- "Maybe it's true what they say…"
"Now don't start telling me any phantom fighter tales. Geez, you farm boys'll believe anything you hear."
- ―Rookie One and Kirby
Kirby was a starfighter pilot who held the rank of commander in the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. Following the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY, he led a B-wing patrol to the Dreighton Triangle, accompanied by his wingmate, "Rookie One." During their patrol, the Rebels received a distress call from the captain of the YT-1300 light freighter Corellia Star who tried to warn the Alliance about the secret TIE Phantom project. As the pair attempted to reach the freighter, a TIE Phantom used its cloaking device to take them by surprise, destroying Kirby's B-wing and killing the pilot.
At some point during the Galactic Civil War, the Human male Kirby joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic as a starfighter pilot and, by 3 ABY held the rank of commander. Following the Battle of Hoth in 3 ABY, Kirby was assigned to lead a B-wing squadron on a patrol close to the Dreighton Triangle, an area of space known for reports of ghost ships ever since the Battle of Dreighton during the Clone Wars. Unbenkownst to the Rebels, the Galactic Empire was using the unexplained events in the area as a cover for tests of the TIE Phantom, a new starfighter that was fitted with a cloaking device that rendered it invisible to other vessels.
During their patrol, the Rebels received a distress signal coming from inside the Dreighton Nebula. Kirby instructed one of his wingmates, a young Rebel pilot known as "Rookie One," to accompany him and the two broke away from their squadron and entered the nebula to investigate. Once inside the nebula, the two Rebels made contact with the captain of the YT-1300 light freighter Corellia Star, whose vessel was under attack from Imperial fighters. The captain claimed to be carrying information that was vital to the Alliance, though signal interference prevented the Rebels from hearing the whole message. As they moved to assist, they were quickly intercepted by a swarm of TIE fighters. Though they were heavily outnumbered, Kirby and Rookie One were able to eliminate the enemy fighters, but not before the Imperials boarded and captured the Corellia Star. Once the area was clear of threats, the Rebels continued toward the planet Dreighton in pursuit of the captured freighter.
Kirby was aware that a Rebel patrol had been lost in the area three days ago and was suspicious of how quickly the TIEs had reached them from the freighter. Suspecting that there may be more, he warned Rookie One to stay vigilant as they approached the planet. The younger pilot soon picked up the distress signal but, moments later, a TIE Phantom de-cloaked behind his B-wing and opened fire. Rookie One's fighter lost an S-foil and careened toward the planet's surface, though the pilot was able to eject before impact. With one B-wing eliminated, the Imperial pilot fired upon Kirby's B-wing. Unable to evade the enemy laser fire, Kirby was killed when his starfighter exploded.
Personality and traits
- "I was scared, but I was with Commander Kirby, and he's one of the best."
- ―Rookie One
Kirby was a veteran pilot with a no-nonsense attitude. The commander was personable and was both well liked and respected by those under his command. He had a tendency to be cynical and mocked Rookie One for apparently believing the tales of ghost ships in the Dreighton Triangle.
Behind the scenes
- "Rebel control, this is patrol leader. We lost the Rookie. I'm continuing onward."
- ―Kirby, from a game over cutscene
Kirby was created for the 1995 LucasArts video game Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire, in which he appears during the cutscenes for the first two levels. The character was portrayed in the game by actor Chopper Bernet. If Rookie One is killed during the level "The Dreighton Triangle," the game over cutscene shows Kirby reporting that Rookie One has been killed and that he is continuing to Dreighton alone.
Rebel Assault II designer Vincent Lee's storyboards and scripts document, dated November 16, 1994, included a brief description of Kirby. Though not included in the game or its manual, the biography was adapted for use on the LucasArts website and the document was later printed in Rob Smith's Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts. Lee's notes place the character in his early forties but his age is not specified in either the game or his online biography. Lee also made notes on the people he thought symbolized each character in the game, choosing actor Ed Harris to represent Kirby.
The Star Wars Insider 27 article "Excerpts from the Journal of a Rebel Pilot" by Sue Seserman was presented as Rookie One's diary entries surrounding the mission to the Dreighton Nebula. The article erroneously describes the circumstances of Kirby's death, stating that his B-wing was destroyed before Rookie One's is hit, while Rebel Assault II shows Kirby's death taking place after Rookie One has already crashed on Dreighton.
Props and costumes created for the original trilogy of Star Wars movies were used during the filming of Rebel Assault II. The flight helmet worn by Kirby is the same design as that worn by Wedge Antilles in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.
- Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire (First appearance)
- "Excerpts from the Journal of a Rebel Pilot"—Star Wars Insider 27
- Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts