"Air team's gonna find the tower, ground team's gonna blast it."
"Ground team?"
"I have an idea for that."
―Finn and Vanik[src]

Seftin Vanik was a human male pilot who served as a lieutenant in the Resistance. Formerly a stunt flyer in an aerial circus that traveled the Messert system, Vanik was recruited into the Resistance by fellow pilot Poe Dameron, piloting an RZ-2 A-wing interceptor in various dogfights for the movement. In 35 ABY, Vanik participated in a battle against the Sith Eternal forces over the planet Exegol, where he perished alongside several other Resistance pilots.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Serving the Resistance[edit | edit source]

"They're drawing on the main reactors!"
―Vanik, during the Resistance's briefing on Ajan Kloss[src]

Seftin Vanik operated as a stunt pilot during the New Republic Era, travelling around the Messert system with an aerial circus. When the New Republic withdrew from his homeworld, Vanik questioned his loyalties as he had previously believed in the galaxy-wide government. He eventually joined the Resistance after being recruited by Resistance pilot Poe Dameron as a lieutenant, and subsequently participated in various dogfights with enemy fighters as an A-wing pilot. Vanik eventually earned the nickname of "Shield Cooker" for his habit of flying through explosions resulting from his close-proximity hits. At one point, he narrowly evaded a TIE fighter unit over[3] the Core Worlds planet[4] Corellia.[3] At another point, Vanik and a Resistance transport flew away from a celestial body while being pursued by a First Order TIE.[5]

Vanik attends a Resistance briefing on Ajan Kloss.

In 35 ABY,[1] Vanik was stationed at the Resistance's base on the[2] jungle moon[3] Ajan Kloss. He was seated at a console and was monitoring a screen with Resistance pilot Nimi Chireen when General Leia Organa, the leader of the Resistance, sensed a conflict between her son and Rey, Organa's apprentice. Vanik and other members of the Resistance watched as Organa was escorted[2] to her living quarters, shortly before she passed away. During this time, Vanik learned that the Xyston-class Star Destroyers operated by the Sith Eternal's fleet, the Final Order, powered their superlaser cannon using the main reactors.[6]

Vanik later attended a briefing provided by Dameron—who was promoted to the rank of General alongside fellow Resistance member Finn following the death of Organa—as he detailed the Resistance's mission to the planet Exegol in the Unknown Regions, which was to eliminate the Sith Eternal forces along with the Sith fleet. When Finn displayed a hologram of a navigation tower that would allow the fleet to leave the planet, he explained that a ground team would sabotage the tower.[2] As a member of the air team covering the ground team, Vanik was surprised and questioned why a ground team was required,[7] to which Finn replied he had a "plan" for the team.[2] Mechanic Rose Tico then revealed she had been analyzing the fleet's Star Destroyers, and Vanik pointed out that the source of their cannons' power came from their main reactors.[6]

Battle of Exegol[edit | edit source]

"Watch your starboard, Wexley."
―Vanik, to Temmin Wexley[src]

After the briefing concluded, Vanik and the other pilots entered their ships and took off, travelling to Exegol through the Red Honeycomb Zone. Upon arriving at the planet, Vanik and the Resistance forces were immediately bombarded by the Star Destroyers' ion cannons. Flying his A-wing, Vanik turned his ship around and warned Major Temmin Wexley to watch the starboard of his X-wing before flying by him. When the signal of the navigation tower was switched to the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer Steadfast, Finn ordered the transport carrying the ground team to land on the command ship instead.[2]

Vanik perishes over Exegol.

Hearing Finn's order, Dameron then ordered all pilots to cover their landing. As the battle progressed, many Resistance pilots lost their lives. Vanik was shot down and killed when his A-wing was struck by enemy fire, engulfing the ship in flames. As the Resistance was on the brink of defeat, a massive fleet suddenly arrived at Exegol, led by General Lando Calrissian. With the help of the new fleet, the Resistance destroyed the remaining forces of the Sith Eternal and emerged victorious, returning to Ajan Kloss for celebrations.[2]

Personality and traits[edit | edit source]

Vanik was a human male with black hair, black eyes, and light skin. He began doubting where his loyalties stood after witnessing the New Republic government secede from his homeworld. As a member of the Resistance, the pilot would frequently enter into point-blank dogfights with enemy fighters, a trait that his wingmates teased him for. Following his escape from a group of TIEs over Corellia, Vanik was eager to pilot his A-wing again.[3]

Skills and abilities[edit | edit source]

Vanik was a highly-skilled ace pilot, a status which made him a suitable wingman.[8] He earned the nickname "Shield Cooker" as a result of flying through explosions caused by his close-proximity hits on enemy fighters.[3]

Equipment[edit | edit source]

As a Resistance pilot, Vanik flew a green-striped RZ-2 A-wing interceptor.[9] He wore a light-colored flight suit made of undyed fabric, along with a KSE-H44 A-wing pilot helmet and pair of brown gloves.[3]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Seftin Vanik was portrayed by Josef Altin in the 2019 sequel trilogy film Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker. His surname was revealed in the film's credits, listed as "Pilot Vanik,"[2] while his forename was first revealed in the accompanying reference book Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary, written by Pablo Hidalgo.[3]

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition, the film's 2020 novelisation written by Rae Carson, features a number of differences from the film itself. During the briefing on Ajan Kloss, Vanik informs the Resistance that the Sith fleet's Star Destroyers draw power for their cannons from their main reactors,[6] a line which is absent from the film.[2] In the battle over Exegol, Vanik warns Wexley to watch his starboard while the latter is pursued by a group of TIE daggers moments before the major's death,[6] a variation that is also used in the film's junior novelization written by Michael Kogge.[7] This article includes Vanik's line on the Star Destroyers, while following the film's version of events involving Wexley and Vanik.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

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Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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