15 Things You Didn't Know About The Best Pilots In 'Star Wars'

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Vote up the coolest things you learned about the best pilots in 'Star Wars.'

One thing that was immediately clear when Star Wars first hit theaters was that pilots were held in especially high regard. Luke believed his father was one of the best pilots in the Star Wars galaxy (he wasn't wrong), and Luke was a pretty good pilot himself. Well, more than pretty good, seeing as he managed to fly through the Death Star's trench to take advantage of a womp rat-sized hole. Most of the heroes of the Rebellion were all exceptional pilots - but how much does the average fan know about Wedge Antilles, Poe Dameron, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and all the rest?

Of course, the movies aren't the only source of information when it comes to identifying the best pilots of X-wings, TIE fighters, and other spacecraft. There are plenty of comics and video games like Rogue Squadron that delve into the lives of the galaxy's best pilots. This list aims to highlight some of the more interesting things you probably didn't know about the best pilots in Star Wars. Check the facts out below, and be sure to upvote your favorites!

  • 1
    102 VOTES

    Garven Dreis And Jon Vander Were Able To Attend The Battle Of Scarif Thanks To Some Found Footage

    In 1977, Drewe Henley played Garven Dreis in A New Hope. He was the guy talking to Luke at the back of the briefing when the young man mentioned how shooting the exhaust port on the Death Star wouldn't be as difficult as it seemed. Dreis flew with Luke and the rest of the Rebels but was killed by Darth Vader during the Trench Run. The role was Drewe's last performance before retiring, and in 2016, he passed.

    Also in '77, Angus MacInnes played another pilot, Jon Vander. He piloted one of the Y-wings and was also taken out by Vader during the trench run. Both Vander and Henley also took part in the Battle of Scarif, which was depicted in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Both men were seen in the movie, and it was all thanks to some found footage. That footage from 1977 was used in the 2016 film to place the two men in the battle despite shooting their scenes four decades earlier. Additionally, MacInnes recorded some lines for his role in the new movie, and it all pieced together so well, most viewers never realized they were seeing archival footage.

  • 2
    81 VOTES

    Hera Syndulla Was Pregnant Or Had Just Given Birth To Her Son During The Battle Of Scarif

    Many of the characters of Star Wars Rebels got a great send-off in the final minutes of the series finale. The montage revealed what happened to the crew of the Ghost after the Battle of Endor resulted in the destruction of the second Death Star. Of the revelations, one of the most surprising yet welcome ones came when Hera was shown in the cockpit of the Ghost. Sitting beside her in the co-pilot seat was a young man who was clearly the child of Hera and Jacen.

    The revelation brought forth an obvious question: How did she hide her pregnancy from the crew, as it was clear she would have had to be pregnant during the series' final story arc. On top of that, depending on the child's exact age, she was either pregnant with him or had just given birth right before she joined the Battle of Scarif. There were small clues of this spread throughout the final season, which the series' showrunner, Dave Filoni, explained in an interview with CinemaBlend:

    There are! There are little clues that I would talk to the animation supervisor and I would say, "We'll do this and just have her put her hand here on her stomach at this certain moment," or just little tiny things. But I kept it pretty secretive. I did this thing where I didn't give any characters dialogue in the epilogue except for Sabine. So Tiya [Sircar] knew all those things and had to remain quiet about it, which was quite a bit of pressure for her because the actors know that if they don't need to know something, I just don't tell them. If it's important for the character, they absolutely know. But I don't give them much more than they need to know or kind of the space around them. So it was a surprise and it pretty worked out.

  • 3
    74 VOTES

    Wedge Antilles Trained Poe Dameron And Considered Him To Be His Best Student

    Once the Empire was finally defeated with all Imperial remnants either destroyed or captured, Rebel starfighter Wedge Antilles settled on Hosnian Prime. He established his own flight academy, where he took the time to train the next generation of starfighter pilots. He met some exceptional pilots during this time, but his best student, who could easily be called his protege, was none other than Poe Dameron.

