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This article is about the Rebel Garven Dreis. You may be looking for the researcher Garvin Delquist.

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"Almost there…"
―Garven Dreis[3]

Garven "Dave" Dreis was the commander of Red Squadron as a T-65 X-wing starfighter pilot for the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The hottest pilot of his homeworld Virujansi, Dreis served with its Rarefied Air Cavalry during the Clone Wars of 22 BBY19 BBY. He battled Separatists alongside the Republic hero Anakin Skywalker, whose superior piloting skills in Virujansi's borecrawler caves gained Dreis' awe and respect. In the wake of the war and the subsequent founding of the Galactic Empire, Dreis joined the Rebellion after seeing the Imperial regime commit atrocities on his homeworld.

Dreis served the Alliance in numerous battles, adopting an almost fatherly approach to commanding his men, and supervised the instruction of new recruits personally. He was posted at the Alliance's base on Dantooine, leading Dantooine Squadron before being transferred to Yavin 4's Great Temple. Placed in command of Red Squadron, Dreis took the call sign "Red Leader." In 0 BBY, he led the squadron in an attack on the Empire's Death Star superweapon, which was moving to destroy the Alliance base. When an attack run on the battlestation's vulnerable thermal exhaust port from pilot Jon Vander's Gold Squadron failed, Dreis was forced to make his own attempt. He almost succeeded, but his proton torpedoes failed to enter the Death Star's exhaust port. Dreis was subsequently shot down by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader.


Flying with Skywalker[]

Garven Dreis flew alongside Anakin Skywalker (pictured) during the Clone Wars.

Home to[1] the Inner Rim[4] planet Virujansi, Garven Dreis grew up flying through its twisting borecrawler caves, coming to know every part of his family farm.[1] During the three-year-long Clone Wars, which broke out between the Galactic Republic and the Separatist Alliance in 22 BBY,[5] Dreis was pressed into service with the Rarefied Air Cavalry to repel Separatist droid infiltrators from Virujansi. At the time, "Dave" Dreis was a youth who had only just graduated from flying T-16 skyhoppers to Z-95 Headhunters, but he was considered Virujansi's hottest pilot—second only to the Republic's "Hero With No Fear," Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker.[1]

When Skywalker arrived at Virujansi in a Delta-7 interceptor to lead the effort against the Separatists, Dreis flew in lead position for the Republic hero's first venture into the caverns, and for two minutes he trailed Dreis' left wing by a meter. While Dreis was curious as to how long Skywalker would be able to keep up, the Jedi suddenly snap-rolled his interceptor and took over the lead. Dreis struggled to keep up, and his astonishment at Skywalker's feat was acknowledged back at base by a grin from the Jedi.[1] Virujansi was eventually liberated thanks to the efforts of the Rarefied Air Cavalry and the Republic Navy,[6] and Dreis held Anakin Skywalker in great esteem in his later life.[7]

Leading Rebels[]

General Dodonna discusses the Death Star attack plan with Dreis and other squadron leaders.

With the rise of the Galactic Empire following the Clone Wars' end, Dreis remained on Virujansi and was witness to several Imperial atrocities: his own fields and village were torched by the Empire and TIE fighters destroyed transports with only the bare minimum of reasons, leaving hapless passengers in space with their mouths futilely agape. Eventually, Dreis decided to take a stand against the Empire and joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic, serving as a starfighter pilot. He served in numerous campaigns flying X-wings, Y-wings, and R-22 Spearheads, and he outlived hundreds of pilots whose lives were lost in the fight against the Empire, recruiting and sending many of them to their deaths.[1]

In his work, Dreis participated in the recruitment of new pilots for squadrons other than his own, such as Ryle Torsyn of Gold Squadron.[8] In addition to his use of the T-65, Dreis amassed over a thousand hours of experience in the T-16 skyhopper, which featured similar controls to the X-wing.[7] At one point, he was assigned to the Alliance base on the world of Dantooine,[9] where he commanded Dantooine Squadron. On Dantooine, Dreis went on numerous missions with the Ord Mantellian former smuggler Theron Nett as his wingman,[1] and was joined by an old comrade, Davish Krail of Gold Squadron.[7] The Rebels were forced to abandon that base, however, when Torsyn discovered a hidden Imperial tracking device,[8] and as a result, they relocated to the Great Temple on the moon Yavin 4.[3]

