During the Star Wars publishing panel earlier today at New York Comic Con, Random House Books announced that Alexander Freed will be writing a new novel called Alphabet Squadron, which will focus on “rebel pilots hunting down Imperials.” To long-time Star Wars readers, it sounds very much like the Expanded Universe’s X-Wing series.
Freed isn’t a stranger to the Star Wars franchise. He wrote Battlefront: Twilight Company and the novelization for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as well as a handful of short stories for Star Wars Insider magazine and several comics. There isn’t much more known beyond Random House’s brief description, aside from the fact that it’s set after Return of the Jedi. A temporary cover shows off the classic starfighters that seem to inform the title: a B-Wing, U-Wing, X-Wing, Y-Wing, and A-Wing. The book will be out sometime next year.
This is particularly cool to hear, because it sounds similar to some of the Star Wars Expanded Universe’s best-known novels. Authored by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston as a tie-in to the 1994 starfighter game, the X-Wing series was an early experiment in cross-publishing from Lucasfilm. It was a test to see if they could coordinate a story between a video game, comic series, and novels. The first book, X-Wing: Rogue Squadron, hit bookstores in 1996, and eight additional novels quickly followed, with a tenth belatedly published in 2012 called Mercy Kill.
Mercy Kill was notable because it followed an entirely new crop of characters that weren’t seen in the films, although figures like Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo made appearances. In many ways, the series prefigured what 2016’s Rogue One was trying to accomplish: tell a standalone story in the larger Star Wars universe, apart from the main saga story. Along the way, there was plenty of espionage, exciting starfighter battles, and more.
From the all-too-brief description, Alphabet Squadron sounds similar: rebel pilots going after the Empire. Hopefully, it’ll live up to the classic series from Stackpole and Allston.