- "Starlight Squadron heads out on its first mission. It could change everything."
- ―Leia Organa
- "Do you like your team?"
"I do. Great pilots, all of them. Reliable. Especially L'ulo. I like the name too – Starlight Squadron. Has a nice ring to it."
- ―Kes Dameron and Shara Bey
Starlight Squadron was composed of a mix of RZ-1 A-wing interceptors and T-65B X-wing starfighters, that served in the Rebel Alliance's Fourth Division during the Galactic Civil War. The squadron's starfighters were flown by elite Rebel Alliance pilots, led by Lieutenant Shara Bey. Staff officers included Commander Wedge Antilles, Captain L'ulo L'ampar, and Evaan Verlaine. Other members included Mart Mattin and Freyta Smyth. Jedi Commander Luke Skywalker briefly assisted the squadron on a mission to Ab Dalis. The squadron received its orders directly from General Leia Organa. The squadron's starfighters, flight helmets and flight suits were emblazoned with an insignia, which consisted of a red starlight burst, occasionally with a vertical black stripe background.
- "If you find anyone, warn them that the Empire has cracked our communications and give them the new Trawak code Threepio and his team developed."
- ―Leia Organa
Following the evacuation of Hoth in 3 ABY, the Rebel Alliance scattered its fleet to secret rendezvous points across the galaxy. The Galactic Empire, however, had cracked Alliance communications because of a signal analysis protocol developed by Commander Ellian Zahra and her forces continued to attack the divided fleet. With no way to communicate with Alliance forces across the galaxy, the Fourth Division's Commander Grek, devised a plan to reassemble the scattered fleet divisions, named Operation Starlight. Shortly after, Starlight Squadron was formed with the most elite pilots available within the division, and tasked with undertaking dangerous missions on behalf of Operation Starlight.
Search near Felucia
- "No…This can't be."
"It can, Shara, and it is. I'm picking a few lingering transponders. This was Sixth Division. The Empire got here first."
- ―Shara Bey and L'ulo L'ampar
In 3 ABY, Starlight Squadron took part in their first mission for Operation Starlight, led by Starlight Leader Lieutenant Shara Bey, upon which they were tasked by General Leia Organa with finding the scattered divisions of the Rebel Alliance fleet, to warn them that the Galactic Empire had cracked Alliance communications and to deliver a new Trawak security code that C-3PO and his team had developed. During their search, the squadron discovered wreckage of the Sixth Division near Felucia. Wedge Antilles noticed there were signals all around them, to which someone else noted that they were Imperial signatures. L'ulo L'ampar (Starlight Three) spotted Imperial probe droids waiting nearby and quickly realized they had been setup. The Starlight pilots took evasive action, but the probe droids latched onto the astromech droids of the squadron's X-wings and attempted to access their archives by drilling into their conical domes. Fearing the probe droids might get the coordinates of the other rendezvous points, Antilles suggested shooting them off, however Shara Bey questioned their ability to actually pull it off. Instead, Bey ordered all pilots to set their astromech's self-destruct and eject them, which meant losing their nav data and making it difficult to get back to the fleet. With no other choice, the droids ejected and detonated, saving their valuable data from the Empire.
Ambushed by the Tarkin's Will
- "This is bad. They've got us surrounded, they're jamming our long-range comms and without our astromechs, the X-wings can't escape into hyperspace."
"Just keep flying, Freyta! L'ulo and I can link our nav computers with yours and share jump data. As long as we're alive, there's a chance."
- ―Freyta Smyth and Shara Bey
With no time to catch their breath, the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Tarkin's Will arrived and ambushed the squadron. The Star Destroyer launched TIE fighters, which outnumbered the Rebel starfighters three to one. Mart Mattin (Starlight Four) suggested the A-wings leave while they still had a chance, as there was no way they could coordinate a hyperspace jump during a dogfight without their astromechs. However, Bey made it clear that she was staying to fight. After studying the TIE's tactics, L'ampar noticed the TIEs were not ganging up on individual starfighters, per the Imperial Tactical Manual when outnumbering the enemy, and quickly realized they were being herded. The Tarkin's Will engaged its tractor beams, catching the squadron's starfighters to bring them in for interrogation. Evaan Verlaine and Antilles agreed that using brute force to try to escape would not work. Antilles then suggested a maneuver that the Rebel pilots war-gamed back in Rogue Squadron but was untested. The maneuver involved accelerating full throttle and riding the tractor beam toward the Star Destroyer. As they did this, the Imperials aboard the Tarkin's Will remained unfazed, as the starfighter tactics gave the impression the Rebels were planning to ram the Star Destroyer in a last-ditch suicide mission. As soon as the shields dropped to pull the starfighters in, the squadron targeted the tractor beam projectors and fired their concussion missiles and proton torpedoes, destroying it. With the tractor beam offline, and the Star Destroyer's targeting computers unable to lock on due to their speed, the Starlight starfighters raced into the hangar, and fired upon the TIE fighters and stormtroopers within. This prevented any more TIEs from scrambling from the Tarkin's Will.
