Time will tell the truth but for now, the E-wing is encouraging and brings with it a very rich history directly from the EU. There is so much potential for Disney and Lucasfilm to explode their merchandising base off the EU it would seem evident that the E-wing is just the tip of an iceberg. There should be much more to come. It is possible the decision to use the E-wing was exclusively to milk everything that could be milked to bring forth new ships for the hot selling strategy game, but as important as story has always been, and will always be in Star Wars—the E-wing is an exciting inclusion that points to wonderful things on the horizon.
For one of my nephews, Corran Horn was his favorite character created during an Expanded Universe novel series called X-wing. Corran would later become a Jedi Knight under Luke Skywalker and eventually serve on the council being a big part of the Yuuzhan Vong War. The literature produced for Star Wars far exceeds the content of the movies, so watching those EU elements percolate into the gaming world is a lot of fun.
Strategically speaking however, the E-wing is one of the best ships made in the game. It is a must for any collector and player. I doubt ever again I will create a squad of ships that does not in some way include an E-wing—they are just too powerful and nimble not to. I have spent many hours dazzled by mine and enjoyed the immense game play that they bring to a table. But what is most fun of all is knowing that the X-wing game is reflecting all the wonderful aspects of that larger world which is the Expanded Universe. While reporters are hinging on every morsel of information and scrap photo taken from the paparazzi about the new Episode VII movie, some of the best secrets are those hidden in plain site. Behind the E-wing are the answers that many Star Wars fans are looking for. Nobody is hiding the information, it’s there for all to see—if you know a little about the mythology of Star Wars—and in our house, we have one room full of every Star Wars book ever written, then its obvious. Nobody in the business of making money—which Disney is—would let those rich stories fall into decline and disrespect. The E-wing is a part of the EU that is very important only to the values of events after the movie Return of the Jedi. And it was given a dominate role in X-wing which greatly enhances the game play. Needless to say, Steven was right about that ship—it is a thing of wonder and beauty for more reasons than that it gives players a strategic advantage. It is a member of the cherished EU and hopefully a sign of great things to come.