On Yavin 4, Red Squadron was hastily assembled from pilots from Dantooine Squadron, the Tierfon Yellow Aces, and the Griffon Flight Wing.[1] Dreis was assigned to command the new squadron,[10] flying the lead X-wing starfighter under the call sign of "Red 1"[9] or "Red Leader."[3] Most of the pilots in his squadron had been trained by the experienced Dreis,[11] who, along with his pilots, was tasked with the protection of Alliance High Command. When commanding Red Squadron—or as he referred to them, "Red Boys"—he adopted an almost fatherly approach, and was well-respected for it.[12] He also earned the nicknames "Boss" and "Chief" from his squadron,[13] but to the younger pilots he was only ever known as "Red Leader."[7]

Battle of Yavin[]

Meeting the Skywalker son[]

"Are you Luke Skywalker? Have you checked out on the Incom T-65?"
"Sir, Luke is the best bush pilot in the Outer Rim Territories."
"You'll do alright."
―Garven Dreis greets Luke Skywalker and speaks with Biggs Darklighter[3]

When Princess Leia Organa delivered the plans of the Empire's planet-destroying Death Star battlestation to Alliance High Command's General Jan Dodonna on Yavin 4[3] in 0 BBY,[5] preparations were made for a decisive strike against the superweapon that would totally obliterate it. Accompanying Organa was Luke Skywalker—the son of Dreis' former Clone Wars comrade Anakin Skywalker.[3] Luke Skywalker ran a flight simulator, and his results were presented by "Red Three" Biggs Darklighter to Commander Vanden Willard and Dreis. Dreis approached Skywalker and told him how impressed he was that he had only been shot down twice despite being opposed by an entire starfleet. The squadron leader subsequently accepted him into Red Squadron under the call sign "Red Five."[14]

Dreis meets with Luke Skywalker and Biggs Darklighter.

Shortly afterward, Dreis accompanied his men at Dodonna's briefing.[15] The plan was to launch snubfighters against the gargantuan weapon and subsequently fire proton torpedoes down a two-meter-wide thermal exhaust port that was situated at the end of a long and narrow trench. The torpedoes would then travel down the port and hit the Death Star's main reactor, destroying the station.[3] Gold Squadron would move to attack the port, while Red Squadron flew interference, keeping any Imperial resistance at bay during the run.[14] Making the situation more dire was the fact that the Death Star had entered the Yavin system and was already moving against the fourth moon itself. Following the briefing, the pilots began making their final preparations.[3]

Moving through the Great Temple's hangar with his helmet in hand, Red Leader registered anxiety and fear—but neither panic nor hopelessness—amongst the scrambling pilots there. Having been reminded of his own Clone Wars Virujansi ventures with Anakin Skywalker by the name of his squadron's newcomer, Luke Skywalker, Dreis approached the young boy, who was paired with Biggs Darklighter.[1] Even after the simulator run,[14] Dreis was not entirely sure that Skywalker was up to the task.[1] Darklighter, however, was a childhood friend of Skywalker's, and so he vouched for the newcomer's skills,[3] and Dreis took the claim that Skywalker was the best bush pilot in the Outer Rim Territories, coupled with Skywalker's name, as a good omen.[1]

Attacking the Death Star[]

"I'm going to cut across the axis and try and draw their fire."
―Garven Dreis — (audio) Listen (file info)[3]

Without further ado, Dreis and the X-wings of Red Squadron launched from the Great Temple,[3] accompanied by Jon Vander's Y-wing Gold Squadron,[16] and Merrick Simms' Blue Squadron.[17] Dreis piloted his X-wing with his astromech droid R5-K6,[18] and as the Rebel ships rounded the gas giant Yavin Prime, the Death Star came into view. In preparation, Dreis ordered his pilots to report in before giving the order to lock S-foils in attack position. As he flew through the station's magnetic field, Dreis advised his men to set their deflector shields to double front, and then reprimanded a particularly informal Wedge Antilles, operating as "Red Two," for extraneous chatter. Leading the assault, Dreis ordered Red Squadron to accelerate to attack speed, and soon afterward received word from Vander that Gold Squadron was moving to make their run on the Death Star's trench.[3]

Dreis during the Battle of Yavin

In an attempt to draw the station's defensive fire away from Vander's men, Dreis flew across the Death Star's axis. Red Squadron followed suit, prompting the Imperials to open fire, beginning the first exchange of the Battle of Yavin. As Dreis and his men began attacking the station's deflection towers, Red Squadron sustained its first casualty when Jek Porkins perished. Soon afterward, they were contacted by the Rebel Del Goren, who was at the Great Temple monitoring the battle. Goren advised Dreis, Vander, and Simms that enemy fighters were moving to intercept them.[3]

