Do you remember when Luke Skywalker talks to a guy in the Yavin 4 briefing room about targeting womp rats on Tatooine? He's talking to Wedge Antilles. But wait, you say, that guy looks different than the man in the X-wing cockpit during the attack on the Death Star, and isn't that Wedge? Yes, it is; even though it's a different actor, the dude flying the X-wing is also Wedge. So we have Wedge and a character that fans call Fake Wedge.
Oh, Star Wars.
A conversation about this at work led me down this rabbit hole where I discovered it gets even better: three different actors played Wedge Antilles in Star Wars: A New Hope. THREE. But Fake Wedge was later retconned to be another character, pilot Col Takbright, who has an in-universe nickname of “Fake Wedge.” Whew.
The story of Fake Wedge has been explored before, namely by Lucasfilm creative executive Pablo Hidalgo. Which is to say, this is not news. But based on the response I received on Twitter, it's new to a number of people. Let's break down the story, nay the conspiracy, connected to Wedge Antilles.
When you picture Wedge, you probably summon an image of Denis Lawson as the character. The uncle of Ewan McGregor, Lawson appeared as Wedge Antilles in every film in the original trilogy, but he's only heard in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. More on that in a moment.
Lawson auditioned for the role of Wedge, but he lost it to...
Actor Colin Higgins plays the Wedge with whom Luke discusses womp rats. He was the first person cast as Wedge Antilles in A New Hope, but he was replaced after a single day of filming. According to Star Wars Insider #98, Higgins had trouble recalling and delivering his lines so he was let go. Lawson was called back, and he took Higgins' place in the movie as Wedge.
But you don't hear either Higgins or Lawson in A New Hope, because Wedge's voice was provided by yet another actor, David Ankrum. His voice is dubbed over both actors in Episode IV because an American accent was desired for the character. Lawson applied an American accent when he played the character in Episodes V and VI.
Ankrum later returned to the Star Wars universe to voice Wedge in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
It's weird to have two different faces for the same character in the same movie, right? But the notion of two Wedges stood until recently, with fans calling Higgins' version Fake Wedge. Higgins' character was retconned in 2017's From a Certain Point of View. In the short story “Duty Roster” by Jason Fry, Fake Wedge became pilot Col Takbright. Col tells Biggs Darklighter about Luke's targeting womp rats comments and so identifies himself as the guy in the briefing room.
And Col Takbright happens to look like Wedge, so his fellow pilots give him the nickname “Fake Wedge.” So, in-universe the character who fans once called Fake Wedge now carries that name. What a journey.
Amy Ratcliffe is an Associate Editor for Nerdist. She likes Star Wars a little. Follow her on Twitter.