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"I'm hit!"
―Branon's last words during the Battle of Yavin. — (audio) Listen (file info)[src]

John D. Branon, sometimes known simply as John "D", was a young Human male pilot who served the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. A member of the Tierfon Yellow Aces, Branon was a friend of fellow pilot Jek Porkins, who attested to his bravery and recommended him as a replacement for the fallen Red Squadron pilot Cesi Eirriss.[1]

In 0 BBY, he participated in the Battle of Yavin under the callsign Red Four. Flying a T-65 X-wing starfighter, Branon was shot down by TIE/LN starfighters during the assault on the first Death Star, among the first pilots who were killed. He and Theron Nett were the only Rebels known to die at the hands of TIE pilots during the battle, as the rest of the known X- and Y-wings that fell during the battle were destroyed by Darth Vader or gunned down by turbolaser fire.[3]

Behind the scenes[]

John D. was portrayed by Jack Klaff in A New Hope. He was presumably named after John Dykstra.[4]

Though the film credits list Jack Klaff as the actor portraying John D, the Customizable Card Game names Jack Klaff's character Lt. Naytaan. The CCG creators made an error in naming him Naytaan. According to Leland Chee, Naytaan and John D. are two different pilots.[5]

According to Klaff, he was recorded with additional dialogue which was subsequently cut—noting that he had his first TIE fighter kill right before being shot down.[6]

John D. has been known as "Fake Wedge" among much of the Star Wars community, because of the belief that Jack Klaff played the character of Wedge in the Rebel briefing room scene (a character played by Denis Lawson in every other scene). Pablo Hidalgo has since revealed that "Fake Wedge" was not actually portrayed by Klaff, but rather by actor Colin Higgins.[7]

Branon's helmet prop from the films — or possibly one of a matching design — was later worn by Tenk Lenso in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back[8] and Ace Merrick in the video game Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire.[9]



Notes and references[]