Escaping the Tarkin's Will
- "Shara! Don't give up. We can fight off these AT-STs, then steal you a ship. We can do this…I know it!"
"Don't be foolish, L'ulo. You've got your chance to get back to the fleet—take it."
- ―L'ulo L'ampar and Shara Bey
Mattin and Verlaine's X-wings stood guard to keep the TIEs that were chasing them, out of the hangar, while L'ampar's A-wing covered the interior access door from stormtroopers. With the hangar temporarily locked down from further Imperial threats, the rest of the pilots landed and disembarked their ships. Getting close to the tractor beam generators had fried the A-wings' navigational memory banks, so Bey and Freyta Smyth scrambled to a group of Imperial astromech droids sitting idle nearby, while Antilles provided cover fire. Smyth sliced into one of the astromechs, and was surprised that it wasn't using tough encryption. Bey ordered Smyth to get the astromech back to an X-wing and start running the hyperspace calculations, while she stayed behind to do something.
Just as L'ampar destroyed an AT-ST walker, more entered the hangar. Antilles urged Bey to hurry as the Imperial astromech in his X-wing had almost finished the nav calculations and all their ships were linked and ready to go. Bey explained that she was able to steal all kinds of valuable intelligence from the other Imperial droids in the hangar, which they could take back to the fleet. As Bey raced back to her A-wing, but it was destroyed by an AT-ST, leaving her stranded. On witnessing this, L'ampar told Bey not to give up, as Starlight would continue to fight the AT-STs and steal her a ship. However, Bey recognised the foolishness of these actions, as staying to help would lose them their only chance to get back to the fleet, and so she issued a direct order to L'ampar to go, along with a request for him to tell her husband, Kes Dameron, that she loved and have him kiss their son, Poe, for her. L'ampar reluctantly acknowledged the order, and the squadron left without her.
Returning to the fleet
- "…the mission so far has been unsuccessful. We found the remains of Sixth Division—it was completely destroyed. Then we were ambushed by the same Star Destroyer that's been hunting us across the galaxy. We had to board the Destroyer and fight our way clear. We made it…but we had to leave Starlight Leader behind. It…kills me to say that, we had no choice. She sacrificed herself to save us."
- ―L'ulo L'ampar, to the Alliance Fleet
On the way back to the fleet, L'ampar, now Starlight Two, sent the Fourth Division a transmission, stating the mission was unsuccessful. He mentioned finding the remains of the Sixth Division, and the ambush by the same Star Destroyer that had been hunting them across the galaxy. L'ampar also mentioned the fighting on it that resulted in leaving Starlight Leader behind, which Kes, who was listening in, was sad to hear. L'ampar finished off with the only bit of good news, regarding the capture of an Imperial astromech droid, with its memory banks full of useful navigational data, which was Bey's idea and one that Organa planned to utilize for the operation and in hunting down Zahra by locating the Tarkin's Will.
Hiding on Tarkin's Will
- "I'm okay. I managed to slip away off the hangar deck before I was captured. Star Destroyers are as big as cities. Lots of places to hide."
- ―Shara Bey, to Kes Dameron
Later, Bey managed to slip away off the Star Destroyer's hangar deck before she was captured. She managed to find a place to hide somewhere on the big, city-sized starship. She managed to dismantle one of the Imperial astromech droids and raise communications with the Forth Division, where she was able to talk to her husband, much to his relief. Bey told Dameron that she was working on slicing into the Imperial systems and she was going to make herself useful getting more valuable information until such time as a team could be sent to rescue her. Bey then debriefed General Organa on the intelligence she had already gathered while in hiding.