When Skywalker protested, claiming that there was no indication of enemy fighters on his scope, Dreis quickly ordered his men to pick up their visual scanning. As expected, TIE/LN starfighters from Black Squadron entered the fray, engaging in various dogfights with Red Squadron. Pilot John D. Branon was killed shortly thereafter, but through cooperation, Dreis' men were able to hold their own against the Imperials. Finally, Vander and his two wingmen started their trench run, but were quickly pursued and shot down by the Sith Lord Darth Vader, who was piloting a prototype TIE Advanced x1. Dreis' old friend Davish Krail was the last of the three to be killed, advising Dreis that Vader's attack had come from the rear before perishing.[3]

Downed by Darth Vader[]

"It's away!"
―Garven Dreis[3]

In the wake of Gold Squadron's failure, Dreis had his men regroup. He then received orders from General Dodonna to split his group in two, and then make an attack run on the trench. With only six pilots left, Dreis ordered Skywalker, Darklighter, and Wedge Antilles to wait behind until they were given the signal to start their own attack on the trench, should Dreis fail. Entering the trench with Theron Nett on his wing and Puck Naeco flanking him, Dreis was met by heavy turbolaser fire. When the fire stopped, Dreis cautioned his wingmen to watch out for Vader and Black Squadron.[3]

Sure enough, Skywalker informed Nett and Dreis that Vader and his wingmen were moving to intercept. Before Vader had the opportunity to begin harassing the half of Red Squadron that was making the run, Dreis came within range and began using his targeting computer as he bore down on the exhaust port. As they hurtled down the trench, Vader swiftly picked off Naeco, while another Imperial shot down Nett. The sacrifice of Red Leader's pilots bought him time to fire his proton torpedoes at the exhaust port, and it was initially thought that his attack had succeeded. Dreis soon realized, however, that his warheads had merely impacted on the battlestation's surface, and had failed to enter the port.[3]

Dreis' fighter crashes into the Death Star.

Making matters worse for Dreis was the fact that Vader was still bearing down on him. Skywalker offered to cover for him, but the man refused when he noticed that he had lost his starboard engine. Ordering Skywalker, Darklighter, and Antilles to start their run, Dreis was fired upon by Vader, who caused substantial damage to the Alliance pilot's craft. Yelling as his craft fell toward the Death Star's surface, Garven Dreis perished upon impact with the battlestation.[3] What he never realized was that the man who had shot him down, Darth Vader, was in fact his Clone Wars comrade, Anakin Skywalker.[5]


Despite also being harried by Vader, Luke Skywalker succeeded in destroying the Death Star, and in doing so, saved the Alliance.[3] The vacancy left by Dreis' death would be filled by Commander Arhul Narra of Renegade Flight. Leadership of the squadron would eventually fall to Skywalker himself, who would reform it into the elite Rogue Squadron. For the majority of the time after the Battle of Hoth, leadership of Rogue Squadron would fall to Antilles. For the Battle of Endor, however, in which the Death Star II was destroyed, Rogue Squadron was called "Red Squadron" once more, in honor of those who had perished at Yavin.[10] Nichos Panib, a noble from Dreis' homeworld, joined the Alliance and was stationed at Echo Base on the planet Hoth in 3 ABY. Dreis had been a friend of Panib's family on his mother's side, and Panib painted his helmet to match Dreis' to honor the fallen pilot.[19]

Personality and traits[]

Personal qualities[]

Dreis and his fellow Red Squadron pilots before the fateful Battle of Yavin

Dreis was a fair-skinned Human male with brown hair. By the time of the Battle of Yavin, he had a wrinkled complexion.[3] A capable and well-respected veteran pilot of the Rebellion, Garven Dreis was inspired to fight as he had borne witness to and suffered through great injustice over the years. Although committed to the cause of the Alliance, his prior experiences were the more apparent catalyst for his actions, rather than the fervor of rebellion.[7]

Preparing for the Battle of Yavin, Dreis was desperately eager to begin the engagement, but he did not let it show to his pilots.[3] General Dodonna trusted that Dreis, as first flight's leader, would be able to keep his cool despite heavy fire in the narrow trenches of the Death Star. Even having considered the potential of Gold Squadron's Y-wings in accomplishing the attack run, the general placed his hopes on the seasoned pilot.[1]

Relationships with fellow pilots[]

