- "The trajectory of that transport may indicate that it came from Hoth, but there's no evidence that Wedge Antilles is on board."
- ―Barlon Hightower
Barlon Hightower was a Human male from the planet Lantillies. A former transport pilot for the various guilds in the Lantillian sector, he eventually opted to join the Alliance to Restore the Republic after deciding that staying neutral in the Galactic Civil War was no longer an option. Assigned to the Starfighter Corps, he was stationed on the planet Hoth in 3 ABY. During the Imperial assault on the planet, Hightower was assigned to Rogue Squadron, serving as a gunner aboard a snowspeeder piloted by Stevan Makintay. Hightower and Makintay survived the engagement and evacuated Hoth. Relocated to the planet Arbra, Hightower took part in search operations to locate ships and personnel lost during the evacuation.
- "I mean, things got pretty hot on that ice planet when the Empire showed up."
- ―Barlon Hightower
Barlon Hightower was a Human male from the planet Lantillies in the Lantillian sector of the Mid Rim. A pilot, Hightower worked for the various guilds that operated in the Lantillies system flying transports. Over the course of several years, Hightower came to the conclusion that there was no such thing as neutrality in the Galactic Civil War between the Galactic Empire and the Alliance to Restore the Republic. He decided to join the Rebellion after avoiding arrest.
Serving in the Alliance Starfighter Corps, Hightower was assigned to Echo Base on the ice planet Hoth in 3 ABY, as part of the installation's starfighter complement. When the base was discovered by Imperial forces, an evacuation of the facility was ordered. A delaying force of twelve snowspeeders was assembled with pilots drawn from Rogue Group as well as Green and Blue Squadrons. Hightower was assigned to the gunner position of Rogue Nine and was partnered with pilot Stevan Makintay. Flying as Rogue Squadron under the command of Commander Luke Skywalker, the snowspeeders managed to delay the incoming force of AT-AT walkers long enough for the evacuation to be completed. Hightower and Makintay survived the battle and managed to escape off-world.
Hightower was reassigned to Haven Base on the planet Arbra. Holding the rank of lieutenant, he was assigned to a unit whose primary purpose was to locate starships and personnel separated or lost from the Alliance during the retreat from Hoth. Days after the Battle of Hoth, he was part of a team—which included Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa—that intercepted a Gallofree Yards, Inc. GR-75 medium transport on a trajectory bearing it away from the Hoth system. Aboard were Alliance pilots Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson, who had been temporarily stranded on Hoth until they had encountered the notorious scavenger Arns Grimraker. In a confrontation, the Alliance pilots had killed Grimraker and stolen his ship, the Death Merchant. Following that assignment, Hightower was posted back to Rogue Squadron.
Personality and traits
Barlon Hightower was a dark-skinned man, with black hair and brown eyes. A skilled pilot and gunner, Hightower's skills earned him a posting to Rogue Squadron, the Alliance's foremost starfighter squadron.
Behind the scenes
Barlon Hightower first appeared in the seventy-eighth issue of Marvel's Star Wars comic, written by David Michelinie with illustrations by Luke McDonnell and published in December 1983. The story, Hoth Stuff!, featured several elements that would be contradicted by later sources, such as a backstory for Wedge Antilles that portrays him as Luke Skywalker's oldest friend from Tatooine and a depiction of Wes Janson's death. As a result, the canonicity of the story was left ambiguous. In addition, the Marvel Star Wars stories were deemed to be S-canon (Secondary Canon) by the Holocron continuity database. According to Leland Chee, Lucasfilm Ltd.'s "Keeper of the Holocron," stories categorized as S-canon could be used or ignored by authors as they needed, which left even the existence of Hightower in doubt.
In 2003, Wizards of the Coast published a series of Star Wars Roleplaying Game articles on its website called Hoth: Under the Ice. In the third installment, author Cory J. Herndon brought elements of Hoth Stuff! back into continuity by framing the story as a tall tale that Wedge Antilles tells to new recruits, partially to see their faces once they actually meet a very much alive Wes Janson later in their training. Antilles' presence on Hoth after the battle is canonized, as is his confrontation with the scavenger Arns Grimraker. In 2008, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia included an entry on Hightower, without mentioning the specifics of the story he appeared in, canonizing his existence within the Star Wars universe. A separate entry for Arns Grimraker confirmed the scavenger's presence on Hoth in the aftermath of the battle, but cut his arrival down to days after the conflict, not months, as stated in Hoth Stuff! The entry also canonized Janson's presence during these events.
In 2012, authors Jason Fry and Paul R. Urquhart included Hightower as a member of Rogue Squadron during the Battle of Hoth in The Essential Guide to Warfare. This article assumes that the basic events of Hoth Stuff!—that Hightower was a member of a team that recovered a freighter containing Antilles, who had escaped from Hoth—occurred, but the specifics of Antilles' story, now framed as in-universe, did not.
- Star Wars Manga: The Empire Strikes Back 1 (Snowspeeder only) (Retcon)
- Star Wars (1977) 78 (First appearance)
Notes and references
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 41 ("Hightower, Lieutenant Barlon")
- Star Wars (1977) 78
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 370 ("Grimraker, Arns")
- Hoth: Under the Ice, Part 3: Merchants of Death
- – Leland Chee lays out the various canon levels used by Lucasfilm
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron 35