    Dameron's parents were both members of the Rebel Alliance, and the young pilot wanted to follow in their footsteps. To this end, he joined the New Republic Defense Fleet, where he found himself under the tutelage of Antilles. He was easily the best student Antilles ever taught, and it wasn't long before Dameron rose through the ranks of the New Republic. Poe continued to serve in the New Republic Navy before leaving the organization to take up arms with the Resistance.

  • 4
    48 VOTES

    Luke Saved His Uncle Owen’s Life After He Was Thrown Off A Cliff In His T-16 Skyhopper

    Luke was much more like his father than his Uncle Owen wanted to admit, which caused tension on the Lars farm. In one notable event, Luke managed to trash his T-16 skyhopper after a joyride through Beggar's Canyon when he was around 8 or 9 years old. Owen grounded him, and when Luke offered to pay to fix the skyhopper by flying in a race at Anchorhead, Owen refused, standing his ground.

    Kenobi, always the watchful protector, managed to have some spare parts delivered via some Jawas, but Owen angrily returned them to the old hermit, demanding (not for the first time) that he leave his family alone. Eventually, Owen came around and wanted to repair the skyhopper with Luke, but before he could do this, he was captured by Black Krrsantan, a Wookiee bounty hunter.

    At the same time, Luke was running away from home (a common practice for the young man), but he sensed that something was wrong on the farm. When he returned, he learned what had happened, and Beru had him hide in the maintenance bay. Inside, he found the skyhopper and spare parts, so he repaired the craft and headed out to find his uncle. When he found him, the bounty hunter was fighting Kenobi, and Owen was thrown off a cliff.

    Seeing this, Luke sprang into action, and he managed to fly down and catch Owen before he hit the ground, saving his life. Luke was always a great pilot, but his ability to catch his uncle in this way showed his connection to the Force, and it further demonstrated how much he was like his father. Despite this, Owen relented and allowed his nephew to fly his skyhopper again.

  • 5
    70 VOTES

    Surprisingly After The Battle Of Yavin, Han Solo Did, In Fact, Herd Nerfs

    There's a line in The Empire Strikes Back where Leia calls Han a "stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder," and Han's reaction is to ask who she's calling scruffy looking. It's a funny moment, and it's been expanded into the wider lore of the franchise. A Nerf is basically a cow-like animal that's raised for its milk and meat throughout the galaxy. The reason Leia used "Nerf-herder" as an insult stems from the fact that Nerfs have a distinctive and disgusting body odor and their herders tend to carry the stench.

    After the Battle of Yavin, there was an occasion where Luke Skywalker and Han Solo moved a small herd of female Nerfs. They loaded them onto the Millennium Falcon, and they were meant to be delivered to the people of Ibaar during a particularly long famine. While transporting the Nerfs from Nar Shaddaa to Ibaar, they were intercepted by a squadron of TIE fighters. Of course, they managed to get out of the situation as they always do. A short time later, at the Battle of Hoth, Leia called Han a "Nerf herder," and she wasn't wrong.

  • 6
    58 VOTES

    Plo Koon Was One Of The Jedi Order's Best Pilots... After Anakin, Of Course

    Jedi Master Plo Koon was shot down by his clone troopers after Emperor Palpatine told his troops to "Execute Order 66." Because of this, most fans might not think he's a very good pilot. After all, he was a Jedi but managed to get shot down by a bunch of clones - so how good could he have been? According to some of the expanded content written about Kloon since the prequel trilogy films were released, the man was an exceptional pilot. 

    In the Jedi Order, he was regularly compared to Anakin Skywalker in terms of piloting skills, though with the honest mention that he wasn't as good as the younger Jedi. He was one of the best pilots in the entire galaxy for quite some time, but it's easy to be eclipsed by the Chosen One. Koon was slain while leading a squadron of ARC-170 fighters at the Battle of Cato Neimoidia. Of course, Koon wasn't just a pilot, and during the Clone Wars, he got into the thick of things with the 104th Battalion, the unit under his command.