Garven "Dave" Dreis was a long-time friend of the Rebel pilot Davish Krail, nicknamed "Pops." While Krail ran a tight ship and told his own pilots off as a form of discipline, Dreis considered the heat of combat to be enough to set his own pilots straight.[1] Indeed, Red Leader took an affectionate, almost paternal approach to commanding his "Red Boys."[12] Prior to his final engagement at the Battle of Yavin, Dreis forced a smile onto his face to reassure the Red Squadron newcomer, Luke Skywalker.[1] The avuncular Dreis tried to look out for his "boys," and he did not allow his men to risk their lives for him when in mortal danger at the Death Star.[3]

As with General Dodonna, the squadron commander admired his subordinate Wedge Antilles' adaptability and skills as a pilot, but he found Antilles lacking in experience. Both Dreis and Dodonna considered "Red Nine" Nozzo Naytaan to be the most promising member of the squadron, but they were wary of his recklessness. Dreis further mentored the younger "Red Ten" Theron Nett,[1] who served as his long-time wingman.[20]


Dreis' helmet during the Battle of Yavin

The pilot donned an orange flight suit with a white flak vest during the Battle of Yavin, where he flew a T-65 X-wing starfighter[3] with his personal R5-series astromech droid R5-K6. He additionally carried a DL-44 heavy blaster pistol.[18] The Rebel's white flight helmet had a gold paint that was decorated with curving black lines and round red symbols. A red line ran along the ridge of the helmet, and both sides of the headpiece protecting the forehead were adorned with a cluster of black and grey stripes lined with irregular red patterns. Each of the helmet's bulbous sides featured a black circle with thin lines of the same color streaking through it, and were crested with numerous black-and-gold "V"-shaped symbols.[3]

Behind the scenes[]


Garven Dreis was created for George Lucas' 1977 original trilogy film, Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope,[3] but the character made his first appearance in Alan Dean Foster's novelization of the film, in which he is also identified as "Dave." Both Foster's novelization[7] and the fifth issue of Roy Thomas' Marvel Comics 1977 Star Wars comic adaptation identify the film's Red Squadron as "Blue Squadron" and as such Dreis' character was known as "Blue Leader."[21]


"Having read the part and studied it before I came in, I'd seen the Red Leader being the older man with more experience and responsibility, and I didn't think he would demonstrate, or allow to be seen, too much degree of excitement—he needed to be very cool for the younger pilots' sakes."
―Drewe Henley's thoughts on Garven Dreis[22]

For Lucas' film, the character was portrayed by the British actor Drewe Henley, who was mistakenly credited as "Drewe Hemley." Henley interpreted the character as an experienced one, and so decided to play Red Leader as a man who did not give away his excitement in his voice. Lucas wanted the character to convey more of a sense of excitement, however, leading the actor and director to come to a compromise—Red Leader would at first be more relaxed and confident, speaking like the actor John Wayne, and then as the battle progressed, would become more and more enthused.[22]

Garven Dreis was portrayed by Drewe Henley.

Henley realized that his performance would be almost entirely in his voice. This was due to the fact that he would not be given the opportunity for much physical movement, since he was in a relatively small space for most of his scenes. Henley found it difficult to act in the "cockpit" scenes, as he was totally isolated from the rest of the actors and could not interact with them. Unlike many of the actors in A New Hope, Henley's performance was not dubbed over by another actor in post-production, performing with an American accent.[22]

The performance would prove to be Henley's final one on film, as he was diagnosed with[22] manic depression[23] shortly after shooting had finished, and decided to retire from acting. Henley would later reflect upon A New Hope as the most interesting film he had ever been involved with.[22]

Cut scenes[]

"I met your father once when I was just a boy, he was a great pilot. You'll do all right. If you've got half of your father's skill, you'll do better than all right."
―Garven Dreis, in a scene cut from A New Hope[12]

The 1997 Special Edition release of A New Hope featured several scenes that had been cut from the original theatrical version of the film. One of the scenes showed Henley, as Red Leader, talking briefly with Luke Skywalker and Biggs Darklighter, played by Mark Hamill and Garrick Hagon, respectively. Henley was pleased with the inclusion of the scene, even though the Special Edition had failed to correct his name in the credits.[22]

Although the scene had been mostly restored, a line delivered by Henley in the middle of the sequence remained cut from the Special Edition. The line, which implied that Red Leader knew Anakin Skywalker, and the accompanying footage was omitted from the release, and to mask the cut, another character walks in front of the shot.[12] The line, however, had originally featured in both Foster's novel[7] and the Marvel Comics adaptations.[21]

