For my first article, I sure picked an obscure character! Rookie One was the handle of a human male who served the Rebellion in the Galactic Civil War. He fought in the Battle of Yavin. Following the Battle of Hoth, Rookie One was key to uncovering the Imperial project to develop what became the TIE Phantom. Believe it or not, he was the first Expanded Universe character I came across.
Let me take you back to early Fall of 2001. I remember being at Target as a kid and seeing this game Star Wars Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire. I don’t know how I convinced my parents to buy it for me, but they did. I remember playing it that night when we got home and being shocked to find out it was a new story set during the original trilogy. I was amazed that I was playing a new Star Wars adventure and not playing a retread of any of the movies that I had seen many times at that point. It was fascinating to me and I immediately began to allow myself to be sucked into the story and the characters that I was meeting. I remember pretending that I was Rookie One whenever I was playing the adventure. I felt that I was in the cockpit of an X-Wing fighter or a YT-1300 light freighter.
I knew I couldn’t be Luke Skywalker, he was the main character and was the hero that was a Jedi Knight, but I felt as though I could be Rookie One. I felt as though I could do what he did. I thought I could be a supporting role in the grand scheme of things. I could be a pilot who fought for the Rebellion and uncover a secret TIE Fighter that could be a crippling blow to the Alliance. One of the main reasons for those thoughts was because of his name, he was never named officially.
Rookie One, created by Vincent Lee was the main protagonist in the first Rebel Assault game. He was a character that could be either male or female but in the second Rebel Assault he was canonically stated as male. What’s interesting is that throughout his existence in Star Wars lore, he has never been named officially. The handle of “Rookie One” has been his name from the beginning. Lucasfilm did in away make light of this in a short story of such in Star Wars Insider 27 where there was a “diary” Rookie One kept leading up to the Hidden Empire to promote the game.
"I was there with Ru Murleen and Captain Ferrell when we put a major crimp in the Empire's plans by blowing up a Death Star. You'd think they'd stop calling me 'Rookie' after that!"
―Rookie One -Star Wars Insider 27
Rookie One is very similar to Luke Skywalker in their backstories. They were both raised on a moisture far on Tatooine where they developed their piloting skills in T-16 skyhoppers in Beggars Canyon. In the first Rebel Assault, the missions affect Skywarlkers in the Original Trilogy. There is a Battle on Hoth to defend Gamma Base instead of Echo Base. Obviously, it seems the goal was to make the player feel like Luke Skywalker, but still have a new story at the same time.
The video games were secondary canon and Leland Chee confirmed that the trench run Rookie One participates in was N-canon. In the Essential Guide to Warfare by Jason Fry, there is an explanation of how the Battle of Yavin occurred. Rookie One’s squadron, Blue Squadron, were charged with destroying or damaging the Death Star’s super laser while Gold and Red Squadrons were tasked with making trench runs to blow up the battle station.
Rookie One was an exciting character for me because he was a new character. As time went on I did end up focusing on more characters that had more content about them. But I did revisit him when I went back to try and turn the second Rebel Assault game into a story. I am working on a revision now and I think it would be fun to share.
However, going back to revisit the character has been a great joy. Especially as it brings back fond memories of playing his adventures on my computer as a kid. While he did do a lot to increase my love of Star Wars, it wasn’t until a pair of twins came along that my love of the EU began to take full effect.