Battle on Ab Dalis
Starlight Squadron started to resume it's search across the unexplored rally points with the help of Antilles' good friend aspiring Jedi and Commander Luke Skywalker since they were down by one member until Lieutenant Bey got off the Tarkin's Will. Their journey's next destination was the planet Ab Dalis. The Eleventh Division was currently in an intense battle against Admiral Kalaxo who was in command of the Imperial Star Destroyer Ultima II and part of Commander Zahra's assault group. His ship was below a dormant volcano which the squadron had reignited using their proton torpedos and died in the blast. Skywalker then told Antilles he had to depart for Jekara to help General Organa and Lando Calrissian save his friend and Organa's lover Captain Han Solo from an auction hosted by Crimson Dawn because he had a vision revealing that his father Sith Lord Darth Vader was coming after the owner of the Millennium Falcon. Antilles understood since he knew how important Solo was to the Rebellion and gave the new Trawak security code to the Eleventh Division. Starlight Squadron had boosted the rebel fleet's strength by fifty percent and brought back two of it's leaders, Chancellor Mon Mothma and Admiral Gial Ackbar.
Rescuing Lieutenant Bey
Sometime after the Battle on Ab Dalis, Bey's cover as a stormtrooper was blown since Warrant Officer Kronauer realized her armor was damaged and Commander Zahra discovered there was a mole onboard the Tarkin's Will due to her second-in-command Lieutenant Gorr pointing out there was no soldier on her ship with the com number TK-510, discovering Bey's coded transmissions, and figured out Bey must have survived the destruction of her ship and was hiding in the damaged part of the Star Destroyer since internal scanners couldn't detect anything there. When Bey's plan to steal a Lambda-class T-4a shuttle went south and was apprehended by Zahra herself, Starlight Squadron and a small group of Pathfinders led by Kes, decided to rescue his wife without permission from Mothma and the other rebel leaders. After recovering the equipment and intelligence she had stolen as well as learning her story, Commander Zahra demanded Bey tell her about the new transmission code, what the Rebel Fleet's targets are, and who was still alive after the Battle of Hoth or else she would go after Poe and her father. Then Starlight Squadron and the Pathfinders who were aboard a UT-60D U-wing starfighter/support craft dropped out of hyperspace and engaged the swarms of TIE fighters that were launched from the Tarkin's Will to extend the fight. Sergeant Dameron and his team managed to get aboard the battle damaged Star Destroyer but it made the jump to hyperspace when Commander Zahra changed her plans from stopping Starlight Squadron from rescuing Lieutenant Bey to destroying the last division of the Rebel Fleet, the Second Division, at the Battle of Panisia after she received intel on it's location from the Imperial Security Bureau and ordered for the fighters to be left behind since there was no time to get them back onboard and to prevent the Rebel starfighters from escaping again like they did at Felucia considering they were outnumbered and assured Gorr that they would be picked up once they returned but if they were defeated then it would be of no loss as the Empire had zero tolerance for the weak in their forces. However Zahra was lured in a trap as the entire Rebel Fleet showed up to get their last division and finally kill the vengeful Commander once and for all as part of a plan developed by Lady Qi'ra, who was in charge of the criminal syndicate Crimson Dawn, to cause a distraction so her agent Deathstick could grab the Mourner's Wail Syndicate and the Unbroken Clan's heir Cadeliah and in an attempt to gain General Organa and the Alliance's trust to form a partnership with them for her ultimate plan to kill Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine so she can bring an end the Sith and the Empire to make the galaxy an equal playing field for those who want power.
Behind the scenes
Starlight Squadron was first mentioned in Star Wars (2020) 6, a comic written by Charles Soule, illustrated by Jesús Saiz, and published by Marvel Comics on September 16, 2020. It later made its first appearance in Star Wars (2020) 10, a comic written by Charles Soule, illustrated by Jan Bazaldua, and published by Marvel Comics on January 6, 2021.
- Star Wars (2020) 6 (First mentioned)
- Star Wars (2020) 10 (First appearance)
- Star Wars (2020) 11
- Star Wars (2020) 12
- Star Wars (2020) 13 (Mentioned only; in the opening crawl)
- Star Wars (2020) 14
- Star Wars (2020) 15
- Star Wars (2020) 16 (Mentioned only; in the opening crawl)
- Star Wars (2020) 19 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars (2020) 21
- Star Wars (2020) 22
- Star Wars (2020) 23 (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Star Wars (2020) 10
- Star Wars (2020) 12
- Star Wars (2020) 15
- Star Wars (2020) 11
- "The Pilots of the Rebel Alliance" dates Evaan Verlaine's assignment to Starlight Squadron to three years after the Battle of Yavin, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 0 BBY.
- Star Wars (2020) 6
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars (2020) 1
- Star Wars (2020) 2
- Star Wars (2020) 21