Helmet prop[]

A part of the decor on Garven Dreis' helmet

Dreis' helmet used in A New Hope was carried by the pilot Nichos Panib on Hoth in 1980's Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and on Home One in 1983's Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.[24] The film prop was also reused for the character Ina Rece and an unnamed female pilot in the 1995 video game Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire.[25]

Further development[]

"It was great fun to imagine a hotshot farmboy pilot's reaction to Anakin Skywalker, to partially restore the now-edited-away reference to Red Leader having flown with Luke's father, and to give some depth to the briefly, nicely sketched friendship between Red Leader and Gold Five, AKA Dave and Pops."
―Jason Fry[26]

The connection between Luke Skywalker's squadron leader and Anakin Skywalker was later repeated by Raymond L. Velasco's A Guide to the Star Wars Universe in 1984,[27] and was elaborated upon by Abel G. Peña in the article Vader Tech, included in the 2005 magazine Vader: The Ultimate Guide.[28] The 1998 reference book Star Wars Encyclopedia identified "Dave" as a nickname of the character,[29] since he had been identified as "Garven Dreis" by the "Premiere Limited" set of the Star Wars Customizable Card Game in 1995.[30] Dreis also appears in his craft in the 2006 video game Star Wars: Empire at War, as a part of the Red Squadron unit. In the game, Dreis' actions are not anchored to the plot, and therefore are not canon.[31] Dreis also received a war portrait in the 2012 reference title The Essential Guide to Warfare,[1] which co-author Jason Fry wrote as if it were a missing page from Foster's A New Hope novelization. Fry was particularly happy with detailing Dreis' encounter with Anakin Skywalker and his friendship with Davish Krail.[26]


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Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 The Essential Guide to Warfare
  2. 2.0 2.1 Red Leader Garven Dreis perished in the Yavin system before the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which corresponds to 0 BBY per The New Essential Chronology
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  4. StarWars.com Star Wars: The Essential Atlas Online Companion on StarWars.com (article) (backup link) — Based on corresponding data for Virujansi system
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The New Essential Chronology
  6. SWInsider.png "Republic HoloNet News Core Edition 15:01:03" – Star Wars Insider 72
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization
  8. 8.0 8.1 Swccglogolg.png Star Wars Customizable Card GameSpecial Edition Limited (Card: Ryle Torsyn) (backup link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Swccglogolg.png Star Wars Customizable Card GamePremiere Limited (Card: Red 1) (backup link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 SWInsider.png "Who's Who in Rogue Squadron" – Star Wars Insider 59
  11. Swccglogolg.png Star Wars Customizable Card GameOfficial Tournament Sealed Deck (Card: Red Squadron X-wing) (backup link)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Databank title.png Dreis, Garven (Red Leader) in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
  13. Swccglogolg.png Star Wars Customizable Card GameRebel Leader Pack (Card: Red Leader in Red 1) (backup link)}}
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Star Wars Journal: The Fight for Justice
  15. Star Wars radio drama
  16. Swccglogolg.png Star Wars Customizable Card GamePremiere Limited (Card: Dutch) (backup link)
  17. Star Wars: Rebel Assault
  18. 18.0 18.1 HasbroInverted.png Star Wars: The Legacy Collection (Pack: Battle Packs: Scramble on Yavin) (backup link)
  19. SWInsider.png "Rogues Gallery: Clearance for Immediate Launch" – Star Wars Insider 146
  20. Swccglogolg.png Star Wars Customizable Card GameSpecial Edition Limited (Card: Theron Nett) (backup link)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Star Wars (1977) 5
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 SWInsider.png "In the Star Wars Universe" – Star Wars Insider 38
  23. Drewe Henley. lucasfan.com. Archived from the original on January 20, 2020.Drewe Henley stated that SWInsider.png "In the Star Wars Universe" – Star Wars Insider 38's claim that he suffered from muscular dystrophy was incorrect; he was diagnosed with another illness with the same initials.
  24. Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy
  25. LucasArtsIcon.png Rebel Assault II - Live Action Video on LucasArts.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  26. 26.0 26.1 Tumblr.png Jason Fry's Dorkery — EG to Warfare: Endnotes Pt. 10 on Tumblr (backup link)
  27. A Guide to the Star Wars Universe
  28. Vader: The Ultimate Guide
  29. Star Wars Encyclopedia
  30. Swccglogolg.png Star Wars Customizable Card GamePremiere Limited (Card: Red Leader) (backup link)
  31. Star Wars: Empire at War

External links[]